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This is it: one last episode left.
“The Last of Us” kicked off a promising 2023 for television by delivering another success for HBO’s already packed slate of TV.
Sunday’s Episode 8 was stuck with having to not only make up for the lackluster Episode 7 but also work as set up for the season finale this Sunday.
In its strengths, Episode 8 is an improvement upon what Episode 7 sought to do with Ellie. Though it may suffer from the same issues.
Loose Ends Still a Problem
To get the negative out of the way, Episode 8 is another example of “The Last of Us'” questionable Season 1 pacing, which tends to leave viewers wanting more with not as much payoff as expected.
After two episodes of little to no Clickers after giving us an explosive introduction to the Boomer in Episode 5, the lack of screen time for the undead is bothersome.
Second complaint: as we draw closer to Episode 9, the question of how the showrunners will accomplish wrapping up Season 1 also looms.
This may only be an issue for people that have played the game and see Season 1’s story much more holistically. Since the HBO show has been a faithful recreation of the video game, it’s only safe to assume it’ll end just like the game … but how in the heck are they going to wrap up several loose ends with one last episode?
A Good Episode That May Keep The Season From Being Great
Okay, time for the positive.
Joel’s interrogation scene with the invading cannibals was incredibly tense. It felt like watching an R-rated version of ‘Taken.’
The episode’s antagonist, David, is set up to be a menacing killer operating under the guise of a religious and community leader. In his congregation’s eyes, David is a lionhearted leader. To prey, he’s a villain with intentions worse than death.
Episode 8 mainly revolves around Ellie and David. With Joel incapacitated by his stomach wound, Ellie sets out to find medicine and food.
Ellie transports a dying Joel to a basement at an abandoned house. She is then tasked with saving his life by stepping out into the cruel world for supplies.
After discovering and evading two men in the wild, Ellie becomes a target.
The two men, one of them David, help keep a community of survivors alive. By any means necessary, even if those means include killing and eating humans.
David Is An Effective Villain
David and his circle of cannibals are the only ones aware of the cannibalism as the unsuspecting congregation follows the religious leader. It’s the troupey “Christian preacher is insane” post-apocalyptic villain but it leads to tense scenes.
David feels like a deceptive and chilling opponent from the start.
In the vehicle game, David goes on a mission to recruit the defiant Ellie, with sinister intentions.
In a brief appearance during this season, David proves to be a more menacing and tolerable antagonist than Kathleen.
The tension works well as Joel and Ellie solve life-or-death situations from different locations.
Ellie reunites with Joel after chopping David’s head to bits during a fight in a burning, and the show delivers on emotions when Joel consoles Ellie.
In their final episode, “The Last of Us” will have to answer whether Ellie will be delivered to the Fireflies, with the loose ends of FEDRA’s malevolence and the threat of the undead still in dire need of a boost in the narrative. And by now, it may be too late to try bunching those all into one last episode.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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