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The Last of Us Episode 8 Recap breaks down everything you need to know about episode 8 of The Last of Us.

On this week’s episode of The Last of Us, Joel and Ellie face off against a cult leader with murky intentions. For this week’s The Last of Us (TLOU) recap, here’s what we thought about The Last of Us episode 8.

Where to watch The Last of Us

The Last of Us airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PDT. Read our HBO Max review to learn more about the streaming service.

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The Last of Us
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It’s what for dinner

David and Ellie talking in a prison cage from HBO's Last of Us
Image courtesy HBO.

This week’s episode pits Joel and Ellie against David (Scott Shepard), the leader of a group of survivors holed up in a Colorado ski town. The episode opens with David delivering a sermon to his group in a repurposed steakhouse—the winter’s been hard for the group, and David comforts a girl who recently lost her father.

By all appearances, David’s a warm presence in the episode’s first act. He wishes his flock well after the service, tells Ellie how his group came to Colorado, and deescalates the situation when James (Troy Baker) pulls his gun on Ellie.

But then … we get to the episode’s big turn.

Somewhere, there’s a slower-paced version of this episode where David was an actual man of faith forced to resort to cannibalism to keep his flock alive.

But the episode back-loads David with a mountain of red flags (he’s not just an abusive cannibal! He’s also an abusive cannibal who wants Ellie to be his child wife/cult commander) to make him a clear-cut villain for Ellie and Joel. The show largely draws from the game’s portrayal of David for these red flags, but in the process, the episode sidelines some fruitful plot points.

David’s group is more than justified to go after Joel—the girl’s dead father was the man Joel killed in episode 6—and the episode hints at James having a crisis of faith about David. But the reveal about David’s real intentions allows the episode to let viewers off the hook as we root for Joel and Ellie to go full Jack Bauer on David and his foot soldiers.

The Last of Us episode 8 game easter eggs

Image courtesy HBO.

Who plays David in The Last of Us show?

David is played by Scott Shepard, who’s been in films like El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and the Jason Bourne series. This week’s episode mostly stuck to the game’s version of David, who was also a cannibal and the leader of a group of survivors.

But the show’s edits include adding David’s turn toward preaching, clearly underlining his predatory tendencies, and changing the sequence after Ellie takes down David. In the game, Joel finds Ellie immediately after she kills David. Thankfully, the show reunites Joel and Ellie outside the steakhouse and away from David’s remains. (We also get Joel calling Ellie his “baby girl” for the first time, which will melt anybody’s heart.)

Who plays James in The Last of Us show?

James is played by Troy Baker, who portrayed Joel in the TLOU games. He’s the latest instance of the show borrowing from the game’s cast, as game cast members like Merle Dandridge (Marlene) and Jeffrey Pierce (Tommy) have already appeared on the TLOU show this season.

The Last of Us episode 9 preview: Will Ashley Johnson be in The Last of Us show?

We’ve made it to the season finale, folks! In next week’s episode, Joel and Ellie head to Salt Lake City, and everything probably turns out fine. For TLOU game fans, we’ll also likely see Ashley Johnson’s (Ellie) inaugural appearance on the show.

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