Friday, March 10, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Last of Us

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episode 8 “When We Are in Need” (B+)

This episode featured quite the calibrated, unnerving performance from Scott Shepherd, who made David into a seemingly stern but benevolent leader who revealed many layers to himself over the course of the hour without ever getting agitated or showing his hand too early. Clarifying for Ellie to hear that he wasn’t speaking in code was the first indicator that he knew how to stay calm and control whatever situation he found himself in, and he was even willing to let Ellie go after explaining that everything happens for a reason and that Joel was exactly the man many people within his “large group” would be thrilled to find. Ellie quickly put together that they were eating people, something he purported to have planned to share with her, an apparent inevitability of the apocalypse aftermath. Describing himself as a shepherd surrounded by sheep who wanted an equal while stroking Ellie’s hand framed things in a less opportunistic and more predatory manner, and fortunately Ellie was able to think quickly, breaking his finger and then using her bite as a way to buy herself some time and a chance to escape. Forcefully declaring that what he enjoyed most was not having his victim’s consent was the most vicious turn, and fortunately he met his demise right after that. Joel made a miraculous recovery and was smart to kill his would-be assassins even though they begged for mercy, another unfortunate necessity of living after the end of the world when some people find the wrong god.

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