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Everything The Last Of Us Episode 8 Changes About The Cannibals From The Game

Contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 8 of "The Last of Us" — "When We Are in Need"

In the penultimate episode of season 1 of "The Last of Us," titled "When We Are in Need," Ellie (Bella Ramsey) begins the installment in pretty dire straits. Struggling to tend to Joel's (Pedro Pascal) wound that he incurred during a brutal fight at the end of the previous episode, Ellie sets him up in an abandoned house and strikes out on her own, trying to find food, medicine, or really anything to keep the two of them alive.

What she does find is two men standing over the deer she successfully takes down... and immediately, Ellie refuses to trust either of them, holding a gun on them as she forces them to drop their weapons. Though they promise her medicine, Ellie remains wary, and as it turns out, she's absolutely right to do so. The two men she spends the most face time with — Scott Shepherd's David and Troy Baker's James — lead a small community where, as it turns out, David is using some pretty suspect food sources to keep everybody decently fed. In case that wasn't clear: they're cannibals, and they're feeding human flesh to a bunch of unwitting townsfolk. 

The cannibals appear in the game as well, but people who've played it through probably noticed they're portrayed a little differently in the series. Here are the main differences between cannibals between "The Last of Us" and its television adaptation.

The adaptation of The Last of Us builds David's world more concretely

As Ellie realizes towards the episode's close, David is a full-on cannibal, and he's tricking an entire town into being cannibals right along with him. In the game, the cannibals, along with David himself, are a bit more simplified than they are in the show; David never mentions his past, and we don't see him interacting with the community and acting as a sort of preacher and teacher to the people he seems to lead. David and Ellie do bond over a fight with some infected Clickers in the game, which has the effect of making him seem more like an ally than he really is, but really, the largest differences arise from building David's world just a bit more.

This means that some details are brought into sharper focus in the show than they were in the game. A perfect example is introduced — albeit indirectly — right at the beginning of the episode, when a young girl asks David when they can bury her late father (who, it turns out, Joel killed in a previous episode). When he tells her the ground is too cold and they'll have to wait until spring, this explanation seems perfectly reasonable at face value... until you realize later that David used the girl's father as meat, and probably just fed the man to his own grieving family. There's a lot of horrifying behavior in "The Last of Us," but even within this universe, David's actions are deeply upsetting.

The Season 1 finale of "The Last of Us" airs at 9 p.m. EST on March 12, 2023.