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TLOU Episode 8 Marks The First Big Glitch In The Series With One Essential Character

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

Let it be made clear straight off the mark that the track record of Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin's adaptation of what many see as the greatest video game ever made has been near enough flawless. The live-action take of the world with a lethal fungal infection has left us biting our nails and shedding big fat post-apocalyptic tears on more than one occasion, some of which may have fallen this week in the penultimate episode of Season 1 of "The Last of Us."

And yet, even the heartfelt moments in "When We Are In Need," this installment feels jarred by what feels like the first significant slip-up the show has made in transferring a monumental part of the story over to live-action. One that sucks out a massive amount of not just the tension that the show has been rife with at times but the long-anticipated resolution we've been waiting to see between our two heroes for eight long episodes. To say that one person is responsible would be wrong. Still, it feels like an all-new character buckled under the weight of what was accomplished before, delivering something that felt massively mundane in the grand scheme.

A new threat felt anything but in Episode 8 of The Last of Us

A while back, Joel (Pedro Pascal) warned Ellie (Bella Ramsey) there were worse things in the world than Infected, and this week proved just that. After playing it smart encountering locals that had their eye on her hunt, she realized all too late that she was the potential prey. David (Scott Shepherd), the seemingly placid leader of a local group, resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. It's a switch that those unfamiliar with the game may not have seen coming, but fans were counting on. The problem was that it was a matter of character tweaking and time spent with them that caused a noticeable difference between Shepherd's David and the one we got in the game.

In the case of the live-action version, this David is undoubtedly a serviceable character, acting as a horrifying hurdle for Ellie to overcome to get back to Joel, who, at this point, she fears could very easily be dead. But there's also a question of trust involved; the consistent and fragile thing that has been a rare find throughout this story but one that, from the off, this David doesn't feel like he deserves, even before Ellie meets him. The reason for this is down to one essential element the show doesn't have, which not only highlights why this David is lacking but might show a concerning sign of what's to come for the next chapter in this near-perfect series.

Time is running out for The Last of Us characters

With only around two hours left of the show, the clock is ticking louder than ever as "The Last of Us" reaches a close, and Episode 8 wastes no time in setting the stage for the latest threat facing our heroes. We meet David before Ellie does, and it's an introduction that rings alarm bells instantly. His handling of followers establishes that this isn't a dude to be trusted and takes up valuable time when he could've crossed paths with her sooner. As a result, the brief hint of Ellie warming to him even a little doesn't feel earned, unlike the game, which sees them both come under attack by Infected setting up a fragile alliance that eventually breaks, leading to her capture of discovery of David's dark secret.

Here though, without the infected attack, it all feels far too rushed. We don't have enough time to settle into David's company, so we aren't truly rattled when he turns and his real intentions are revealed. The smarter move would've been to have him present across two episodes at least, given his impact on Ellie even after his bloody demise. Something that undoubtedly molds Ellie into the person she becomes and an event that we hope doesn't get similar treatment next week.

David's death doesn't bode well with the final chapter of The Last Of Us finale

Given how much was packed into this week's episode, it feels warranted to show some concern about what will become the story's most critical moment: its finale. We're not going to throw spoilers in here so close to the finish line, but if outsiders to this 13-year-old tale think this week's episode was rushed, next week moving at a blistering pace is a certainty. A lot needs to happen in the closing of Joel and Ellie's initial journey together. It's littered with beats that must be approached so carefully you'd think Clickers surrounded it. Moments that will define not only both characters but the future of their relationship we're confirmed to return to whenever Season 2 arrives.

Our only hope is that it knows when to push down on the gas as much as it steps off it. Stumbling at the last step would be heartbreaking to a story that has already emotionally damaged us. Fingers crossed that, unlike David, they don't make a meal out of it all and that "The Last of Us" stands tall as the videogame adaptation fans always hoped it could be.