“I Got You, Babygirl”: HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ vs. Game!

The penultimate episode of season 1 of HBO’s The Last Of Us was soul crushing. Here’s a look at how the show adapted the game, what they changed, and what was exactly the same.

HBO’s The Last Of Us hit record viewership with its penultimate episode, “When We Are In Need,” hitting 8.1 million viewers. This episode also reaches a new high in emotional distress and horror, even with no infected in sight. Here are some similarities and differences between the source material and the show.

@flannelsallday Honestly that man was more terrifying than any zombie #tlou #thelastofus ♬ original sound – Sarah 🌈

Known as the winter arc in the video game, this episode has Ellie encounter a new group led by a charismatic man named David, played by Scott Shepherd. Through cues and very explicit, disgusting dialogue later on, we learn that David is not only a cannibal but a pedophile.

In the game, we know next to nothing about his past, but the show boosts his creepiness with extra backstory. He used to be a school teacher for students around Ellie’s age (i.e. middle school), filling our heads with revolting implications of what he did to kids even before the apocalypse. In the present day, he is the cult-like, religious leader of his group and rules with both inspiring words and an iron fist, not unlike the pattern of abuse seen in offenders in the real world.

@chaotic_disaster Like WHAT. This creep was just around children ALL THE TIME? Jail. #thelastofus #thelastofushbo #tlou #thastofus2 #tlou2 #tlouellie #joelmiller #elliewilliams #tessservopoulos #marlenethelastofus #tommymiller #sarahmiller #billthelastofus #abbythelastofus2 #pedropascal #bellaramsey #playstation #naughtydog #ashleyjohnson #troybaker #fyp #foru #foryou #foryoupage #chaotic_disaster #pedophiledavid #tlouepisode8 ♬ original sound – jonahpedro

The majority of the episode is torn straight from the game, even in small details like the long and clumsy deer chase (it took me half an hour to kill that deer in the game). David kidnaps Ellie and sets out on a vengeful manhunt for Joel, which the angry dad defends himself from, despite his barely healed near-fatal stab wound. Old fans got to cheer when he uses his shiv attack from the game.

@imifae bella clear the space off your shelf now that emmy is coming home!! #thelastofus #bellaramsey #thelastofushbo #elliewilliams #tlou #tlouhbo ♬ waiting room ending – katia

The torture scene was brutal, showing a darker side of Joel we haven’t seen too much of in the show. The beats are identical, down to Joel nearly popping a man’s kneecap off and killing his second hostage without pause.

@h6rbinger like father like daughter (FAKE EVERYTHING!!) #tlou #thelastofus #thelastofusepisode8 #elliewilliams #joelmiller #thelastofusedit #tlouedit #edit ♬ original sound – genna

Ellie figures out David’s group are cannibals from a torn-off ear near her prison cell and soon learns of his sinister, sexual intentions (to which she promptly breaks his finger with a badass line from the game).

@itsnotpotteritspottah go ellie.|| #elliewilliams #bellaramsey #elliewilliamsedit #david #thelastofus #thelastofushbo #fypシ #viral #foryoupage #xyzbca #trending ♬ sonido original – mishhh 🙂

She nearly gets chopped into bits before revealing her bite, distracting David and his right-hand man, James, enough to sink a cleaver into the latter’s neck and run. James is played by a legend: Joel’s original voice actor, Troy Baker. Despite the terror of the episode, I got some good laughs yelling, “Ellie, you just killed Joel!” at the screen during this scene. In the “Inside The Episode” segment, Baker speaks to how happy he was to cameo this role in the show (and to die gruesomely by cleaver).

@moviemonk2411 Im glad they included Troy in this way 👏🏼💯 #thelastofus #pedropascal #hbomax #joelmiller #tlou #troybaker #hbo #elliewilliams #bellaramsey #fyp ♬ original sound – ⚡️herbie⚡️

The final chase through the burning mess hall was perfectly despicable, from David’s bone-chilling croons for Ellie to her stealthing through the room trying to escape.

The scene we were all holding our breath for came next, and it couldn’t get any worse (or any better acted by Ramsey and Shepherd). David pins Ellie down while she let out one of the most real screams I’ve ever heard on TV. He tells her that fighting is his favorite part, implying he has done this many times before. He even goes to unzip his pants before Ellie finds hold of his dropped cleaver and hits him over and over and over. It’s very clear that David attempted to rape Ellie, compared to the subtle hinting at this idea in the game.

@spectrexgaming W or L for episode 8? #gaming #thelastofus #thelastofusgameplay ♬ original sound – SpectreX Gaming

In the game, Joel swoops in during her rampage, but in the show, Ellie finishes swinging on her own, completely shattered as she walks into the snow and encounters Joel. The quintessential sign of how much they love each other is finally here when Joel calls her his baby girl, a nickname he hasn’t uttered since his daughter’s death 20 years ago. His broken watch is on full display as they embrace before walking away together.

@gerrdub He said baby girl 🥺😭#pedropascal#thelastofus#bellaramsey#thelastofusepisode8#joelmiller#elliewilliams ♬ original sound – Gerrdub

This episode shows Ellie’s immense trauma in full force, and Ramsey portrays it exquisitely. In the end, Joel didn’t make it to her in time, and she had to save herself. We get a really long look at how broken she has become and we know it will stick with her forever.

@deadxsirius Now it’s undeniable what his intentions were. #TheLastOfUs #elliewilliams #bellaramsey #tlou #pedropascal ♬ original sound – dani 🕷️

I am not ready for Season 1 to end, but I’m incredibly excited to see what they do with the final episode. Having gone through this whole series over the last couple of months, all I know is I’ll be crying the whole time.

You can catch new episodes of The Last Of Us on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays at 9pm ET!

About the Author

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Christopher Ikonomou

Christopher Ikonomou is a 4th year at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing Communication and Disability Studies. He has a particular interest in the entertainment industry and representation of marginalized people in film and TV. On campus, he is the Editor-in-Chief at OutWrite Newsmagazine, the oldest queer college publication in the United States, and an activist with the Disabled Student Union. He’s a horror superfan and has been featured by Buzzfeed, UCLA College, Bored Panda, and Teen Vogue for his vocal involvement in the fight for better representation of the disabled community on screen and in the genre, particularly those with Marfan syndrome like himself.