The Last of Us: When We Are In Need   Books Included 
March 5, 2023 8:11 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Ellie crosses paths with a vengeful group of survivors - and draws the attention of its leader. A weakened Joel faces a new threat.

As always, "books included" means the playstation games.
posted by dis_integration (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well the series serves up some more gameplay tactics, both Ellie and Joel engaging in stealth, and gives us a clearer glimpse of Joel's true capacity for violence with his tried and true "beat the shit out of one guy for info and make the other guy say the same thing" torture rondo. The beats in this one are basically identical to the game, sans a zombie attack setpiece, so we're back in classic last of us territory.

Except! Where's Ellie's bow? I suppose the rifle is in the end more realistic, but I was really hoping to see her get a cannibal fucker right in the neck with a well aimed bowshot. This is maybe my favorite section of the main game, playing as Ellie fighting off hoards of infected and then taking down scores of cannibal cultists, so it would have been fun to see Ellie take a few more heads, but I understand completely why they toned it down for TV. Alas.
posted by dis_integration at 8:16 PM on March 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

It's an interesting interpretation of David for TV adaptation; from the video game, you can suss out that David values Ellie's Infected killing skills and bow hunting prowess from the video gamey moments. The TV show more explicitly surfaces that he's grooming her to be a weird bride cult thing later on so that you can connect the dots.
posted by WedgedPiano at 8:43 AM on March 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yeah holy shit, I don't remember such clear pedo vibes in the game, and I can't really say I appreciated them here, one of the things I've always enjoyed about the games is not going that path.

Also, Alec's wife was an uncredited Erin Mcintosh, Mel's face actress from Pt. II right? Great to see Troy Baker and I think he was really good.
posted by Iteki at 11:19 AM on March 6, 2023

Do you play as Ellie in the game? How close is the depiction here to this section of the game? I'm fully spoiled for plot.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:13 PM on March 6, 2023

This part of the game is so long. There's several sequences where you play as Ellie, leading the bad guys from the house, getting caught and watching all the dialog, stealthing around trying to take out the preacher in the burning restaurant. And then several other sequences where you play as Joel murdering cult members trying to save Ellie. I swear it's like 2-3 hours of gameplay. Nice to see it compressed to half an hour of TV (the other half hour being all the setup). As folks are saying in the other thread, the big question left unanswered in the TV show is what happened to the rest of the cult. They're getting murdered by Joel in the game. It's all a bit game-ish and I like the TV version better, but they dropped a bit.

The key story about the child rapist cannibal priest remains the same though. And great casting for the actor for that role, perhaps too good.

I played the game recently because the TV show is so good. And honestly the game, as a vidyagame, isn't so great. This section of the game was tedious to me. But then the storytelling was so strong. And while the TV show is telling the stories well too it feels a bit less intense because it's not interactive, it's not me stabbing the child rapist cannibalist preacher.
posted by Nelson at 7:14 PM on March 6, 2023 [2 favorites]

I think the game was a little more circumspect about David being a sexual preditor and the cannibalism. Or at least I don't remember seeing actual bodies ready for eating. I wonder if the ESRB kept that more subtext?
posted by fiercekitten at 9:23 PM on March 6, 2023

There are bodies in the game. They make it clear by showing bodies that these people are cannibals. The pedo vibe I don’t remember at all in the game.
posted by glaucon at 3:18 AM on March 7, 2023

Oh boy I cannot wait to see what the mainstream audience makes of what happens next week
posted by Merus at 4:04 AM on March 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm fully assuming that next week ends with Joel storming out of the hospital in a fine red mist with his arms full of Ellie. My buddy can't understand how they are gonna have time, but i mean really that's all that's left, it's like, the shortest sequence in the game, they should be able to add plenty of angstmeat and still come in on time, right? Or have i forgotten something?
posted by Iteki at 9:17 AM on March 7, 2023

Looking forward to next season - if the next season is going to adapt Part 2 - how are they going to deal with the whole Joel situation?
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:25 AM on March 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

There’s one other magical thing I really hope they deliver next week. I think they will. Not mentioning directly to avoid accidentally spoiling someone…
posted by glaucon at 11:24 AM on March 7, 2023

It's the game-included thread, anyone in here is presumed to have played the game or not be worried about spoilers imho. I would appreciate the reminder of what more we want, oh, wait, tall boys? I expect them to be part of an even more flashback-heavy S2-S3, to avoid the fanboys invading the capitol from PP-abstinence.
posted by Iteki at 12:07 PM on March 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

Hahahahaha PP abstinence.

And yes, it’s the tall boys. I think they’ll do it this week.
posted by glaucon at 12:52 PM on March 7, 2023

Having just played through, the cannibal bits are absolutely clearly depicted - there's no doubt that these people are eating folks.

The pedo vibes aren't there, though.

Another thing the show left out though, which might've alleviated some of the complaints about "where's everyone else" - the escape/rescue part happens during an epic snowstorm. No visibility, screaming wind, the lot.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:20 PM on March 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

The pedo vibes aren't there, though.

Yeah, there was a whole discussion back at the time of "what the eff was up with THAT dude?" and whether he was a pedo or not. General concensus: yes.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:15 PM on March 7, 2023

Here's a game clip of the most overtly David is a sexual predator in the game. (That I recall from playing a few weeks ago.) It's when they're talking and he puts his hand on hers through the bars of the cage. The game scene was quite affecting for me; it's not clear whether you-as-Ellie are starting to buy David's bullshit or not and then he makes this sort of nice comforting gesture that turns creepy. Then Ellie leans into it, like they're holding hands. And then the catharsis of a burst of violence as she breaks his fucking finger.

It's a remarkably effective bit of story telling in the game, way more subtle than a usual game. I appreciated they duplicated this scene pretty faithfully in the TV show.

I do not recall anything as vulgar as the TV shot of David on top of Ellie clearly about to rape her. But it is kind of there in the game. It hits harder in the TV show IMHO. Partly because Scott Shepherd acts this scene awfully well, partly the addition of the line "the biting is the part I like the most" which heightens the sexual menace.

But mostly the scenes hit differently (IMHO) because of how videogame interactivity works. While playing this scene doesn't feel as threatening because you are playing Ellie. You've been doing a lot of fighting David already, you know as the protagonist you're going to win that fight, and you've had a lot of agency playing the game trying to win that fight. Also the interactive gameplay gets a little intense here as Ellie starts reaching for a weapon and you're prompted to press a button to grab it. I was mashing that button furiously, not watching the character movements very closely. I never felt as vulnerable playing Ellie in this moment as she seemed in the TV show.

(I would like a complete moratorium on depictions of acts of sexual violence on TV. I think this scene would have worked just fine in the show without being so explicit.)
posted by Nelson at 8:08 AM on March 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

Agree wholeheartedly on your last point there. I don't know what the issue is, is it male writers who haven't been victims of SA or what? I mean the basic state of any woman in an emergency situation especially one with a diminished population is going to be that fear. You don't need to make a a point of it, any encounter will being that risk/presumption of risk, until proved otherwise.
posted by Iteki at 1:37 PM on March 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

Nelson - thanks for the breakdown and the links. I think you’re right about the effects of observer (show) versus active agent (game).
posted by Silvery Fish at 1:39 PM on March 8, 2023

In the game, I believe there was also a reference to Ellie being one of David’s “pets.” But I agree, it wasn’t necessary to make it an express attempted sexual assault. It was equally creepy to think that David had a habit of becoming mentally infatuated with vulnerable young people like Ellie.

I also thought it was so powerful in the game how Ellie killed David herself, and thus didn’t need Joel to save her from the physical danger, but then Joel literally pulled her off of David in the midst of her stabbing frenzy - clearly trying to save her from the emotional trauma of what she had just been through. I was surprised (and maybe not in a good way?) when that was staged differently here, especially since so many of the other scenes in this episode were so close to the game. I could be missing something as to why they made that choice here, though.
posted by Carmelita Spats at 8:29 PM on March 8, 2023

I think that that choice, along with a few others like her ogling the beat down on the guard, obsession with guns etc are being turned up a little to show more clearly that this kid is not ok. Tbh Ellie keeps a veneer of innocence a lot longer in the game than is reasonable and that kinda mismatches with how absolutely feral and brutal she is in the next game.
posted by Iteki at 12:09 AM on March 9, 2023

Tbh Ellie keeps a veneer of innocence a lot longer in the game than is reasonable and that kinda mismatches with how absolutely feral and brutal she is in the next game.

I figure TLoU 1 was about toxic masculinity, and TLoU decided the post apocalyptic version of gender equality meant women could posses toxic masculinity too. So Ellie's personality had to change a bit to match. Still not sure if I want to watch a Season 2 adaptation of that, it was definitely a "once and never again" kind of plot.

Was honestly unsure if they were gonna do this part in the show, cuz honestly, I forgot they were cannibals, and just remembered the attempted rape cult leader. But then, I also forgot that Joel almost dies or that they went to two universities.
posted by pwnguin at 9:36 PM on September 6, 2023

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