HBO’s The Final of Us episode eight ruins one of many sport’s finest villains

He looks nice...

Enlarge / He appears to be like good… (credit score: HBO)

New episodes of The Final of Us are premiering on HBO each Sunday evening, and Ars’ Kyle Orland (who’s performed the video games) and Andrew Cunningham (who hasn’t) might be speaking about them right here each Monday morning. Whereas these recaps do not delve into each single plot level of the episode, there are clearly heavy spoilers contained inside, so go watch the episode first if you wish to go in contemporary.

Kyle: Up till now, for probably the most half, I believe the Final of Us TV present has completed an excellent job fleshing out the sport’s story with out actually ruining the important thing moments. That did not actually occur with this episode.

Within the video games, we get a fast reduce from the occasions of episode 6 to Ellie looking wild sport within the snow. As we take direct management of Ellie for the primary time, we do not even know if the unseen Joel is alive or lifeless.

We additionally do not know something in regards to the mild-mannered stranger named David that Ellie stumbles upon whereas looking. He even looks like a believable Joel substitute at factors through the early, amenable elements of their in-game team-up.

Seeing every little thing from Ellie’s perspective actually heightens the strain and thriller of David’s entire arc, and I really feel just like the present form of ruined that pacing right here.

Andrew: Even with no information of how this performs out within the sport, I agree that this episode felt tremendous rushed and uneven in a means that makes me extra pissed off about final week’s flashback episode. Not that final week’s episode was unhealthy in any respect! However this arc clearly needed one other episode to breathe, just like the Kansas Metropolis arc received. As a substitute we’ve to cram all these things right into a single hour.

David suffers probably the most. It’s just like the present wanted to stuff him stuffed with pink flags to guarantee that viewers actually didn’t like him or really feel unhealthy for him, but it surely additionally makes him right into a cartoon character in a present the place many of the antagonists have already been a bit of flat.

We are in need of a more interesting characterization...

We’re in want of a extra attention-grabbing characterization… (credit score: HBO)

Kyle: The entire preacher subplot is totally new to the present, so far as I can inform, as is David’s baffling imaginative and prescient of a violent teenager as a companion in main the flock. I can see why they needed to offer his flip to cannibalism some grounding, however yeah, it is one other scenario the place the pink flags are a bit of too overt.
Andrew: Yeah, in a TV present, there are some locations the place I’m extra keen and capable of droop disbelief—like when Joel goes from laid-out-on-his-back-delirious-with-infection to full-on Rambo-killing-spree within the area of 45 minutes. A extra real looking restoration would take a very long time to indicate and to look at! Bo-ring!

However I didn’t imagine for even one fraction of 1 second that Ellie was in any hazard of becoming a member of up with this creepy fundamentalist/mushroom cultist/child-hitter/cannibal man, and it makes it weirder that the final sequence between them is framed as this massive emotional showdown.

And in addition… this group had a number of different individuals in it? The place did they go? A extra natural and satisfying model might need had David’s personal group seeing what a creep he’s and turning on him, reasonably than an enormous dramatic one-on-one confrontation between David and Ellie on this planet’s most flammable restaurant. It doesn’t sound like that’s the way it goes within the video games, but it surely additionally sounds just like the character is simply dealt with basically in another way.

Just hanging out...

Simply hanging out… (credit score: HBO)

Kyle: Not getting any decision to what occurs to this group of those who have now had their cult chief violently killed does appear to be a fairly large dangling plot thread.

This is my most important query for somebody getting into contemporary: Did you ever really feel like David was probably only a good man and somebody that Ellie might justifiably belief and/or let down her guard in entrance of? I really feel like the sport went to nice pains to push the participant in that route for some time earlier than the heel flip, and it simply did not work for me right here. Then once more, I knew a few of David’s darkish secrets and techniques from the get-go…

Andrew: I don’t assume the viewers is supposed to imagine that David may very well be an excellent man at any level. The scene the place you meet him is simply too stuffed with significant appears to be like and ominous pauses, and apparent concern on the a part of the opposite individuals in the neighborhood.

The primary scene the place David and Ellie meet, alternatively—I might see it! David (performed by Scott Shepherd, a reasonably prolific character actor who has a type of “what have I seen him in?” faces) has a sure reassuring avuncular charisma to him. Sadly, we’ve already seen too many Dangerous Man markers from him, even earlier than you discover out that he’s been studying To Serve Man.

That gun looks a bit heavy, Ellie...

That gun appears to be like a bit heavy, Ellie… (credit score: HBO)

Kyle: The place this episode does comply with the video games fairly carefully is in leaning extra towards the “torture porn” facet of the equation than any a part of the story up to now. Not that there hasn’t been loads of violence beforehand, however seeing Joel torture and kill two prisoners with none regret and Ellie’s personal almost-chopping-and-revenge actually takes it to a brand new degree. It additionally makes you have a look at each characters in a disturbing new gentle, I believe.
Andrew: Joel is clearly being pushed each by his dawning acceptance of Ellie-as-daughter determine (his “child lady” after they lastly meet again up is extraordinarily loaded) and his established trust-no-one views of life post-apocalypse. However that doesn’t make it any much less uncomfortable to look at. It is a dated reference, however I used to be reminded of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, from the Battle On Terror-era present 24. Certain, he tortures individuals, and certain, he appears only a hair too keen about it, however he will get outcomes!!

And also you’re proper that Ellie’s butchering of David on the finish of the episode goes on only a bit too lengthy for consolation. I’m simply undecided what to make of it. Absolutely Ellie has been traumatized as a lot as she might presumably should be for story functions. It’s not as if David was shut sufficient to her to essentially betray her. Between the 2 of them, Joel and Ellie do sufficient violence this episode to bitter their tearful reunion a bit. Which isn’t actually the place I needed to be heading into the season finale of a present I’ve in any other case principally preferred.

Kyle: There’s undoubtedly a sure “Battle on Terror” mindset that creeps into the narrative from a long time previous, for certain.
Who doesn't love a good stealth section?

Who would not love an excellent stealth part? (credit score: HBO)

Andrew: That was the place society ended, one thing the present often references however doesn’t choose at an excessive amount of. We’ve had one 9/11 reference and one Pearl Jam album with a number of anti-Bush stuff on it, so presumably the US had invaded Iraq six months earlier than society fell aside.
Kyle: Now I am questioning if Osama bin Laden’s cave hideout was comparatively secure from the Contaminated. Relies upon how a lot cordyceps-infused flour they imported, I assume?
Andrew: It does form of make me need to see extra about how the world outdoors the US is dealing with the apocalypse. Possibly we’d have, again within the outdated days of 22-episode seasons.
Kyle: Which will get into what I believe has develop into a fairly large pacing downside with the present. Within the video games, new characters would pop in and stick round for some time, and also you by no means knew exactly after they would come out once more (often with a violent loss of life). Right here, the construction means the sample of “here is a brand new character, they are going to be lifeless by the tip of this episode (or perhaps the following one)” has develop into means too apparent…

All that loss of life has been constructing towards the massive finale, although. With out getting too spoilery, I ponder if you happen to even bear in mind what Joel and Ellie are trekking for/towards at this level, and when you’ve got any massive predictions for the ultimate episode?

Oh yeah, Troy Baker is here, too.

Oh yeah, Troy Baker is right here, too. (credit score: HBO)

Andrew: They nonetheless must get her magic blood out to some Firefly-affiliated scientists! The one factor I’m assured sufficient to say is that they’re lastly going to get the place they’re going, and the scientists are going to finish up being weirdo creeps who aren’t completely on the extent.

I might like to be pleasantly stunned! Possibly the present has settled into this predictable rhythm to make it particularly mind-blowing subsequent week when all of the scientists find yourself being tremendous chill {and professional}.

Kyle: To not set your expectations too excessive, however the conclusion of The Final of Us Half One is what raises it to the extent of “All Time Nice” sport for me, so I am wanting ahead to seeing this crew of actors and producers sort out it.
Andrew: It’s too late, you’ve set my expectations too excessive! If I don’t just like the finale, it’ll be all of your fault.

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