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HBO’s The Final of Us episode 8 ruins one of many recreation’s greatest villains


He looks nice...
Enlarge / He seems to be good…

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) shall 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 recent.

Kyle: Up till now, for essentially the most half, I feel the Final of Us TV present has performed a very good 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 lower from the occasions of episode 6 to Ellie looking wild recreation 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 as if a believable Joel substitute at factors in the course of the early, amenable elements of their in-game team-up.

Seeing all the pieces from Ellie’s perspective actually heightens the strain and thriller of David’s complete arc, and I really feel just like the present sort of ruined that pacing right here.

Andrew: Even with no data of how this performs out within the recreation, I agree that this episode felt tremendous rushed and uneven in a approach that makes me extra annoyed about final week’s flashback episode. Not that final week’s episode was dangerous in any respect! However this arc clearly needed one other episode to breathe, like the Kansas Metropolis arc bought. As a substitute now we have to cram all these things right into a single hour.

David suffers essentially 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 dangerous for him, however it additionally makes him right into a cartoon character in a present the place a lot of the antagonists have already been just a little flat.

We are in need of a more interesting characterization...
Enlarge / We’re in want of a extra attention-grabbing characterization…

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 accomplice in main the flock. I can see why they needed to provide his flip to cannibalism some grounding, however yeah, it is one other scenario the place the pink flags are just a little too overt.

Andrew: Yeah, in a TV present, there are some locations the place I’m extra prepared and in a position to droop disbelief—like when Joel goes from laid-out-on-his-back-delirious-with-infection to full-on Rambo-killing-spree within the house of 45 minutes. A extra real looking restoration would take a very long time to indicate and to observe! Bo-ring!

However I didn’t consider 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 large emotional showdown.

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

Just hanging out...
Enlarge / Simply hanging out…

HBO

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

This is my principal query for somebody moving into recent: Did you ever really feel like David was probably only a good man and somebody that Ellie may 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 consider that David might be a very good man at any level. The scene the place you meet him is just too stuffed with significant seems to be and ominous pauses, and apparent worry on the a part of the opposite individuals locally.

The primary scene the place David and Ellie meet, however—I may see it! David (performed by Scott Shepherd, a reasonably prolific character actor who has a kind 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...
Enlarge / That gun seems to be a bit heavy, Ellie…

HBO

Kyle: The place this episode does observe 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 mild, I feel.

Andrew: Joel is clearly being pushed each by his dawning acceptance of Ellie-as-daughter determine (his “child woman” 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 observe. This can be a dated reference, however I used to be reminded of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, from the Battle On Terror-era present 24. Positive, he tortures individuals, and certain, he appears only a hair too smitten by 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 unsure what to make of it. Absolutely Ellie has been traumatized as a lot as she may presumably have to 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 largely appreciated.

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?
Enlarge / Who would not love a very good stealth part?

HBO

Andrew: That was the place society ended, one thing the present sometimes references however doesn’t choose at an excessive amount of. We’ve had one 9/11 reference and one Pearl Jam album with a whole lot 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 sort of make me wish to see extra about how the world outdoors the US is dealing with the apocalypse. Possibly we might have, again within the outdated days of 22-episode seasons.

Kyle: Which will get into what I feel has change into a reasonably large pacing drawback 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 demise). 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 possibly the following one)” has change into approach too apparent…

All that demise has been constructing towards the massive finale, although. With out getting too spoilery, I ponder for those who even bear in mind what Joel and Ellie are trekking for/towards at this level, and if in case you have any large predictions for the ultimate episode?

Oh yeah, Troy Baker is here, too.
Enlarge / Oh yeah, Troy Baker is right here, too.

HBO

Andrew: They nonetheless must get her magic blood out to some Firefly-affiliated scientists! The one factor I’m assured sufficient to claim 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’d like to be pleasantly shocked! 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” recreation for me, so I am trying ahead to seeing this workforce of actors and producers deal with 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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