The Last of Us Episode 8 ending explained

Cameron Frew
Ellie in The Last of Us Episode 8

The Last of Us Episode 8 ends with a terrifying face-off between David and Ellie, leading to the show’s most emotional moment to date – here’s a breakdown of everything that happens.

In our review, we wrote: “The Last of Us Episode 8 is a total knockout, bringing the game’s scariest villain to life with a complex, brilliant performance by Scott Shepherd and Bella Ramsey at the peak of her powers.”

With Joel slowly on the mend, Ellie ventures out into the wilderness to hunt. She kills a deer, but it falls at the feet of David, a preacher in the nearby town, and his friend James. It’s as close to amicable as you’ll get in such uncertain times, but his true intentions soon emerge.

Those who played the game knew this was coming: David is unlike anyone Joel and Ellie have ever faced, and the culmination of all that tension is as epic as it is shocking.

The Last of Us Episode 8 ending explained

Episode 8 ends with Ellie stabbing David to death after he tries to rape her. When she emerges from the burning building, Joel finds her, hugs her, and calls her his “baby girl” for the first time since Sarah.

Ellie tries to lead David and his squad away from Joel, but James takes her down by shooting her horse. Just as he’s about to put a bullet in her head, David stops him and carries her back to Silver Lake.

In the village, David locks Ellie in a cage. “Let me out,” she says. “Well that’s certainly the goal,” he responds. Ellie doesn’t give him the respect he so clearly seeks, and he warns that her time with Joel is ending, and “I’m offering you a beginning.”

Meanwhile, Joel summons the might to get off the mattress in the basement and kill three of David’s men: he stabs one in the neck, another through the chest, and he beats the third to a pulp with a lead pipe.

Back in the cage, Ellie catches sight of an ear on the floor, and the penny drops: David is a cannibal, but he claims it was a “last resort… what was I supposed to do? Let them starve, these people who put their lives in my hands… who love me?”

David in The Last of Us Episode 8

David then tries to charm Ellie into working with him, telling her she’d be his “equal… a friend.” He even offers to order his men to let Joel go, as long as he leaves them all alone. “They follow me… and they’d follow us. Think of what we could do together,” he tells her, caressing her hand on the edge of the cage. The trembling fingers, the whispered words; it’s all overwhelmingly icky, with the clear implication that David is a pedophile, hence why he’s been so merciful to Ellie through the episode.

Ellie may be a child, but she’s not that naive: she breaks his fingers, but he grabs her head and rattles it against the cage door. David and James then remove Ellie from the cage and put her on the chopping block – not before Ellie bites David’s hand, after which she reveals she’s infected. She grabs the cleaver and plants it in James’ neck, before escaping into the main hall.

The gamers would’ve known everything that happens next: Ellie sets the room ablaze, while David circles the room trying to find her. Without the subtext, it’d be nail-biting on its own merits, but David doesn’t want to kill her – he wants to “keep her and teach her.” You’ll watch it through your fingers, especially when he grabs hold of her and gnashes: “I thought you already knew… the fighting’s the part I like the most.”

Ellie manages to grab the cleaver and slashes David. As he falls to the floor, she jumps on top of him and stabs him over, and over, and over again. She stumbles out into the frosty air, shaken and frightened – until Joel finds her and hugs her tight. “It’s okay baby girl, I got you,” he says, putting his jacket around her.

If you don’t remember, “baby girl” is what Joel called Sarah as he cradled her in his arms as she died in Episode 1. This is clearly the biggest step forward for Joel and Ellie’s relationship, now like a father and daughter more than ever.

The Last of Us Episode 9 will be available to watch on March 12 in the US and March 13 in the UK. Check out the rest of our coverage here and the trailer for the weeks ahead here.