The Last of Us Episode 8: Is David a pedophile?

Cameron Frew
The Last of Us viewers

Is David a pedophile in The Last of Us? In Episode 8, Ellie is forced to confront David, a cannibalistic preacher – so, is he actually a pedophile?

In our review of Episode 8, we called it “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.”

It’s an adaptation of the “Lakeside Resort” chapter – after Sarah’s death and Henry and Sam’s arc, it’s one of the most intense parts of the original game, following Ellie on her own as she’s pursued by David and his fellow cannibals.

Just like in the game, there are some undeniably creepy undertones to the dynamic between David and Ellie that’ll leave you feeling more than a bit icky. We’re going to get into it, but just to warn you: some may find the subject matter distressing.

Spoilers for The Last of Us to follow…

Is David a pedophile in The Last of Us?

While it’s never been explicitly confirmed, David’s interests in Ellie do appear to be sexual – so, we’d have to say yes.

Let’s look at the evidence. In the show, we know David was a teacher of children around Ellie’s age before he became a preacher. He’s also unusually friendly and forgiving of her, considering she’s been traveling with the man who killed someone from his community.

When he reveals he’s always known who she actually he is, he still gives her the medicine she needs and lets her go. Later, he assembles a team to find them, but they’re under strict orders not to kill Ellie.

David then brings Ellie back to Silver Lake, where he holds her in a cage. He tells her she has a “violent heart”, just like him. He says Cordyceps isn’t evil, it’s “fruitful, it multiplies, it feeds and protects its children, and it secures its future with violence if it must… it loves.”

David in The Last of Us Episode 8

He thinks Ellie is capable of handling herself more than anyone else in the town, and she could 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 enough to make anyone grimmace, and if that wasn’t enough to make you think he’s a pedophile, it gets worse.

Ellie runs into the restaurant and sets it 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.”

Nolan North, who voiced David in the game, told IGN: “A lot of the women haven’t survived, and here comes Ellie. Sure, she’s younger, but in the 1850s, that wasn’t a big deal if there was a young teenage girl getting together with an older man.”

In the game, Joel tortures one of David’s men, who refers to Ellie as his “newest pet.” If you can’t see why someone would argue that he’s a pedophile, you’re lying to yourself a bit.

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

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