Dread it, run from it, David arrives all the same in The Last of Us Episode 8 – but who is he, and how does his character compare between the show and game?
In our review, we said 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 sewn up and slowly recovering, and supplies dwindling, Ellie is forced to take Joel’s rifle out into the woods to hunt.
She manages to hit a deer, which lands at the feet of a stranger from a nearby town with lots of skeletons in its closets: David.
Spoilers for The Last of Us to follow…
Who is David in The Last of Us show?
David is the preacher and leader of Silver Lake, a lakeside resort transformed into a town following the Cordyceps outbreak. He is played by Scott Shepherd.
He runs a tight-knit crew to keep the town’s people well-fed and healthy – unfortunately, in tough times, they’ve resorted to cannibalism. In one scene, we see the whole town chowing town on a tomato stew with chunks of human meat that’s meant to be venison.
When we meet David, he’s delivering a sermon to the community following the death of a local father, the same man Joel killed at the university after they were attacked. We then see him and James (Troy Baker), his right-hand man, encountering Ellie in the woods.
David tells Ellie about who he is: he’s a preacher who was chosen by the people to be their leader. However, he wasn’t always religious, instead finding God “after the apocalypse, which is either the best time or the worst time to find him… hard to say.”
He used to be a teacher of kids around Ellie’s age, before finding his “flock” after the Pittsburgh QZ fell in 2017 as a result of the warring between FEDRA and the Fireflies. It was a small group at first, but they picked up others along the way, and have been repeatedly forced to move elsewhere because of raiders.
Later in the episode as Ellie and David’s conflicts intensify, his body language starts to suggest a sinister infatuation with her. When they fight in the burning building, he gnashes: “I thought you already knew… the fighting’s the part I like the most.”
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To clarify: he’s a paedophile. Thankfully, Ellie manages to overpower him and stab him to death.
Who is David in The Last of Us game?
In the game, David is the leader of a group of cannibalistic survivors, but little is known about his past. He’s voiced by Nolan North.
Ellie and David meet under similar circumstances, with David agreeing to give her medicine in exchange for some of the meat from the deer. While James runs back to Silver Lake, the pair are forced to fight off a horde of infected, which establishes somewhat of a truce between them.
David then reveals it was his men who attacked Ellie and Joel and the university, and after tracking her down, he takes her back to the resort where he holds her in a cell.
When Ellie reveals she’s infected and kills James, she manages to escape and make her way to a restaurant. David finds her there, and as it’s consumed by fire, they fight. “You can try beggin’,” he tells her, before she grabs a machete and kills him in a blur of rage.
When Joel finds her, she says: “He tried to,” implying that he was going to rape her. This has also been confirmed by North.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, co-creator Neil Druckmann spoke about being “intrigued to mess with” David in the show. “Late in the story, Ellie encounters this guy named David who turns out to be an interesting character, a very nuanced and dark version of Joel in a way,” he said.
“There was an opportunity to actually take what is sort of a villain in the story and show a more complex human being by spending time with him and this group and seeing how much he cares for people, even though he has these very horrible qualities.”
The Last of Us Episode 9 will be available to stream on March 12 in the US and March 13 in the UK. Check out the rest of our content here.