The Last of Us Episode 8: Why is David a cannibal?

Cameron Frew
The Last of Us David

Why is David a cannibal in The Last of Us? Episode 8 introduces David, the leader of a town that’s resorted to cannibalism – but why?

Listen, we can’t be so hasty with judging people when the world’s gone to sh*t. Imagine seeing a 20-year-old jar of tinned ravioli and feeling actual joy, drinking the juice of decades-old peas and corn, or finding tinned fish and sucking out the oil for the calories.

Times must be tough, and it’s a biological inevitability: people will get hungry, and if they’re not fed, they’ll do anything they can to eat, or they’ll starve to death.

In Episode 8, we get a grim example of what happens when food runs out: in Silver Lake, the home of David, cannibalism has become the main source of their food supply – so let’s get into what happened.

Spoilers for The Last of Us to follow…

Why is David a cannibal in The Last of Us?

As much as it’s horrifying, David is a cannibal for believable reasons: Silver Lake was running out of food, so he had to take desperate measures to feed the people.

At the beginning of the episode, as David tries to comfort the young girl who lost her father with a sermon, she asks if they can bury him. He says the ground is too cold, so they’ll give him a proper burial in the spring – clearly, they intend to eat him.

Later, we see an evening meal being prepared. When a woman is handed a tray of meat, she asks what it is, to which one of the men takes a suspicious pause and answers: “Venison.”

David delivering a sermon in The Last of Us Episode 8

When Ellie is being held in a cage, David offers her a warm meal – and then catches sight of a severed ear lying on the ground, and the cannibalism penny drops. 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?”

In the same scene in the game, David criticizes Ellie for being so judgmental, saying: “You kill to survive, and so do we. We have to take care of our own by any means necessary.” In the game, it’s implied that everyone in David’s group voted to consume human meat and hunt other survivors.

While tracking Ellie and working his way back to the town, Joel also finds the house where they store the bodies: headless, carved, and hanging from hooks, kept fresh with the cold temperatures.

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.