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The Emotional And Icy Challenges That HBO's The Last Of Us Cast Faced With Episode 8

Ellie went against both cold and cannibals this time around.


The latest episode of HBO's The Last of Us takes Bella Ramsey's Ellie through the winter chapter of the first game where she's on her own and trying to keep herself and Joel (Pedro Pascal) alive. However, this will be their greatest challenge yet.

At the end of Episode 6, we find Joel having been accidentally stabbed and Ellie is trying to save him, with Episode 7 being a flashback to the last time Ellie experienced loss. In Episode 8, Ellie is fending for herself as she kills a deer, and stumbles upon the small town of Silver Lake led by the ultra-religious David, played by Scott Shepard (A Bridge of Spies, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie).

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Now Playing: The Last Of Us Episode 8 Breakdown: Ellie Goes To War With David and the Cannibals

This episode goes hand-in-hand with Episode 7 as maybe the most faithful adaptation of the game, but the challenges the cast faced to make the episode were anything but easy.

"We're shooting in February, in Calgary, [it] was freezing," said Ramsey on the Inside The Episode featurette. "Obviously, also holding a freaking rifle up for a five-minute scene. It was tricky."

Pascal recalls how during filming he was constantly bombarded with snow, which mirrors what happens in the game during this time as Joel makes his way to Ellie and the enemies are hidden by the snowfall.

"There were three or four house-size wind machines that were just pummeling me with snow," the actor laughed. "Yeah, so that was hard."

Showrunner Craig Mazin said that this episode is all about deprivation and how far some people go to survive in this new world. It's also the darkest episode so far as there are things almost as bad as Infected out there for Ellie to find.

"When [David] captures Ellie, we are all meant to feel hopeless because it is hopeless to her," Mazin explains. "We also come to understand two things that maybe weren't immediately clear: One is that David is a bad father in a terrible, bad way. The other is that these people that Ellie finds herself amongst have been eating their own dead."

David and Ellie share a similar violent darkness, which catches Ellie off guard when he brings it up. It's something she's not sure how to confront at the moment, but that quickly comes to fruition as David and James (played by original Joel VA Troy Baker) attempt to cleave her alive for meat. She kills James with the cleaver, and unleashes that violence upon David, killing him brutally before Joel finds her.

"David says something to her that's absolutely true because he sees it in her because he sees it in him," added Mazin. "That is something that Neil [Druckmann] and I talked about quite a bit. That line isn't in the game, and as much as we love her, we also have to be a little scared of her."

HBO's The Last of Us Season One finale airs next Sunday on HBO and HBO Max at 9PM EST.

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