The Last of Us episode 8 recap: Silver Lake

David (Scott Shepherd) preaches to his survivors in The Last Of Us episode 8
Ellie encounters David, the terrifying head of a new faction in The Last of Us' penultimate episode. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

NOTE: this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 8, "When We Are In Need".

In the penultimate episode of The Last of Us season 1, we're reunited with our lead duo in the present after learning about Ellie's past in episode 7. Following their encounter with some hostile survivors at the university, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is nursing Joel (Pedro Pascal) back to health so they can continue their journey. 

Pushing through the winter, she encounters a group of survivors led by the charismatic preacher, David (Scott Shepherd), culminating in one of the story's bleakest moments. Here's what happened in The Last of Us episode 8.

Deer season

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) holding a cup for Joel (Pedro Pascal) to drink from

Joel's still recovering from his wound. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Episode 8 opens in a resort called Silver Lake, with David reading to a group of survivors at a funeral for one of their members. The man’s daughter asks when they’ll get to bury her father? David says it's too cold now, they need to wait for spring.

Outside, James (played by Joel's original voice actor, Troy Baker) and David discuss how much food the settlement has; two weeks' worth, at best. Though two survivors had apparently spotted some deer in the woods.

Ellie is hunting for food herself. She shoots a deer but it runs off, injured. James and David then come across the dead animal, but Ellie emerges, points Joel's rifle at them and orders them to back away.

David tries talking with Ellie. When she’s not willing to cooperate, he offers to trade with her for half of the deer. Ellie asks for medicine to help Joel; David agrees. While James makes the four-mile roundtrip for the medicine, David starts a fire so they can sit and talk.

Out for justice 

David (Scott Shepherd) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) sitting at a campfire in The Last Of Us episode 8

David lulls Ellie into a false sense of security.  (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

David opens up to Ellie and eventually she relaxes. But David reveals he knows Ellie is traveling with the man responsible for killing one of his own men, and his community wants Joel brought to justice. When James returns, David has him give her the medicine, and Ellie flees to go back and treat Joel. David is sure she isn't going to survive out in the wild on her own.

David and James share the news on where Joel and Ellie are and leads a group to bring them to justice. The following morning, Ellie spots the group moving around. She attempts to rouse Joel, but can't, so she leaves him with a large knife and then hide the staircase leading to the basement.

Ellie attempts to lead the group away on horseback, but James shoots and kills the animal. Ellie falls unconscious and is captured, but David prevents them from killing her. He heads off with Ellie in his arms and orders the remaining men to sweep the nearby houses for Joel. 

One of David's men eventually finds the basement door. Hearing the sound of the furniture being dragged around upstairs, Joel finally gets back up on his feet and hides so he can ambush the intruder. 


Ellie (Bella Ramsey) hiding behind a fence in The LAst Of Us episode 8

Ellie hiding from David's men. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Ellie wakes up in a cell in Silver Lake, with David on the other side of the bars. He ask her for her name again and more questions about her. He hammers home that he can protect her from the other members of his group who've called for her death. 

Meanwhile, Joel captures and brutally tortures one of David's men to find out where they've taken Ellie. 

David continues to interrogate Ellie. He brings her a meal, but Ellie refuses to eat. She spots some remnants of clothing on the floor next to a butcher's block and susses out that the group has actually been eating other humans. David swears the meal he's brought her is just deer meat and most of the people there don't know they've been eating other survivors, but she kicks it aside, disgusted.

David then tells Ellie she reminds him of himself and that she seems smart, loyal and like a natural leader. He reveals he's always harbored a "violent heart" but that he found meaning after the apocalypse. In his eyes, he's doing the same thing that the cordyceps infection does for the people it "cares about": protecting them and expanding his flock.

Ellie in jeopardy

David continues to try and placate Ellie by saying he could call off the search for Joel if he promised no harm to the community. He also says he's been looking for a companion, an "equal" to help lead the group at his side, as he approaches the bars.

Ellie tricks him into thinking she feels the same way before grabbing and breaking one of David's fingers and trys to grab his keys. He bashes her head against the cell door and storms off, promising he's going to come back and kill her.

Meanwhile, Joel begins to make his way back to Ellie. En route, he finds a storeroom where he picks up Ellie's belongings and stumbles across both the deer carcass and some human corpses.

David returns with James. They drag Ellie from the cell toward the butcher block; Ellie bites David in the struggle. As David raises a cleaver, she barks that she's infected, and since she's bitten him, he is too.


James (Troy Baker) in The Last Of Us episode 8.

James, David's right-hand man. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

David refuses to believe Ellie, but James is more hesitant. Whilst the pair are distracted, Ellie swings the knife at James, killing him and allowing her to run away. David grabs the cleaver and follows her. 

Ellie rushes through the settlement and stumbles into the restaurant area. She grabs a smoldering log from the fireplace and flings it at David as he enters. Although she misses him, the log hits the curtains, and the building begins to go up in flames.

Ellie makes her way into the kitchen to grab a knife. As David continues to bluster about his plans for Ellie in the community, she rushes at him and stabs him, causing him to drop his weapon.

Enraged, David knocks her to the ground and climbs on top of her, preparing to assault her. Ellie manages to reach out to the cleaver just in time, swings it at him and, screaming, kills him. She then stumbles out of the burning building and is finally reunited with Joel. He hugs her and assures her that things will be okay as the pair leave Silver Lake behind.

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere every Sunday on HBO/HBO Max in the US; Mondays on Sky TV's Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

More on The Last of Us

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin is a Staff Writer with, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.