Why David Really Wanted To Keep Ellie Alive In The Last Of Us Episode 8

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The Last of Us episode 8 introduced David, who was insistent on keeping Ellie alive. Why was this the case when David wanted to bring Joel to justice?


Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 8.


The following article contains discussions of sexual violence.

The Last of Us episode 8’s main villain, David, was somewhat inconsistent in wanting to bring Joel to justice, yet keep Ellie alive for very dark reasons. The episode picked up directly after the events of The Last of Us episode 7, with Ellie desperately attempting to save Joel’s life after his injury in The Last of Us episode 6’s cliffhanger ending. This leads Ellie to David (Scott Shepherd) the leader of a nearby community who offers to trade her some medicine for a deer she hunted.

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At first, David seems benevolent. From the fair treatment of his community, his drive to feed the people who rely on him, and his easygoing willingness to give Ellie a valuable resource like Penicillin, David’s introduction is seemingly a friendly one. However, after David reveals that the men who attacked Joel and Ellie in Last of Us episode 6’s ending were part of his group, he vows to bring Pedro Pascal’s Joel to justice. Despite this, he remains insistent – even desperate – to keep Ellie alive throughout The Last of Us episode 8 for secretly horrifying reasons.

Related: Does Joel Die In The Last Of Us? (Game & Show Explained)


David Masks His True Intentions By Relating To Ellie In The Last Of Us

The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 8 David played by Scott Shepard

Towards the end of The Last of Us episode 8, David has a conversation with Ellie in which he seemingly reveals his reasoning behind keeping her alive. At first, David states that he wants Ellie to be part of his community as he can relate to her. David insists that he can see himself in her, due to the fact that both he and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie have “violent hearts”.

Shortly after this, David says that he simply needs a friend. He mentions that, because he is the sole leader of a community that looks up to him, he needs someone he can see as an equal. David insists that Ellie is that person, and the two of them can do amazing things together if they ran the community as a pair.

Terry Chen looking sad as FEDRA's Captain Kwong in The Last of Us episode 7

The fact that David says he views Ellie as a co-leader actually links to The Last of Us episode 7’s flashbacks. The bulk of that episode centered on Ellie remembering her time at FEDRA school, before her trip to an abandoned mall with Riley that results in her finding out about her own Cordyceps immunity. Despite the seemingly self-contained nature of The Last of Us episode 7’s flashbacks, David’s comments link to a similar conversation Ellie had with FEDRA’s captain Kwong played by Terry Chen.

In the flashbacks, Kwong states that Ellie has two choices in regard to her future. Either she can continue down the path she is on and become a FEDRA grunt that takes orders from her higher-ups, or she can fulfill her potential and become a captain. Kwong insists that Ellie has the attributes of a leader, and could rise to become important in FEDRA’s ranks. This links to David’s comments, who masks his true intentions by saying he sees Ellie the same, as a potential leader to stand alongside him.

Related: 1 The Last Of Us Episode 7 Song Sets Up Major Season 2 Ellie Moments

David’s Dark Intentions Become Clear In The Last Of Us Episode 8’s Ending

David from Last of Us episode 8 and Ellie's character poster for HBO's The Last of Us

However, despite all of these hints that David simply wishes for an equal, The Last of Us episode 8 makes his unsettling true intentions clear by the episode’s end. Throughout the aforementioned conversation, David hints that he is not what he seems. From an obsession with Last of Us’ Cordyceps, stating that “it loves” and preserves its future through violence to admitting he has a violent heart and inappropriately touching Ellie’s hands, David’s friendly exterior starts to crack.

It becomes evident that David is enamored with Ellie in a much more disturbing way with comments such as “Or are you just that special?” or “You don’t know how good I am. You don’t know what I could’ve given you if you’d just let me.” These comments continue with David stating “I’ve decided you do need a father, so I’m gonna keep you. And I’m gonna teach you.” clearly alluding to his dark, horrifying intentions for Ellie and why he was so insistent on keeping her alive.

The ending of The Last of Us episode 8 confirms what the original Last of Us game hinted at and only compounds this, showing David for what he truly is when the episode highly implies he attempts to sexually assault Ellie. This is reinforced by his final line to Ellie, “The fighting is the part I like the most.” before Ellie murders him with his own cleaver. The scene is incredibly harrowing, and difficult to watch. While the original game provided hints of David’s dark intentions, it was never as overt as The Last of Us episode 8’s presentation of David’s need to keep Ellie alive.

New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.

More: 11 Easter Eggs & Hidden Details In The Last Of Us Episode 7

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