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Saturday, March 11, 2023

[The Last of SQUAWKS: E8] When We Are In Need |The Last of Us

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…He Shall Provide, because #EllieWilliams managed to take down Teacher-turned-Preacher-turned-Kindling, David, all on her own. `Nuff said, right? Well, you know us…
Considering these recordings were livestreamed, there's no unedited episode recordings available; however, consider following either our Patreon or Ko-fi accounts so you don't miss out on future recordings: recordings are FREE to attend, but schedules aren't posted on Social Media. If you'd like to support this stream, tip us at (and have your message appear on this video FOREVER) or join a membership tier on either Ko-fi or Patreon for as little as $1!

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

  • Generally speaking, we sometimes go off on tangents - subconsciously holding back from talking about an episode that's particularly rough or triggery. We joke around, interact with the audience, etc: Classic avoidance.
  • The episode begins with David reciting a passage from Revelations 21, which describes the reward of heaven on earth during the second-coming, for those who remain faithful. Is this David's heaven, where he can finally be who he was meant to be (sort of in the manner in which we describe, generally speaking, characters in The Walking Dead)?
  • Kudos to the make-up department for managing to make everyone look gaunt and ragged, accenting the depths of everyone's suffering and desperation: especially Troy Baker who plays James in this episode. Troy originally voiced and acted the part of Joel Miller in the video games.
  • Speaking of Bible verses, perdition, and salvation: there were some religious themes throughout this episode, starting with the names of the Silver Lake Resort dwellers: David, James, Marco (Mark), Timothy, Hannah, and Josiah.
  • Bridget explains that the video game doesn't hit you over the head as much with the religious themes or names, but it differs most in the way it holds back David's true nature (whereas, on the show, they show you, right away): initially, David seems like one of the few decent and sane people you come across, especially after proving himself to be a tremendous ally.
  • Dave reiterates something he's said across many episodes, more clearly in the last few: not only does the overall arc seem to be careening towards the end, but almost every episode feels like it's own, self-contained anthology-style episode, where it wraps up neatly at the end.
  • Although Bridget feels like they could've played things out similarly to the video games - burying the lede of David's true nature - she wasn't disappointed with the way they decided to reveal this story. Dave prefers it because it gives the gamers the opportunity to observe this episode from a different perspective, showing everyone in advance what Ellie Williams will have to face on her own, while honing in on the overall theme of desperation and what brings people to the point where they would, knowingly or not, follow a monster to survive.
  • Whether they intended it or not (the Inside the Episode at the end of the episode on HBO Max suggests that they wanted you to think Joel was going to save her), we never doubted that Ellie wasn't going to have to be the one to save herself - which we liked, given how well they fleshed out her character for 8 episodes.

  • This episode is similar to the video games in that you play as Ellie for the first time after Joel is impaled on rebar, similar to Rick Grimes on TWD 9x05 (though, as we mentioned in our blog for Kin, TWD might've borrowed it from The Last of Us video game, not the other way around). Sherrandy also adds that the video game does a great job of not completely telling you whether Joel is even alive or not, after the cut scene where he is impaled: considering that you start playing as Ellie right from the jump, it leaves the player wondering whether he's died and you are playing the rest of the game as her.

  • David mentions fleeing Pittsburgh QZ amidst its fall in 2017. After describing their survival, then having to deal with Raiders, what's interesting about that is that it's a direct parallel to the events of video game, only it's Ellie & Joel's journey. The show had already told us that story by way of placing it in Kansas City, during Please Hold On To My Hand and Endure and Survive, but didn't want to waste an opportunity to miss out on a video game callback.
  • Thomas juxtaposes FEDRA Academy's Captain Kwong (from the last episode) & David to illustrate the way these figureheads see another leader in Ellie. Though FEDRA often seems like it's evil, Kwong shows us that there are good people among them who just want to right humanity's ship; though David seems like a good person, ostensibly, it's revealed that he is depraved and predatory. Kwong & David telling Ellie both who she is and what she could become, especially with David telling her that she has a violent heart, really informs Ellie.
  • Sherrandy asks a really good question: Did David ever have a good side or was he always a psychopath? Rachael remarks that the Cordyceps fungus showed him a natural truth about who he always was, which made him stop pretending to be something he never was: devouring human flesh was merely something on his bucket list. Remember to get yourself some tattoos to ward off cannibals.

  • Dave takes a moment to explain how weird it was watching Troy Baker having to hold down Ellie on the wooden mortician slab/butcher block, after playing Joel in the video games, and thinking how bizarre it must've been for him to play someone who is out to harm and kill her (after playing her protector). It really takes one out of the scene (but obviously not everyone).
  • TikTok user, Maddie, made a really great video illustrating her take on the scene where James shoots Ellie off her horse and how he and the rest of the Silver Lake Resort dwellers wanted to execute her as a form of mercy (from being abused by David), rather than what one might initially perceive as an act of vengeance.

    in the game dialogue when Joel is torturing the 2 men for information, one of them refers to Ellie as "David's newest pet" implying that at least some of these men had recognized his predatory behavior, and I didn't really think too hard about this scene until the realization hit me like a truck. I don't think they just wanted to kill her in cold blood, I think maybe it was a combination of vengeance and mercy. Like he clearly ordered them to leave her alive, so why would they go against that?

    ♬ original sound - Maddie
  • We also talk about how they might've wanted to see what a younger adult must taste like, over eating horse meat (like our survivors had to, in desperation, during The Walking Dead's 11th season).
  • Watching the episode all the way through also contextualizes how unimpressed everyone is when David & James bring back the deer Ellie shot, as they prepare to dig into Alec. Sherrandy also adds to this by way of the conversation David & James have about what little Rabbit & Elk they have left in their stores as they leave the bible study, so they must've been eating Alec. Rachael is so conditioned by TWD that she automatically knew the "venison" the cooks were placing in the stew was Alec meat.
  • Sherrandy takes a moment to appreciate an example of small things that make a great difference in a scene: Ellie's minute sigh of "Oh..." while David finally reveals his true intentions with her whilst placing his hand on the railing of her cage is an acknowledgement of how sick David really is. Dave also brings up a similar moment when David's voice cracks trying to explain to Ellie the pressures of keeping everyone's spirits up while keeping everyone alive. The latter could've easily been Scott Shepherd (who played David) trying to remember his lines, which made for a happy accident.

  • This retreads the question of whether David was always crazy, considering there's some feeling behind David's words to Ellie, but Dave attributes this to the depths to which a giant sociopath like David has to sink, buying into their own giant lies they have to put up in order to fit into society.
  • Taking this one step further: Ellie frees herself by cleaving the side of James' neck and flees into the dining hall. Ellie throws a burnt log at the dining hall's curtains, setting the room ablaze. When David chooses to pursue his prey over fleeing to safety, it completely reveals that he was always a wolf in shepherds clothing.
  • Bridget takes a moment to tie in both Revelations 21 and David as the wolf by explaining the story of The Good Shepherd, in John 10 (John also wrote Revelations). Whoever comes over the side of the[Shepherd's] fence instead of through the gate is a thief and will bring calamity and ruin to the sheep. This triggers a biblical line in The Devil's Advocate, Behold, I send you out as sheep amongst the wolves.
  • Dave takes a step back to remark on how impressive it was that they didn't waste time making you wonder on how scummy David was, based on a remark Walking Dead Eternal made on how much he hated him slapping Alec's daughter. It made him wonder whether she was one of David's victims and/or whether she was falling out of favor with him (considering he preys on violent-hearted people like himself).
  • Bridget to takes back something she had been thinking to herself on first watch: initially, she looked down upon the Silver Lake Resort community as weak people who didn't deserve to survive. Thinking about this more, it's hard to blame them considering how vulnerable and desperate they are on top of just being utterly terrified of David and what he might do to them. It's also worth noting that we don't actually know whether David's community loved him enough to actually choose him as their leader: it's hard to trust David to be a reliable narrator (to Ellie) after discovering how well he manages to manipulate his community throughout this episode.
  • Going back to The Good Shepherd parable, this is exactly Jesus' warning: reject false prophets who smuggle in their dark/selfish intentions by using his words. It makes what David does that much more heinous because these people are putting their faith on the line so that he can shepherd them through difficult times; meanwhile, he is using the lord's name to satisfy the darkest of desires. It's a frustrating reminder of the many horrible acts people have done in the name of religion, which is really upsetting to Bridget, as a person of faith.
  • This gives Dave the opportunity to take more of a 20,000 ft. view of the broken world depicted in this universe and how it's seemingly impossible for any of the leaders of these systems/communities to not abuse their power. It goes back to the question of whether humanity is worthy of receiving Ellie's cure (talk about messianic).
  • At this point, Sherrandy loses her internet and is too frustrated to head back into the studio. We also took a moment to thank everyone who jumped on the second livestream we had to initiate after Dave's internet cut out.
  • Thomas says something interesting, though facetious, about how Ellie should've just married David and ruled the world. Even though we absolutely knew that wasn't going to happen, given that Left Behind showed us how Ellie would never give up on the people that she loves, we just love how no plot point is wasted and appreciated the attention to detail as Ellie tries her absolute best to escape from captivity.
  • We take a hot sec to remark on the upcoming episode which seems to takes place in Nevada, specifically around the Reno area. We also catch a glimpse of a pregnant character played by Ashley Johnson - who voiced Ellie in the video games - being chased by an infected. πŸ‘€πŸ€”
  • We take a break from our regularly scheduled podcast to bring you a special mash-up Dave made of Linda Ronstadt's Long Long Time & Harry Chapin's Any Old Kind of Day, which you can download for FREE in our Ko-fi Shop. We welcome your feedback!
  • David insisting on getting Ellie's name throughout this episode is a means of exploiting our inherent susceptibility to suggestion. Jonathan Swift sort of touches upon our inherent trust in the written word in his satire A Modest Proposal. Ellie withholds her name to deny him any control. Thomas brings up How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Rachael, and most people, are incredibly distrustful when they hear their name being spoken by an outsider, but the way David attempts to wear her down is by making her tell him her name, first, so it's more familiar to her when he says it out loud, next. Paired with showing him his open hands and being completely open and attentive, it's been a winning strategy for him, thus far.
  • Maddie, who made the excellent point about James wanting to mercy to Ellie, earlier, actually joins us in the chat!
  • We take a minute to go through some of the commentary from Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann from the Inside the Episode regarding Ellie having to save herself, this time, but with tremendous violence. Though Joel ultimately saves her, emotionally, it's left to be seen how deep her proverbial scars go. Like every episode before it, no plot point is wasted, so we wonder how this traumatic experience will influence the events of the overall story, moving forward.
  • But the hijinx in the livestream chat continue as they make fun of The Outsiders line Bridget attempted to quote and how Ellie is only slightly shorter than Dave, who is only slightly shorter than Rachael, who will take that half an inch.
  • The part of SQUAWKING DEAD showrunner is now played by Maddie, who is an even worse tyrant than Dave. Seriously, though, we take a moment to tell Maddie how much we loved her earlier insight, since she missed us talking about it, despite the massive amount of pushback she received on TikTok. Maddie is our people and is an example of why we do what we do: to hear people out and, whether we agree with them or not, how we try not to destroy both the shows we love or anyone's valuable insights.
  • Sherrandy, now in the chat, brings up something Troy Baker had said on The Last of Us Official Podcast: James' desire to take out Ellie is born out of not wanting Ellie to take his place as second-in-command. We don't really see this played out in the episode and attribute this to a scene or dialogue that may have been left on the cutting room floor because they didn't want it to distract from the overall desire to express the theme of desperation present across all characters.
  • We would be remiss if we didn't include the fact that this week's initial ratings broke all previous initial post-watch ratings by roping in 8.1 million viewers.
  • After Rachael's & Bridget's lower than expected series ratings, two episodes ago, we revisit their thoughts. Rachael was impressed with this episode despite Joel's absence (or despite Joel not being with Ellie). Bridget can't help but make note of the lack of infected and preferred the way the game depicted this episode, mirroring similar statements people were making in latter seasons of The Walking Dead (about there being less walkers or that they weren't as dangerous). Dave really loves these episodes and isn't really concerned about the presence of infected or even other horror elements (the specter of it reflected in the drama is enough for him).
  • Maddie really liked this episode, even if there were some really rough and uncomfortable moments. She also comments on how the penicillin did work! ...which threatens to open up a big can of worms, requiring us to suspend our suspension of disbelief (something that we're not prepared to do). It also prompts Sherrandy to comment on Joel's capacity to subdue 3 men at such diminished physical capacity.
  • Oh oh oh! And Joel telling Ellie, It's OK, baby girl. I got you, like he did Sarah Miller 20 years ago, is everything.

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