The Last of Us 1×08 “When We Are in Need” left me speechless if I’m being honest. And it goes to show you, once again, that this is the best adaptation. Ever. Hands down. And that Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were meant to play these characters. Because they delivered from their very first moment to this singular “baby girl” moment that broke us all.
Let’s dive into The Last of Us 1×08 “When We Are in Need”!
Badass Ellie from Start to Finish
That bastard David tried to break Ellie. From the very first moment, he saw her he tried to crush her and have her. And Ellie wasn’t having any of his shit. Do you know why? Because Ellie is a survivor. She has been for a long time. She was a survivor back in school when all she had was Riley. And she was a survivor after Riley died and she got tied up with the Fireflies. Even when she met Joel, she was a badass. The difference with Joel is, he taught her how to survive and thrive in this world. And she held those lessons close to her as she fought for her freedom and won.
That’s not to say that this whole experience has shaken her. Everything that happened in The Last of Us 1×08 will haunt her. Things like that always do. But it won’t define her. She’ll work on it. Day by day. And one day she’ll wake up and that pain will only be an echo of what it once was. Per chance, if any of that pain lingers, she will use it to destroy those in her way. Plus, Joel will be around to ground her as he did in this episode. Because he is her family and there is no other way that she would want to live this life or survive this world.
Per usual, kudos to Bella Ramsey. They are doing an extraordinary job at building a fierce, nuanced, broken, and dynamic young woman who will thrive against the darkness. And if this is the next step in their acting career, they will climb mountains and conquer any role that comes their way. Because they are Ellie. They have been for a while. And I hope that this is the final proof that those who doubted them need. They are our Ellie, Joel’s world. Because what comes next is the pinnacle of it all. Ramsey will survive it all. They always do. Ellie too. But viewers? Maybe not.
Joel Calling Ellie “Baby Girl”
Joel hasn’t uttered those words in 20 years. Not since Sarah. And said them. Without hesitation or even a thought, he said the words that he’s been carrying inside of himself for someone just as special as Sarah. Now, Sarah will never be replaced. That is his daughter. Always will be. But he’s got room to love more than one daughter. And saying it out loud makes everything he’s been feeling inside a reality. Not just for him, but for Ellie too.
That asshole David tried to break Ellie and show her that she was alone or that he was the only way to truly save her. But Ellie isn’t alone. She’s got Joel. And him saying those words grounded her. Covered in blood, lungs probably filled with smoke, she just turned someone into bits. Someone who was going to destroy her. And she needed her dad. Luckily, he was there. He fought to get to her and grounded her with gentle hands, a soft voice, and a tender “baby girl” into her hair.
As I mentioned in my review of “Left Behind,” it’s going to be interesting to see what people think of the divisive choices that these characters make when it comes to family. Love has changed Joel. It has changed Ellie. And when you open yourself up to those feelings after years of loneliness, you look at the world differently. You see that one person and they aren’t just your daughter. They’re your entire universe. And that is what Ellie is to Joel.
Our Boo Troy Baker & That Other Piece of Shit
Seeing Troy Baker on HBO’s The Last of Us feels like coming home. Sure, he plays a bad guy. But he’s there in a world that he helped become so iconic. And as a fan, I was so excited for him to lay eyes on Ellie to the point where I wanted him to become Joel. To play that part. To take care of his Ellie. But Ramsey isn’t his Ellie. They are Pedro Pascal’s Joel. But again, doesn’t stop me from being proud of his continuous work and that this show brought him to old fans and hopefully made some new ones.
After watching it, I knew that Baker had fun taking on this role. And thanks to HBO Max releasing an Inside the Episode feature, we can confirm he truly did. According to him, “To see this come to life, in a completely different way, it’s been a mind trip.” And he thought he was just going to be a clicker. Instead, he got killed by show Ellie, something that absolutely delighted him. “Ellie gets to demonstrate this incredible moment of intellect and resilience and also just ferocious violence. And she plants that cleaver right here [points to neck]. And I slam up against the wall and I slump up against this thing and I slide down and I was like, “That. Looks. Awesome.”
As for the other bad guy in “When We Are in Need” who accompanies Baker…fuck that guy. First of all, Scott Shepherd did an amazing job. Let’s give him credit where it’s due. But dear lord, he was terrifying and the worst of humanity. Worse than clickers, bloaters, and runners. Everything. Because even when the world has gone to shit he thinks he holds dominion over others, especially impressionable young woman. And I’m glad that Ellie cleaved his face into pieces. He fucked around and he found out.
The season finale of The Last of Us is next Sunday on HBO.