The Last of Us Episode 8 is arguably one of the most faithful to the HBO adaptation yet. For the most part, it sticks very closely to the source material, as Ellie continues to care for an ailing Joel and hunt for food before encountering the menacing preacher, David.
With that, summing up the biggest differences between the show and the PlayStation game this week proved to be a bit of a tricky task – but that doesn’t mean Craig Mazin and Naughty Dog president Neil Druckmann haven’t made some minor tweaks to the changes Story. Below we break down the nitty gritty details, from Ellie’s weapon of choice in a key sequence to a guest appearance by voice actor Troy Baker.
Not surprising, This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 8, so be careful if you haven’t tuned in yet and don’t want to know exactly what’s happening. Everything up to date? Let’s dive in…
Troy Baker plays James here, not Joel
You’ve probably already noticed that Troy Baker, who voices Joel in the games, doesn’t play him on the show. No, that’s Pedro Pascal’s job. With that, Episode 8 introduces Baker as a very different character: David’s right-hand man, James.
“It wasn’t something where I was like, ‘You better find me a part.’ If there was, then great. If not, I like to watch and cheer,” Baker tells Total Film and GamesRadar+. “So Neil came up to me and he was like, ‘Hey man, I have a role for you.’ I say, ‘Oh dude, thanks.’
“And I thought it looked like a clicker or something. And he says, ‘I want you to play James.’ I said, ‘Oh my god, thanks man… Who’s James again?’
“That’s what this show is about… We’re going to focus on Joel and Ellie – this is a story about a love between a father and a daughter. But we [also] having the opportunity, without the encumbrances that the game is asking of us, if I may say so, to explore other characters who either didn’t exist in the game, like we had with Kathleen and Perry, or who do exist in the game, but in a different way that we do with James and David.”
Ellie hunts with a gun, not a bow and arrow
As Joel recovers from the wounds he received in the game at university, players take control of Ellie and are forced to hunt across the snowy landscapes of Colorado. While doing this you have no choice but to use a bow and arrow, but on the show, Bella Ramsey’s Ellie uses a gun.
Up to this point we haven’t seen Joel or Ellie using a bow and arrow, so it would be a bit random for them to hit one and suddenly start waving around like a skilled archer. Narratively, it makes sense even if it Is Shame to lose a cool piece of iconography from the game. Hey, there’s always season 2…
Joel’s clash with David’s men
To be honest, these scenes play out very similarly to the games, but one key difference is that Joel wakes up from his injury-related sleep and goes in search of Ellie, having already been taken by David in the original. On the show, a couple of David’s men break into the house he and Ellie were hiding in, and he chokes and ties one up before knocking another looter unconscious in the yard.
In both the game and the show, he continues torturing the henchmen, demanding to know where they took Ellie – and proceeding to kill her.
Joel doesn’t catch Ellie killing David
In the game, Joel finds Ellie hacking David to death and rips her off him. Seeing how distraught she is, he calms her down and leads her away from the resort. On the show, a blood-soaked Ellie is already outside when Joel trips over her.
It is such A small change that has us wondering why they did it, but to be honest it could be down to something as simple as shooting schedules.
The Last of Us ends Sunday March 12 on HBO and HBO Max in the US and Sky Atlantic and NOW the following day in the UK. Make sure you stay up to date with our The Last of Us release schedule or our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us.
For more on the series, check out our guide to the top changes in Last of Us Episode 7 from the games and a chilling look at the Cordyceps mushroom.