The Last Of Us Explores A Serious Apocalyptic Threat We Haven’t Seen Before

The episode opens with David performing a sermon of sorts for his group, who have recently lost a member (who happens to have been killed by Joel in self-defense). David attempts to console his community and offer strength to the little girl who has lost her father. This scene gives off the impression that they’re just like other groups trying to survive, doing their best to arrange food, shelter, and warmth for everyone, with David taking the onus of leading them. With time, it is clear that the group exhibits characteristics common in cults, with David assuming the role of a deceptively charming and seemingly generous cult leader who uses emotional manipulation to assert a sick form of authority. This is evidenced when David hits the same girl he had comforted before when she inadvertently questions his decision.

Hunger drives the plot forward when Ellie, David, and James (Troy Baker) cross paths after the former shoots down a deer. David appeals to Ellie’s empathy by saying that he needs some of the meat to feed women and children in his group, but what appears as thoughtfulness is merely a ploy to have Ellie lower her guard. David exerts power over everyone by being in control of key resources like food and fulfills his role as a provider by killing and eating stray survivors, along with members of his own group. 

While his inner circle is actively aware of this and helps him carry out cannibalistic violence, others have an inkling but are either too scared or desperate to question or upset the status quo. The fact that human meat is passed off as venison in the group kitchen is revolting, especially considering that most of the adults are aware of the truth.

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