The thing about predators is that they try to make themselves appear as normal as possible to their victims. Once they build rapport and trust, that is usually when they strike, changing the lives of their victims forever. That was exactly what David tried to do throughout this episode with Ellie: He compliments her, calls her special, and regales her with promises of respect and equality between them. Keep in mind, all of this is because he considers her unlike anyone he’s ever met. Major creep alert right there, and he’s already being set up as the show’s first true villain.
If that wasn’t bad enough, what he does when Ellie is able to see right through his charade is even more harrowing. He and his right-hand-man James (Troy Baker) pin her down to a table in preparation for her dismemberment, ensuing a fast-paced clash and a tense game of hide and seek. When David and Ellie fight for the last time, he says that she really does need a teacher, and if she’s good for him, he can help. While he pins her to the ground and seemingly tries to take off her clothes, Ellie grabs his machete and brutally hacks him to death off-screen. The blood-stained camera never leaves her face. It is powerful, disgusting, haunting, and cathartic all at once. It also has the chance to elicit very conflicting opinions in viewers.