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‘The Last of Us’ Broke Hearts With Episode 3

Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman in 'The Last of Us' as Bill and Frank

Sometimes, there are just episodes of television that stay with you and you can’t help but think about them. And that’s what episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us series adaptation is going to be. I can say that with near certainty because critics have been talking about it nonstop since watching it, and having watched it at the end of December, I’ve also not stopped thinking about it since.

And it is just because it’s yet another example of how The Last of Us is mastering bringing these video game characters to life and making us care for them in such a short amount of time—this time, with Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett’s Bill and Frank.

**Spoilers for the series The Last of Us lie ahead.**

HBO’s The Last of Us is making some changes from the game that are, honestly, for the better, mainly in that they’re giving characters more time to shine and letting us live with them for longer than we got to in the game. And that’s a good thing! Because there were so many rich characters to explore, and it did hurt to see them gone too soon, before we could really explore their stories.

Out of all the characters changed from the game, the two who got a storyline worthy of writing about is Bill and Frank. For the most part, fans were expecting more of the same of their story, but instead, we get the beauty that was episode three.

Giving them their time

The game is no stranger to queer characters. It’s just rare that we get to see them have their time together, Bill and Frank being a big part of this. We meet Bill in the game when Frank has already both left him and died, and while he still has a life, he’s alone when Joel and Ellie leave him. But the show gives both Bill and Frank their own time together.

It starts with a flashback to the time when Frank (Murray Bartlett) stumbles into Bill’s (Nick Offerman) trap. And we follow their journey and their love story the entire time. Sure, we get a bit of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) coming to visit, but for the most part, the episode is about how Bill and Frank share whatever days they have left with each other.

They have their fights and their moments, but they clearly love each other, and having this episode and spending time with them feels like such a gift compared to what we see of them in the game that it’s just heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

The change was worth it

While the game left the option for Bill to come back to fans, the show changing it so that Bill and Frank die together, happy in their love for one another, is a perfect change, in my opinion—not because the game wasn’t equally heartbreaking, but because it gave their relationship a different feel. In episode 3 of The Last of Us, you know that they love each other until the end, and that’s something rare in this world.

So yes, they have to leave a note for someone to find, but they go out with each other on their own terms, and it’s heart-wrenching to watch this story and see its end. But having Bill and Frank’s love story is something that really does elevate The Last of Us for me as a viewer.

(featured image: HBO)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.