The Last of Us episode 3 “Long, Long Time” review

Bill pointing a gun to Frank in the Last of Us episode 3 "Long,long time"
A word of warning: This review contains heavy spoilers from The Last of Us episode 3 “Long, long time”. Proceed with caution.Fantasy Warden

The Last of Us episode 3 aired on Sunday, January 29th. It was recorded that this episode has a 32% increase in views compared to the first episode and 12% compared to The Last of Us episode 2 with a total of 4.7 million viewers. The Last of Us episode 3 was very different from the first two episodes. It focused on two characters and their romance. The audience seems to hate or love this episode, with nothing in between.

I would say that this episode was the weakest one so far – it offered something new but had nothing to do with the plot nor did it contribute to the overall story. You can easily skip this episode and not miss anything about the Last of Us story. However, if you wish to watch a nicely directed, well-acted, compelling romantic story about two people enduring hardships and falling in love be sure to see TLoU episode 3 “Long, long time”.

Ellie and Joel continue their journey

At the beginning of the episode, Ellie and Joel walk somewhere near Boston. Their plan is to find Tommy, Joel’s brother since he knows where the Fireflies are. Joel seems to be starting to believe Ellie might actually be immune as he checks her wound. Besides some quirky jokes and minor character development, not much happens in the opening scenes. Ellie finds a trapped infected in a basement and kills it with her knife. They see a plain crash site as well and continue their stroll.Ellie and Joel walking outside Boston
Printscreen: HBO

The one thing worth mentioning here is the explanation of how the infection outburst happened. Ellie jokes about the zero patient being a monkey (an obvious reference to Outbreak). Joel tells her it’s not the monkey – cordyceps infection started when fungi got into the food chain, probably grain. He continues by saying that it was Friday when it started and it was over by Monday. I find this explanation a bit lazy and overdramatic for no reason since there is a really low chance of some basic food being distributed all over the world in such a short time and no one noticing that people are turning into monsters. If they said that the incubation period was longer that would make more sense but this is just hard to believe that can happen.

However, I do like the reference to a legendary Warcraft 3 event here (Scourging of Lorderon started when necromancers, led by Kel’Thuzad, enchanted the grain supply making it poisonous and zombifying all those who eat it). Not only that, but Joel and Ellie soon find a place where soldiers executed people in order to stop them from getting infected and thus turning (Another possible Warcraft 3 reference of a part when Arthas purged the entire city in order to stop residents from turning into the Undead). The first part lasts for 15 minutes and after it, we get Bill and Frank’s story which lasts for the entire hour.

Artas destroying infected granaries
Printscreen: Warcraft 3 campaign

Bill and his survival skills

In the next scenes of The Last of Us episode 3 “, we meet Bill (Nick Offerman) through a flashback of events that took place in 2004. Bill is a survivalist who is hiding in the basement waiting for the army to finish up the evacuation of the residents in his neighborhood. After the army goes away, Bill comes out of his hideout and starts preparations for his new life – by visiting an abandoned Home Depot first. We get to see Bill making traps and securing his neighborhood fortress. This part was a bit quirky and humorous and I’m not sure how to feel about that.

The Last of Us episode 3 "Long,long time" Bill on a street after soldiers finished evacuation
Printscreen: HBO

On one hand, Bill is aware that the whole world is collapsing and he must have someone he cares about. However, he shows no emotions whatsoever during this and he is portrayed as a hardened soldier focused on the task at hand – surviving. The whole setting seems fun but also a bit too charming and out of place. For example, when Bill comes out of his hideout we see the street and it’s super clean with every car parked in its designated spot. I am pretty sure that if the residents heard the news of a deadly fungus brainwashing and zombifying humans and saw the army ordering mandatory evacuation that the neighborhood would not look like that. Be it as it may, Bill successfully turns the lovely suburbs into a fortress and we fast forward to the 2007 flashback.

Bill and Frank’s romance

The next 40 minutes of the show are basically the character development and the love story between Bill and Frank (Murray Bartlett). The plot is simple – Frank accidentally fell into one of Bill’s traps and Bill decided to give him a hot meal after a few minutes of persuasion by Bill. Frank is stunned by Bill’s lifestyle as he sees that he is fully self-sustainable where as the rest of the world has fallen apart. Showrunners depicted their romance as love at first sight – on their very first evening together they fall for each other. The rest of the episode is Frank and Bill living together – building their own secluded haven, meeting Joel and Tess later on, and smuggling together, as well as fighting the bandits who came to rob them.

Frank and Bill eating dinner
Printscreen: HBO

I would say that the story between Bill and Frank is beautiful to watch. It is well-directed and the dialogs are simple but smart. I like that a lot and the fact that there aren’t (too many) cliche narratives that sometimes we see in stories like this one. The one thing which I did mind about their relationship is that it felt too good to be true. Maybe it’s just me but it’s hard to imagine that two people would spend more than a decade in a perfect relationship without any contact with other people and in a shattered world where monsters roam the land. The whole setting doesn’t feel like Last of Us – if this story was told in another show or a movie where the outside world and the whole premise were not so brutal and harsh, I would buy it. The only argument that they have (or at last the ones that we see) is the one about meeting other people and even that one doesn’t seem intense at all.

The Last of Us episode 3 vs The Last of Us game

When we compare their relationship to the one in the source material (Last of Us game) we see that this is not the same story. In the game, Frank left Bill because he “grew tired” of their town and he “wanted more of life than this and you (Bill) could never give me that“. We see that by finding a note next to Frank’s corpse – Frank hanged himself since he was bitten but also said “it’s still better than spending another day with you“. Bill refers to Frank as his “partner” but we also get to see that Bill had a collection of gay magazines leading us to think that they were in fact romantic partners in the game.

The Last of Us episode 3 "Long,Long time" Frank and Bill eating strawberries
Printscreen: HBO

However, the whole narrative is completely different and The of Us Episode 3 can only be seen as a “based on” type of series, not the actual adaptation of the source material. This wouldn’t be a problem if it fit the story – but in my opinion, it didn’t. It was a magical romance that had nothing to do with The Last of Us plot especially because both characters died at the end of the episode. I can’t understand what was the point of introducing two new characters and developing them just so that both of them can be killed at the end of the same episode. To make things worse, showrunners didn’t show any real connection between Frank and Bill and Tess and Joel – meaning that in the show, Bill and Frank made no impact whatsoever on the main plot.

Conclusion of The Last of Us episode 3 review “Long, long time”

I tried to make this The Last of Us episode 3 review brief since not much has happened in the episode and most of the online discussions are not discussions about the show but political arguments. I won’t write about that in the review, I just hope that people can enjoy the show without projecting their own political views in every single scene. Personally, I didn’t like the episode because of the major changes in the source material and the fact that it lead nowhere in terms of the main story. However, I have to say that I understand people who enjoyed it – the romance between Bill and Frank was executed magnificently it’s just a pity it had nothing to do with The Last of Us. Hopefully, we will see more action in The Last of Us episode 4 “Please Hold My Hand”.


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