HBO’s The Last of Us: Episode 3 Review

*This review contains Full Spoilers*

Before The Last of Us sends its central duo on their adventure through a horror-filled America, it uses its third episode to shed light on another memorable pair of characters from the game and delivers its most emotionally charged episode yet.

While Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) dynamic is still the core of this series, it takes a backseat this episode to divulge into the budding relationship of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). In the first game, Bill is a survivalist who helps Joel and Ellie at the start of their journey by teaching them how to make traps. Now, with Bill being mostly a tutorial character for players as they learn how to make traps, it makes sense that the series would dive a little deeper into his backstory and especially his relationship with Frank. Frank’s bigger appearance here is actually a pretty big deal even for those that have played the games since he’s simply found by Bill hanging in a building and has no dialogue in the game.

With this episode, fans, both new and old, get to see Bill and Frank’s story unfold and it’s something really special. A big part of what this episode does to expand some of the lore and ideology in this world is to further delve into the mindset of living in this setting. For Ellie, it’s her asking Joel about airplanes and going into a car for the first time since she was born into this world and doesn’t know about life before the outbreak. For Bill and Frank, it’s creating their own world that resembles the more peaceful times of the past and reflects the harmonious feel of their relationship.

When the outbreak first occurs, Bill, who was already hiding in his own survival bunker, basically was able to take over the small section of his town and make it his own. There’s something kind of fascinating and funny about watching Bill essentially become a kid in this apocalyptic candy store. There’s nothing that puts a smile on Bill’s face more than hoarding resources, watching infected walk into traps, and being able to dictate his own survival. However, everything changes when Frank, a sole survivor attempting to head towards Boston, enters his life by falling into one of his trap holes.

At first, their interactions go about as expected with Bill’s paranoia leading him to point a gun at Frank the whole time and showing some resistance towards his pleas for food. Eventually, Bill lets Frank into his home and right off the bat, you can tell it shifts something in Bill. Prior to Frank’s arrival, Bill looks as cold and distant as any crazed survivalist waiting for the world to end. But Frank entering Bill’s life definitely changes something in him and you can tell they’re going to be something more. After all, it never looked like Bill was going to give clothes to or make a fantastic meal for anyone before Frank.

Thus, it’s not too long until Bill and Frank’s budding friendship turns into a blooming romance, and it feels perfectly tender and real throughout. Offerman and Bartlett deliver some excellent performances from the start and their chemistry together instantly warms your heart. Offerman makes Bill’s sense of subtle love felt in every scene once Frank enters the picture and Bartlett brings this feeling of warm hope that really instills change in Bill. Then, seeing them go through all these big things together, like trying to fix up the town and dealing with a group of raiders, really makes you grow closer to them. We even get a scene of them first meeting Joel and Tess (Anna Torv), which ends up being super heartwarming because Frank’s vision of hope is coming to life.

That sequence of Frank showing Bill the strawberries he’s growing will forever sit in your heart because of how innocent and special it feels in this world that’s become bitter, mean, and full of death. Bill and Frank really build something here and create a pocket in this world full of real love and tender emotion. Unfortunately, in true Last of Us fashion, it comes to a heartbreaking conclusion that literally tears your heart out. As years go by, Frank eventually becomes sick with what we could only assume is some form of cancer based on him saying that there was no cure for what he has even before the world ended. With no medicine able to help him for long and no doctor able to assist him, Frank tells Bill that he would like to end his pain and suffering.

Frank saying that he wants to end his life is a soul-crushingly real moment that so raw that it’s tough to even look at Bill, who is obviously a complete wreck. Frank’s final wish for his last day is incredibly beautiful with it involving one last meal with Bill and getting married to cement their love. It’s a very moving sequence that constantly touches your heart until a vicious tug when the final dinner comes around. As requested by Frank, Bill crushes Frank’s pills into his wine and Frank drinks it. However, Bill tells Frank that he already put some in the bottle as well meaning that Bill will die too.

This is vastly different fate for Bill than in the game’s but one that fits with his story here and his relationship with Frank. As he tells Joel through a letter he leaves for him, Frank has forever changed him in a way that he never expected and can’t live without. Frank gave Bill as reason to care again and is a meaningful part to him still being human in an inhumane world. It’s a lesson that Joel will soon learn with Ellie and Bill and Frank’s story acts as another steppingstone for Joel, both physically and personally. Physically in the sense that Joel is able to get a car and supplies to travel, along with Ellie being able to stash a gun for herself, and personally with him knowing that he needs to protect Ellie because of how she could restore the world and displays some genuine innocence.

The Last of Us adds another emotional layer to its world through the tender and captivating romance of Bill and Frank’s story, which delivers some warmth in an otherwise cold apocalyptic world. With this last food for thought for Joel, it really feels like his adventure with Ellie is about to begin and the series will start to get into the meat of their story.


Watch the Trailer Here:

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