Episode three of HBO's The Last of Us aired last night, which saw Joel and Ellie finally leave the tight grip of the city as they head for Bill and Frank's. While fans of the game will know all about Bill and his trap-laden town, they haven't seen it quite like this. One of the first episodes to be made almost entirely out of new material, "Long, Long Time" lets the creative team tug on those heart strings to deliver one of the best episodes of televised drama in recent memory.
Pascal and Ramsey don't get much to do in episode three, but already we're beginning to see those small little nuggets of fatherly affection slip through the cracks of Joel's hardened exterior. It's nice to see that the showrunners are still taking their time with the evolution of this relationship, and we're eagerly watching on with each moment of screen time.
However, "Long, Long Time" isn't Joel or Ellie's episode, because front and centre we have Bill and Frank, a doomsday prepper and the survivor who fell into one of his traps. Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, who play Bill and Frank respectively, are on top form here, offering up nuanced performances where every dashed tear and tense shoulder act as delicious toppings to an already tasty meal.
The emotional weight behind this episode is leagues beyond anything we've seen from the show so far — even that heartbreaking opener — and we'd be lying if we didn't admit to shedding a few tears on a quiet Monday morning as we watched. It's incredibly effective, and the creative team must be commended for resisting the urge to simply recreate what greatness they already had with the games. In its stead we have something new and equally brilliant.
However, we were a little upset that some aspects of the game were omitted. This isn't the Bill you know from the games, and ultimately Offerman plays a softer version of the character over the harsh performance we got from W. Earl Brown in the game. It would have been nice to see certain scenes play out in live-action, but in our eyes the show is about expanding upon the source material, not repeating, so the changes were still welcome. We'd love to delve deeper into how it ties into the game, but we'll cover things in a more spoilery fashion over on the Push Square YouTube channel.
Three episodes in, and The Last of Us has perfectly captured the tone of the game, expanded upon the lore in new and meaningful ways, and then dropped one of the best episodes of television in years. Saying we were enthralled by the story of Bill and Frank would be putting it lightly, and this take on everyone's favourite prepper easily illustrates that the show can stand on its own two feet. It drew light to a different side of one of the game's most iconic characters, while fleshing out the narrative threads that were present on PlayStation, but never explored. It's perfectly paced, disastrously emotional, filled to the brim with terrific performances, and assuredly an episode of TV we aren't likely to forget for a long, long time.
To find out when you can tune in for the next episode, click through to our Where to Watch The Last of Us TV Show guide. Additionally, our Full Cast List provides more details about the actors and characters. Once you have watched the first episode yourself, place a vote in our poll and share your first impressions in the comments below.
While I really enjoyed this episode, I was a bit saddened that we didn't end up getting Joel & Ellie making their way through Bill's trap-riddled town or the hilarious back-and-forth between Ellie & Bill, but I guess it would have been incredibly difficult to pull off the entirety of the Bill's Town segment in just a 1-hour time frame.
Regardless the first 3 episodes have been fantastic so far, and I'm really looking forward to episode 4, I have a feeling the episode will end with Joel & Ellie meeting Henry & Sam, CAN'T WAIT!
The episode surprised me. Great acting and good way to make it clear that we don't now what's coming in each chapter
Frank's "give me one last good day" monologue to Bill hit me like a freight train.
Excellent episode, beautifully acted by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett.
Like everyone else, I was sad that we didn’t get to see the hilarious interactions between Ellie and Bill but we still have the game for that.
This episode really surprised me - when I realised where it was going towards the end I kept thinking, ‘there’s no way Bill would want to carry on after losing the love of his life.’ - I was still thinking the episode would eventually lead to Bill being reunited with Joel (and him meeting Ellie) but the way it played out made more sense when I thought about it afterwards.
But still, even when he drank the wine I was like, ‘it’s not going to work and Bill will wake up the next morning and that’s why he’s so angry and bitter (like he is in the game)’ - even though in the back of my mind I knew Bill was too clever to make a mistake like that. When the episode ended and I thought about it I was actually happy that Bill didn’t become that person. He got to spend his life with the person he loved and they stayed together until the end.
It was nice to see Tess again too, even if only fleetingly. I hope there are more flashbacks with her.
Also, the shot of the net curtains blowing in the breeze (like the title screen in the game) was a great touch. I will forever associate that with Bill and Frank now.
Removed - inappropriate
@kryptozoologist Dude thank you. All I am seeing is people heaping praise on this and I hated it every minute of it. I loved the first two episodes and this one was nearly impossible to get through
Love this episode. Yisus it made me cry a few times and is not part of the game.
I hope the haters now know the first game had lgbt characters if their resentful minds couldn't figure it out.
I am also a little bit upset they didn't go through the town, but it was still as good and I think I learn a lot from this episode
@kryptozoologist uhhm, yes season 2 will be an adaptation of the second game, sorry for the haters
I was thinking last night how happy I am that The Last of Us movie never happened. If that movie happened then this show wouldn't exist.
@bpomber also as Druckmann said, the movie studio just wanted to make it bigger than the game with big budget, make it more action than drama focused, less intimate and all compressed in 2hours.... So glad they didn't go that resident-evilesque way
@controller-drift Financially and logistically adapting game 2 immediately would shoot themselves in the foot. I’m not saying game 2 won’t be adapted but it’ll be a few seasons into the show. I half remember an interview saying that instead of the time jump they were going to take the time to fill out between the games. (Which is what I’m looking forward to.) Besides, the first season so far is a hit. They know that people will be getting attached to the actors they have cast and to immediately bring the status quo if the second game would be television suicide. Pedro Pascal is way too popular right now for them to get rid of him in season 2 and no way are they going to recast Eli with an older actress either. I’m all for an adaptation for Part 2 but not until season 7.
All I could think about whilst watching the episode was how some people would be sat at home squirming in their seat at seeing two burly (and very hairy) men being intimate. I’m so happy they didn’t hold back in showing Bill and Franks relationship. Love is love people. And real love is rare, especially in this world. We’re all adults here - or, we’re supposed to be.
Loved the episode and what they’re doing with this show. I haven’t been this excited and satisfied about a storyline and TV show in a LONG TIME.
With it without “TLOU” branding, this show is unmistakably great.
I prefer series to stay focused to their source material and don't overstay their welcome, because they can start drifting.
THIS is why i was so excited for this show
a retelling of the game would be nice but we all can just go play the game again there'd be no point in doing that, this heart wrenching amazingly written piece of television gave me more from tlou than i have gotten before and i'm so thankful for it.
this is not just a great adaptation this is genuinly one of the best tv shows airing right now and we're only 3 episodes in
My wife and I had just finished season 1 of White Lotus, so we were really happy to see Murray Bartlett playing Frank. It was a such a tragic episode, and we loved it.
And considering in the games, we see Bill in Part 1, and then he's not even mentioned in Part 2, I'm glad he got a send off in the show. I'm also really happy Frank got a lot of characterization as well.
Very different from the games, but considering how rigidly the show has been sticking to them I'm happy to see it. And while you can't please everyone; I think this shows that the show can create emotional moments without taking them from the game.
So far there's been a flashback each episode, and they're always really interesting to see. I hope it continues. Looking forward to Sunday.
@kryptozoologist they said they're gonna turn the second game into two seasons so the show is gonna have 3 seasons overall. also idk where ur getting "adapting game 2 immediately would shoot themselves in the foot." from. it'll be insanely popular just like how the game was
@Controller-Drift I'm very glad that didn't happen. It probably would've been like the Uncharted movie. It was a fine 2 hours of entertainment but it's nothing beyond that. This show is so much more.
@kryptozoologist it worked for Game of Thrones just fine.
im not actually very big on the show the games a 10/10 but the show in my opinion is 7/10 some of the things theyve changed i really dont like
@kryptozoologist part 2 fills the gaps with 55 flashbacks and they've already said it wont be going for 6 or 7 seasons. If they get to 5 i think it will be 2 seasons for part 2 and 2 for part 3 (and/or factions).
The one casting choice I questioned before the show came out was not bringing W. Earl Brown back to play Bill. He did such a great job in the game, and he is such a great actor (The regular cast of Deadwood may be the best cast assembled for anything anywhere).
I was totally wrong. Offerman was perfect for the direction they went with the story, and the whole episode was just beautifully acted and beautifully told. I was watching with two non-gamers, and they were completely enthralled by the entire hour.
I was looking forward to an action packed romp through Bill's town, but last night was just fantastic television without it. Cannot wait for episode 4.
Appreciate that most have a different opinion, but I found this episode boring AF.
@kryptozoologist both Neil Druckman an Craig Mazin have said season 2 will be part 2 the game but it’ll span 2 seasons.
A good episode, but I'm a little upset they didn't do the school scene at the very least, that's one of my favourite parts of the game and to not have it, is a bit poo in my opinion.
But overall it was a strong outing, not as good as Episode two though.
Well, the series will always begin with that.
Game of Thrones stuck to the source material and that was an incredible show.
Walking Dead didn't and it started going downhill from Season Two as a result.
This was easily my favorite episode so far. The acting was incredible and I loved getting Bill and Frank’s backstory. I’m really enjoying the changes they’re making from the game, they are adding so much to the story.
Well….We knew it wouldn’t last!…but hey we made it 2 episodes….there was no need for this drug out episode…coulda been handled in flashbacks …but noooo had to give us almost 80 mins of the “fill in the blank” Hallmark movie….they screwed up big time….
@SolaceCreed I don't think we disagree on much, but just have to say TWD deviated from the comics in season 1 quite a bit already with the dixon brothers and the CDC. I think the decline in the show was not because it did its own thing, but rather because they lost Frank Darabont as a writer in that season 2 timeframe you mentioned.
Yeah, I think adding characters, introducing them at the wrong points in the story and removing really good death scenes because the character was popular with non-comic fans. Really started to kill it early as you stated.
Also, the mismanagement and poor writing for some characters cough*Andrea*cough, also didn't help. Making Negan's war last too long so they had to kill off a main character early as the actor got a little tired of the filming schedules, lots of things contributed to it's steady decline. But I can see why you'd say that season one might have started it.
@ItsBritneyB_tch my working theory (when he mentioned the wine being poisoned) was actually that the wine wasn't poisoned at all, and that he was just saying that to eliminate any guilt on Frank's part, for convincing Bill to help him die. I was kinda disappointed when Joel and Ellie turned up and Bill wasn't sat there, sipping a coffee or something for us all to go "wha-he's not dead?"
Third episode was the best so far. I particularly like that the show focuses more on the impact on people's lives and relationships rather than fighting off the infected. I found much of episode 3 predictable, and wasn't surprised at the relationship and how the story unfolded. This wasn't a problem at all as the acting and telling of the story was first class.
It's a good thing Frank walked into the shallow hole trap and not the flamethrower one. That would have been a short episode.
Hah! Though didn't he upgrade his perimeter protection after the warning from Joel?
@nathanSF I did think it made Tess’ tendril-kiss in the previous episode seem even more schlocky though. Like, this episode was so respectful of Bill and Frank’s story but poor Tess got the silly, less heroic, super-gross death scene. I will get over it eventually lol
@danlk1ng yeah it could have gone a few different ways and I would have been happy either way. I liked what they did in the show but I would love to see alternative cuts where Bill survives and interacts with Joel and Ellie.
@ItsBritneyB_tch Tess’ death was still incredibly heroic. I’d argue it was even more so. It was just far more subtle. It would take huge balls to remain still and calm while an infected zombie is leaning in to infect you with tendrils visibly coming out of its mouth, not knowing for certain that at any moment it might start tearing into her. She assumes that if she tries to run, the hoard will get her before she can ignite the gasoline. And if she doesn’t ignite the gasoline then the hoard will likely get Ellie and Joel. She overcomes all the fear of death and and body horror, and keeps still and calm, so as not to agitate the hoard. That takes as much fortitude as holding off soldiers. How you view her TV death as less heroic is baffling. Unless you think that having a gun somehow is the pinnacle of being heroic.
The best episode so far and one of the best episodes of a TV show in recent years, period. I ugly cried so hard.
Wow! Completely loved this episode. A really great adaptation that makes the most of a different medium.
In the game I enjoyed the environmental storytelling of Bill and Frank which you can slowly discover through gameplay, if you want. It’s very subtle but it’s there.
That doesn’t work in tv, so instead they have changed this to fit television. Yes it changes quite a lot but I thought this was a ‘better than the game’ moment. Masterfully done, really kicked me in the feels.
I was already blown away by this show but this episode demonstrates what we can expect even if we’ve played the game. They work beautifully side by side. So many nods back to the games. Loved the ending on the curtains, title screen of the first game. X
EDIT: The only disappointing thing is how this episode is getting review bombed online e.g. eps 1&2 are around a 9/10 on Meracritic, this one currently a
5.84.2. Still a long way to go for people to be treated like people
Yisus. Why do people have such a hard time getting backstory or story to other characters for a game/tv show?
Joel was in it, and he is on every episode.
It was a good episode, but a big departure from the game. Would've loved to see Bill and Ellie interact on screen. And the Bloater, I was mentally prepared for that one. But seeing how we've barely seen any clickers, I kinda should've expected that.
The car and the garage were the same as the one in game though, that was a cool touch.
@Constable_What Bill was definitely mentioned in Part II. It was very early on, but Ellie mentioned him and talked about his trap-ridden town during their first day in Seattle. Maybe it was optional dialogue, I don't know.
@kcarnes9051 You thought the scene in the show was more subtle? Really? It was about as subtle as a man wearing a balaclava in a bank.
That scene would have been so much better if she picked up one of the grenades (the ones she just tipped onto the floor moments earlier) and pulled the pin out with her teeth just as the infected burst through the doors. She could say something cool like, “come get me you Mother F’rs!” Or something. That would have been bad-ass. That would have been ‘Tess’.
The lighter thing though was just daft… conveniently not working to build tension 🙄 The infected… conveniently not attacking to build tension 🙄 It was so poorly done and felt so contrived.
Then we had to endure the gross and exploitative tendril-kiss for shocks. Tess standing there like a lemon whilst some infected guy tongues her (or tendrils her). So degrading for poor Tess.
Well, like I said, it was silly.
@Octane It might have been one of those bits of dialogue where you had to press triangle over a character. I don't remember anyone talking about Bill in Part 2.
@themightyant yeah, I agree with @GagaOooLaLa laughing at the people at home who would have been disgusted and outraged - HBO shows banned for life lol
I mean it’s funny because it’s such a ridiculous thing to be mad about but also kinda sad that people can be so hateful and closed-minded in 2023.
@ItsBritneyB_tch Yes, heroism is more subtle. Going out guns blazing is the most in your face aggressive form of heroism. Cliche. Versus remaining calm and still when faced with body horror. Rarely depicted. Being calm in a dangerous situation is a more subtle depiction of heroism. Absolutely.
Different actions can be equally heroic. You seem to just like blam blam kind of heroism.
I would agree that the the lighter not lighting is also a cliche. Along the lines of an engine not starting.
But someone getting injured and staying behind and sacrificing themselves so others can escape is also a story cliche, done countless times.
So are you criticizing the original game for being unoriginal?
Lighters can be finicky to start in the real world. They just walked through water. It was probably wet. So it at least does make sense.
Just watched it and oooooohboy what an episode!
Amazing performances and real hard hitting ❤️
Up there with Ozymandias - Breaking Bad for me.
@kcarnes9051 I mean, ‘blam blam’ is exactly the kind of world they’re living in. They’re being hunted by FEDRA soldiers (who want to kill them) and Infected (who also want to kill them).
Tess had no idea that the Infected wouldn’t rip her to pieces as soon as they burst through the doors, so having her fumble around with the busted lighter made her seem a bit dim, not heroic. She still blew herself up - so whether she used the grenades or the lighter, the end result was still the same… ‘Blam Blam’. Only, had she used the grenades she would have avoided getting her tonsils tickled by the tendril-tongued terror.
It’s not like Tess was buying Joel and Ellie time to escape by suffering a horrible death (which would have been heroic in the way you suggested). But that wasn’t the case at all, she got violated because the lighter didn’t work - that’s the only reason. And it came across as gratuitous.
@ItsBritneyB_tch ah, yes. As subtle as a hand grenade 😁😁😁😁😁😁
@Ravix It’s not me looking for subtlety - I just wanted her to go out with her dignity intact. Tess could have strapped herself to a nuke and it would have been better than that kiss 🚀💥
@ItsBritneyB_tch lol it's okay, it just read funny with you saying about how it lacked subtlety and then saying you wanted her to go out like an 80's action movie 😁
I liked the scene, and I'm fine that you didn't. It was just too perfect a comment to pass up 😁
Poise under severe pressure and personal horror is a very admirable way to go, I wouldn't worry about Tess being thrown under the bus, as I'm someone with no connection to Tess, and I think it was very memorable and an incredibly strong character moment under analysis.
But then, I'd also have loved more time to see the relationship between Joel and Tess too, because I like slow burn drama, and would happily watch 6 or 7 episodes of the world falling apart, and then the new world being built up, before the real story kicks off properly.
I would have loved to have seen Joel either bury or leave his daughter too, as that would have been powerful tv. I imagine he just had to leave her there, due to circumstances, but the 20 year flash forward left me wanting to see more, in truth. It doesn't make what they are doing bad though.
Hopefully you will watch the episode again and grow to like it anyway, it's possible
Virtually every TV show, film, game etc. that finds itself included on some form of ‘best of’ list over the last decade seems to define its narrative worth by how seriously it presents itself (an oversimplification, I know). This is DRAMA, after all, and so virtually every detail of the character’s existence must be TRAGIC in some form or another in order to teach the viewer an important lesson, and blah blah blah.
However, every now and then you get a perfect little encapsulation of how the addition of levity, humour, frustration, and human fallibility represent a far more impactful, fully-rounded, relatable and accurate sense of character, than a purely dour and self-important character piece ever could.
I won’t disparage anyone’s take on this episode. For those of you hoping for a plot-driven show, I can certainly understand how the subtle narrative curves of this episode seemed to suggest that ‘nothing’ happened.
For those of you desperate for a 1:1 facsimile of the game, I can understand your disappointment, though I am curious why, if you want an exact recreation of the game, you wouldn’t simply boot it up on your console.
And, for those of you who weren’t quite sure what to expect from the episode, but found yourself intrigued and enticed by its depiction of flawed, fragile, yet richly constructed characters, then I’m glad you enjoyed the ride!
Whatever the case, I guess there is no ‘right way’ to respond to episodes like this, no matter how much people online might scream and fight to try to convince you that their way of thinking is the only way.
Some of us will find, in this show, characters who act as avatars for our own desires; others will find very little to which they can cling; and others will find themselves actively repelled by what is presented on-screen. I think the key to good media, in any form, is that it allows for such a diversity of thought, and a confluence of discussion and perspectives. I think it’s clear, from this thread and many others like it, that this interpretation of The Last of Us has achieved this and is, therefore, a success in the sense that it has encouraged a discourse.
Aside from this, the idea of a post-apocalyptic ‘dinner party’ makes me very happy.
TLDR - me like this show. Zombies are scary, but humans are even…SCARIER!?
Absolute masterpiece. Exactly what I was expecting from a team that worked on 'Cherbobyl'. Brilliant, thought provoking, emotional and human and so well acted.
Only slight caveat is that it's a massive diversion from the main plot. Which, when you are releasing a show 1 week at a time is a bit of a risk. If the release schedule allowed us to binge watch all or numerous episodes at a time this wouldn't be an issue, however I think they may have missed a trick by not releasing episodes 3 and 4 at the same time. As much as I enjoyed the episode I do feel like I haven't seen the plot advance, which is a little frustrating.
Otherwise, an exceptional piece of drama that well and truly blew me away and I can't wait to see the next episode.
Surprised to see such positive reaction to this episode. I thought it was pretty dull
I don't think we got to see Bill and Frank develop enough to really care about their final moments. And even then, their final moments were a bit "oh, that's kind of sweet" and that's it.
Only thing I thought was well done was the letter
Still much prefer the Bill and Frank story from the game, and seeing Ellie argue with Bill was hugely missed imo
@ItsBritneyB_tch I see what you mean. Though in episode 2 of the podcast they explain the logic behind that way of showing it.
Have you been listening to the official podcast?
It's on Apple, Spotify, and here's the youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYCccmiSSWo
I too was expecting same sort of reveal of Bill to Ellie/Joel. Thinking maybe this was why Bill turns even more bitter with having to live on alone. Especially with how in the game both Frank and Bill grew to detest each other and separate bitterly. But then I saw how calm Bill was with the wine. Maybe he switched the vials and gave Frank pure sugar so he could live on? But no way could Frank live on longer in his condition. Then it made sense this change, Bill already served his purpose in the series and didn't make a return in Part 2 where he may have likely met his end alone in between that time. This was a better wrap up for him, albeit tragic all the same but at least it ended happier for him. What a beautiful episode.
One take away that sort of hit me later was Frank's request for a wedding to Bill. Massachusetts the state this took place was the first out of all 50 to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 and all this ish went down in 2003 where it wasn't fully legal in all states until 2015 and was seen as a laughable concept then.
Yesterday I said that the first 20 mins didn't work for me. I seldom get an hour chunk of time and thus was left wondering what all the fuss was about and frustrated with the flashbacks.....
But wow. What a story the flashback became. Brilliant, great entertainment. If you told me I'd be weeping at a tragic double xxxxxxx during a flashback in a zombie themed show made on the back of a video game ......
PS. I guess many have said this but I am supposing that the first series does not cover the first game. We are perhaps 10% thru the game and yet 25% thru the series.
I expect that why its such an early confirmation of the second series - because its such a no brainer given its just the second half of the same story.
I preferred the way Bill's section was presented in the game personally but oh well. Probably my least favorite episode so far but still looking forward to the next episode.
Great episode imo, was shocked by their relationship but loved it nonetheless.
Looking forward to them meeting Henry and Sam.
Joel got more or less as much screentime in this episode as he did in the first. I don't get people complaining about shows cutting away to another character unexpectedly for an episode. I can name at least a dozen shows that do the exact same thing.
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