The third episode of The Last of Us, which is currently streaming on HBO Max, is completely spoiled in this review. Check out our The Last of Us Season 1 Review to avoid spoilers.
The Last of Us: Episode 3 departs from the narrative in the game for the first time in a significant way. By doing so, it skillfully conveys a tale of romance discovered in a location that seemed hopeless in a chapter that mostly lacks action and instead concentrates on the love and misery that both friendship and loneliness can bring. It’s a magnificent hour of television that achieves every goal the adaptation sets out to achieve to the highest degree.
Although Joel and Ellie are the main characters of the series, this chapter belongs to Bill and Frank. We first see the former in a humorous scene when Nick Offerman’s Bill harnesses his inner Kevin McAllister while setting up a complex full with traps. He appears fulfilled by his solitude, though not quite pleased, and he doesn’t realize that he’s going to discover love in the most unexpected of places—the bottom of a ditch.
Last of Us Character Guide for HBO Series
Offerman is excellent as Bill, revealing to us a far more vulnerable side of him than was ever seen in the game. Throughout the episode, as he transitions from obstinate survivist to adoring lover, he is required to portray a wide range of diverse emotional states. His co-star Murray Bartlett’s subtle performance only serves to highlight his very outstanding performance. Bartlett, who lives far from the opulent amenities of a White Lotus hotel, is just as intelligent as the generous Frank. His charisma significantly contributes to pulling The Last of Us out of its often gloomy mood by successfully disarming Bill with his peaceful aura.
Frank stepping into one of Bill’s traps initially frightens Bill more than any infected who has accidentally stepped into one of his traps. They also awaken their love for one another at the very moment they realize they have a passion for piano music, which is a brilliantly planned realization. A wonderful example of openness and sensitivity is the dread that can be seen in Offerman’s eyes when he and Frank share their first kiss. I was never terrified before you showed up, he famously says, “I now have something to guard and knowing that this newfound love may one day be lost again is frightening than anything.” It’s a wonderful illustration of how some people’s most fundamental worries endure even after all those around them have experienced success.
An really powerful illustration of the idea that without love, life is nothing more than survival.
The rapid cuts from earlier, when he was establishing his perimeter and hiding from the outside world, have been replaced with slower cuts as we witness his desire to once again appreciate life’s minor pleasures. It is an incredibly powerful illustration of the idea that without love, life is nothing more than survival. With all the little unpleasant times that come with any relationship, that love only continues to grow with time. Their relationship holds up throughout the show, whether they are defending the home from intruders or gathering strawberries.
The entire final day of Frank and Bill is quite moving. Because it’s so uncommon for someone to be able to say a meaningful farewell in this world, it’s terrible but also mournful. As the gorgeous, rising strings provide the music for their last moments, echoes of Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight, which was utilized in equally devastating situations from Arrival and Shutter Island, can be heard. In a little more than 30 minutes, we have witnessed the change of a guy who delighted in his alone into one who fears going back to it.
From the minute Frank entered his life, it was essentially a self-written prophecy that it would end in tragedy. In our world, nothing is permanent in the first place, but during a pandemic, everything seems much more flimsy. A lovely reminder that everyone can find love, regardless of who or where they want to look for it. It’s tragic, wise, and painfully romantic.
The time spent with Ellie and Joel serves as the bookends to their journey. Their interaction is already beginning to get a little more enjoyable, and we can clearly observe little changes in their connection. Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal smoothly deliver snappy conversation as they maintain their contrasting attitudes of curiosity and dismissal. Even time is set out for doing traditional The Last of Us-style supply searches. There are many more amusing Easter eggs for game veterans, including Bill’s blue vehicle or Joel and Ellie transforming into recognizable outfits. Even when the plot diverges, as it does in this episode, it is cute tiny subtleties like this that keep the drama grounded in its roots.
A lovely reminder that everyone can find love, regardless of who or where they want to look for it.
How the cordyceps fungus spread over the globe was one thing that the game hinted at but never completely explained; this is fixed in this scene by Joel describing it to Ellie. It’s a testament to the showrunners that they keep expository sessions like these from becoming monotonous when they could so easily do so. Joel’s protective of Ellie and unwillingness to let her see a mass grave are early indications of his developing fatherly instincts. This clever, though horrifying, visual transition leads into the meat of the show. A portion of the narrative, which is eventually a flashback, is rewritten from a one-page letter in the game, which Ellie reads aloud to Joel with terrible impact. Another illustration of how effective a tool Pascal’s eyes are for the performance is this particular moment.
However, this is still Bill and Frank’s episode, and they continue to completely control it on a physical and emotional level. It’s a wise decision to make their narrative more upbeat, giving the pair their own spotlight and bringing a rare grin to the otherwise gloomy events that follow. It transforms this chapter’s initially bitter-tasting finale into something much sweeter and, eventually, a much more successful one. This is the first significant alteration to the plot from the original game.
Episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us is a wonderful hour of television that has a beautifully written love tale set in a world intended to leave them unwritten. By providing two characters with a nicer, more positive time together, it sheds light on a chapter that had previously been buried in anger. We are given a side of humanity that justifies what Joel and Ellie are fighting for, thanks to Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, who take on major character responsibilities with grace. Like love, it is an experience that stays in the memory for a very long time.
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