[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Last of Us, Season 1 Episode 3, “Long, Long Time.”]
After two episodes of watching Joel (Peter Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) try to push through some stressful situations, The Last of Us Episode 3 offers viewers a bit of a break.
In “Long, Long Time” we meet Bill (Nick Offerman), a “survivalist” (his word) who is more than ready for the world to collapse in 2003, but not ready to fall in love with Frank (Murray Bartlett), a survivor who stumbles into Bill’s bunker a few years into the apocalypse, and ends up never leaving. Together, they both build a house together at the end of the world, finally choosing to die together, content with their choices. “This is not the sad suicide at the end of the game. I’m old. I am satisfied. And you’re my purpose,” Bill told Frank on their last night together.
“It was an opportunity to explore the theme and the passage of time,” co-creator of the series Craig Mazin speaking consequences in a roundtable interview. “And to do it with Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, which is incredible. Our director Peter Hoar [It’s a Sin, Doctor Who] doing this wonderful job.”
Mazin said that the decision to explore the story of Bill and Frank in the third episode of the series came from several reasons. “You have to have this weird, almost musical sense of rhythm when you’re building a series,” he says. “And one of the things I felt very strongly about was, ‘Look, we have this crazy first episode where the world is falling apart and there’s tragedy. And then we meet Joel with Ellie and they start this adventure. . And the second episode is very tense and shows danger and clickers and tragedy. We need a breather.'”
So, Mazin confided in his love for the original play: “One of the things I remember from the play is that Bill was safe, and I loved that concept, that he built this oasis of safety. And there was a allusion to her relationship with Frank, and I’m just starting to think that there’s a moment there, that there’s a moment that first of all helps people understand how the time between the outbreak and now .But also to dig into the point of the show, which is the nature of love, two very different kinds of love, and how both kinds of love need each other.