The Last Of Us – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Long, Long Time

Episode 3 of The Last Of Us begins 10 miles West of Boston. Ellie and Joel are closing in on their target but while Joel gives Ellie her jacket, he still hasn’t forgiven her for what happened to Tess. Ellie calls him out and tells Joel not to blame her for something that isn’t her fault. She never asked to be taken out of the city.

The pair continue to walk on, heading along a five-mile hike to Bill and Frank’s place. Cumberland Farms is their stop-gap though, a run-down and abandoned gas station. Ellie finds an arcade machine for Mortal Kombat II and trades some jokes with Joel, all the while delivering pretty authentic dialogue for the characters from the game.

Ellie wanders off alone and finds a hatch leading down to the basement. She decides to explore alone, naturally, where she uncovers one of the infected. This time though, they’re wedged into the wall with fungi growing up the side of their head. Ellie hits the killer blow and puts the turned creature out of its misery.

With little ammo left, Joel decides to leave his shotgun behind before pressing on. As they do, Ellie riffs on the government, blaming them for being unable to contain a pandemic while trying to understand how all of this began.

According to Joel, the Cordyceps mutated, got into the food supply worldwide and around the same time on a Thursday, people bought the food and then got sick, eventually leading to the infected who began biting everyone else who wasn’t. It took 3 days for the infection to spread completely.

There are numerous skeletal remains in the woods too, which Joel explains are ordinary people who couldn’t find a home in the QZ (Quarantine Zone) so the soldiers took them outside and decided to gun them down.

It’s a grim story, and something that sees us cut back to September 30th 2003 to see play out. Bill happens to be watching from his house as soldiers round everyone up and prepare to head out. Bill hides in the basement and manages to avoid detection, despite the mandatory evacuation notice.

Bill heads outside wearing a gas mask and sporting his gun, which is pretty stupid since we know there are no spores in this show, before seemingly realizing this himself and learning that he’s well and truly alone. Like a true survivor, Bill grabs as much gear as possible, including several drums of petrol, supplies at the home depot and a whole bunch of alcohol. With his generator outside, Bill has enough to keep going, with a fence put up around the perimeter of the town.

Bill is eating well too, cutting up his own meat, watching the infected take themselves out through his various traps, and managing to survive for a good four years alone. That is, until a fateful day where one of the holes is triggered and Bill finds a guy called Frank inside.

Now, Frank was originally in a group of 10, trying to make it to Boston, but now it’s only Frank left. He’s also completely unarmed too. Bill decides to let the guy out, although he keeps a close eye on him. He checks for infection too and Frank is in the clear.

Bill allows Frank into his home with a change of clothes and a promise of food. As the pair sit down to eat together, Frank is shocked at the hearty meal and the perfect glass of wine to go with it. After, Frank starts messing about with the antique piano in the living room and begins playing. Bill begins playing thereafter; a heartfelt, grief-stricken song about a guy he lost.

Frank understands his pain and the pair begin kissing. Things are going great, especially when they get into bed… but then we fast forward to three years later. Frank and Bill end up in an argument as the former wants to paint the house, fix up some of the shops and get gas for the lawnmower. Frank wants to invite more people into the community and allow them to visit.

Frank though has been talking to friends on the radio. Friends that happen to be Tess and Joel, whom they decide to work with. Joel and Bill end up talking outside, with the former pointing out that there are things in the QZ he could get him. Specifically, gear to help with the perimeter fence, which Joel deduces only has about a year left at best. They also agree to use music on the radio as a code, which is Frank’s idea.

Before they part ways, Joel warns that raiders could come and attack at night and they need to be ready incase that happens. Well, this deal stays in place for a solid three years, as we cut forward to 2013. Frank has traded a gun with Joel and Tess for seeds so they can grow strawberries. And this unfortunately, happens to be the calm before the storm as raiders show up at the perimeter just as predicted that night.

Bill manages to hold them off but ends up shot in the process. Thankfully they survive as we jump forward once more another ten years as Bill and Frank both grow older together. Frank is not doing so well though, and decides that this is going to be his last day. With no doctor and no cure, Frank wants to go out on his own terms, with a great final day planned, including getting married and falling asleep in Bill’s arms after taking a whole stack of pills.

Back in the present, Joel and Ellie arrive at Bill’s town. It’s abandoned. They make it into Bill’s house but between the rotting food on the table and a note on the living room table from Bill, the inevitable has happened. He’s killed himself.

Bill also leaves behind a key for his car too, which he takes while Ellie reads out the letter. Within this note, Bill admits that he hated the world until one person came along that changed his mind and made things worth saving. He also gives the bunker code and anything else they may want to take too. “That’s why men like you and me are here. We have a job to do and God help any motherf*ckers who stand in our way.”

It’s a really nice way to contextualize Joel and Bill’s similarities, before we see Joel’s ticket out of there and for him to meet back up with his brother. He’s going for Wyoming and as Tommy used to be a Firefly, he may know where to take Ellie.

In the Bunker, the pair grab as many supplies as possible. Ellie also gets changed into her familiar gear from the games. This time though, Ellie finds a handgun and stashes it in her bag. They play some music as they head out, the same song that Frank originally sang when he first arrived in town.

The Episode Review

The Last Of Us returns with a really solid episode; a beautiful love letter to Bill’s past and a great backstory to flesh the world out. In fact, the serial changes here actually work much better for the story being told as opposed to the game, which leans much more into the action and thematic weight of showing these different individuals and how they’ve survived the infection.

Nick Offerman puts in a fantastic performance as Bill, with solid acting throughout and a really heartfelt scene with him learning about Frank’s final day. The entire gut-wrenching reveal, not to mention the final meal, hits on a deep level and really helps elevate this chapter.

On that same note, Bella Ramsey is much improved in her role as Ellie here, with the right balance between snarky teenager and sympathetic supporting lead.

At the same time though, these changes do rob us of one of the best parts of the game – Ellie and Bill’s banter. This is where Ellie really comes into her own and it’s a shame that the same parts don’t materialize, especially with the infamous magazine pages. For those unaware, in the game Bill is still alive and doesn’t commit suicide. Instead, he’s extremely paranoid and although he helps Joel and Ellie, the pair find Frank’s body hanging and a note revealing that he absolutely hates Bill’s guts. The more romantic ending for the show though fits with the world we’ve been introduced to.

The chapters ahead could well dial up the action a notch, especially as the attention turns to Philadelphia, which is a personal favourite part of the game, especially meeting Henry and Sam.

Although it’s incomparable to the far superior game, The Last Of Us isn’t a bad adaptation at all!

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You can read our full season review for The Last Of Us here!

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2 thoughts on “The Last Of Us – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review”

  1. I don’t get that “the far superior game”. Superior in what? The game is… well, a game. Most of it is shooting and looting, and just some brief cinematic scenes. The story is much more compelling that in most games and it has some great moments but that’s all, it’s pretty schematic.

    The series is doing an amazing job taking that skeleton of a script and adding context, expanding the relationships between the characters and elevating the story to something far more complex than it was originally.

    And this chapter was an absolute gem.

  2. The last of us was an absolute masterpiece of a game that did not need much changing for tv in my opinion.

    Gamers already knew bill and frank had a relationship and for any player said they didny was oblivious .

    It was a good episode for tv but for me we loat some pf the golden interactiona bill had with ellie in the game which this epiaode took away also bill still being alive in the game made me disappointed in this episode

    They could easily have had the first half of the time with frank and bill great but also had frank leave bill because he wanted more from life and kept the great scenes of bill ellie and joel so for me yeah good episode but missing what i loved about the game

    This is an episode that suits tv watchers rather than the gamers however stilla godd watch hopefully not too much more deviaitions from the game

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