Fans are emotionally recovering from the latest episode of The Last of Us. Airing on Sunday night (January 29), the third episode, “Long Long Time,” centered the apocalyptic love story between characters Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murrary Bartlett)
Prior to the episode’s release, show co-writer, Neil Druckmann – also the video game’s co-writer – shared that it would deviate from the show’s main storyline. “As awesome as that episode is, there are going to be fans who are upset by it,” Druckmann said in an interview with The New Yorker. “To me, the story we tell is authentic to the world. It’s authentic to the themes that we’re talking about.” In other words: there’s fidelity even in deviation.
“Long Long Time” was a masterclass in LGBTQ representation to some critics, as Frank is mainly seen dead in the 2013 TLOU video game, while others considered the episode to be insincere. Critic Riley MacLeod of the Washington Post wrote that Bill and Frank “fall into well-worn gay death tropes” while Jade King of The Gamer told CNN that “Long Long Time” was an improvement from the video game treating the duo’s relationship as an “afterthought.”
“Bill is left alone to deal with his failure of keeping Frank alive in the game, but here they die in each other’s arms, content that they have lived a full, loving life and can go out on their own terms,” King said. “You can almost view it as a reclamation of agency from queer characters who have so often been done wrong.”
The conclusion of “Long Long Time” made for an impactful end as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) discovers Bill and Frank’s bodies at the end before continuing on with their journey.
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