The second episode of The Last of Us reached another great achievement, growing from 4.7 million viewers to more than 5.7 million according to Nielsen’s rating data. It’s one of the fastest-growing series in HBO’s history with more than 22% viewership growth since its premiere. Does the third episode follow the trend of excellence from previous episodes? Let’s explore what The Last of Us episode 3, titled “Long Long Time“ has in store for viewers.
[Warning: Light spoilers for HBO’s The Last of Us episode 3 and the game are below!]
Joel and Ellie’s evolving relationship
In the third episode, there weren’t the typical pre-pandemic flashbacks as were shown previously. We’re thrown back into the story of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they travel to meet Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
But first things first, they need to stop at the gas station, where Joel left some weapons and useful things needed for the journey. At the station, we learn that Ellie is obsessed with zombies and eventually wants to kill one. She found one in the basement and decides to deal with him without Joel finding out about it.
During their walk, Joel explained the whole Day 0 situation to Ellie. This brings them slightly closer because, after Ellie hears how tragic that day was, she doesn’t want to joke about it.
We learned that the military tried to evacuate people to safe places. But even if someone wasn’t sick, they still killed them if there wasn’t room for them in the safe zones. We also found out that the so-called “Bread Theory” from the game’s release has been confirmed.
The theory was that the cordyceps infection first mutated and then spread through flour-based products. As Joel said in the episode, it was in the daily food that people ate. As we knew from the first episode Joel, Sarah (Nico Parker), and Tommy (Gabriel Luna) didn’t eat much of this food, they preferred fast food so this probably saved them. Although the episode begins with Ellie & Joel, the rest of the episode focuses on Bill and Frank’s story.
Frank and Bill’s meeting and love story
We learn that when Day 0 started, Bill was the only one prepared for such a situation. After the army left his city, he surrounded the entire town with rods, bars, and weapons. He lived like this for four years, until one day a stranger fell into the hole in the ground that he made. That stranger was Frank. Frank somehow convinced Bill to give him food and take a shower. When they finished eating, Frank started playing the piano, and after a conversation full of tears, they both kissed for the first time.
The episode jumps forward three years and Frank has stayed with Bill. They live in a happy and heated relationship, but they still love each other no matter what. Frank wants to have a normal life and have friends even in a post-apocalyptic world, while Bill is a more realistic person who tells him “Frank, we will never have friends because there are no friends to be had.” Frank was more than eager to prove Bill wrong and confessed to him that he had been talking to a woman on the radio for a long time, that woman being Tess (Anna Torv).
We find out how Joel and Tess met Bill and Frank. While Frank and Tess were great friends from the moment they met, Joel and Bill were paranoid and down-to-earth types of men. In the end, however, they decided to cooperate. Walking away, Joel warned Bill that eventually people will quietly come to his establishment at night and rob the place.
When they finished talking, the episode jumps to 2013 and shows that Frank planted strawberries. Although it’s a short scene, it shows that Bill is now afraid of death and losing Frank, as time flies inexorably and they both age. After that comes the night Joel prophesized, which brings Bill and Frank closer than ever before.
The plot of this episode was an excellent and very emotional love story of two people who found each other by chance. Even in times like this, they have each other’s backs, fighting for each other and leading “normal” lives. There were no scenes between Bill and Frank in the game, only a mention that they live together. Here we see them as a couple, which shows us that no matter how broken or how lost you may be, you still deserve love.
The on-screen chemistry between Nick Offermann and Murray Bartlett was something that deserves much applause. This episode had great acting full of emotions, drama, and tears. I’m glad that Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin decided to tell us this warm, gripping, honest, and difficult story about love in times like these and the importance of having someone that you care about in your life.
Final thoughts on The Last of Us episode 3 – “Long Long Time”
The last time jump is ten years into the future to 2023, where the current events of The Last of Us take place. I won’t give away too much of what happens next, but in the end, Joel and Ellie are on their way to Pittsburgh in their iconic clothes straight from the game.
Episodes like this one are just what viewers need from time to time. It’s not about a zombie apocalypse, a pandemic, or people trying to kill each other, but about what matters most in life, and that is love and family. I must admit that I cried while watching this episode and was overwhelmed by the huge amount of emotions it brought.
The third episode of The Last of Us is available on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes arriving weekly. Did you like it? Let us know on Twitter and our Discord channel. And if you haven’t already, check out our review of The Last of Us’ second episode!