The Last of Us: why is the episode about Bill and Frank so important? – News Series
The emotional third episode of The Last of Us, centered on the characters Bill and Frank, was central to the adaptation of the video game series. Here’s why.
Warning, spoilers. It is recommended to view episode 3 of The Last of Us before continuing to read this article.
The highly anticipated adaptation of the hit video game, The Last of Us is a hit right now. A real success in the United States on HBO and in France on Amazon Prime Video, this phenomenal series convinced a wide audience, from fans of the video game franchise to neophytes, from its first two episodes.
But the third chapter, now available, marks a turning point in The Last of Us. This episode makes it possible to elevate the series to even greater heights and stand out with the intensity of the source material by exploring more deeply its characters’ pasts. , here Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).
An episode of great emotional power
Still affected by the death of Tess (Anna Torv), Joel (Pedro Pascal) wants to find his former allies, Bill and Frank. He thinks they can be a big help in his mission, which is to bring Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies. Very quickly, the third episode of The Last of Us turns into a series of flashbacks, which reveal a heartwarming and tragic love story.
About Bill and Frank, and it’s over twenty years. In “Long, long time”, we find their meeting, the beginning of rapprochement and their idyll, the birth of true love, their struggle to protect their home, their joys, their sorrows, their strife, their shared moments, but also their “happy” ending. ” they.
Because when we go back to the present, we understand that Joel and Ellie won’t find Bill and Frank alive. Frank is paralyzed by a degenerative disease and asks Bill to help him end his life after marriage, which Bill does for love. She would follow her partner in death by committing suicide too, because she knew she couldn’t survive without Frank.
Thanks to performances by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, direction by Peter Hoar (It’s A Sin) and writing by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl), The Last of Us gives us one of the best episodes of the series, ever. which should be one of the must-see episodes of television.
Neil Druckmann, creator of the video game franchise and co-showrunner of the series, trusted his partner Craig Mazin to flesh out the characters Bill, much loved by game fans, and Frank, whose corpse we only see in the game, and write untold true stories. to them.
“We don’t have to stay with our two heroes the entire trip, or focus on one timeline and one place”explains Neil Druckmann to Deadlines, “So when Craig gave me the full story [de Bill et Frank]although it evolves over time, it’s all there.”
“It’s so beautiful and moving and connects and enhances the themes and problems of Joel and Ellie’s story in an engaging way. Even though we’re going in different directions, I find myself saying it’s a great idea”he added.
And the results are as sublime as it is heartbreaking. Craig Mazin was thrilled to know what director Peter Hoar and editor Tim Good had come up with, especially when he saw the first two-hour version of the episode:
“I was crying so hard that at one point I said out loud, ‘Ouch.’ I mean, that hurt. I cried so hard it hurt. And I thought if people could do this to me and I wrote this damn script, then I think it could work really well on other people.”
From Implied Clues to Disappointing Gay Romance
This third episode of The Last of Us was confusing to fans because it was an unpublished story, but also newbie viewers because the time was not for the “great” main action. But that is precisely what gives this chapter its beauty and value. The public takes the full brunt of another point of view – optimistic! – in this apocalyptic context and provides a glimmer of hope in a world where death reigns.
The beautiful love story between Bill and Frank comes as a suspended moment in the series, a breath of fresh air before returning to the atmosphere of Joel and Ellie’s oppressive and dangerous adventure. Above all, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. Video game fans know full well that Bill is gay and he has an affair with Frank.
Although this is never explicitly stated in The Last of Us Part I, there are indications that Bill was a homosexual. She is deeply affected by the death of Frank, with whom she lives, when she and Joel find his body and Ellie finds adult men’s magazines in Bill’s van.
Bill’s sexuality was even confirmed by game director and series creator Neil Druckmann in a 2014 interview for gay playerin which he explains that he wanted to include her more openly in the game but, in the end, his sexuality was treated in an ambiguous way.
With the series, co-showrunners can stage this gay romance, which contributes even more to LGBTQIA+ representation on television. A big challenge for the director of episode 3, Peter Hoar, who is also a homosexual.
He confided in an interview to Flip that it was an honor for him to be able to tell the touching, intimate, and just love story between Bill and Frank in The Last of Us:
“I just finished the series It’s a Sin, in which five boys go through the AIDS crisis in England. I didn’t realize how much voice I had, how much representation and how many people were listening.
The community has been amazing about the show. Now it’s happening again, not only with the LGBTQ community, but also with The Last of Us community, which is now mine.”
An important new plot for the series that stays in line with the game
This exploration of the romantic relationship between Bill and Frank in no way alters video game canon and in fact enriches it by adding an additional layer of emotion and depth to The Last of Us plot. Ellie’s relationship, although Bill does not eventually meet.
Already in the game, Bill explains to Joel that it’s hard to be apart from Frank, because they don’t share the same vision of the future: “Back then, I was a little attached to someone. He was a partner. Someone I had to protect. But in this world, that kind of crap only does one thing” Shot. So you know what I do? I’ve thought about it. And I decided to live alone.”
This cutscene foretells Joel’s future: he will become attached to Ellie and feel a certain fatherly love for her until seeing his life turned upside down. The fact of the deepening romance between Bill and Frank brings about feelings that will be born in Joel.
In the series, it is much more explicit, as Joel finds a letter left by Bill after their suicide in which he explains that protecting Frank was what gave his life meaning after the epidemic. And he unwittingly left behind the necessary tools so he could continue his story with Ellie.
Unlike their video game alter egos, Bill and Frank get to fully experience a love story, grow old together and die together in a tumultuous context and become a source of hope for Joel. Even though he has lost Tess, he will open up to Ellie and allow himself to become attached to her – who reminds him of his own daughter Sarah who tragically died – by wanting to live a life that is shallow and normal, in a context as dangerous as Bill and Frank.
Episode 3 of The Last of Us not only brought emotional depth to the series, but paid homage to the essence of video games. Despite its violence and post-apocalyptic context, The Last of Us remains a love story, a story full of humanity, much like that of Bill and Frank.
And the end shot of the episode is even a great nod to the game since it’s a shot in the window of Bill and Frank’s house. This plan is reminiscent of a video game work start menu, which is also a window, when you want to launch a game. A great way to end this episode, as explained by Craig Mazin:
“As a gamer, I’ve always loved The Last of Us splash screen. Look at that window and see how peaceful it is, even though the world isn’t peaceful and even though what happened to these characters isn’t peaceful.
And that just seemed like a great idea to us. There is an opportunity to show the idea of a permanent love that will always be in this building, in their home, but also the theme of this window which is the embodiment of peace in the world of The Last of Us. .”
The Last of Us series broadcasts on US+24 on Amazon Prime Video in France.