Critics argue that ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 3 was “unnecessary”

Critics argue that ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 3 was “unnecessary”

Updated: 1 month, 26 days, 17 hours, 37 minutes, 25 seconds ago

Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for The Last of Us, episode 3 “Long long time.”

HBO’s latest episode of The Last of Us sparked a debate amongst fans after it aired yesterday. The episode, “Long Long Time” took the “biggest departures” from the source material as it changed the backstories of Bill and Frank. It went from a hateful and sad relationship to something that lasted for more than a decade. And it was this change that caused a split among viewers.

Episode three didn’t primarily focus on Joel and Ellie. Instead, it was an hour-long romance episode about Bill and Frank’s blossoming relationship and how they died on their own terms in the middle of the apocalypse. While the episode received praise from viewers, some thought the episode was a filler. As of writing, the episode currently sits at 8.3 stars on IMDB. And 20 percent of the votes were filled with one-star reviews.

Asides from the usual “woke” comments due to its positive portrayals of a gay relationship, angered viewers believed that the episode didn’t add to the ongoing story. They argued the backstory of two minor characters, who just died at the end, wasn’t entertaining and was seen as a waste of time. Meanwhile, some found the episode “cringe” or “melodramatic” and that it was unnecessary.

Meanwhile, others who liked the episode wished that there were moments in the game that stayed in the show. More specifically, Ellie and Bill’s interaction. In the games, Ellie and Bill argue with each other due to Bill’s suspicions of people he doesn’t trust. Some fans believed that it was somewhat of a missed opportunity to see a comedic interaction between the two, especially since Nick Offerman, the actor who played Bill, is a comedian. But at the same time, they were fine with the change.

it’s a actually a crime that they took the bill/ellie scenes away from us THEY WERE SO CHAOTIC #thelastofus— joel miller defender TLOU SPOILERS (@ellievjoel) January 30, 2023

However, there were arguments shared on how the episode played a role in Joel and Ellie’s story, even if it wasn’t focused on them. The first was how in the games, Joel and Ellie were helping Bill find a car battery. While there might be some interesting interactions, seeing that transformed into a TV format might not be as entertaining as you may think. So it made sense why the writers wanted to change it. Also, people who played the games believe that the original portrayal of Bill and Frank had little plot development compared to the show.

Lastly, there was the letter that Bill leaves behind for Joel. It showed how Bill wanted to survive but changed the moment he met Frank. Fans believe Joel learns something from Bill’s writing, which makes Bill and Frank’s relationship some sort of catalyst for Joel’s future actions with Ellie.

In a behind-the-scenes video of episode three, The Last of Us showrunner, Neil Druckmann explains his philosophy when it comes to following or deviating from the original story. He says that if the new version of the story is better, they deviate. And if the writing for the episode is somewhat similar to the game, they have to follow the source material. Both he and Craig Mazin have acknowledged that this episode might receive criticism due to the changes made. Yet, both took the opportunity to expand on these two characters and believe it paid off.

At the end of the day, the episode still followed what needed to happen like in the games — Joel got Bill’s car to take Ellie to the Fireflies. Except this time, he might have received some sort of wisdom that Bill obtained from his relationship.

New episodes of The Last of Us streams every Sunday on HBO Max