CW: Spoilers ahead and mentions of suicide
Fans of The Last of Us have been commending the show’s latest episode for maintaining an accurate adaptation of the zombie apocalypse video game while giving audiences new insight into an incredibly meaningful and memorable gay love story.
When the video game was released in 2013, Bill and Frank’s story was simple. They were lovers, but Frank grew unhappy with their relationship and left after a fight. Later, gamers learn that he died by suicide after being attacked by clickers, leaving fans heartbroken because their short time together ended in conflict.
While the television series has largely followed the narrative of the video game so far, a few adjustments to the plot in episode three have fans praising the adaptation for being “spiritually true to the game” while taking the storyline in an intentionally different direction.
Compared to the video game’s short-lived relationship, in the adaptation, we get to see Frank and Bill’s friendship evolve into an all-encompassing romance.
The episode follows their love story through a series of beautiful scenes where they build a connection over decades based on mutual care and affection, and audiences see them spend many happy years together as a couple.
Y’all this was an incredible episode and anyone who is legitimately mad at this don’t understand what a good adaptation is SUPPOSED to do, it’s not supposed to be a carbon copy of the game. It would be pointless if it was. This change actually enhances the story
— Kelly 💚 @ Fire Emblem Engage Hype!❤️💙 (@roxas_best_boy) January 31, 2023
In the most significant deviation, instead of Frank leaving abruptly after an intense argument, we see him decide to end his life after growing ill over time and not wanting to be a burden on his partner.
Bill is unwilling to live without Frank, and he decides to end his life as well. Together, they share their favourite bottle of wine combined with lethal quantities of a white powder and fall asleep in each other’s arms.
While the storylines are different, the themes are similar enough that the adaption still feels accurate to the video game. The audience feels intimately connected to the characters and more invested in their love story. Fans are calling it one of the best television episodes ever made.
sat down expecting an hour of grotesque fungus monsters and got the most gut wrenching love story of the decade #TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/A0TrPjmK7S
— Binch Patrol (@FritterBoochie) January 30, 2023
the last of us just randomly telling one of the most beautiful and devastating gay love stories i’ve ever seen on television…with nick offerman no less.. pic.twitter.com/p201aseJj2
— sappho’s friend (@grakke) January 30, 2023
It was like an hour long version of the Up scene and I was NOT mentally prepared for it🥲#TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/xC0IRCEzSg
— Alex 🍥 Loves U. (@alexisamenace) January 30, 2023
By dedicating the episode to the development of their love story, the audience gets a break from the otherwise dystopian world. And instead of emphasising the tragedy and following the damaging bury your gays trope, The Last of Us somehow manages to transform the tragic narrative into something beautiful and comforting.
While The Last of Us is already widely appreciated as one of the best video games turned TV series ever, this episode in particular, telling an apocalyptic tale through the lens of a gay love story, has earned a rare near-perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
hbo’s the last of us casually dropping the most heartbreaking queer love story ever depicted on television out of nowhere pic.twitter.com/QbTijC4XyH
— ren ☆ (@rendelphobic) January 30, 2023
Tonight’s episode of #TheLastOfUsHBO is one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen
— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) January 30, 2023
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