The Last of Us gay storyline praised as one of the best-ever television episodes

Episode three's gay love story managed to transform a tragic narrative into something beautiful and comforting.

Actors Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett sit side by side in episode three of The Last of Us adaptation.
Image: Twitter @yayaati_

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.

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.

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.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.