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The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 3 Review

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Episode 3 is on mushroom zombies

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett  in last of us
Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett Photo: Liane Hentscher/HBO

To keep us interested in episode three of The Last of Us, co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann had to up the ante on the narrative. The Last of Us' third episode deviates significantly from the game's narrative for the first time. The first two weren't snoozers; they offer a lot of tasty world-building, ominous atmospheres, frightful action, and deserving heroes. But in the last twenty years or so, the culture has produced a huge amount of grim, dark dystopia.

The Last of Us' Ellie wade through a flooded hotel lobby in last week's episode, savouring the deteriorating grandeur of a social institution she had only read about. She spends some time this week in a stylish old home with antique furniture and a piano. She lacks any context for what a home like this actually means, not even from books. Joel, on the other hand, has frequently exchanged goods and services during the preceding 15 years with Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), the house's previous occupants. Joel doesn't express his emotions, but it is simple to assume that for him this house served as a doorway to a cosier, safer past, similar to the one he had in Austin.

All of this is reason to celebrate "Long Long Time," a survivalist chic, rom-com, and cancer weepie with distinctly different tropes. The majority of the episode consists of Joel and Ellie hiking west of Boston, getting supplies and a truck, and leaving. This is basically an artistically telescoped film. Tommy, Joel's Firefly sibling, is in Wyoming and can assist Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in travelling to the lab where it may be possible to learn why she is immune to infection. The plot of our heroes doesn't really get much further. Ellie, who has been pleading for a gun, eventually finds one and hides it from Joel in her backpack. That will either present a challenge or prove useful soon. I'll paraphrase Joel as he lays out the guidelines , Avoid discussing your grief, don’t show anyone your bitten arm, and do what I say.

Pedro Pascal and Nick Offerman in The Last Of Us
Pedro Pascal and Nick Offerman Photo: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The rapid cuts from earlier, when he was establishing his perimeter and hiding from the outside world, have been replaced by slower cuts as we witness his desire to once again appreciate life's minor pleasures. It is an incredibly powerful illustration of the idea that without love, life is nothing more than survival. The entire final day of Frank and Bill is quite moving. Because it's so uncommon for someone to be able to say a meaningful farewell in this world, it's terrible but also mournful. As the gorgeous, rising strings provide the music for their last moments, echoes of Max Richter's On the Nature of Daylight, which was used in similarly devastating situations from Arrival and Shutter Island, can be heard.

From the minute Frank entered his life, it was essentially a self-written prophecy that it would end in heartbreak. In our world, nothing is permanent in the first place, but during a pandemic, everything seems much more flimsy. A lovely reminder that everyone can find love, regardless of who or where they want to look for it. It's tragic, wise, and painfully romantic.

However, this is still Bill and Frank's episode, and they continue to completely control it on a physical and emotional level. It's a wise decision to make their story more upbeat, giving the pair their own spotlight and bringing a rare grin to the otherwise gloomy events that follow. It transforms this chapter's initially bitter-tasting finale into something much sweeter and, ultimately, a much more successful one. This is the first significant alteration to the story from the original game.

It's a fantastic hour of television to watch The Last of Us, episode 3 on HBO. By providing two characters with a nicer, more positive time together, it sheds light on a chapter that had previously been buried in resentment. We are given a side of humanity that justifies what Joel and Ellie are fighting for, thanks to Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, who take on major character responsibilities with grace. Like love, it is an experience that stays in the memory for a very long time.


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