We arrived at the third episode of The Last of Us series , which aired last Sunday and showed that production has begun to tread more ambitious paths.
With almost an entire chapter of new content, we have the introduction of Bill, an old friend of Joel and Tess and a face already known to fans, in a completely unexpected way.
After Tess’s death, Joel and Ellie leave for the city of Lincoln to find Bill, an old business partner of the smugglers. The first scenes show a new dynamic on screen, with the main duo of the story talking and interacting more with each other, each in their own way: Joel almost monosyllabic, while Ellie talks at her elbows. Once again, Bella Ramsey and, mainly, Pedro Pascal delivering excellent performances.
Fans of the game will still notice an easter egg that makes their hearts warm. While looking for supplies in an abandoned diner, Ellie finds a broken arcade machine – which is an optional conversation in the game. The sequence also has a curious scene, in which the girl finds an infected person in the basement and has a moment of reflection, since the creature shows a sad face.
Then there’s a twist after Joel explains to Ellie how the Cordyceps epidemic started, which leads to a series of flashbacks, which introduce Bill ( Nick Offerman ).
The chapter focuses on developing Bill’s arc up to the present day, starting in 2003, and charts a very different path from the game.
Bill was the only Lincoln inhabitant not to be caught by the military from quarantines, so he decided to fend for himself in the place. Thus, we see how he managed to survive for so long without help, setting up infected traps, camera systems and a massive arsenal of weapons. Until, when he least expected it, someone fell into one of his traps, a man named Frank ( Murray Bartlett ). And Bill decides to help him.
Frank exists in the game, but not alive. The series, on the other hand, chooses to show him as a normal human and goes beyond. There are significant changes in the arc and ending of the two characters, showing different facets of their personalities.
Carefully and intimately directed by Peter Hoar ( Daredevil ), the episode explores the relationship between Bill and Frank, something that was subjective in the game but is explicitly confirmed in the series. Thus, the script hits the spot by highlighting the duo and delivering unprecedented events, which expand the universe of The Last of Us beyond the eyes of Joel and Ellie.
Offerman shows a brilliant and very expressive performance, especially in scenes where Bill is suspicious or vulnerable. Bartlett, on the other hand, gives himself in the same way to the role of Frank, stealing the spotlight in several moments.
Thus, most of the episode focuses on Bill and Frank, which ends with an extremely bittersweet ending, gradually and movingly built into the script. Intelligently, the series takes advantage of the fact that it is a more flexible medium to make such changes, which work and give a fresher look to HBO’s production.
When the focus returns to Joel and Ellie, the third live-action chapter ends triumphantly, intertwining the character arcs and establishing a new journey for the lead duo. It was definitely an episode whose ambition I want to see more of during the course of the season.
The Last of Us wins new episodes on Sundays on HBO and HBO Max .