How The Last of Us’ Bill and Frank Romance Impacts the Rest of the Show

Older versions of Bill and Frank sitting together by the piano, wearing suits on The Last of Us.

The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin hopes Bill and Frank’s love story in Episode 3 will stay in the audiences’ minds for the rest of the show.

The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin revealed how Episode 3, which largely focused on Bill and Frank’s relationship, impacts how the audience views the rest of the show.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Mazin explained why The Last of Us Episode 3, titled “Long Long Time,” took a surprising detour from the game. The showrunner detailed how essential it was to tell the story of two people finding unlikely love in a post-apocalyptic world. “The idea was to show these two people functioning in a relationship, two very different people who have different concepts of how to love,” he said. “And in their relationship and their two different ways of loving, both outward and inward, we create a kind of thematic codex for the whole show. Every relationship we see from that point forward, you can feel like a Bill and Frank kind of lurking inside everybody.”

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How HBO’s The Last of Us Changes Bill and Frank’s Story

In The Last of Us video game, Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) get into a fight which leads to Frank leaving. Not as equipped as Bill to protect himself, Frank ends up being bitten and decides to hang himself so that the cordyceps infection doesn’t take him. Bill is therefore left alone and ends up guiding Joel and Ellie as they make their way through his town. While he is mentioned by Joel later in the game and by Ellie in Part 2, it is never revealed what ended up happening to Bill.

The HBO adaptation makes a significant change by centering Episode 3 on Bill and Frank’s entire love story. The audience now knows how they met, what their everyday life looked like, and why they eventually decided to commit suicide together. In the show, Frank suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy. Deciding he can’t continue on any longer, he tells Bill to crush his medication into his glass of wine. Bill, deciding that he has severed his “purpose” in protecting Frank, pours the medication into the entire bottle, and they both pass away together.

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Mazin explained why he decided to make this change from The Last of Us storyline, claiming he felt like the audience would need a slight break from Joel and Ellie’s journey after two action-packed episodes. “I had an instinct that we would probably need to take a breath as an audience after the first two episodes,” he said. “I wanted a way to show some of the passage of time between Outbreak Day and the current day of the show without doing more of the same, of the world falling apart.”

Season 1 of The Last of Us is currently airing on HBO, with new episodes every Sunday.

Source: Entertainment Weekly


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