The Final Of Us supplied up among the finest episodes of tv I’ve seen in a really very long time final night time, however as I predicted, it’s a controversial one, each as a result of it’s a departure from the online game and since it focuses nearly completely on the connection between Invoice (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).
I’ve seen each doable response to this episode from readers, starting from the identical enthusiasm I felt about it to blatant homophobia, complaining that ‘the homosexual agenda’ is being ‘shoved down our throats’ (or the ‘woke agenda’ and many others.)
I discover this line of criticism completely vapid, if not downright bigoted. Whereas I do assume that there are occasions when trendy Hollywood sacrifices high quality artwork and first rate writing on the altar of pressured illustration and variety, this isn’t a type of occasions. This isn’t tokenistic check-boxing. This episode was a lovingly produced, extraordinarily well-written story about two individuals who fell in love in the course of the apocalypse and struggled and persevered till they couldn’t anymore.
The present’s co-creator—and director of the online game—Neil Druckmann defined to IGN why he and his fellow show-runner, Craig Mazin, determined to make these adjustments and broaden a lot on the lives of Invoice and Frank:
Once we bought to this half within the season, Craig introduced up a extremely attention-grabbing level which is there’s numerous examples of issues not turning out properly for folks, and infrequently these are reflections and cautionary tales for Joel of ‘here is what you stand to lose. It was, ‘what if we present them what you can stand to win?’
However in a manner, it is also nonetheless a warning signal for Joel, particularly on the heels of dropping Tess on the finish of [Episode 2]. Within the TV present, we might depart our principal character’s perspective, which within the recreation we’re very a lot adhered to purely Joel or purely Ellie. Right here, we might see what occurred with Invoice within the outbreak. After which what was it like to satisfy Frank and fall in love with Frank and develop outdated with Frank, after which the total cycle of affection and residing along with somebody and experiencing loss, however loss is tinged with happiness of getting lived a full life stuffed with love.
Mazin describes the top of the episode as comfortable, telling IGN:
I feel it’s a comfortable ending. I feel we are likely to view loss of life as failure, notably in while you’re speaking about taking part in a online game. It’s actually failure. And for our present up to now, there’s been some brutal moments the place Joel has failed or at the very least perceives that he is failed: he failed his daughter, he is failed Tess, and he is definitely feeling that weight at each the start and finish of this episode.
I am notably comfortable about the best way Invoice has managed to encourage Joel to take Ellie west. He is given Joel this posthumous instruction that males such as you and me are right here for one cause, to guard the folks we love, and God assist any motherfuckers who stand in our manner. And it is laborious for Joel to say, ‘Effectively, it did not work with Tess, however now what am I presupposed to do? Cease being who I’m? That is legitimately why I am right here.’ And so it is the comfortable ending and Invoice’s understanding of who he was as a human being that evokes Joel to do the best factor right here. The query is that’s it at all times going to encourage Joel to do the best factor? We’ll have to attend and see.
In different phrases, exhibiting the life and love and loss that Invoice and Frank skilled gave us a brand new glimpse into this world and the issues that—even ultimately occasions—are nonetheless value combating for. And thru that, Invoice is ready to remind Joel of his personal goal, which is now to guard Ellie.
One other vital level: Invoice and Frank had been at all times offered as being homosexual. Their relationship was solely alluded to within the 2013 recreation, however it was there. This isn’t some wild change from the unique supply. It’s simply an enlargement of those characters’ tales, which I feel is an excellent factor to do. As Druckmann explains, now they’ve the power to inform tales past Joel and Ellie’s due to this being a tv present as a substitute of a recreation. It is smart to make the most of TV’s strengths.
Lastly, to these complaining that this isn’t a 1:1 adaptation of the sport, all I can say is you continue to have the sport if you’d like that. I want some adjustments even in a really trustworthy adaptation. As we’ve seen, many photographs and contours of dialogue are lifted immediately from the online game, and that’s superior! However it might be bizarre to adapt it so intently that it’s precisely the identical in each manner. I cherished Invoice and Ellie within the recreation and their banter simply as a lot as the subsequent man, however the story doesn’t lose something that vital and positive aspects fairly a little bit of depth and emotional resonance with these adjustments.
I talk about this episode and the response on-line to it in my newest video:
Learn my overview of Episode 3 proper right here.