Three episodes in, it’s clear that HBO’s The Final of Us is a devoted adaptation of the unique online game from 2013 — a lot in order that strains and frames could have been pulled straight from the sport. That’s to not say that there aren’t adjustments, although. Collection co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are making strategic changes to sure parts of the sport for the brand new medium and to catch as much as fashionable sensibilities. The primary of these adjustments was with Joel’s associate, Tess, and the way her story in the end got here to an finish in episode 2. Whether or not it was an enchancment is debatable, however for a present devoted to preserving the anatomy of the supply materials, it was notable.
The filmmakers made one other main change within the third episode, and it’s one that’s unequivocally for the higher.
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for the third episode of HBO’s The Last of Us and the original The Last of Us video game.]
Invoice and Frank have been talked about offhand just a few instances over the previous two episodes, known as collaborators in Joel and Tess’ smuggling ring. Should you haven’t performed The Final of Us, these names imply nothing to you, however for many who have, Invoice, no less than, is a beloved character. Invoice is homosexual within the recreation, however it’s referenced so vaguely that loads of gamers missed it.
The choice to maintain it muted, hinted at in a single line of dialogue and a hidden letter, was each praised and criticized — it was straightforward to miss, however it additionally averted a whole lot of gay-character tropes, and allowed Invoice to be a human and never “a manifestation of sexuality,” as Polygon’s Danielle Riendeau put it on the time. Naughty Canine received recognition from GLAAD for its portrayal of Invoice within the group’s checklist of the yr’s “most intriguing new LGBTQ characters.”
The sport’s storyline doesn’t keep away from tropes altogether, although: It was criticized for “burying its gays.” Invoice doesn’t die, however Frank does — he’s discovered hanging in a home. Whereas Invoice is left behind in a much less safe a part of city, he doesn’t explicitly die; he’s simply by no means heard from once more.
Within the “Invoice’s City” section of The Final of Us, Joel and Ellie meet Invoice in Lincoln, Massachusetts, a small city northwest of Boston. Invoice’s clearly been prepping for some time, having strung up his a part of city with a bevy of tripwires and traps that should maintain out people, contaminated or not. (And the world round Lincoln has a ton of contaminated.) Joel and Ellie need assistance — specifically, a automobile. Whereas Invoice doesn’t have a automobile, he has elements they’ll use to repair a automobile up. As it’s possible you’ll anticipate, all the pieces goes a bit nuts. There’s a whole lot of shifting in regards to the city and combating off contaminated; it’s very intense in comparison with episode 3 of the present.
“Invoice’s City” is an thrilling part of the sport with a bunch of motion — together with a bloater! — however it’s additionally acquired a whole lot of smaller moments and quips between Invoice, Joel, and Ellie; it’s clear that all of them have difficult relationships, however nonetheless really feel a tenderness for one another. Invoice’s and Joel’s relationships mirror one another, which you’ll see because the chapter strikes on, and we find out about Frank’s destiny. After some shut calls with contaminated, the group hides in a home. Frank’s home. That’s the place they discover his physique, hanging. He acquired bit, they discovered, and wished to die earlier than turning.
There’s a notice the participant can decide up close to the physique, however it’s straightforward to overlook. Within the letter, Frank chastises Invoice for being afraid to go away the safety of his space, and outright tells Invoice that he hates him. Invoice might by no means have given Frank the life he wished to reside, Frank says.
You don’t have to provide the letter to Invoice, however you possibly can — and it clearly upsets him: “In order that’s how you are feeling,” Invoice says. “Effectively, fuck you too, Frank. Fuckin’ fool.” Invoice and Frank’s relationship within the recreation, relying on how gamers inferred it, is a tragic one, however it’s nearly objectively underserved.
It’s a harsh distinction to the Invoice and Frank we see within the present, the place a young love grows within the apocalypse. Episode 3 is crammed with small, candy moments between the 2, and whereas they squabble, their arguments undoubtedly have a special tone. It’s a romance that makes for top-of-the-line episodes of The Final of Us, and stands out amongst status TV, too. Certain, Invoice and Frank each die ultimately, however it’s on the finish of a difficult but stunning life.
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