'The Last of Us' Episode 3 Is Actually a Sweet Coming Out Story
It's safe to come out now, Bill.
Editor's Note: The following contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 3.
If you didn't cry while watching this week's episode of The Last of Us, you either have a furry heart or you're watching the wrong thing. Jokes aside, So Long, My Son appears to be a masterpiece written by the TV gods themselves to dehydrate the average viewer by watching a beautiful and compelling story about love, loneliness, and self-acceptance. The backstory of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) is something fans have been dying to know for nearly a decade, and the series tells it in a deeply emotional and unexpected way.
To tell us this, HBO's adaptation had to make some major changes to the story told in the original 2013 game, but again for the better. Back then, Bill was living alone in a small town, and he used it as a giant clicker trap, which only hinted that he and Frank were once a couple. Only when Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) flee the town in Bill's car, and the girl finds an adult magazine in the backseat , before it becomes clear that Bill is actually gay, and his character begins immediately make sense. Cut to 2023, and in the series, we finally get to know more about the couple, and Bill makes more sense now.
Bill Masked His True Self By Being Angry At The World
Before the Cordyceps outbreak, everyone lived completely different lives. In the twenty years between Armageddon and The Last of Us, people have been through a lot. The world changes and people change with it, usually for the worst. But not everyone. When we meet Bill, he's in a very dark place -- literally. From the bunker he built under his mother's basement, he watched nonchalantly as all his neighbors boarded a FEDRA truck and headed for what they believed to be relocation to Boston's quarantine zone, but where in reality they were about to be executed and thrown into a mass grave , discovered many years later by Joel and Tess (Anna Torv).
Bill is actually glad the world is ending. A subscriber to many conspiracy theories, twisted ideologies and surrounded by guns, he built what he thought was the perfect hideout where everything was heading south. He just doesn't understand that he's hiding from himself, really. we learned about the house He lives in his mother's house, and everything points to him as a fairly oppressed young man growing up. That's usually why people become lone wolves like him, especially men who try to hide their insecurities with what they believe to be an indestructible shell.
It should be clear by now that Bill is clearly an out gay man who has built an entire character around hiding his true nature. When he describes himself as Joel's "survivalist," it's not just about surviving the end of the world, but going through a life that denies who he is. Well, not really living, just surviving. He felt that the world did not allow him to understand himself, so he closed himself up. Ultimately though, everyone needs to come out, whether from a closet or an actual hiding place. In many cases, coming out is not just about telling others, but mainly about understanding yourself and being yourself with peace of mind.
Bill wasn't like this before the pandemic, he cultivated anger at the world to hide his true nature. He mentions to Frank that he only had sex with one girl a long time ago, which shows how hard he tries to fit in with someone he likes Expected to be, but can't, really. It was only when Frank showed up, and there was hardly anyone else around, that Bill felt comfortable enough to come out. He takes Frank in because he can be himself and doesn't fit any label. Frank saw him for what he was, and that was all it took, really.
Leaning Into Bill and Frank's Love Benefits The Last of Us
So far, The Last of Us has deviated from the original game in many ways, but it maintains the same basic premise: we can beat the ending only by remaining human. Love is a big part of the idea, and frankly, there isn't much going on these days. We've seen a lot of grief and discovery and sacrifice in the first three episodes of the series, but true love is, for the first time, romantic love.
Having someone to live for means a lot to most people, especially those who hide themselves as deeply as Bill did. We don't know who Frank was before he met him, but we do know that he was able to read Bill like a book, because Bill's story is the same one that millions of people experience every day today.
Of course, The Last of Us isn't Psycho, so naturally, it's handled with more nuance and maturity, with plenty of dialogue with our own world. After being locked away for so long, Bill was able to get Frank out of that hole because he understood the importance of helping people in their circumstances. He didn't want to accept Frank at first, but it was the human touch that put him at ease.
It helps a lot if the other person is someone as caring and thoughtful as Frank. Before him, Bill allowed himself little, like cooking his own meals, watching clickers and stalkers get tangled up in his tripwire, like a post-apocalyptic version of Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation (probably Deliberate gimmick, since Offerman plays both roles). But that doesn't mean he's really enjoying his life. Frank sees the dust around the house, which is a perfect metaphor for Bill himself. That house, like Bill himself, needs attention, and Frank is willing to give it. "Focus on things, that's how we show love," he tried to convince His partner keeps the fenced cul-de-sac they live in alive. Bill was always ignoring attention, there was never room in his life because he was constantly trying not to be himself. By the end, he's engrossed himself, even sorting out Frank's pills in rhyme.
"Once Upon a Time" tells a story of self-acceptance in a unique and timely way. "I was never afraid until you came" might be the most beautiful line in the series so far. It speaks volumes about what love really is, being willing to be vulnerable around someone, letting that person be your weakness for fear of losing. There's no more flimsy backdrop than the end of the world, and we're glad Bill allowed himself - we've seen such a beautiful story.