“Long Long Time” Spoiler Review – ScreenHub Entertainment – ScreenHub Entertainment

By Sean Gallagher

I have no doubt in my mind that this episode of The last of us will be quite divisive. There are several reasons for this, but the main one is that this episode has the most deviations from the source material to date. Did it work? Let’s find out.

Long time opens with Joel and Ellie at the edge of a stream, Joel making a cairn to honor Tess. But without their leader, Joel and Ellie are forced to start talking to each other and Ellie starts asking him questions. The duo make a pit stop at a gas station, where Joel hid equipment years ago while Ellie discovers an infected being under the station, buried in rubble. Ellie seems to enjoy inflicting pain on the infected, presumably because of all the pain they’ve caused her, as she cuts off the infected face before killing it. The duo eventually pass a field of bones and Ellie learns that the government was quite willing to murder uninfected people in the name of inventory and space control.

But the episode changes quickly and goes into an extended flashback featuring Bill and Frank seeing the bones. It’s quite a change, as we were just getting to see the foundations of Joel and Ellie’s relationship, but the action jumps back to 20 years earlier and we suddenly have to meet two new leads for this episode. Played by Nick Offerman, Bill is a paranoid, gun-loving, government-hating guy who evades Fedra’s capture thanks to his hidden bedroom in the basement. He quickly sets up his own private utopia, complete with traps and monitors. Bill is a loner and is perfectly content to live out the rest of his life watching the world burn around him as he outwits Fedra.

[Credit: HBO Max]

But he finally crosses paths with Frank. While Bill is a survivalist in the sense of preparation, Frank is a survivalist in the sense of self-preservation. I really think Frank was looking for a protector and found it in Bill, who had shelter and could cook, and Frank was willing to exploit his own body in exchange for food and shelter. Frank says “I’m not a whore”, but he kind of is at this point. But I also think that over time, these two learned to break down their walls and actually fell in love with each other. We follow them for almost twenty years and see their ups and downs as a couple. Bill’s genuine laugh at seeing strawberries is completely human, because growing strawberries isn’t something that was in Bill’s nature, but Frank was able to bring him that joy (at the cost of one of his pistols – a “little”).

A major change from the source material is that Bill commits suicide with Frank, which means Bill gets no scene with Joel and Ellie. It’s a bit of a loss because those interactions were so good in the game, but I also think Bill’s passing was tragic but somehow happier than surviving to meet Joel and Ellie. In The last of us game, Frank abandons Bill and kills himself and the implication is that the two had a huge falling out. Here, the two stay together until the very end. Frank wants to kill himself because he lives with an illness, but Bill chooses to die next to Frank, next to each other in bed. It’s wildly tragic but also touching.

[Credit: HBO Max]

More importantly, this episode and the closing theme is ultimately about love and how it can be rediscovered in even the most jaded and bitter souls. This story, although it concerns two homosexuals, is ultimately a mirror for Joel, who is Bill at the start of the flashback, bitter and emotionally walled up. But love gave Bill purpose and that saved him, ironically, so maybe Joel, who basically has no humanity at this point, can be saved as well.

So with Bill out of the picture, Joel is still chained up with Ellie and decides to take her on his initial search for Tommy, who was a Firefly and may know where to take Ellie. The two walk out of Frank Town listening to music and the wall between them slowly begins to fall. I wish we could see Ellie and Bill bickering and the whole sequence with the school, but it’s an interesting episode that explores love, a key theme of The last of us. But given that there are only nine episodes in the first season (and another flashback-heavy episode to come), hopefully we’ll start delving into the relationship with Joel and Ellie right now, because they have little runtime left. dive into their history. But as it stands, it was a touching, albeit surprisingly different, episode of The last of us.


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