Once again, “The Last Of Us” spends a notable amount of time in the past, but this time it feels worth it.


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Once again, “The Last Of Us” spends a notable amount of time in the past, but this time it feels worth it.

Aired (HBO) January 29, 2023
Episode Title Long Long Time
Director(s) Peter Hoar
Writer(s) Craig Mazin
Noted Characters
Ellie Bella Ramsey
Joel Pedro Pascal
Frank Murray Bartlett
Bill Nick Offerman

Recap

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Baby’s First Kill – Ellie, Joel

Now about 10 miles west of Boston, Joel and Ellie start settling into being stuck together. This is of great benefit to Ellie, since Joel is from the old world and can tell her things that FEDRA never did, like what caused the end of the world and what it was like to fly in a plane. As for Joel, the benefit isn’t really there for him right now.

Though with going into a Cumberland Farms store and Ellie showing at least the ability to kill an infected, even if she doesn’t have a gun, she does show potential. Add in her scavenger skills and curiosity, and Joel may have an asset just yet. I mean, can you imagine how hard it is to find tampons nearly 20 years after the apocalypse?

Love In The Time Of The Apocalpypse – Frank, Bill

When the infection hit, many small towns were evacuated, and those who couldn’t make it into a quarantine zone were just killed. But, while many left, others like Bill saw the evacuation of their town as an opportunity. With his survivalist skills, he created a border with traps, started to get all the fuel he’d need to be able to cook and power his small little paradise and damn if his work didn’t protect him from wandering clickers for four years.

But, naturally, not all threats ended up being clickers. Bill had to deal with raiders but also Frank. Originally, Frank wandered onto the outside of Bill’s property on his way to Boston after Baltimore QZ failed, and, lucky for him, the pits Bill made weren’t spike pits, just deep holes. On top of that, he also is lucky he is cute, and Bill is gay since it turned a situation that could have turned deadly into a nearly 15-year relationship. One that only ended due to old age and both committing suicide – so they could die when they wanted to.

The New Plan – Joel, Ellie

With Joel and Tess old friends of Frank and Bill, and trading partners, Joel took Ellie there for them to restock, and they discovered Frank and Bill had killed themselves. Being that Ellie didn’t know them, she is more curious about their stuff than sad, and as shown with Joel, he has suppressed his emotions to the point where their death is not much more than information. It doesn’t trigger much, if anything, feeling-wise.

But, lest we forget, even if Joel refused to claim Tess as his girlfriend, he is in mourning of his own partner, so he doesn’t have the capacity to worry about Frank and Bill and what they have done. He needs the guns from Bill’s bunker, he finally gets a battery and a vehicle, and he plans to head to Wyoming to check in on his brother. Who, with him being a former Firefly, might be able to direct him where to take Ellie so that he has one less thing to worry about.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So you’re telling me, for 20 years, Bill and Frank somehow managed to hold down that area all by themselves with a bunch of traps? No one followed Tess and Joel, and FEDRA didn’t discover and attack it? I get fear of the world outside of QZs was high, and movement was limited, but surely not to that level, right?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Learning about Tommy’s journey towards being a Firefly and why he fell out with them

Review

Highlights

Frank and Bill

Bill and Frank about to kiss
“Bill and Frank about to kiss,” The Last Of Us, “Long Long Time,” directed by Peter Hoar, 2023, (HBO)

While we still think “The Last Of Us” struggles with creating genuine emotional moments, the closest it has ever gotten to that is Frank and Bill. Granted, them being an opposites attract odd couple more so created comical and cute situations than emotional ones. However, you do have to appreciate that a show about fungal zombies isn’t trying to make every episode about a massive amount of killing and near misses. Beyond a reprieve, after the dramatic loss of Tess, Frank, and Bill set a precedent of believing there is a reason to be hopeful in what’s to come.

Much less, we may meet characters who haven’t had their personalities drained by the apocalypse.

Ellie’s First Kill

Anyone who has played the video games knows Ellie eventually gets a gun and knows how to use her knife or a shiv on certain clickers. So her getting her first kill and not being affected by it, will likely set up her journey from less so running and hiding and more so focusing on how to kill and survive. Add in her likely saving Joel from death, and we may get the first big moment on screen that actually can be felt off-screen.

On The Fence

Things Feeling A Bit Too Formulaic With Someone Dying Every Episode No Sooner Than We Met Them

Death should be expected on a show like this. But what gets to me is that we don’t get to be settled with any character who dies, and yet it is supposed to be this big thing, an emotional moment, rather than a case of s*** happening. Though what makes it worse is now it seems to be something done every episode. We meet people; they die, some new ones are introduced, and they also get killed off quickly.

This is the problem we see with “The Last Of Us” for while visually it is stunning, and you can see and understand the tone is rooted in focusing on survival, there is something about Joel and Ellie coming around being an omen that is increasingly a problem. If not, the pace of this show potentially being so quick, even without having the usual issue most shows have, since Bella Ramsay, while playing a 14-year-old, is 19 in real life. So it is unlikely she is to physically change drastically to the point the already built-in time jumps can’t be used.

An infected person looking at Ellie
The Last Of Us: Season 1/ Episode 3 “Long Long Time” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
While “The Last Of Us” continues to look and hit the beats expected, there still remains something off, and increasingly it appears to be its pacing. For as characters are introduced and quickly killed off, it quickly numbs you to all that can happen. So even if the show is well cast and performance, it leaves the performances unable to pack the punch expected. After all, why get emotionally invested if everyone but the two leads are going to die no sooner than they are introduced?
Highlights
Frank and Bill
Ellie’s First Kill
Disputable
Things Feeling A Bit Too Formulaic With Someone Dying Every Episode No Sooner Than We Met Them
79

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