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Home » The Finale of «The Last of Us»: An Unforgettable Television Moment

The Finale of «The Last of Us»: An Unforgettable Television Moment

30 January 2023, Monday
Following the heart-stopping climax of The Last of Us’s second episode, it seems we have now concluded the tutorial phase of the HBO series's video game adaptation. We are familiar with all the controls and how the infected operate—so the whole world is there for exploration. This is a fortunate development, as Joel (Pedro Pascal) must help Ellie (Bella Ramsey) reach the Firefly refuge she hopes exists and may still hold the answer to a cure.

After losing Tess to the infected, Ellie and Joel find themselves 10 miles west of Boston. With tensions high, Ellie reminds Joel that no one made him go along with this plan. She recognizes that he made a choice and that it is not her fault. Joel had initially thought that searching for the truck battery was just a side quest; now, however, he is fully immersed in the main game.

At an abandoned convenience store, Ellie discovers an infected individual still alive, trapped under a large slab of concrete. He emits the distinct noises that infected humans make in this universe, with the makeup and prosthetics team rendering an incredibly realistic mushroom-like head. Toad from Mario suddenly has some serious competition.

Joel and Ellie stumble upon a horrible discovery: a mass grave of people who were not allowed into a quarantine zone by the army. This was because they either had a chance of being infected, or the QZ was too crowded. This scene flashes back to 2003, making the characters worry about witnessing the event. Instead, they meet Bill—a survivalist played by Nick Offerman—and he reveals his secret bunker, filled with lots of weapons, sulfuric acid and security cameras. Bill then raids the gas station and Home Depot for supplies, and steals a boat from his neighbor. He sets up several traps and watches as they take out any unlucky infected humans. "It doesn't get old," he remarks as he eats his dinner.

For nearly four years, Bill lives without infection in his secluded fortress town, until one day, a person named Frank (Murray Bartlett) from the Baltimore QZ, stumbles into one of his traps. After being tested for infection and out of a hole, Bill reluctantly takes Frank in and offers him a shower, new clothes, and a home-cooked meal, to which Frank expresses his utmost gratitude through a song on the piano - a rendition of Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time”. Later on, Bill reveals to Frank that he is gay, to which Frank happily responds, “I know.” The two break down into tears and share a passionate kiss. Showrunner Craig Mazin revealed the casting of Offerman was due to his belief that “funny people have soul” and a “stronger connection to what it means to be human”. Indeed, it is this understanding of humanity that makes this moment so special.

Frank and Bill never part ways. They live together for another three years before Frank begins to feel the loneliness of their living situation. He mulls over the idea of trying to liven up the town and playing a little Sims, but Bill reminds him that having friends is impossible. Fast forward to Joel and Tess having dinner with them outside, and it's been about seven years since the 2003 flashback. This means that the current scene takes place around 2010, more than a decade before we start to follow Joel and Ellie.

Tess thanked the couple for the amazing meal, but Bill still remained tense. Joel suggested a business arrangement and proposed a bartering deal, which resulted in the trade of a gun for some strawberry seeds. Afterwards, Frank and Bill ate strawberries and laughed cheerfully. “I wasn’t scared until you came around,” Bill told Frank. Oh my, just when one thinks nothing else can surprise them anymore, love blossoms even during the apocalypse. Talk about a mushroom zombie show with a tear-jerking ending!

The couple spend their golden years side-by-side in their small town, until one day Frank falls ill. He decides to spend his last day with Bill, and to set the mood, he chooses the ever-recognizable “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter. This song has been featured in many films including Arrival, Stranger Than Fiction, Shutter Island, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and more due to its powerful effect on the emotions. As the sun sets on their final day, Frank and Bill take the sleeping pills they have crushed up and peacefully drift off to sleep together.

When Joel and Ellie eventually made it to August 2023, they found a key accompanied by a handwritten note from Bill. "I used to revel in the mortality of others and was content with chaos, however I was mistaken. There was an individual worth saving," Bill stated. "That is why people such as us are here - to uphold our responsibilities, and any person who interferes will face the consequences."

Joel takes a moment to himself outside, feeling the weight of the three losses he's endured. He finds Bill's car in the garage and decides to use it to go on a road trip and look for his brother Tommy. Joel mentions that Tommy was a former Firefly and believes he might know the location of the doctor outpost. He ponders the option of staying here forever and being safe, but he knows deep down it's not a possibility. However, he remembers that the town Bill created managed to keep two people safe for close to two decades. Joel hopes that the infected can't drive cars as he sets off on the journey.
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