The Last of Us series, so far, has shown how to faithfully adapt the game’s story while being able to expand the story and change things when it can work. Episode three, “Long Long Time” is all expansion with a bit of a faithful adaptation. While I’m sure many will find this episode great, to me it felt like a diversion that did very little to advance the overall story.

The episode begins with Joel and Allie outside of Boston, making their way to Bill and Frank as Tess advised them. The episode ends with Joel and Ellie making their way to Wyoming to look for Tommy and see if he can help them on their journey. These bookends are the best part of the episode for me as they further the story and Joel and Ellie’s relationship – the whole point of the story.

Among the supporters of these books we tell the story of Bill and Frank and their entire relationship. Bill is a conspiracy theory survivor who manages to stay behind in his small town after it was evacuated at the start of the 2003 outbreak. Bill lives alone until one fateful day when one of his traps captures Frank, a survivor from Maryland who is trying to reach the quarantine zone of Boston. Frank asks if Bill has anything to eat and after some persuasion, Bill relents and takes Frank to feed him. This leads to their relationship growing and becoming romantic and then we see the progression of their lives together over the 20 years since they met.

For those familiar with the game, much of this is withheld from me, but never explicitly stated or shown. It’s a good bit of backstory for these characters that the show used to do. However, there is a huge difference from the game’s story that makes all of this history completely irrelevant to the main story. Without spoiling, it ends with Joel reading a note from Bill that acts as an almost on-the-nose statement of intent for the show: to find someone worth loving and saving at all costs. Which isn’t bad in itself, but considering Joel would have found that note anyway, spending almost the entire episode dedicated to a flashback that doesn’t move Joel and Ellie’s story forward and instead felt like a really good waste of time. . I also don’t like the massive change made to the story at all because it robs us of some great moments and tense action set pieces.

In the end I tear up. One hand is amazingly written and executed writing. On the other hand, I just can’t come to terms with the fact that without the last 10 minutes of the episode, nothing we’re shown here could have been completely cut and nothing of importance would have changed. The next time the show deviates so much from the source material, I hope it feels essential rather than supplemental to a live action.

Score: 7/10


  • Ellie and Joel’s story and characters continue to move forward
  • The set design and production are again impeccable
  • It is superbly written and acted


  • It feels like supplemental material and not essential to moving Joel Vallee’s story forward
  • Deviates too much from the source material for my taste


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