[Recap] “The Last of Us” E2 & 3: she died again!

Cody Flores and Angelique Taylor

In the beginning of episode two of HBO’s The Last of Us, aired January 22, 2023, the audience is met with a flashback, though this one is set close to the events to the early seasons premiere, September 24, 2003, days before the zombie apocalypse began.

Spoilers down below

The government of Jakarta realizes this fungus is spreading before anyone, and the audience is introduced to Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim). She is a mycologist who was taken to study and investigate the dangerous fungus. She realizes there is no cure as she says “Bomb this city and everyone in it.” This bone chilling sentence is capitvating, and we get more of a look on how other countries besides the United States are dealing with this Cordyceps infection spread among many.

The episode then continues showcasing the gory lifestyle that Joel, Ellie and Tess are living in 2023. Now, the scientists are one-hundred percent certain that there’s no way to cure this type of virus and yet Marlene (Merle Dandridge), Queen of the Firefly’s has strong faith that one of her Firefly doctors strongly agrees she is the cure to the vaccine. Ellie says that the scientists are certain that if they could extract the virus out of her brain, she would be able to make a future cure for plague’s that would cross a world-wide panic. Joel does not believe this, hearing gossip around the Boston QZ of miracle cures, he scoffs in disbelief as Ellie needs to go to the bathroom. Tess has hope here, as she says to Joel, “For once, maybe we can actually win.” Joel dismisses it, he doesn’t want to lose Tess after losing Sarah.

All the Firefly’s are dead, Tess ends up risking her life for Joel and Ellie, she gets bit on her right shoulder, she says “Our luck had to run out sooner or later” she shows this to Joel as she begs him to “make things right” between them and everyone they might have wronged being smugglers in the F.E.D.R.A QZ. Tess finishes it off by giving them time, finding bombs on the floor and gasoline thrown everywhere. Tess is now left alone, as she is now to deal with her fate, trying her best to put the lit lighter on the ground to end it smoothly, a hoard of infected come inside as she continuously tries to get the lighter working. A Clicker soon approaches her in a malevolent but done in a way of kindness, almost whispering in the kiss of death, Tess accepts her faith as the Clicker kisses Tess, you can see the fungus infection reach the way into her mouth. Her lighter finally hits the ground as Joel and Ellie escape, making way as the museum blows up with Tess and the rest of the infected inside.

Episode 3: 

Just as everyone thought that The Last of Us couldn’t get anymore emotional, episode three: “Long Long Time”, released January 29, 2023, was a true tear-jerker. The odd part about this episode is that it gives viewers more insight into Bill’s (Nick Offerman) life when the apocalypse came about. For those unaware, Bill is an acquaintance of Joel in the game and was the smuggler operator. LGBTQIA+ representation is also included in this episode making it a much more memorable episode for many.

The story continues, taking place in the woods with Joel and Ellie resting and eating, then setting out on the road towards Bill’s place. Tess had just sacrificed herself, since she was infected, in order for them to get away safely. As they are walking Ellie sees a pit filled with the skeletons of people who were murdered by F.E.D.R.A, and Joel explains what had happened to them. Which then zooms in on the skeletons of an infant and its mother. A flashback then takes place back in 2003 when the outbreak first happened, and reveals Bill in a bunker under his house. 

Bill is shown to have started his life of isolation as a survivalist and gathers resources in order to reinforce his now ghost town. He sets up traps, fences, and has cameras all over the place to ensure no one and infected can get in. A few years pass by and he monitors his cameras watching as infected are brutally killed by his traps, bringing him malicious joy. However, a few days later he meets another human being for the first time, named Frank (Murray Bartlett). He had fallen into a trap Bill set and Bill decided whether or not to kill him. Frank is found to be a very interesting character with a very bubbly personality and treats Bill like they are friends. Later as Bill and Frank both play the piano, it is discovered that Bill is homosexual, and eventually falls for Frank as they kiss. Both men end up dating each other and meet both Joel and Tess for the first time since Frank wants friends. In which they become partners for smuggling cargo in and out of the FEDRA quarantine zones. 

It is now 2023 and both Bill and Frank are in their elder years, however, Frank is found to be in a wheelchair and looks like a zombie. Turns out he had a degenerative neuromuscular disorder and ALS, that was making it difficult for him to live. Bill and Frank spend their last day together romantically and compassionately as Bill had crushed up pills and put them into Frank’s wine, per his request. Frank wanted Bill to live, however, he discovered that he had already put pills in the wine bottle itself. The two lovebirds spend their last moments gazing at each other lovingly as they depart to the bedroom and lock the door. Joel and Ellie soon arrive at Bill’s place, come to find out that they had committed suicide. However, Bill left a sentimental letter for Joel, talking about Jess which causes Joel to spiral for a moment. He recovers and sets rules with Ellie to keep her and himself safe and the two take off in the truck, leaving the ghost town behind.