‘The Last of Us’ episode 3: all the hidden references

The third episode of The Last of Us, available on HBO and HBO Max, surprised by moving away from clickers (clickers) and post-apocalyptic horror and telling a love story. Bill, the paranoid survivor and a classic character for fans, came to live action to star in an emotional background.

The plot also included Frank, who in the source material is not a direct part of the plot. The decision allowed the series to explore new places in Naughty Dog’s premise and reach a unique maturity.

Titled Long Long Time, The Last of Us episode was directed by Peter Hoar and written by co-creator Craig Mazin. The change in tone allowed the narrative to focus on essential elements, such as what happened after the final explosion. For the first ten minutes, the script confirms the fan theory that the Cordyceps fungus mutated and was transmitted through food. It also counts the days following the fateful night of September 26, 2003.

The Last of Us is the premiere of the year and you can only see it on HBO Max

Joel (Pedro Pascal) explains to Ellie (Bella Ramsey) what happened from the moment the contagion became an unstoppable circumstance. He emphasizes that there are no clear ideas about the first infected, but details how she supposes the cataclysm occurred. Most of his conclusions agree with various hypotheses discussed on social networks since the premiere of The Last of Us.

From contaminated food, to bites. Gradually the fungal infection spread rapidly and broke out in all its horror. Ultimately, the apocalypse, as envisioned by Neil Druckmann, happened in a single event. “It all started on Thursday,” explains Pascal’s character. “By Monday, there was nothing left.” Which gives the global tragedy a realistic tint that is consistent with the way in which, until now, the main events have been shown.

The world of The Last of Us on the small screen

At the same time, the series used more than one video game reference in its narrative. Despite the fact that much of the narration of Long Long Time is the exclusive plot of the adaptation. Even so, both Mazin and Hoar took into account the classic plot as their origin. These are all the most important and significant hidden references to the third episode of The Last Of Us, which is considered one of the best yet.

Ellie and her curious discovery

The Last of Us, on HBO Max, starring Pedro Pascal.

During the first sequences of the episode, and while they are advancing on their journey, Joel makes a stop at an abandoned establishment. Ellie then finds an arcade, something she has never seen before. While the girl tries to understand its use, the camera focuses on the device and shows that it is an old version of Mortal Kombat 2.

It is a nod to Left Behind, in which you can see the poster of the game. It also pays homage to the Behind Us downloadable, in which Ellie and her friend Riley stumble upon a similar arcade machine.

A classic character and his new story in The Last of Us

Bill, played by Nick Offerman, is an old acquaintance of Joel’s in the source material. In the same way as in the game, the character comes to the adaptation of The Last Of Us as a paranoid man who survives surrounded by weapons.

Perhaps for this reason, one of the most curious scenes in the chapter shows him in a very specific extract from the Naughty Dog classic. The figure emerges from the darkness and stops in front of the house where he lives with a gas mask over his face. The image is identical to a stretch in The Last of Us Part I.

contagion The Last of Us

However, the rest of the story that surrounds it has little or no relation to the classic video game. Most striking is the arrival of Frank (Murray Bartlett), who is not part of the thread of events from which the series comes. In reality, he is just a corpse that players stumble upon during the action.

However, there are all sorts of hints that she shared a relationship with Bill and his tragic death is mentioned as well. But, in chapter three of the HBO production, the focus is much more on the background of an emotional relationship.

The painful death in the midst of the apocalypse

In both the original and its adaptation, Frank ends up committing suicide. In the console version, he does so upon discovering that he is infected with the Cordyceps fungus. In the television production of The Last Of Us he makes the decision when he finds himself seriously affected by an unidentified illness.

Long Long Time adds, somehow, his well-known farewell letter. In the live action version it is a note in which Bill explains to the bewildered Joel the reasons why he and Frank commit suicide. The latter arrives at the house of the characters, months after they both made the decision.

In fact, the letter includes the line “if that’s you, don’t come up to the room. We have opened the windows so as not to stink up the house, but the spectacle must not be pretty to see”. A direct reference to Frank’s body and part of Naughty Dog’s plot.

However, in the game, Frank directly writes a letter to Bill to explain his motives. In the text, he makes it clear that he is infected and that he hates him, a major change from the way The Last Of Us story was adapted for television.

Driving into the sun at sunset

The Last of Us

Lastly, The Last of Us shows the iconic scene of Joel and Ellie driving into the sun after meeting Bill. In the origin story, the girl finds a music cassette, to which she comments “it’s better than nothing.”

A peculiar addition, but worth mentioning, are the chords from Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight, a theme that many will remember because it can be heard in the film The Arrival of Denis Villeneuve. The song is included in one of the most exciting moments of the last chapter of The Last Of Us.

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