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The Last of Us - Long, Long Time - Review

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This episode that marks a significant change from the video game to the television show and it was pulled off masterfully, making a depressing and angry character story from the game into a more profound and rewarding story that celebrates humanity after the end of the world. 

In the game, Bill is living in a town alone, angry, hostile and paranoid and Frank is only seen as a corpse and an angry, miserable letter. It's a story that fits the tragedy of a world that's fallen apart but the TV show decides to take these bare bones in a completely different direction, instead using it to tell a compact and meaningful story about hope. 

Bill's paranoia now becomes reshaped by his experiences and relationship with Frank, shifting into protectiveness. It's a touching love story and like the extended time we had with Sarah, the TV show is able to take a brief guest star character and deepen their story, adding to the emotional nuance of the show. 

Before this episode, there was a marked sense of hopelessness and struggle. Tess just died after all and the beginning of the episode portrays the sadness of the worst of humanity, from the trapped infected that Ellie killed to the ditch strewn with skeletons. 

Bill and Frank's story shows us the light at the end of the tunnel and as an avid player of the games, I'm reminded of the iconic Firefly saying, 'when you're lost in the darkness, look for the light'. Bill and Frank are the epitome of this saying, growing strawberries, playing songs, hosting dinner parties. It's all strikingly normal and bright compared to the world that has been painted so far.

This episode also helps to give Joel and Ellie some downtime, slowing down the pace of their storyline to allow their bond to deepen. Joel's concern for Ellie shines through a little more each episode and for someone who's never had a parent figure in their life, it's clear that Joel's little acts of care - like pulling her seatbelt out for her - mean a lot to Ellie.

Bill's letter to Joel at the end about how Frank gave his life meaning and he would do anything to protect him is an obvious and welcomed parallel to the future of Joel's relationship with Ellie and it's interesting to see the kind of influence all the different characters are having on Joel's life and in turn, the impact he will have on Ellie's life.

What did you think of this episode? Glad that Bill and Frank's story was improved upon from the game? Sound off in the comments below!

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