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Ramon Bogdanov
Ramon Bogdanov

The Last Of Us Long Long Time

"Long, Long Time" was written by The Last of Us series co-creator Craig Mazin and directed by Peter Hoar.[5] The Directors Guild of Canada revealed Hoar was assigned to direct an episode in July 2021.[6] Hoar had played The Last of Us (2013), the video game on which the series is based, but not its sequel The Last of Us Part II (2020). He "dreamed about being part of" the series after it was announced, and was contacted by executive producer Rose Lam about directing an episode.[7] Rotten Tomatoes revealed the episode's title in December 2022.[8] Mazin wanted the episode to be "a break from fear" of the previous episodes, exploring hopefulness without the constant threat of danger.[9] In preparing the episode, Mazin mapped out Bill's area and researched how long natural gas would last in his setup.[10] His original script was "quite a bit longer" than the final episode.[11] Hoar's original version was around 77 minutes long; he cut it down to 72 but Mazin insisted they reinserted some elements, resulting in the final 75-minute runtime. Hoar felt a 59-minute episode would have failed.[12]

The Last of Us Long Long Time

Radio Times's Adam Starkey felt the depiction of a mature gay relationship set a benchmark for the medium;[87] Slate's J. Bryan Lowder recognized the importance of normalizing a gay relationship amidst anti-LGBT rhetoric including anti-gender movements and LGBT grooming conspiracy theories.[88] Kotaku's Kenneth Shepard appreciated the relationship's ties to pre-apocalypse LGBTQ+ history that, as other characters and relationships in the franchise illustrate, were no longer common knowledge.[89] The Washington Post's Riley MacLeod thought it suffered from tropes like Frank's illness and the couple's isolation, though acknowledged these were partly due to the apocalypse rather than their sexuality.[90] The episode was the subject of review bombing on IMDb and Metacritic, which journalists largely attributed to homophobia.[91][92][93]

Ten miles west of Boston on the morning after Tess's death, Joel wordlessly assembles a cairn along the riverside before returning to meet Ellie at a nearby campsite. Joel ignores Ellie's attempts to start a conversation, leading her to raise the topic of Tess's death. He tells Ellie he does not want any apologies, which she scoffs at; she points out that Tess and Joel made the choice to escort her for their own selfish reasons, therefore he should not even be blaming her for what happened. Joel does not respond, and they continue on their five hour hike to Bill and Frank's house.

The journey proves relatively uneventful, though Joel remains on the lookout for any raiders. Ellie notices a gunshot wound Joel sustained to his head: Joel claims he was shot at by a guy who missed, and he in turn shot back but missed. Ellie once again asks if she can have a gun, which he immediately shuts down. They arrive at an abandoned Cumberland Farms gas station where Joel stored one of his stashes years before. Ellie excitedly fools around with a broken Mortal Kombat II arcade machine, claiming a friend taught her about the game. While Joel searches for his stash, Ellie looks for any items missed by scavengers. She finds the door to a cellar in a backroom, climbing down to find the shelves empty save for a box of tampons, which she eagerly grabs. Her excitement is interrupted by the screech of an infected; however, it proves harmless as it is trapped, still alive, underneath a pile of rubble. Ellie approaches it with her knife and makes a cut along its forehead, exposing the Cordyceps growth beneath the skin. With sudden aggression, she stabs the knife into the infected's head, killing it. She returns to Joel, who has found his stash, without telling him what happened. To her disappointment, Joel chooses to leave behind the rifle he stole from Lee, as he is unlikely to find ammunition for it in the wild; again, he refuses to let Ellie take it.

Joel stops Ellie, suggesting they take a different route because of something disturbing along the path. Ellie brushes him off, only to see what he was referring to: a mass grave full of skeletal remains. Joel explains during the week following the outbreak the government evacuated small towns with the promise of taking them to quarantine zones. However, if the quarantine zones filled up, random citizens, most of whom likely were not infected, were killed by soldiers. The logic, Joel explains, was that by killing them it meant they would not be infected.

In the immediate aftermath of Outbreak Day, the citizens of Lincoln, Massachusetts, are evacuated, including some of the ones who will be killed in the mass grave Joel and Ellie will find in twenty years. In a sub-basement bunker, a bearded man watches on a security camera as soldiers comb through his house, grabbing his gun and muttering, "Not today, you New World Order jackboot fucks." Eventually, the soldiers depart alongside the evacuated citizens. The man climbs out of the bunker and makes sure his house and the surrounding town is clear. Satisfied, he climbs into his truck and goes to work converting the town into his personal compound, filling up on fuel, lumber, generators, and other equipment from nearby areas. He sets up an electrified fence and various traps along the perimeter to protect himself from infected and other humans alike. Having built a fully self-sufficient compound with running water, gas stove, heating, and electricity, he prepares a fancy steak dinner for himself, complete with wine pairing, and watches with glee on a security camera as an infected is killed by one of his traps.

Now 2010, Bill and Frank get into an argument over Frank's desire to tidy up the compound: Frank feels Bill is tied to his post-9/11 doomsday prepper isolation, and that they should do some cleaning up of the town, including the stores, so they can have friends over. Bill scoffs that they do not have friends, only for Frank to reveal he has been talking to "a nice woman on the radio." The "nice woman" is revealed to be a younger Tess who, along with Joel, joins Bill and Frank for a pleasant lunch to discuss partnering on a smuggling operation. Frank and Tess immediately hit it off, while Bill keeps his gun on the table. Joel understands Bill's paranoia, but argues that he and Tess are probably Bill and Frank's best option for people to let into their home; they can offer books, medicine, and machine parts from within the QZ. Bill claims he and Frank are self-sufficient and do not need Joel and Tess nor what they can offer. Joel points out Bill's electric fence is already starting to rust, and offers to get some long-lasting wire to keep him and Frank protected.

Ten years later, Bill and Frank have slowed down with age, Frank in particular is wheelchair-bound due to an unspecified illness that affects his motor skills. He spends most of his days painting in their art studio while Bill maintains their plants outdoors and helps him perform basic tasks including eating and taking medication. Frank finally declares that he no longer wishes to suffer in pain and that he is ready to die. Bill proposes finding a doctor, but Frank knows this would be futile: even if they had the medical equipment a doctor could use, Frank's illness had no cure even before the outbreak. He comforts Bill by proposing what to do on his last day: they will go to the nearby boutique to pick out suits and rings, get married, Bill will serve him dinner, and at the end of the night he will take a package of crushed sleeping pills, mix them into Frank's wine, and he will fall asleep in Bill's arms.

Bill does what Frank requests, and even serves his long-time partner the exact same meal of rabbit and wine they first had the day they met all those years ago. When the time comes for post-dinner wine, Bill mixes the crushed pills into a glass, which Frank gulps down quickly. Bill then pours himself a glass that he gulps down with the same speed. Frank, surprised, realizes Bill had already put a lethal dose of pills in the wine bottle. Bill refuses to let their story end tragically with one of them alone, pointing out he is also old and ready to go, not seeing any reason to continue living without Frank. Frank voices his disapproval, yet finds the gesture romantic, and the two husbands head to bed together.

"Long Long Time" is also on track to be one of the best episodes of 2023 because of how its ending offers closure. Bill and Frank's love story could have easily ended in tragedy. At one point, we're led to believe that Bill is going to die after being shot by a raider. He thankfully survives, and another time jump shows that the pair lives for more than a decade after that incident. And when Frank asks Bill to end his life because he does not want to continue living with an illness, we're prepared for serious heartache. But that blow is softened by a shocking decision by Bill. After spending one final day together where Bill and Frank get married and soak in each other's presence to the fullest, Bill decides he will also die alongside Frank that night with an overdose. He may have entered this post-apocalyptic world alone, but he's leaving it with Frank after having experienced a type of love he didn't even know existed before the outbreak. The ending of "Long Long Time" also gave me hope for how Joel and Ellie's relationship will develop. If The Last of Us is able to show how deep of a bond Bill and Frank formed in under 90 minutes, it's bound to portray Joel and Ellie's love even more profoundly in the episodes to come.

Four years later, a survivor named Frank, fleeing the collapse of the Baltimore QZ, finds himself in one of Bill's traps. Despite his suspicions, Bill allows Frank in his home, cooking him a fine dinner and sharing some wine. The two eventually bond over the finer things in life, culminating in Bill performing a piano rendition of "Long Long Time" for his guest. Noticing his strong emotions during the performance, Frank asks what girl he was thinking of, to which a nerve-wracked Bill answers there is none. Realizing the unspoken confession, Frank embraces the now-tearful Bill, and not long after the two sleep together. 041b061a72


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