Wednesday, February 1, 2023

I am astonished by the Last of Us.

There are spoilers for The Last of Us, but they will be "light." I just need to talk about this thing.

So, as most of you who read my blog may know, I've been watching The Last of Us on HBO. We are only three episodes into this thing, and yet I'm astonished at how good this show is. Episode 3 titled Long Long Time took me on a journey that I was not expecting. Of course, Joel and Ellie were there (they are the main protagonists in this story), but only for about fifteen minutes in the very beginning. Then the whole thing switched to two new characters named Bill and Frank, and it spent an hour with them recounting their lives in this "zombie apocalypse," and their love story which (quite frankly) had me in tears. These were not tears of horror. Rather, they were tears shed over something so beautiful that it took me off guard.

In a way, when watching these zombie apocalypse shows, we are kind of taught to expect that all of the survivors will be terrible people. This seems perfectly natural given that outside of an apocalypse, we witness people being awful to other people every single day. However, this isn't the story of Bill and Frank. These two people chose to save each other during the end of the world, against all odds and all the things that were flying against them on this journey. Bill was a survivalist, and he created a safe world where the both of them could live and where their love could flourish. And perhaps in the most telling part of this thing, Frank's illness that eventually forced his hand was not caused by anything related to this apocalypse. It was simply a thing that had always existed and plagued humans and to which there was no cure. And the way Bill chose his own path by loving Frank in the way that he wanted to be loved, and then saying, "I am old, and I am fulfilled," was the most heartbreaking and romantic thing I've seen in a very long time.

Oh boy, just writing those words brings all the feels rushing back about this episode. I can't believe I'm still thinking about it like two days after it aired. I think the most incredible thing in this whole narrative of mine is that the actor that created Bill was none other than Nick Offerman. I've followed his career for years. Sure, he was a decent actor who was an incredible wood worker and who has good comedic timing. He certainly fits the stereotype of what I'd expect an end-of-the-world survivalist to be like. But I had no idea that his performance could haunt me so. Like...what the hell? I now have levels of respect for Nick Offerman that I never thought I would have. He's seriously one of the greatest actors on Meryl Streep's level.

Never before could I have imagined that a "Don't tread on me!" type person (such as Bill), who strikes me as the kind of person I would have hastily avoided and lived in fear from in real life, was capable of the levels of compassion and caring that he showed. I am so grateful that I got to see this episode. It not only surprised me on multiple levels, but it made me invested in this world in a way that few television shows can. And I guess, if anything, its because of beauty like this that the world of The Last of Us needs to be saved. I hope it does, because the fight is worth it no matter what it takes to make that happen in the war against the cordyceps fungus. The showrunners of this thing have created a masterpiece, whether or not that was what they intended. And again, I can't believe I'm writing this especially since I know that the source material is a video game. 


  1. Replies
    1. @Alex: haha it did! I'll post Friday. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

  2. I'd heard about this but it sounds like from your reaction that it was really poignant. It's always surprising when a comedic actor like Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, or Bill Murray could really shine in a dramatic role. It's a good reason we shouldn't typecast people.

  3. I don't have HBO, nor am I a fan of zombie apocalypse stories/shows. That said, it's obviously made an impression on you and that's a good thing.

  4. I'm not much for zombie apocalypse shows, but I made a point to watch this particular episode because of Nick Offerman. It was really a wonderful episode. If this is what they're going to do with this series, I may have to watch more of it.