The Last of Us Episode 3 Review: Love Me the Way I Want You To

Episode 3 is the biggest diversion from the game, but it could be the best episode of the entire first season.

The Last of Us Episode 3 Review: Love Me the Way I Want You To
The Last of Us. Image credit: HBO

Please be advised: The following information includes spoilers for the third episode of The Last of Us


The Last of Us Episode 3

The third episode of The Last of Us deviates from the game’s story and showcases a beautiful love story in a hopeless world. The episode lacks action and instead focuses on the emotions brought by both companionship and loneliness. It’s a brilliant hour of television that embodies the series’ goals.

While the series follows Joel and Ellie, this chapter highlights the story of Bill and Frank. We first encounter Bill, played by Nick Offerman, in a lighthearted scene as he sets up traps for his isolated life. He appears content, but his life changes when he finds love in an unexpected place – the bottom of a ditch.

Nick Offerman shines as Bill, revealing a softer side not seen in the game. He displays a wide range of emotions as he transforms from a stubborn survivor to a loving partner. His performance is exceptional and paired with the nuanced acting of Murray Bartlett, who plays Frank. Bartlett’s portrayal of the kind-hearted Frank brings a calming effect and lightness to the typically heavy atmosphere of The Last of Us. The chemistry between the two actors elevates the episode.


At first, Bill is more nervous about Frank falling into one of his traps than any infected. The scene where they discover their shared love for piano music and each other is touching. Offerman’s fear when they share their first kiss is a vulnerable and emotional moment. With this new love, Bill has something to protect, making the thought of losing it again scarier than any danger. He famously says “I was never afraid before you showed up,” highlighting that some fears remain even in a world filled with danger.

The fast cuts from before of Bill setting up his perimeter and hiding from the world are replaced with a slower pace, showing his newfound willingness to enjoy life’s moments. The portrayal of love and its importance in survival is powerful, as their relationship blooms with both positive and frustrating moments. Whether picking strawberries or fighting off attackers, their bond remains strong with a believable warmth that drives the episode.

Frank and Bill’s final day is emotionally touching from beginning to end. It is devastating yet bittersweet because it is so rare to have a proper goodbye in this world. Echoes of Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight,” used in heart-wrenching scenes from Arrival and Shutter Island, play as the beautiful strings soundtrack their last moments. In just over 30 minutes, we see a man who enjoyed his solitude transform into someone afraid of returning to it.


In a sense, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy from the moment Frank entered Bill’s life, leading to heartbreak. Nothing is permanent, but during a pandemic, everything feels more fragile. This is a beautiful reminder that love can be found by anyone, no matter who and where they choose to discover it with. It is heartbreaking, poignant, and deeply romantic.

Their story is framed by scenes featuring Ellie and Joel. We see their relationship evolving as they engage in playful banter. The snappy dialogue between Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal makes their interactions enjoyable. They also go on a classic supply hunt, complete with easter eggs for fans of the game, such as Joel and Ellie changing into recognizable clothing or Bill’s blue truck. These small details keep the story grounded in its origins even as it deviates from the game.


It is clear that the showrunners have a strong understanding of what makes the franchise work, and they are able to effectively incorporate elements of the game while also exploring new territories. They are able to turn what was once a one-page note into a touching, heart-wrenching episode. The combination of well-written dialogue, excellent acting and poignant music creates a powerful emotional impact. The use of Joel and Ellie’s relationship as a framing device helps to give the episode context and relevance, making it a standout in an already fantastic series.

This change adds a new layer to the narrative and provides a needed contrast to the dark and depressing tone of the world. The episode manages to balance the familiar elements of the game with fresh perspectives, making it a must-watch for fans and newcomers alike. Overall, it’s a touching and well-crafted story that showcases the depth of the characters and the rich world of The Last of Us.


The episode expertly balances the heartwarming moments between Frank and Bill with the heart-wrenching reality of their world. The exceptional writing, direction, and acting combine to make this episode a standout in the series. With stunning cinematography and a score that elevates the emotional stakes, it’s a triumph of storytelling in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world. A must-see for fans of the game, the show, and for anyone who loves a well-crafted love story.

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