Skip to main content

The Last of Us show creators explain those big episode three changes

Bill and Frank get a chance to shine in the latest episode of the HBO series.

The third episode of HBO's The Last of Us brought Bill and Frank to the forefront, but it made some significant changes along the way.

If you haven't had time to check out the third episode, don't read this yet, as it contains some major spoilers.

Watch on YouTube

So far there haven't been any huge divergences between The Last of Us show, and The Last of Us game. The first episode lets us spend a bit more time with Sarah, and Tess' death is slightly different too, but the one of the biggest changes was always going to be Bill and Frank. That's primarily because Frank wasn't even much of a character in the original game, and the pair's relationship was mostly just implied. However, Frank is fully fleshed out in the HBO show, with quite an important difference as to how his and Bill's story ends up, which the show's creators have explained the reasoning behind in an interview with IGN.

In the game, all Bill and Frank were described as "partners," and after a while Frank apparently left to find somewhere better. Unfortunately for Bill, him, Joel, and Ellie later find Frank having committed suicide, because he became infected. This is obviously quite the sad state of affairs, but the show has managed to crank it up a notch. The show doesn't beat around the bush about the two being in love, though Frank does still end up dead.

The difference is that in the show, Frank has a terminal illness, so decides to take his own life to go out how he wants, rather than through the illness. He asks that Bill gives him a glass of wine laced with sleeping pills, which he does for both Frank and himself, though obviously Bill doesn't take his own life in the end.

"When we got to this part in the season, Craig brought up a really interesting point which is... there's a lot of examples of things not turning out well for people, and often those are reflections and cautionary tales for Joel of 'here's what you stand to lose,'" Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann explained of the change. "It was, what if we show them what you could stand to win?

"But in a way, also still a warning sign for Joel especially on the heels of losing Tess at the end of [Episode 2]. In the TV show we could leave our main character's perspective, which in the game we're very much adhered to purely Joel or purely Ellie. Here, we could see what happened with Bill in the outbreak. And then what was it like to meet Frank and fall in love with Frank and grow old with Frank, and then the full cycle of love and living together with someone and experiencing loss, but loss is tinged with happiness of having lived a full life filled with love."

Show co-creator Craig Mazin said he believes it's a "happy ending," saying "I think we tend to view death as failure, particularly in when you're talking about playing a video game. It is literally failure. And for our show so far, there's been some brutal moments where Joel has failed or at least perceives that he's failed: he failed his daughter, he's failed Tess, and he's certainly feeling that weight at both the beginning and end of this episode."

If you're curious about checking out the show but can't stream it anywhere, the first episode is currently available to watch on YouTube for free, which is quite convenient.

Read this next