‘The Last of Us’ co-creator Craig Mazin expressed his opinion on the differing public reactions toward the iconic third episode of the zombie series.
Titled “Long, Long Time,” the third episode of the first season featured Bill (played by Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) falling in love and building a life together despite the apocalyptic world they live in. It received critical acclaim, but as expected, not everyone liked it, receiving its share of backlash.
“Some people didn’t like Episode 3 because, you know, gay stuff,” Mazin said in an interview with IndieWire. “And then they kind of retroactively try and come up with a [different and inoffensive] reason why.”
“One of the complaints I saw was, ‘Oh, it’s just a filler episode. It doesn’t advance the story.’ And I was like, ‘I think this episode advances the story more than any other episode we have’ — because it’s not plot, it’s character. It’s the letter Bill leaves behind to Joel that powers the rest of the show.”
He also said that the episode captures “an idyllic romance” because it shows two people finding each other, loving each other, and spending their lives together, but still living life that isn’t easy. “Bill and Frank fight . . . have divergent priorities.” IndieWire added that “over the year, they find a balance that works, but in the end, Bill may not have learned as much from his partner as he could have.”
And so, Mazin said Bill’s advice to Joel — “Great, but you and I are here to murder anyone that gets close to our Frank. That’s why we are here. We’re here to protect them” — is pivotal. “That is romantic. You could argue it’s completely necessary.”