We understand it’s solely January, but when 2023 gives us a better episode of tv than episode three of The Final of Us, we’ll be very fortunate. “Lengthy, Lengthy Time”—which was much less an episode and more a short movie, clocking in round 76 minutes—advised a narrative inspired by the game, however largely unique to the present. Sure, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) are an enormous a part of it, however the majority focuses on two characters whose 15-plus yr journey not simply illuminated the scope and erosion of this world, however the motive why it’s price saving.
Little time has handed since Tess gave her life to save Joel and Ellie. The pair have solely made it 10 miles outdoors of Boston. There, taking a break within the woods, Ellie tells Joel she doesn’t need him in charge her for Tess’s loss of life, and he quietly agrees. He explains they’ve a couple of five-hour hike to their subsequent vacation spot, in order that they hit the street and do what many individuals who reside on the East Coast would do earlier than going off on a protracted journey: cease at Cumberland Farms.
Apparently, Joel stashed some provides right here years in the past however doesn’t bear in mind the place. Ellie, to her credit score, appears extra excited by the Mortal Kombat II arcade recreation within the retailer, of which she has a surprisingly geeky data. As Joel appears for his stash, Ellie explores a bit herself and jumps by means of a door into the basement. There she finds a field of tampons and an contaminated particular person trapped below a collapsed wall. Ellie examines the person, as that is as shut as she’s been to an contaminated particular person for this lengthy. Then, after suitably taking all of it in, she stabs him within the head.
Oddly, she doesn’t inform Joel about this. He stashes his machine gun (he says there’s not sufficient ammo to hold it round), and off they go once more. They see a crashed airplane, which is the primary of many situations the place Ellie might be amazed at one thing everybody from earlier than takes as a right. Talking of earlier than, she asks Joel how, precisely, the virus took over the world. Joel confirms what some followers on-line started to place collectively final week, with the virus first being detected at a grain plant in Jakarta. He says the prevailing perception is that some form of primary meals elements, like flour or sugar, had been tainted and launched into the meals provide. Individuals purchased it on Thursday, ate it on Friday, and by Monday the world was over. He even particularly mentions pancake combine, the factor he was presupposed to eat on his birthday all these years in the past, however didn’t. Speak about a lifesaver. Actually.
Joel tells Ellie he desires to get off the street as a result of there’s one thing forward she shouldn’t see. However, being a teen, that simply makes her wish to see it extra. So she runs up forward and finds a pile of useless our bodies. Joel explains that these individuals most likely weren’t contaminated, however had been murdered as a result of there simply wasn’t wherever for them. Ellie asks, why would the navy kill individuals who weren’t sick? “Useless individuals can’t be contaminated,” says Joel.
Right here, episode director Peter Hoar focuses the digicam on two very distinct, colourful clothes throughout the pile of our bodies. He then match fades to these clothes 20 years earlier, being worn by a mom and her child. It’s a vastly upsetting, very efficient solution to give us context to simply how terrible issues had been getting. That doomed mother and baby are in a small city someplace outdoors Boston and it’s 4 days after the outbreak started. The city is being evacuated however one man doesn’t wish to go. He’s hiding in his basement, watching everybody on screens, and ready for them to depart. “Not at the moment, you new world order jackboot fucks,” he says.
Meet Invoice (Nick Offerman), a lone wolf survivalist who finally ends up because the final particular person in his small city. As soon as he’s alone he steals a ship, fills it up with provides from throughout city—Dwelling Depot, gasoline station, wine retailer—and makes sure he has energy, water, and gasoline. He cuts down timber, digs holes, and makes traps. He’s making a fortress. He additionally cooks a imply steak and enjoys that with some wine as he watches certainly one of his traps shoot an contaminated particular person within the head.
4 years move. It’s 2007 and in that point, Invoice has fenced the city off. The city is his house now, which is why he’s shocked when his traps catch one thing… or somebody. It’s a person who’s attempting to get to Boston from Baltimore, which he says has been destroyed. He was with a gaggle of 10, however now it’s simply him, and although he nearly lies about being armed, he doesn’t. Invoice helps him out of the opening, checks that he’s not contaminated, and, begrudgingly, agrees to provide him a meal. That is Frank, performed by White Lotus season one’s Murray Bartlett.
Earlier than we proceed, let’s discuss style conventions. Earlier on this episode, Joel says one thing that’s true in principally any form of post-apocalyptic present or film you’ve ever seen: the individuals are worse than the monsters. So Invoice’s warning with Frank doesn’t simply really feel warranted, it feels essential. And when he lets him into his home, The Final of Us desires the viewers to be nervous about it. Frank goes to rob and kill Invoice, proper? 100%, that’s our thought. Nothing good can come of this. And that stress we’ve been hardwired to anticipate is what makes the whole lot that comes subsequent so significant.
Invoice brings Frank some garments as he takes what he calls a tremendous bathe. As soon as he’s clear, Frank sits down for dinner, and out comes Invoice with a stunning plate of meals. One which, Frank notices, Invoice is aware of needs to be paired with Beaujolais. After dinner, Frank says he’ll go away, however first, he desires to make use of Invoice’s piano. He rifles by means of his sheet music and finds a e-book of songs by Linda Ronstadt. He picks one and begins to play and sing, however Invoice stops him. This tune has that means to Invoice and he desires to play it his manner. Frank desires to see him try this and guarantees, after that, he’ll go away. And so Invoice goes right into a tender, candy, rendition of “Long Long Time.” “Who’s the lady you’re singing about?” asks Frank. There’s no lady, replied Invoice. “I do know,” says Frank, who leans in to kiss him. Frank tells Invoice to take a bathe and the 2 get into mattress. Invoice has by no means performed this earlier than, with a person, so Frank says he’ll begin easy. He does, nonetheless, let him know that he’s not a whore and if they’ve intercourse, he’s going to remain for a number of extra days. A nervous, excited Invoice agrees.
Three years move. It’s 2010 and Frank and Invoice are nonetheless collectively. And combating. Frank desires to make use of a few of their sources to make their city a bit nicer however Invoice thinks it’s a waste. Frank additionally tells Invoice they need to make mates however Invoice explains there are not any mates anymore. Nicely, it seems, Frank has been speaking to a lady on the radio.
At this level, you could have forgotten you had been even watching The Final of Us. You’ve simply been watching a tense however in the end romantic meet-cute between two males who’ve in some way survived the apocalypse. However then, these new mates arrive and it’s none apart from Joel and Tess.
Whereas Tess and Frank get alongside, Invoice and Joel don’t. They’re cautious. Apprehensive about trusting anybody they don’t know. Finally, tensions ease when Joel tells Invoice he can get him some new fencing and it looks like regardless of there being some friction, there’ll not less than be respect. For this reason Invoice humors Joel when Joel tells him that, finally, raiders will come to try to steal the whole lot he has.
One other three years move. It’s 2013 and Frank and Invoice are exercising. Frank surprises Invoice with a backyard that’s sprouting contemporary strawberries, seeds he obtained in a commerce with Tess and Joel. Issues are peaceable and good. Till that night. That night, Joel’s prediction comes true. Raiders assault, however Invoice is prepared. Frank is woken up by the explosions of Invoice’s traps going off throughout city however Invoice is already outdoors, sniping the raiders from the road. Frank goes out to avoid wasting him and Invoice is shot. Inside, Frank works on Invoice’s wound as Invoice begins to return to phrases with the actual fact he’s about to die. “Joel will deal with you,” he says to Frank.
So did Invoice die? Ten years move. It’s 2023, close to the current of the present, and Frank sits in a wheelchair on the porch. Out comes Invoice. He’s alive, however older, and caring for Frank who is seemingly sick. We see that their life is quiet however loving and once they go to mattress after a pleasant meal, Frank doesn’t sleep. The subsequent morning, he tells Invoice at the moment is his final day.
There’s no treatment for Frank’s illness and he tells Invoice his plan. He desires yet another good day. That begins with breakfast, a visit to the shop, and “then we’ll get married,” he says—which is the second when I began crying, I don’t find out about you. Frank then says they’ll crush up his drugs, put them in wine, and peacefully die in his sleep.
We see the day in montage till we get to dinner. Invoice prepares the identical dinner he did the primary day they met, and even breaks out the identical wine, which makes Frank smile. After they end, Invoice brings out one other bottle of wine, pours two glasses and places the crushed drugs in a single. Frank chugs it, after which Invoice chugs his too. Seems, he put drugs within the bottle itself. “I’m previous, I’m glad, and also you had been my objective,” Invoice tells him. Frank says he doesn’t assist it however “objectively, it’s extremely romantic.” The 2 males stroll to the bed room.
That is legit highly effective stuff. And now, it’s time to tie all of it again collectively. Bear in mind on the finish of final week’s episode when Tess advised Joel to go to Invoice and Frank’s? Nicely, someday later, Joel and Ellie arrive there. Nevertheless, Joel is aware of one thing is unsuitable. The flowers are useless. The entrance door is unlocked. And inside the whole lot is dusty. Ellie finds a observe with a automobile key that’s addressed to “Whomever, however most likely Joel.”
The letter is from Invoice and in it he bares not simply his soul, however the coronary heart of the complete present we’re watching. Invoice explains that at the beginning, he was completely satisfied that everybody died, however finally he discovered there was one particular person price saving, and that’s what he did. Invoice tells Joel that’s what males like them do. They save individuals, it doesn’t matter what the price. And although the letter suggests the particular person Joel can save is Tess, Tess needed that particular person to be Ellie, for causes larger than Invoice or Frank may’ve ever imagined.
Joel, now with a brand new automobile, weapons, and provides due to Invoice, takes all of it in. He explains to Ellie how his unique plan and hers can now co-exist. They’ll journey to Wyoming to search out Tommy. Then Tommy, who was once a Firefly, can work out the place Ellie must be. She agrees to that and his guidelines, which embrace no point out of Tess and that what he says, goes.
After showers and new garments, Ellie and Joel hop in Invoice’s truck. Ellie’s by no means been in a automobile earlier than and thinks the seatbelts are “so cool.” It’s her innocence and wide-eyed surprise that not simply Joel, however we all know, is price combating for and saving. So the 2 head out, whereas listening to Invoice and Frank’s tune, “Lengthy, Lengthy Time” by Linda Ronstadt which, in fact, can also be the title of the episode. And simply when the present couldn’t get any extra good, the digicam follows the truck from a room with an open window. The open window Invoice mentioned he left open so their home wouldn’t odor. It’s as if Invoice and Frank are watching their pal from mattress, fulfilling his future to avoid wasting only one particular person.
Actually, episode three of The Final of Us was simply an unimaginable piece of storytelling, full with motion, romance, highly effective feelings, and loads of backstories and ahead momentum too. You snort, you cry… largely cry… and you’re feeling assured that no matter is on the market gained’t be too robust for Joel and Ellie.
New episodes of The Final of Us arrive Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.
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