‘The Last Of Us’ Viewers Are Feeling All Kinds Of Emotional Over Bill And Frank’s Backstory

[This post contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode three]

The Last of Us did the unthinkable: it made me care for a conspiracy theory-obsessed survivalist.

Episode three of the HBO series, “Long Long Time,” largely sidelined Joel and Ellie heading west in favor of introducing Bill (played by Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman) and Frank (The White Lotus favorite Murray Bartlett). They have the cutest of meet cutes: Frank falls into one of Bill’s traps outside of his otherwise deserted compound. It’s a familiar story from there: Bill threatens to shoot and kill Frank if he doesn’t leave, but instead ends up making him dinner. By the end of the night, they’re playing Linda Ronstadt songs on the piano and having sex. Twenty years later, they’re still together.

It’s a lovely, emotional episode, with incredible casting. The Last of Us co-showrunner Craig Mazin was inspired by another prestige drama when he offered the part of Frank to Offerman. “Well, I remember Vince Gilligan, who is, you know, even though I’ve never taken a class with Professor Gilligan, I’m happy enough to know him, and I’ve studied his work,” he told TV Insider. “And one of the things that Vince Gilligan has always said is when in doubt, hire funny people, cast funny people.”

Bryan Cranston going from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad is the definitive example of this, but Offerman (who was also excellent in Devs) entered the funny guy-in-a-dramatic role pantheon after one episode — and only one episode, as Frank and Bill decide take their lives on the same day. “You were my purpose.”

“Long Long Time” (named after the Ronstadt song) has people emotional.