After what seemed like a very strong start with lots to cover in the set-up, The Last Of Us could have been expected to have quieten down a little for the third episode. It’s fairly standard in episodic stories. Everyone needs to catch a breath, right?
Well episode 3 did that, and went unexpectedly in a different direction. The episode largely centred on a romantic relationship of survivors Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). According to the showrunners, this is the episode, out of the nine planned, that deviates most from the game with a new approach to Bill and Frank’s story.
Usually, this kind of approach in modern television would face accusations of clumsily inserted messages, a need of the creatives to project their personal view of the world into entertainment. Not so in this instance.
Reception has been near universally positive. Many critics have called it one of the best episodes of TV made in years. Even online commentators, that you might expect to call out such things, have spoken highly of the episode:
You know, its interesting that the most poignant, compelling and emotionally satisfying episode of The Last Of Us is the one that has almost nothing to do with Joel and Ellie.
— The Critical Drinker (@TheCriticalDri2) January 30, 2023
Does this, therefore, prove that quality and approach trump all other factors? Could many other creatives in Hollywood learn some lessons here? We are sure our Outposters will have plenty to say about this.
One side-effect from the show is that a song from the episode is getting the Stranger Things treatment. Just as Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill was gifted a rebirth after being used in the finale of season 4 of that show, Linda Ronstadt’s Grammy-nominated 1970 song Long, Long Time is undergoing a surge after the episode was released yesterday.
After originally charting at number 25 in Billboard’s top 100, the Spotify effect saw some pretty impressive results:
“Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt featured at the ending of #TheLastOfUsHBO EP3 saw a 4900% increase in streams on Spotify in the United States. pic.twitter.com/yXyQCXFikX
— Naughty Dog Central (@NaughtyNDC) January 30, 2023
The song has appeared again at number five on the iTunes charts.
As for The Last Of Us, there are only six episodes left now. Will they tell the whole story of the first game? Or is a second season with a cliffhanger ending now inevitable?
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