HBO's The Last of Us proved that video games work best when the show spent the better part of an hour going into a deep dive of something that was only hinted at or glossed over by the source material. Case in point, the latest episode of the live-action adaptation of the award-winning narrative-driven video game franchise, Long Long Time, drew the most viewers for the show and HBO yet.
Episode 3 gave audiences a better look at Bill's backstory and his relationship with Frank that all started when Frank literally fell into Bill's life. But, while the episode drew mostly positive reviews, there's plenty of people on the internet expressing their dissatisfaction over seeing two men having a loving relationship on a popular show.
As of the time of writing, more than a quarter of the ratings for Episode 3 on IMDb are listed as one star. Granted, some of the reviews raise valid points, with one saying that the show changed the sequence of events from the game "in favor of an irrelevant (albeit pretty) love story."
Another explained that the "whole episode is about characters that have no impact later in the series." But, while we're all entitled to our own opinion, some reviewers didn't even bother mincing words, with one saying, "Again just another instance of the small minority of gay people exerting their influence in Hollywood to push their agenda on the world."
The Last of Us, as a franchise, has never been afraid to push boundaries. The sequel, in particular, turned off some gamers for its "needless violence", even though it's one of the most GOTY'ed games of all time. The follow-up also received plenty of criticism for reportedly making Ellie, who became the lead protagonist at that point, gay, for no reason, as if The Last of Us' Left Behind DLC hadn't existed for years already.
All of this is to say that Episode 3 of HBO's The Last of Us is just the start of this kind of negative backlash to the live-action adaptation. Episode 7, Left Behind, will likely explore the story of Ellie's bite and her relationship with Riley. Even though it won't be as long as Episode 3, Episode 7 will likely be just as emotionally gut-wrenching and impactful as well as controversial.
On a lighter note, Nick Offerman, who portrayed Bill in Episode 3, didn't seem affected by the criticism. Instead, Offerman took it in stride. Also, Stephen King pointed out that Episode 3 wasn't totally accurate since it doesn't take place "10 miles west of Boston" and was likely filmed somewhere in Canada.
Considering Season 2 of The Last of Us will adapt the events of the sequel, the criticism likely won't slow down at all. We're hoping Craig Maizin gets what he wants and The Last of Us gets more episodes or even a third season if only to make the review-bombers cry more.