Nick Offerman’s survivalist takes center stage in the HBO Max adaptation, and you’re not ready for this incredible episode of TV.
As Ellie and Joel (Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal) continue their journey after last week’s tragic loss, The Last of Us episode 3 aired on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday. As part of their mission, they hope to get Ellie to the rebel group known as the Fireflies, a group of savage cannibals who are immune to the fungus.
As a result of Ellie’s resistance, the world could be restored. In order to continue their journey, they must stop at Joel’s buddy Bill’s house (portrayed by Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation) — a character whose grumpiness and survivalist tendencies will be familiar to PlayStation players who played the incredible game that inspired the show.
Following the outbreak of September 2003, Bill manages to avoid being quarantined by the US military. As his neighbors were caught up in the sweep, his paranoid anti-authoritarian tendencies worked in his favor, and he hid (a horrendous mass grave uncovered by Ellie and Joel in 2023 suggests all of them were killed). When the soldiers fail to find his subbasement hidey-hole, he says, “Not today, you new world order jackboot fucks.”
As Bill had an arsenal of weapons and seemed absolutely prepared for a siege, it was probably for the best. As the town’s last occupant, he makes a decision to fortify his location with traps and gather supplies, in order to live in luxury in solitude as the world outside crumbles. The steak sure looked juicy, too.
In 2007, Bill’s life appeared to be serving him well. His lonely existence changes forever when Frank, a survivor from the Baltimore quarantine zone, falls into a trap outside his perimeter. Frank turns out to be an absolutely lovely guy, managing to break through Bill’s emotional walls (with a little help from Linda Ronstadt). The pair fall in love – the transformation in Offerman’s performance is stunning – and build a life together despite their differing personalities.
They even befriend Tess and Joel over the years, having the smugglers over for a meal and agreeing to work together. Tess and Frank immediately hit it off, while the more severe Joel and Bill find a mutual respect.
In 2010, raiders assault the town — something Joel warned Bill would happen. The fortified defenses hold up, but Bill is shot and only survives because Frank’s around to patch him up.
One morning in 2023, Bill wakes up to find Frank sitting up beside him. Having accepted that there’s no way to treat his ailment, he admits to having spent most of the night getting out of bed, and informs Bill that it’s his “last day.”
“Give me one more good day … take me to the boutique, where I’ll pick outfits for us. You’ll wear what I ask, and we’ll get married. And you’ll cook a delicious dinner,” he says, before taking his pills out of his pocket. “And you’ll crush all of these up, put them in my wine. I will drink it. Then you will take me by my hand, bring me to our bed and I will fall asleep in your arms.”
We never see Frank alive in the game, since he and Bill had a falling out prior to Ellie and Joel’s arrival. At the end of their journey across the town, the trio discover Frank’s body hanging in the house he’d lived in.
We learn that he’d been bitten by some infected and opted to take his own life rather than turn into a shambling monster. You can also find a note containing his final words.
“Well, Bill, I doubt you’d ever find this note cause you were too scared to ever make it to this part of town. But if for some reason you did, I want you to know I hated your guts. I grew tired of this shitty town and your set-in-your-ways attitude,”
Ouch. Bill isn’t too happy to read this, so he flings it away. In the PS5 remake, you get the “In Memorium” trophy if you pick up the crumbled note (in the show, Joel crumbles up Bill’s note and tosses it aside).
Prior to reaching Bill’s town, you can find a smuggler’s note about Frank. It reveals that he’d planned to quietly move into the Boston quarantine zone after trading with the smuggler, but never made it. In the show, when Bill finds him in the trap, Frank says he was on his way to Boston.