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The first powerful TV moment of 2023 belongs to the gay love story of ‘The Last of Us’


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The series is based on the video game of the same name, Naughty Dog, for the PlayStation

HBO’s exciting new drama took a short break from its post-apocalyptic flow to chronicle the tender romance between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).

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The series, based on a video game series of the same name, begins in 2003 – when a fungal virus called Cordyceps turns people into zombies – and picks up 20 years later, in 2023, after the virus has taken over and society has collapsed .

Joel tries to find his brother and get 14-year-old Ellie to safety. Those who survived the pandemic are just trying to stay alive in a pretty sad version of America, not at all optimistic that things will change.

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In the same dramatic context two men meet when one falls into the trap set by the other. Bill lives hidden and isolated from everyone in a block fenced with electric wires, in a deserted town. Misanthrope – a wild survivor who manages to organize a quality and peaceful isolated life. Frank is trapped and hungry. A gentle, warm man.

Bill shows compassion and invites him to dinner. There is definitely tension in the atmosphere. Two strangers eat together at a time when America has already collapsed from a sanitary crisis, a military regime controls everything and zombies are everywhere. There is suspicion and a threatening atmosphere. And yet, the unexpected happens – the two men fall in love. For the next -almost- two decades, the men bond, create and grow old together, away from the virus that has decimated the planet. And finally, they die together.

This beautiful, poignant story is at the heart of “Long Long Time,” of the third episode of The Last of Us. Up until this point, HBO’s post-apocalyptic video game adaptation has been a violent dystopian nightmare. There were fierce battles. Traumatic deaths. Monsters that take over bodies.

The idea of ​​such a tender, human love story amidst scenes of post-apocalyptic horror is bold, really bold. Nice bold. Here we are talking about an authentic romantic love story between two men. Rarely do we see a mainstream series tackle the love story of two men over the age of 40, let alone in a genre of fiction rich in macho conventions.

The Last of Us Series

As the episode draws to a close, Frank falls ill, and the pair’s final scenes together are deeply moving. They live together one last wonderful day and then kill themselves.

For a series that has made it clear from the start that it’s going to starkly present us with death – death by gunshot, death by explosion, death by knife, death by zombie kiss – Bill and Frank’s death is an emotional oasis. We see no dead bodies, only an open window. Two gay characters die but are perhaps the only people we see truly living in the chaos and wasteland.

The Last of Us Series

Fans of the video game Last of Us (released in 2013) and its 2020 sequel may not find the approach surprising. The game in both versions explored and presented poignant queer characters and themes.

In the 2013 game, Bill has his own character – but we only meet him in the present, as a grumpy, lonely old wolf. We later learn that his lover, Frank, hanged himself after becoming infected and leaving behind a letter explaining that he didn’t really care for Bill at all. The writers rejected that version of the story and really took it a step further by sending a heartening reminder that television can still pleasantly surprise us. That there are still stories to be told and stories to remind us that love will continue to bloom, even as the world around us crumbles.

You can watch the series from the VodafoneTV platform.

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