the last of us episode 3 hbo bill frank story changed changes differences
Images: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The Last of Us Episode 3 on HBO: Why Did Bill and Frank’s Story Change?

The Last of Us on HBO has scored millions of fans across the world. Based on the critically-acclaimed video game of the same name, it has, to this point, stuck closely to the source material. In Episode 3, however, some big changes were made in the story of post-apocalypse survivors, Bill and Frank. Here is what was different in the TV series when compared to the game, and why those changes were likely made.

How did Bill and Frank’s story differ in the HBO show compared to the Last of Us game?

the last of us episode 3 hbo bill frank story changed changes differences
Image: Liane Hentscher/HBO

In The Last of Us on PlayStation, players never meet Frank. Instead, when Joel and Ellie arrive at Bill’s safe house, it’s revealed through subtle dialogue and items that Frank left his partner. Later on in the game, Joel, Ellie, and Bill come across a corpse, who had died due to hanging. Bill reveals that this is Frank, and they discover that he had killed himself after being bitten, as he didn’t want to turn into one of the infected. Frank left a note behind, which Joel reads to himself, revealing that Frank “hated Bill’s guts.”

Why did HBO make so many changes to Bill and Frank’s story in The Last of Us Episode 3?

the last of us episode 3 hbo bill frank story changed changes differences
Image: Liane Hentscher/HBO

As Bill never appears in the rest of the game, and is only mentioned in passing by Ellie in The Last of Us Part 2, writers on the HBO show likely wanted to give the survivalist a definitive ending. We got all of that and more, with Bill and Frank’s love story explored from beginning to end.

After the two met, their romance blossomed quickly. It was beautiful at times, and frustrating at others. Writers did away with the “hate” that Frank felt for Bill in the game, and instead showcased a realistic and relatable relationship. Not only that, but they avoided falling into the trap of treating a same-sex couple as different to a heterosexual partnership, simply because of their sexuality. It was raw and real throughout.

Bill’s choice to end his own life, as he helped Frank end his following a struggle against what the audience assumed was cancer, showcased more than ever the fact that he had finally found some purpose. Now that their relationship was reaching its end, he could leave the world behind with a smile on his face, rather than a hatred for humanity. In leaving a letter for Joel to find, he would also unconsciously influence him to give his all to protecting and escorting Ellie across the country. After losing Tess, it had seemed Joel had also lost his purpose and hope for the future. Now, in discovering Bill’s letter, he can find something else to live for.

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