We’ve known that Nick Offerman would be in The Last of Us since December of 2021. But no one, not even the biggest fan, was ready for the masterpiece that the HBO thriller turned out to be. In “Long Long Time,” Bill (Offerman), a survivalist who avoids the worst of the Cordyceps brain infection, is at the center of the story.
But The Last of Us doesn’t turn his story into another survival story. Instead, it’s a love story. Even though Peter Hoar and Craig Mazin’s episode was unexpectedly beautiful, the couple at its heart is not. “Long Long Time” has caused some of the worst people on Twitter to say that The Last of Us forced a gay relationship into the story. Bill has always been gay, though. In the original version of the game, it just wasn’t as clear.
In the 2014 game, Joel and Ellie go looking for the survivalist because they need a car from him. For a short time, Bill joins their team. At first, Bill’s sexuality wasn’t made clear, but it was hinted at. Once upon a time, I had somebody that I cared about.
It was a partner. Somebody I had to look after, Bill tells Joel in his gruff, unpleasant way. “And in this world, that sort of shit is good for one thing — getting you killed. So you know what I did? I wisened the fuck up. And I realized it’s gotta be just me.” Later, Joel and Bill find Frank’s body with bite marks all over it hanging in a house. When Joel asks Bill who that is, Bill tries not to cry as he calls him his “partner.”
The note Frank wrote shows the same strong feelings. Joel finds Frank’s suicide note after he finds Frank’s dead body. The note is written to Bill and says, “Trying to leave this town will kill me. Still better than spending another day with you.” On the remaster for PlayStation 5, Joel can even choose to give Bill the note. If you do this, Bill will yell at Frank and call him a “f*cking idiot.” He will then throw it away. Usually, people who are just friends don’t hate each other this much.
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But Ellie is the one who confirms that Bill is gay. After Joel and Ellie steal a truck from Bill, Ellie finds a dirty magazine with pictures of men that are stuck to it. Need more evidence? GLAAD said that Bill was one of the most interesting characters of 2013, which Neil Druckmann, the director of the game and co-creator of the series, wrote about in a tweet.
So yeah, Bill has always been gay. As for whether or not he had a relationship with Frank, that is more of an inference than a fact, and it completely changes how we should look at this character. Bill was always meant to be a sad guy in the game.
He was selfish and stuck in his ways, and in the end, he lost everything, including the one person who could stand him. Bill is supposed to be a warning about how much your ego can hurt you. But in the show, he’s a story that’s almost inspiring about how to find light in the dark. Not at all. The Last of Us doesn’t go in that direction at all. Druckmann told Decider that Craig Mazin was the “baby” of this very different story.
“The brilliant thing that Craig did with the story is say what if eventually Bill changed in a way that he didn’t in the game? That has a lot of beauty to it because so much of the story is the contrast of ‘Here’s the wonderful things that love can lead to, and here’s sometimes the horrific loss or the horrific violence that can emerge out of love.’”
“It just became this opportunity to both tell a story of the passage of time — what happens between the outbreak and now — and also to explore the themes that are baked into The Last of Us going back to the game, which are themes about love and the different ways we love and how love can be both beautiful and dangerous and dark,”
– Mazin added
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