While the first two episodes of HBO’s gritty video game adaptation had focused primarily on Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), episode three instead pivoted to a self-contained love story between two men, Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).
The episode was directed by Peter Hoar, who is known for his work on Channel 4’s LGBT+ miniseries It’s a Sin.
Speaking to Inverse about the third episode of The Last of Us, Hoar said: “Sometimes you have to sort of trick the rest of the world into watching these things before they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, it was two guys. I just realised.’
“I think then they might understand that it’s all real. It’s just the same love.”
Hoar, who is gay, discussed how the sexuality of Offerman’s character was explored in the episode.
“Bill is complicated. I would definitely argue that Bill doesn’t come across as a gay man,” he said. “It’s a little less binary than that. He is a man who never really discovered himself. He lived in a world of mistrust. He lived with his mother for a certain long number of years, she then died, and he had the house. He pulled himself away from society.
“He was never going to naturally discover who he was to fall in love with or who he found attractive until Frank came along. And even then, it wasn’t just about being a man, it was because he was Frank. It was because Frank is Frank. I felt like it was about making sure to keep reminding them all of that.”
He added: “Middle-aged men falling in love, you don’t get that all the time, so I think that was nice.”
Offerman and Bartlett has also offered their thoughts on the episode following its tremendously well-received airing.
The Last of Us can be watched on Sky and Now in the UK.