If you thought The Last of Us episode 3 was heartbreaking, think again – co-showrunner Craig Mazin has revealed there's an even more upsetting director's cut of Frank and Bill's story. Warning: there are spoilers for episode 3 ahead!
"[Episode helmer] Peter Hoar did his director’s cut with our editor, Tim Good, which was quite long," Mazin told Deadline (opens in new tab). "When they sent it to me, I think it was almost two hours or something like that. So, I was like, oh, that’s probably not good. And I sat down, but I’m like, 'OK, I’ll watch the two-hour version of this episode.' And I cried so hard that at one point, I actually said out loud, 'Ow.' I mean, it hurt. I cried so hard; it hurt. And I thought, 'Well, if these guys can do this to me and I wrote this fucking thing, then I think it might work pretty well on other people'."
Episode 3 introduced us to gruff survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman), who reluctantly lets lone survivor Frank (Murray Barlett) into his home. A tender love story blossoms between the pair as they build a life together in the midst of the apocalypse. The pair's relationship occurs off-screen and plays out rather differently in the games, but Mazin and co-showrunner Neil Druckmann had a good reason for wanting to change things for the HBO series.
In episode 3, we see Bill and Frank grow old together over the course of 20 years. Frank eventually becomes terminally ill and, when he decides to end his own life, Bill joins him as he doesn't want to live without him. After the pair have downed enough wine laced with crushed-up pills to send them into a permanent sleep, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) arrive at their home to seek help and find a note from Bill instead. HBO's 72-minute cut of the episode is enough of a tear-jerker as it is, so we can't imagine how an extra 48 minutes of runtime would have tugged on our heartstrings.
Ellie and Joel's journey continues Sundays on HBO in the US and follows on Mondays on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Make sure you never miss an episode with our The Last of Us release schedule. If you're affected by the themes of the episode, for confidential support call the Samaritans (opens in new tab) in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.