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The Last of Us: How Bill and Frank’s New Story Affects Joel

Episode 3 of HBO's The Last of Us series revolves around the tragically touching story of Bill and Frank.

Episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us series revolves around the tragically touching story of Bill and Frank.

Of course, The Last of Us works differently as an HBO series than the games did. This means, among other things, that we learn a lot more about Bill and Frank. Not only do the two get more background and depth, their story also differs greatly from that of The Last of Us Part 1. In a detailed interview on episode 3, they explain why that is and what the makers behind the series are aiming for.

WARNING, SPOILERS follow to The Last of Us, both the series and the game!


Bill and Frank in The Last of Us: That’s how different the series and game are

The differences are massive: While we meet Bill in The Last of Us game, who almost grumpily mentions having lost a loved one, we learn a lot more about the two characters and their relationship in Episode 3 of the series. However, the two are already dead by the time the main storyline begins.

  • Bill no longer lives: In the series, Bill commits suicide with Frank. He is old, happy and tells Frank his purpose in life. In the game, he’s still alive and bitter.
  • The relationship is explicit: While it’s never named that in the game, the series makes it very clear that the two were a loving couple.
  • Bill leaves a message for Joel and everything he owns to protect Tess. However, Tess has just died at this point in the series.
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This The Last of Us episode shows how Bill and Frank met and fell in love in amazingly epic proportions. But we also experience the tragic and romantic end of the relationship. However, together and self-chosen, as showrunner Craig Mazin explains:

“They reach an end on their own terms. As Bill says, ‘I’m old, I’m satisfied, and you were my mind.’ That feels like a win to me.”


This is what the HBO film adaptation looks like:

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The Last of Us Series - In the third installment we finally meet a popular character


The Last of Us Series – In the third installment we finally meet a popular character

The Last of Us showrunners explain the changes and what they’re doing with Joel

Key episode for the series: Craig Mazin and Neill Druckmann tell the Los Angeles Times that episode three is one of the most important episodes of the entire series. That’s mostly because of how she motivates Joel to keep going.


In the first draft of the game’s story, Joel’s motivation was more or less simply not to become an old, lonely, and bitter guy like Bill. He also warns that it is dangerous to let people get too close.

The series will do that instead positive, worthwhile image of a long-lasting, fulfilling and loving relationship designed to function even during the adverse conditions of an apocalyptic pandemic.

“There is a possibility for people to achieve some kind of peace and happiness and love in this world.”


So it’s no longer about Bill’s reaction to Frank’s death and how it’s projected onto Joel – it’s about how Joel reacts to their relationship. Then there’s his failure and his will to become the person Bill saw in him. Even though he couldn’t protect his daughter or Tess, he still has to try and make things right with Ellie.

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Episode director Peter Hoar sums it up like this:


“The whole thing is about hope and humanity being able to have hope and believe in hope.”

you want more? Don’t worry, you’ll get more. The second season of The Last of Us has already been officially confirmed. You can find an overview of all episodes of the first season here. In addition, the chances are no longer so bad that the nasty mushroom spores from the games might still find their way into the series adaptation.

What do you think of the third episode of The Last of Us, what do you think of the new story about Bill and Frank?