The Last of Us episode 3 switches the focus to Bill and Frank in another 60+ minute episode, providing plenty of time for many hidden Easter eggs and references. Picking up from where its predecessor left off, The Last of Us sees Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) dealing with Tess’ sacrifice before continuing toward Bill and Frank’s town. Midway through their journey, the episode flashes back to 2003 and details Bill’s experiences with outbreak day.
What follows is the journey of Bill and Frank, how they met, their eventual relationship, and how the duo is connected to Joel and Tess, as hinted at through The Last of Us episode 1’s radio song. Through the biggest changes HBO has made to the original game thus far, The Last of Us episode 3 tells a highly emotionally affecting story. However, across its 75-minute run time, The Last of Us episode 3 also features many hidden details, references, and Easter eggs regarding the original game and the show’s story.
Joel Grieves For Tess In HBO’s Show
The opening scene of The Last of Us episode 3 deals with the aftermath of Tess’ death and provides audiences with something not seen in the original game. While Joel grieved in his own silent, world-weary way for Tess in The Last of Us game, he was never shown to commemorate her in any way other than continue with Ellie as Tess wished. However, The Last of Us episode 3 opens with Joel building a cairn for Anna Torv’s Tess. Since ancient times, cairns have often been used as burial monuments, showing Joel sparing a heartwarming moment for his former friend and lover.
HBO References Ellie’s Game Naivety
The opening scene of The Last of Us episode 3 directly references the original game. This is done through Ellie, who has a comment in this scene taken word-for-word from the game before Joel and Ellie reach Bill’s town. In The Last of Us episode 3, Ellie states, “I’ve never been in the woods. More bugs than I thought.” This highlights Ellie’s naivety through being born after the outbreak of the fungi Cordyceps infection, something referenced in the game almost identically to this scene.
Mortal Kombat II Machine Is A Riley Easter Egg
On Joel and Ellie’s journey, they stop at an abandoned building in which Joel had stashed some supplies years prior. Upon entering the building, Ellie rushes over to an arcade machine of Mortal Kombat II in a scene that references HBO’s Riley and an Easter egg to the same character in The Last of Us game. In the show, Ellie states that her friend told her about Mortal Kombat, a reference to Riley. While Ellie never uses her name, it’s clear she means Riley as the game features a poster of Mortal Kombat II in Ellie’s bedroom when The Last of Us’ Riley first wakes her.
The Last Of Us Show Uses The Original Game’s Cordyceps Explanation
Another scene in The Last of Us episode 3 has an Easter egg taken directly from the game when Joel explains the Cordyceps outbreak to Ellie. Joel states that the mutated fungi were transmitted to humans through food ingredients like flour and sugar. This caused people to become infected worldwide and spread the infection to others. The explanation in the game can be found in a newspaper in Joel and Sarah’s home, though, with a slight location change to Asia through Jakarta, Indonesia, in HBO’s show rather than the South American epicenter of the game.
Bill’s Town Is The Same In The Last Of Us Game & Show
One of the less overt references to the game in The Last of Us episode 3 comes through Bill’s town. In both iterations of the story, Bill’s town is named Lincoln. In the game, Joel, Ellie, and Bill (played by Nick Offerman in HBO’s Last of Us) visit a school with a sign listing it as Lincoln High School. Throughout The Last of Us episode 3, many signs can be seen in the background of Bill’s scenes confirming that the HBO show uses the same name as Bill and Frank’s town, based on the real Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Bill’s Gas Mask References The Last Of Us Game’s Spores
In the first scene featuring Bill in The Last of Us episode 3, Bill exits his home wearing a gas mask which makes sense for his character while providing a neat Easter egg to the original game. In 2013’s The Last of Us, characters often had to wear gas masks to avoid spores, the aerially transmitted version of Cordyceps. It was confirmed before episode 1 aired that spores would be replaced with tendrils, a hive mind-like aspect in The Last of Us show, with Bill’s gas mask poking fun at this while making sense in terms of Bill’s paranoid nature.
Bill’s Traps Are Similar To His The Last Of Us Game Traps
Another Bill Easter egg comes in the form of his defenses of Lincoln. In the original game, Bill is shown to have rigged the entire town with traps to keep out both infected and raiders. These traps largely involve tripwires, which trigger various violent means of death for anyone who activates them. These traps are also adapted in HBO’s The Last of Us, with Frank (Murray Bartlett) directly referencing Bill’s tripwires.
Bill’s Paranoid Personality Translates To Last Of Us Episode 3
Bill’s paranoid personality is also a neat reference to the original game, in which Bill is presented as highly distrustful. This is exemplified in Bill’s first scene in The Last of Us episode 3, where he is seen doubting FEDRA’s capabilities (rightfully so) in a secret bunker surrounded by cameras and guns before meeting The Last of Us’ Frank. This is also shown through Bill’s initial wariness to allow Frank into his town.
“Long Long Time” Lyrics Reference Bill & Frank
One hidden detail in The Last of Us episode 3 comes from Bill and Frank’s scene on the piano. The duo takes turns playing Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time,” a song that has hidden meanings for both their feelings. From referencing Bill’s loneliness living in Lincoln to the difficulty of being gay in a time in which gay marriage was not legalized through lyrics such as “love will abide… no one at my side… loves wounds unseen”, these words cause Frank and Bill to truly bond for the first time, resulting in their beautifully presented relationship.
Episode 3’s Story Is Based On A Game Collectible
The entire story surrounding Bill and Frank in The Last of Us episode 3 is a video game reference itself, despite being a drastic game difference from The Last of Us. Frank is long dead in the original game before Joel and Ellie reach Lincoln, yet Bill is still alive. On their journey with Bill, Joel and Ellie find Frank’s body hung in a house in Lincoln, and a collectible note hints at Bill and Frank’s former relationship. This one collectible letter has been turned into the driving premise of The Last of Us episode 3.
Lincoln Raiders Set Up Future The Last Of Us Threats
A scene midway through The Last of Us episode 3 provides both a reference to the series premiere while also being an Easter egg of the original game. In the scene, a group of raiders attacks Lincoln, which Bill and Frank have to fight off. This links to The Last of Us episode 1 in which the man on the radio in Boston warns Joel that there are worse than infected outside the QZ, such as raiders and slavers. It also foreshadows the human dangers that await Joel and Ellie in Kansas City and through David’s crew from the game.
Bill & Frank Getting Married Is Important
Another hidden detail of The Last of Us episode 3 centers on Bill and Frank’s marriage. As the world fell apart in 2003, gay marriage was never legalized in any U.S. state in the world of The Last of Us, as Massachusetts became the first in 2004 in the real world. This makes Bill and Frank’s marriage at the end of the episode even more beautiful, with the two joining together in a way their world did not legally allow.
Frank’s Suicide In The Last Of Us Show Is Very Different To The Game
In The Last of Us episode 3, the central duo’s suicide comes from drinking the pills used for Frank’s Last of Us illness. This dramatically differs from the original game in which Frank hangs himself after being bitten by an infected. This was changed in order to give Frank and Bill a much deeper story and is done in a way that serves both characters’ stories exceptionally well.
The Importance Of Bill & Frank’s Last Meal
Another important hidden detail of The Last of Us surrounds Bill and Frank’s final meal. The final meal is the same as the first Bill cooked Frank 20 years earlier. This is a neat Easter egg, as the poetic nature of both men’s final meal being the one that brought them together, is a beautiful reference to the prior events of the episode.
Joel & Ellie Receive Iconic Last Of Us Game Outfits
After Joel and Ellie find Bill and Frank dead, they shower and receive new clothes. While seemingly inconsequential, these clothes are a significant reference to the original game in a hidden detail to non-Last of Us players. Joel’s outfit is the green plaid shirt that has become synonymous with his game character, the same for Ellie’s burgundy shirt with blue sleeves.
Joel’s Rules To Ellie Are Kept The Same
Another The Last of Us episode 3 Easter egg involves Joel’s rules for taking Ellie with him. These rules in the show are that they do not talk about their respective histories, Ellie does not tell anyone about her immunity, and Ellie has to obey Joel’s every order. These rules are taken almost word-for-word from the game, providing a nice Easter egg to Joel’s hesitance to take Ellie and, more importantly, get to know her.
Last Of Us Episode 3’s Truck Scene Has Many Game Easter Eggs
Finally, the ending sequence of The Last of Us episode 3 features many easter eggs to the original game. The first is Last of Us episode 3’s truck scene, with Bill’s truck being the same model and color as the truck Bill provides Joel in the original game. The second is Ellie finding a cassette tape which she jokes is from Joel’s time. Joel says it is before his time, but it is a great song, and he listens to the cassette. This scene also happens in the game, though with a different song than The Last of Us episode 3’s Linda Ronstadt ballad.
New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.