‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 3: Recap And Ending, Explained: Where Are Ellie And Joel Headed Now?

I sit wretched and enamored as I dare my overwhelmed heart and my trembling fingers to come up with words to do justice to the perfection I have just witnessed. Episode 3 of the HBO post-apocalyptic drama has to be Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann’s generous way of making one thing certain: “The Last of Us” owes its magnificence to its makers. The show does not suspend the entirety of its weight on the sturdy shoulders of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Our favorite grey heroes will undoubtedly lead the way as we go further down the ferocious road and ignore its scowl. The remarkably emotional “Long, Long Time” devotedly wraps a wonderfully affecting love story with Joel and Ellie’s predetermined journey and proves that no matter how strayed the stakes can be from the focal trope, the show will find a way to leave us crushed—cruelly and lovingly.


Spoilers Ahead

Going On Ahead

Joel has treated Tess’ last request with care as we see him and Ellie making their path through the ruins ten miles from Boston QZ. He may not say it out loud, but Ellie is perceptive enough to know that a part of his silent treatment is rooted in his anger stemming from Tess’ demise, for which he may blame Ellie. Clearing the air right off the bat with a reminder that she didn’t make them take on the job of smuggling her, Ellie makes certain that she isn’t wrongly held accountable for Joel’s inconsolable loss. Before hitting Bill and Frank’s, Joel makes a stop to scour the Cumberland Farms, one of the hideaways that Joel has made use of to accumulate contraband. As Joel struggles to recollect the exact spot of his stash, Ellie is thrilled to come across a long-forlorn Mortal Kombat II. She strolls about the ruins after making sure that there aren’t dangers around and holds on to her knife, as Joel still hasn’t trusted her with a gun. Stumbling on a hidden portal that leads to the unknown, the gutsy little girl makes her way down into the darkness of a basement. A zombie, halfway on its mission to transform into a clicker, is spotted by Ellie, who is anything but shaken by sight. Echoing her inquisitiveness about the feeling of killing something that was once human, curious Ellie intrudes into the zombie’s forehead to look beneath the skin and finally stabs it to soothe her violent urge. It isn’t just the inauguration of her murderous adventures that Ellie finds; she is also delighted to locate a much-needed box of tampons before heading out.


Ellie’s day out turns out to be a real charmer when it offers her a sight of a crashed plane. Joel maintains the coherence of his calm demeanor while Ellis reminds him that he was lucky to be able to fly before the sky was taken off the list of spaces where humans could foray. Her incessant questions about how the infection started sort of confirm one theory that has been going around. The mutated Cordyceps ruled over flour and sugar, which, once consumed to a certain extent, turned humans into biters. Joel certainly doesn’t regret the missed birthday cake and pancakes. If only the missed cookies by Sarah had ultimately proved to be a consequential win!

A Surprisingly Lovable Doomsday Prepper

Wanting to take the path through the woods so as to keep Ellie from the scarring sights of the road doesn’t quite work for Joel. Ellie herself is strangely fascinated by and immune to things that would rattle a weaker heart. Walking up to the piles of skeletons, she wonders why the uninfected were brutalized. To answer her with the disturbing truth, Joel paints a chilling picture of the beginning of the apocalypse, when people from the small towns were killed if the quarantine zones had no space to offer them. A scrap of fabric amongst the skeletons yanks us 20 years back in time as we see an unsuspecting woman cradling an infant getting in the back of a military van. Watching it all transpire closely from the basement accoutred with high-quality security cameras is Bill, a survivalist whose macabre anxieties of an upturned world have come true. He waits patiently for the military to clear out of his vicinity to go out and raid a Home Depot for supplies. Entirely autarkic with his carefully constructed system to keep the zombies out and the massive generator that doesn’t rely on the state’s power supply, Bill is living a darn good life cooking and eating fancy meals in his shipshape home. He likes his fancy wines and his steaks cooked just right. And for entertainment, he doesn’t mind the sight of a zombie dying, thanks to his cunning set-up of tripwires, if this isn’t something Ron Swanson would absolutely love!


Love In A Hopeless Place

Four years have passed, and the unlikeliest of companionship has come Bill’s way in the form of a scruffy man, fallen into one of his traps, pleading for his life. The man is Frank, the only survivor left from the ten that escaped from the overrun Baltimore QZ. After holding him at gunpoint and ensuring that he isn’t infected with a tester Bill has somehow acquired, Bill allows the starving Frank to come in for a meal and a shower. As he sits down to eat, Frank is pleasantly surprised to see that Bill’s apocalypse cooking would put gourmet chefs to shame and that he also knows to pair the right wine with the right meat. Before his intended departure, an ecstatic Frank sits down at Bill’s vintage piano and shuffles through his mother’s song collection before stopping at Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, long time.” Stopping his questionable rendition midway, Bill sits down instead to sing it with heart. Frank mischievously inquires after the identity of the girl Bill is singing for, knowing very well that the sexual tension between them could be cut with a pair of scissors. The two share a warm kiss, their eyes flowing with the profuse happiness of finding intimacy while the world falls apart. After making him take a shower, Frank handholds Bill through his first experience of discovering the beautiful truth of love and closeness, and he does so with the promise of staying for a few more days.

Holding On To A Past Long Gone

A three years jump welcomes us to the bittersweet domesticity of the loving couple. More of a hopeful person at his very core, Frank implores Bill to let him dazzle up their place and the neighborhood. Wondering why Frank would want to waste resources on bedecking a place when there’s hardly any hope of making new friends, Bill rains on Frank’s parade. But Frank is sticking to his dreams, as he has recently started speaking to a very nice woman on the radio (guess who!). The writers went all out to make us book a therapist’s appointment with “The Last of Us” Episode 3. The warm yet aching sequence of a happy Tess sharing a wonderful meal with Joel and the couple brings forth the sinking feeling of being reminded of her traumatic death. A cynic by nature, Bill holds a gun to Joel as he is told of the benefits he could reap if he gave Tess and Joel a shot. Pointing at Bill’s corroding fence that will not last a year, Joel promises to supply them with the amenities from the QZ that will last them a lifetime. While dreamers recreate a scene from a forgotten world with a trip to the house, Joel and Bill discuss the more practical particulars of their arrangements. As they bid goodbye to one another, Bill is still skeptical of the two smugglers, but Frank is already hatching a plan for the radio codes that we learned of in the pilot.


The Burden Of Attachment

Another three years jump opens with the chipper side of Bill, giggling like a little kid to see the strawberry patch Frank has cultivated with the seeds he has acquired from Tess. Sure, he groans a little at the thought of his boyfriend letting go of a tiny gun in exchange for this patch of sunshine, but Bill can’t hide his happiness in the arms of the man of his dreams. At the same time, he is troubled by the worries of loss that inevitably follow love. Before Frank, Bill practically had nothing to fear. Now, as he gets old in a chaotic world that hardly allows a lot of people that privilege, he is riddled with the anxieties of the harm that may befall his beloved. Their fences now are protected against intruders with broken cars piled up to form a wall–a haunting parallel echoing the truths of the real America. The sound of raiders being set alight awaken Frank, who rushes out to find Bill guarding their house with a rifle drawn. In spite of all the protection, Bill is shot. Lying on the table as Frank tends to his bleeding wound, Bill is more worried about what is to become of Frank if he is gone than his own well-being. He wants Frank to get in touch with Joel, the one man in the whole world that he trusts with the responsibility of his treasured one. Bill may have put up a face of skepticism, but this scene bares the reality of his true impression of Joel. In Joel, he sees a reflection of himself: a man who has lost everything but has found someone he would do anything to protect.

‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 3: Ending Explained – Where Are Ellie And Joel Headed Now?

We make a ten-years jump to helplessly witness one of the most heart-wrenching sequences in the history of television. Bill has made it through being shot in the stomach. But to our agonizing shock, we see a wheelchair-bound Frank, victim to a progressive disease that nobody can help him with. Partly paralyzed, the once lively Frank now struggles to hold a paintbrush to the canvas or a spoon to his mouth. Relying on the soothing drugs Tess and Joel supply him with, Frank spends his hopeless days in acute emotional distress. That is until Bill wakes up one morning to find Frank sitting in his wheelchair, an activity that took him a large chunk of the night to achieve. It is, as Frank declares, his last day. The protests of his sobbing partner fail to convince Frank to continue withering away. He has experienced more happiness with Bill than he ever could have hoped for, even in an unscathed world. Now it is time for him to end his journey and preserve the warmth he still feels.


Respecting Frank’s wish for euthanasia, the couple spends one last day in the bliss of unforgettable love. They clean up, suit up, and exchange rings in the parlor to commemorate the heaven they have found in each other’s affection. As they share one last charming meal in the safe refuge of their home, Frank soaks in all the traces of wonderfulness he has found in his happiest place on earth. Chugging the wine containing the crushed pills that are supposed to give him a merciful demise, Frank realizes that he isn’t the only one dying. He had come to Bill bearing all the happiness of a purposeful life. Now that he is about to fade away, Bill has nothing keeping him tethered to life. He has chosen to drug the bottle of wine with enough pills “to kill a horse” and has made his mind up about doing justice to “till death do us part.” Our tearful gaze follows the best apocalypse couple as they saunter to the bedroom to take their last breaths together.

Punching in the code to the protective fence, Joel realizes that something is off. The two walk into the home that was once lively with the glimmer of love but now holds the gloomy secret of its passing. Ellie reads the letter left behind by Bill and promptly stops Joel from going into the bedroom. Joel doesn’t have the heart to read the letter left by someone he is too scared to forthrightly call a friend. Bill had opened a window to protect his beloved home from the stench of their remains. As Ellie reaches the harrowing part of the letter where Bill mentions leaving his belongings behind for the protection of Tess, Joel once again wears his steely facade so as not to fall apart. They take a shower after what may have been an eternity, and Ellie quickly bags a stray gun. With a battery fully charged and a working car, Joel and Ellie head to Wyoming to track down Tommy. Being an ex-Firefly member, Tommy is likely to concern himself with providing safe passage for Ellie. As Joel exudes his fatherly protectiveness while fastening Ellie’s seatbelt, Ellie gets busy enjoying her first-ever car ride. Driving out into what we hope is a better future, Ellie’s “spaceship” sings the evocative tune of “Long, long time.”


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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjeehttps://muckrack.com/lopamudra-mukherjee
Lopamudra nerds out about baking whenever she’s not busy looking for new additions to the horror genre. Nothing makes her happier than finding a long-running show with characters that embrace her as their own. Writing has become the perfect mode of communicating all that she feels for the loving world of motion pictures.

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