The Last of Us Episode 3 was originally “two hours” and made Craig Mazin cry “so much it hurt”.

Episode three of the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us has already been hailed by many as one of television’s best hours (and a little bit). However, there was a time when it was almost twice as long.

In conversation with meetingSeries co-creator Craig Mazin revealed that editing took “almost two hours or something like that.”

Please note that there are spoilers for The Last of Us below.

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Episode three of The Last of Us tells the love story of Bill and Frank, something that isn’t well developed in the game.

Bill is a survivor, and a fairly argumentative one at that. Frank, on the other hand, is warm and hopeful. Even as the world crumbles around him, he manages to find joy — in the words of Nick Offerman, who plays Bill on the show, “Frank is the flowers and Bill is the earth.”

When Mazin first saw how long this original edit of the episode was, he assumed it wouldn’t be good. However, he then sat down to watch it, and the end result made him cry “so much it hurt.”

“[Episode director] Peter Hoar did his director’s cut with our editor, Tim Good, which was quite a long time,” explained Mazin. “When they sent it to me, I think it was almost two hours or something like that. So I thought, oh, that’s probably not good.

“And I sat down, but I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to watch the two-hour version of this episode.’ And I cried so much that at one point I even said out loud, “Ouch.”

“I mean, it hurt. I cried so hard it hurt. And I was like, ‘Well, if these guys can do this to me and I wrote this damn thing, I think other people can could work pretty well’.”

And it worked well on other people since the internet is now flooded with strawberry gifs and emojis (I’m one of those people). Now that I know there’s an Extended Director’s Cut of Episode Three, I’m dying to learn more about what’s left in the tailor shop. I would be very happy to sit down and spend two hours exploring Bill and Frank’s relationship further.

I was wondering if there would originally be more with Joel and Tess in Lincoln. In the final version of the episode, we see the couple visiting Bill and Frank for the first time and agreeing to form an alliance. After that, however, their visits are only implied, with Bill’s letter to Joel at the end of the show and Frank revealing that he got the strawberry seeds by trading them with Tess for a gun. I was expecting to see at least Joel, if not Tess, return to Lincoln after Bill was injured by assailants.

Also, towards the end of the third episode, Frank says to Bill, “I’m not going to give the ‘Every Day Was a Godsend’ speech, I’ve had a lot of bad days. I had bad days with you too. But I’ve had more good days with you than anyone.”

It would have been interesting to see some of those bad days between the pair. We know they’re fighting, as shown when Frank asks Bill for paint and supplies to renovate the home and some of the Lincoln shops, but I’m curious what a “bad day” would have been like for the couple – maybe she would have given us a closer look at Bill’s gruff demeanor that is so present in the game.

Another thing I’m wondering about is if maybe we saw more of what happened before Bill and Frank’s first kiss. While Bill is nervous in those first few moments with Frank, their relationship takes off pretty quickly. I appreciate that the show has a limited amount of time to tell a story, but I’d love to see more of those early moments of insecurity between the two before they finally realize their feelings.

Queerness in Conversation: Bill & Frank (via HBO).

That being said, Peter Hoar, director of the third episode, has said that a Bill spin-off could be an interesting idea to pursue. “Bill has legs,” he said during a conversation with esquire.

“Obviously we see a little moment where [Bill and Frank] work with Joel and Tess. And we see the scene where they first meet — but then it’s a good few years of working together and getting along. Maybe that’s the section you do as a spinoff where it’s action packed and whatever. Or instead of a spin-off series, maybe it’s just a Bill spin-off and it’s just about that one moment,” Hoar mused.

“I’d love to do something with Joel in the middle,” the director continued. “You would learn a lot about him in the middle of the apocalypse because Pedro is obvious [Pascal] arrived without all the gray in his hair and he looked fabulous. I was just like, ‘Wow, that’s a Joel I don’t know’.

“There is only this one scene [in Episode Three]. It was fascinating to me what they were up to during that time because they’re probably like, ‘Okay, we’ve got this. We’re going to make the apocalypse work for us. We’ve got a little plot going on here.’ But as everyone knows – the best plans.”

Well, a girl can dream.

To find out more about The Last of Us, you can read all of my thoughts on episodes one, two and three by following the links. In the meantime, is there anything else you’d like to elaborate on in this episode? The Last of Us Episode 3 was originally “two hours” and made Craig Mazin cry “so much it hurt”.

Fry Electronics Team

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