Adopting a video game into a full-fledged web series is a herculean task, and creators Mazin and Druckmann have pulled that off with perfection in The Last of Us.
Set in a dystopian hellscape, the story revolves around a broken man, Joel, who is tasked with escorting little Ellie to a rebel group called the Fireflies.
There’s only one problem, though. The world is terrorized by a fungus that makes humans turn into brain-eating zombies, and they are everywhere, ready to pounce!
This week’s episode switches our focus to Frank and Bill. It is another 60+ minute installment with several hidden easter eggs and other details that only an avid fan can identify.
So, we watched the episode at 0.25x speed and listed all such details. Without any further ado, let’s dive in!
1. HBO References Ellie’s Innocence
The opening scene of episode 3 is a frame-by-frame remake of the one from the video game. Joel and Ellie are trying to reach Bill’s town, and the road is through the woods.
Here, Ellie makes a comment saying, “I’ve never been in the woods. More bugs than I thought.”
This highlights Ellie’s naivety. Even though she is born after the pandemic outbreak, she hasn’t learned to be in survival mode at all times.
2. The Show Uses the Game’s Original Explanation for the Fungi
Another easter egg happens when Joel explains the reason behind the Cordyceps outbreak to Ellie. Joel explains that the fungus was in food ingredients like sugar, salt, and flour, which went inside humans when they consumed them.
This is identical to the explanation in a newspaper in Joel and Sarah’s home in the video game. There’s just a slight change in location because the game states that the outbreak started in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The video game wanted to make South America the epicenter for the outbreak from the very beginning.
3. Bill’s Gas Mask References the Video Game’s Spores
Transmission through fungal spores is one of the most significant vectors in the video game, so the characters mostly wear industrial gas masks to protect themselves. In the show, spores are replaced with tendrils, and masks are unnecessary.
In his first scene, the creators added a cheeky easter egg by showing Bill in a gas mask. This is symbolic of the game’s spores and shows Bill’s paranoid nature regarding the outbreak.
Episode 3’s Premise is from a Game’s Collectible.
Frank is long dead in the game before Joel and Ellie reach Lincoln. The pair find Bill and discover Frank’s body in one of the houses on their way back. Here, the player finds a collectible note which tells the same story of Bill and Frank shown in episode 3.
4. Bill and Frank’s Marriage is Important
According to the show’s timeline, the world fell apart in 2003. This makes Bill and Frank’s marriage even more critical in the game because gay marriage wasn’t legalized back then.
The show depicts the irony beautifully by showing a marriage happening in a hellish world that would never have been allowed if the world were ‘normal’.
5. The Last Meal
Another vital detail surrounding the couple is their last meal.
Frank and Bill’s last meal together before Frank’s death is the same as their first meal that Bill cooked 20 years ago. This is a beautiful easter egg and highlights the poetic nature of their love.
6. The Rules are the Same
Joel sets some rules for Ellie to follow in the video game, and they remain unchanged in the show.
These rules are that they don’t talk about each other’s past lives, Ellie doesn’t tell anyone about her immunity, and she has to obey Joel’s every order.
These rules are taken almost word-to-word from the game and highlight Joel’s hesitation to take on the escort job.
7. The Final Truck Scene
The final sequence of Episode 3 has the pair riding downtown in Bill’s truck. This scene has two major easter eggs.
Firstly, Bill’s truck in the show is the exact color and model of his truck in the video game. The second easter egg is Ellie finding a cassette which she jokes is from Joel’s time. Joel and Ellie play the tape and listen to the song.
This exact scene is there in the canon video game, though a different song plays in the video game.
8. Joel and Ellie Receive Iconic Outfits
After Joel and Ellie reach Lincoln and find Bill and Frank dead, they shower and change into new clothes. The new garments are almost identical to their iconic outfits in the game.
Joel’s outfit is his iconic green plaid shirt, while Ellie wears a burgundy shirt with blue sleeves that has become synonymous with her character from the game.
9. Frank’s Suicide is Very Different from the Game
In the video game, Frank hangs himself in Lincoln after being bitten by an infected person. The show alters that completely and Frank and Bill commit suicide by eating the pills used for Frank’s ‘illness’.
The show changes this sequence to highlight the extraordinary love story between Frank and Bill. While the game’s ending isn’t bad, the show concludes their love story perfectly.
10. Bill’s Traps are Re-Created in the Show
In the original game, Bill rigs the entire town with fatal traps to keep the snatchers and the infected out. These traps involve tripwires that trigger horrible fates to anyone who activates them.
These traps are replicated perfectly in the show, and Frank references them many times. We also see Bill setting up a few in episode 3.
11. Mortal Kombat II Machine is a Riley Easter Egg
One of the biggest easter eggs in the episode comes in the form of a Mortal Kombat II video game machine.
Joel and Ellie stop at an abandoned building where Joel had stashed some essentials years ago. On entering, Ellie rushes over to an abandoned Mortal Kombat II arcade machine. She says her friend told her about the game, which references Ellie’s best friend, Riley.
While she never takes her name, it is clear that Ellie is referring to Riley as the game features a poster of Mortal Kombat II when Riley wakes Ellie up in her bedroom.
12. Joel Grieves Tess’ Death in the Show
Tess’ death leaves a big crevasse in Joel’s heart, but he never openly grieves for it in the game. In the show, episode 3 opens with Joel commemorating Tess’ death by building a cairn for her.
Since ancient times, cairns have been used as burial monuments, showing that Joel had a thought to spare for Tess’ ultimate sacrifice.
13. About The Last Of Us
The Last of Us is an HBO TV series adaptation of the award-winning video game of the same name originally developed by Naughty Dog.
It is set in 2033, as a fungal infestation plagues humans, turning them feral and blind before finally finishing them off. The series follows Joel’s journey to escort an immune 14-year-old Ellie to the Fireflies, who hope to study her to procure a vaccine.
The cast comprises Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, both famed for their roles in Games of Thrones, along with Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, and Nico Parker. The show was renewed for season 2.