The third episode of “The Last of Us” broke the mold and made us forget that the world was burning and that there was still a deadly fungal infection out there that was wreaking havoc. For a moment, it made us forget that Joel was on a mission and that he had a potential vaccine traveling with him in the form of Ellie. We witnessed how two strangers grew so close with time that even death couldn’t keep them apart.
Frank was the ray of sunshine who arrived to fill the void in Bill’s life with love and happiness. He was truly a godsend, and Bill didn’t know how much he needed him until he met him. Their journey started by having a meal together and ended the same way and what happened between those two points is probably what we commonly refer to as a journey of contentment. It is often said that actual love is when what we consider as “being in love” fades away with time. Everybody is excited at the beginning of a relationship but if that desire to be together stays even after spending a decade in each other’s company, then you know that you have something real.
Frank was not the kind of man who would indulge in meaningless flings, and he made sure that Bill knew it. There was something about Bill that attracted Frank the moment he stepped foot in his house. Until the time he met him, Bill kept his feelings to himself, but the moment they came in front of each other, it felt as if somebody had opened a gateway of emotions that flooded the hearts of both men.
Frank loved Bill’s culinary expertise, and knowing how to pair the Beaujolais Villages with the right food was the cherry on top. Bill never made any extra efforts, as it all came very naturally to him. He was who he was in front of Frank; in fact, he was more real than he had been with himself. Bill was never the kind of man who would go out on weekends to socialize with friends. Frank was the polar opposite of Bill: he was talkative, didn’t shy away from expressing himself, loved dressing up for special occasions, and he never forgot to make every day and every moment count. Frank had no intention of staying with Bill, but the moment he asked him to play the piano changed everything. Frank looked into Bill’s eyes and felt something shift within him. They shared an intimate moment, and from thereon, there was no looking back.
It could be said that, though Bill had everything to make a house run smoothly, it only became a home in its true sense when Frank arrived in his life. He brought a sense of belongingness and warmth that was evidently missing before. Unlike Bill, Frank didn’t want to just survive; he wanted to do things that nourished his life. For me personally, Frank had the soul of an artist who didn’t look at life as a transaction, and for him, the meaning of the word “productivity” was very different from what is generally perceived by other people. Frank had told Bill that they were going to have friends and try to find happiness amidst all the uncertainties. He had started talking to Tess on the radio randomly, and that is how he and Bill came to know of Tess and Joel. It was just a friendly get-together, but Joel used the opportunity to make Bill aware that they could greatly benefit if they did business together.
Frank was the kind of man who laid a lot of emphasis on self-care, and he made sure that Bill did the same. We saw both of them going for runs together, with poor Bill suffering to keep up with his agile partner. Time passed rather quickly, and they didn’t even realize that they had spent a decade living together. Around that time, Frank probably suffered from a disorder that affected his nervous system, something like Parkinson’s disease. It affected mobility and he became an insomniac. Frank knew that he was approaching death, though he could never get used to the pain and the everyday struggle. Frank had reached a point where he decided that he had had enough and that he needed to end his life before he became even more miserable. He wanted to die while feeling the love that he had for Bill, and he knew that if he didn’t act quickly, things might get out of hand, and he might start becoming less and less conscious. Bill had always been a survivalist, but he understood and accepted that it was best for both of them if Frank got what he wanted. Not only was Frank’s request in contradiction to Bill’s inherent nature, but it was the most difficult thing to voluntarily end something so beautiful and not get greedy to live one more day together. Frank wishes to embrace death on his own terms. He had gotten to know the secret that it didn’t matter whether life was long or not; what mattered was what one did with the time one had. That is why Frank liked to pay attention to the details and feel alive at each and every moment. He wanted to die in the arms of his partner while cherishing the infinite memories he had created with him. Bill would have never agreed to that request if he hadn’t seen the amount of pain Frank was in. There were nights he couldn’t sleep, and there were days he couldn’t eat. Bill was obviously shattered when Frank told him that he had made up his mind to end his life. He asked Bill to give him a kind of send-off where they could live an entire lifetime in a single day. Frank and Bill got married on his last day, and they properly dressed for the occasion.
During dinner time, as decided, Bill mixed drugs in Frank’s wine, and he pretended that he had kept his drink unadulterated. But Frank knew Bill, and seeing him, he realized that he had mixed the drug into the entire bottle of wine. Frank couldn’t believe that a man who found ways to survive in such critical times by creating an entire ecosystem for himself was ready to die.
In the third episode of “The Last of Us,” we saw that Bill had reached a place where he could firmly say that he was satisfied with his life and that he didn’t desire anything more. He had shared the roof with a loved one for so many years, that he didn’t want to be a survivalist anymore. He knew that he would have to die someday, so he decided to do it with his own partner. Bill also knew that after Frank died, life would lose its purpose, so he seized the opportunity and drank the last glass of wine together with his husband.
Bill urged Frank not to see his decision as the tragic ending of a mourning lover because he had really given it thought and was making a very informed and practical choice. He was not committing suicide because he couldn’t take it anymore but because he was extremely satisfied and at peace with what he had gotten. Frank made a conspiracy theorist transform into a spiritual being who was conscious of his own existence. He could feel it, he could see it, and he understood that the purpose of his life was accomplished. Bill left everything he owned for Joel and wrote a note for him, telling him to protect those he loved and cherish each and every moment, as life was too short to hold any regrets or grudges. It is said that no matter what state the world is in, all one has to do is save just one life.
Their journey proved that one’s act of kindness could become a ray of hope for the entire humanity, and that was what “The Last of Us” Episode 3 was about: an example set by Bill and Frank. The choices they made and the life they led were an example for establishments like FEDRA and all those people who thought that it was right to kill innocents just because they could become infected in the future and pose a potential threat. FEDRA was not exactly despotic, but it did have a pessimistic approach that never entertained the possibility of how magical life could be. Frank made Bill realize that a simple act of planting strawberries and enjoying them with a loved one was all that was required to save their humanity. At the end of “The Last of Us” Episode 3, both Frank and Bill departed in the manner they always wanted, holding each other in their arms and feeling the love and warmth for which, they were so grateful.