The Last of Us Episode 3 Director Didn't Set Out to Make Everyone Cry

The "Long, Long Time" director says he didn't deliberately make people cry with Bill and Frank's love story.

While the first season of HBO's The Last of Us had plenty of deeply emotional moments that brought tears to the eyes of viewers, there is one episode in particular that was emotionally devastating in a way that the rest of the episodes just didn't quite match. That episode is episode 3, "Long, Long Time", which tells the story of Frank (Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman), two men who met and managed to fall in love in the cordyceps devastated world, far from the QZ. But while the moving episode wrecked viewers, director Peter Hoar says that wasn't his intention setting out. Hoar told Deadline that he didn't set out to make viewers cry "uncontrollably".

"I didn't certainly set out to tell a story that would make the world cry uncontrollably, but I did," Hoar said. "There was one note that I gave Murray. I said, maybe this is the scene where we don't cry. It was impossible because Bill was so passionate and in the moment saying to his love Frank that he was his purpose. And Murray was like, 'I can't do it. Look at him, I can't do it. He's just so beautiful and human I just can't hold it in.' So, that note was redundant! I'm there to make people feel something."

What Happens in "Long, Long Time"?

In "Long, Long Time", viewers briefly step back the early post-outbreak world and meet the survivalist Bill, who is the lone remaining resident of Lincoln, Massachusetts and has turned things into a fortified compound where he has everything he needs, just for him. The story then takes viewers to a few years later when Frank ends up caught in one of Bill's traps (intended to protect from infected) and the pair end up developing a romantic relationship, living together in Lincoln and ultimately expanding their circle to Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv). The story eventually carries through to 2023 where we see Bill and Frank as old men who have been together for 16 years and Frank is dying from a terminal illness. He tells Bill he wants to have one final good day and then die on his own terms, but after the end of that final good day, Bill reveals that he doesn't want to live without Frank and the pair peacefully die together. A bit later, Joel and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) arrive at their house for supplies and find a note Bill left for them.

In his comments, Hoar went on to explain that while he didn't set out to make everyone cry, there were a few things that he knew would evoke feelings — including a music choice — and that while much of the talk about emotional performances center around Bartlett and Offerman, Pascal and Ramsey also add to the devastating emotional stakes as well.

"I know that there were times we made choices, like one piece of music in particular, which I know makes me feel things every time — Max Richter's On the Nature of Daylight. That's in a montage toward the end. But yeah, the simple answer is it can become too tear-jerky," Hoar said. "There's a straightness to this gay love story. It's not flamboyant. It's genuine and it's authentic. We all talk about Nick and Murray, but there are some great performances from Pedro and Bella, particularly the scene where Ellie reads a letter from Bill. That's just a beautiful scene. The way she reads the letter is hilarious, but yet heartbreaking. And the way that Pedro reacts is just beautiful."

Will There Be More Seasons of The Last of Us?

The Last of Us was renewed for a second season in January of this year. However, series showrunner Craig Mazin has said that there could be more seasons beyond that, recently suggesting that four seasons is the sweet spot for the story.

"You never know," Mazin said. "It can end up being three or five. But four seems like a good number. Some seasons, because of the story we're telling, will need fewer episodes and some will need more. The best news is the audience wants more, We will not indulge a desire for more simply to make them happier when they hear how many episodes are announced. And if they don't like how many episodes are in a season because they want more, well, okay. But when all is said and done, I think the wisdom of how we lay it out will hopefully be clear. I don't know if any season will actually have the same amount of episodes. But, whatever, the number's not important. What's important is when they get to the end of the season, they're like, 'That was a good season.'"

The Last of Us Season 2 is currently expected to potentially premiere in 2025, pending the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.