This section contains spoilers for “The Last of Us” episode 3.
While much of the hate surrounding “The Last of Us Part II” may have been fueled by garden-variety transphobia, it’s worth pointing out that the game received some criticism, not for its inclusion of a transgender character, but for its treatment of that character by cisgender writers. A trans writer in Paste said that after playing the game, it seemed like “the only reason trans people are made broadly visible is to make cis voyeurs feel good about themselves.”
As someone who’s never played any of “The Last of Us” video games, I’ve had a slightly different reaction to the show thus far. On the whole, I think “The Last of Us” is a great show, but unlike Ellie, who is immune to the Cordyceps infection, I don’t think it’s immune to all criticism. Hollywood in general isn’t as progressive as it might like to believe it is, and I’m still not entirely convinced “The Last of Us” episode 3 skirts the Bury Your Gays trope. At first, Frank feels like this Manic Pixie Dream Guy who’s just dropped out of the sky for Bill. And while we do witness this tender love story play out between them, they’re still dead and gone after one episode, while the real protagonists, Joel and Ellie, are left to make off with their belongings.