How HBO’s The Last Of Us Just Set The Stage For Joel’s Biggest Decision

What’s the difference between love and possession? Love is selfless. Possession is selfish. It’s the main theme of the entire third episode of HBO’s “The Last of Us.” Bill is a man who lives with walls around himself, literally and metaphorically. He built a perfect, sustainable doomsday shelter. He eats luxurious food, maintains an entire arsenal of weaponry, and before Frank, he thought he had everything he needed. He was possessive.

Frank, however, invites Joel and Tess over to share a meal. He builds a store and a garden. Despite loving Bill, he hungers for community and for people to share this familiar life with. He actively challenges Bill to see that the emotional sacrifice of caring for other people is not only worth it, but is one of the only things they have left in this world. Frank is the epitome of selfless love.

There’s a version of this story where Bill closes himself off from the world even further, perhaps even resembling the one we meet in the game. But instead, Bill chooses to die with Frank. He even writes a note, trusting Joel with the rest of his belongings. For perhaps the first time in his life, Bill understands that there’s more important things in life than self-preservation. Instead of making a choice that’s easier for him, he does what’s right and honors Frank’s wishes — even if that means cutting his own life short, too.

It’s doubtful the ending of “The Last of Us” series will drastically depart from the game. Joel will end up making the choice he does at the firefly hospital in Salt Lake City. But Bill and Frank’s story has masterfully contextualized and paralleled the biggest decision of Joel’s life. It’s your call: is Joel acting out of love, or possession?

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