Though we don’t start with one, we do get a flashback — a device that is quickly becoming the show’s best weapon. We flashback to the early days of the outbreak, when the newly-founded FEDRA (Federal Disaster Response Agency) went from town to town evacuating people — and executing them if they couldn’t fit a QZ. Watching them from a distance, and avoiding a tragic end, is Bill (Nick Offerman), a doomsday prepper with a basement full of guns and ammo and a big smile at finally being proven right when the world ends.
From there, the episode is practically entirely devoted to Bill’s story, how he spent the first few years of the apocalypse living in his own little “Last Man on Earth” bubble, and how everything changed when he met Frank (Murray Bartlett). Once again, “The Last of Us” proves to be at its very best when moving away from Joel and Ellie (even if they rule) to paint an image of how the outbreak affected others. Here, we see how the world changed through the eyes of Bill, and how he himself came to change and believe in something even after the world had given him every reason to give up.
Bill and Frank’s little neighborhood becomes a bubble for how things changed across the last 20 years, from the initial horror of the military taking over, to the rise of mistrust and raiders becoming an even bigger problem than the infected, to the government becoming filled with literal Nazis. It is a smart move for an episode that’s about finding meaning and hope in life after you think it is all gone. It also portrays the slow fall of humanity which we don’t usually see in zombie stories, which just skip to the post-apocalypse.