In a note Bill leaves for Joel, he says he left the window open — to keep the house from smelling, he insists. But the last shot we see, as Linda Ronstadt croons “I think I’m gonna love you/for a long, long time,” is of that open window, and outside, a glimpse of the town the two called home. It’s a shot that moved me to tears before I could even understand why, but on rewatch, I realized the emotion behind it was twofold.
An open window, for Bill and for the fans who already know a version his character, is a sign of a level of peace that never seemed like it could be possible for the man. Bill waits out the early days of the Cordyceps infection in an underground bunker, fully stocked with food and, more importantly to him, weapons. He sees the world as an evil place that’s constantly out to get him if he doesn’t take up arms against it first. Throughout the episode, Bill quite literally lays down his arms in the presence of his lover, begrudgingly setting aside a firearm during a lunch with Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv), and eventually letting Frank trade a weapon for strawberry seeds.
His open window, then, is a simple but powerful symbol of the way love transformed Bill. He still keeps his family as safe as he can, sure, but he’s no longer driven purely by fear. He let Frank in, just as he lets the air in, and that vulnerability opened his life up in unexpectedly beautiful ways. Peace, for Bill, is like an open window. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time “The Last of Us” has hinted at that same message.