‘The Last of Us’ premieres its fourth chapter on Monday, February 6. Joe and Ellie’s journey continues, but we are still stuck in the third, ‘A Long Long Time’, the beautiful and moving story of gay love in the Apocalypse that the HBO series has given us by surprise. In it, the story of Bill and Frank is expanded in a completely free way, two secondary characters of the video game that here star in what is one of the most acclaimed and commented episodes of recent television.
At 73 minutes long, ‘Mucho mucho tiempo’ is the second longest episode of the first season, second only to the pilot, which lasts 80 minutes. But as revealed by the creator and showrunner of the series, Craig Mazin, there is a longer montage that had to be cut to premiere on television. Let’s remember that in the United States, HBO is first and foremost a traditional premium cable channel, with which -although it has greater flexibility than the generalist free-to-air channels- its series have to adjust to the television medium.
In an interview with Deadline Along with Neil Druckmann, co-creator of the series and main creator of the video game, Mazin refers to a “director’s cut” two hours long and explains that he realized they had something very special on their hands when he saw it and it made him cry until it hurt. ‘A long long time’ is directed by Peter Hoar, a seasoned television producer who recently directed the LGBTQ+ miniseries ‘It’s a Sin’. According to Mazin, Hoar “did a director’s cut with our editor, Tim Good, which was quite long. When they sent it to me, I think it was almost two hours or so. So I thought it wasn’t going to cut. I sat down to watch it and cried so much that, at one point, I even said ‘Ow’ out loud. She hurt me. I cried so hard it hurt“.
Mazin knew at that moment that, “if these people can do this to me, who wrote the f***ing chapter, I think it can work very well with other people”. However, the duration was still an issue. “We worked very hard, but we knew we couldn’t release a two-hour version”Explain. “[…] I don’t think we had that luxury. But HBO was kind enough to let us drag it out a bit. And I never wanted to go overboard. But the chapter is longer and the most interesting thing is that, although it lasts 73 minutes, many people have said that the hour flew by. But it doesn’t last an hour. It lasts one hour and 12 minutes. So I think it’s a great achievement.”. And reiterates: “It was when I saw the montage of Peter and Tim that I thought ‘This one touched me right here’ [se pone la mano en el pecho]”.
Knowing that there is an extended (and more painful) montage of ‘Mucho mucho tiempo’, Would you like to see it or do you prefer to leave the story of Bill and Frank as it is?
Last victim of the review bombing
Although ‘A Long Long Time’ has received rave reviews and the networks have generally embraced Bill and Frank’s love story, the brilliance with which it is told and what it means for queer representation on television, not everyone world has fallen in love with the chapter. As usual with titles that include LGBTQ+ characters, female empowerment, or racial and cultural diversity, the third episode of ‘The Last of Us’ is undergoing review bombing, which is the practice of massively negative voting to lower the rating of a series, movie, or in this case, a specific episode.
At the time of this writing, the first two episodes have an average of 8.6/10 from users of Metacritic, while the third is suspended with a 4.4/10. The sum of the positive and mixed votes is in line with the previous two, but the negative ones considerably multiply the total votes, which would indicate that those who voted negatively for this episode did not bother to vote for the previous ones. On IMDb something similar happens, although there is still not that much difference, with a 9.2 for the first two and a 7.9 for the third (it has not stopped falling throughout the week). But the worst comes from the comments, which confirm that the bulk of the negative ratings is due to the fact that the episode stars two gay men. The detractors of ‘Mucho mucho tiempo’ accuse the series and HBO of “force the LGBTQ agenda” and promote the “gay indoctrination” wave “propaganda woke”. A behavior that seems unbelievable that it will continue to exist in 2023, but that sadly It continues to be repeated with each project that is committed to diversity and inclusion where some consider that it has no place.