The Last of Us Episode 3 ending explained: What happens to Bill & Frank?

Bill and Frank in The Last of UsHBO

The Last of Us Episode 3 tells the tender, tragic love story of Bill and Frank – here’s our breakdown of the episode’s ending and what it means for the show going forward.

In our review, we said Episode 3 “belongs in the same untouchable echelon as Ozymandias and Pine Barrens; it’s one of the greatest episodes ever committed to television, and pop culture history will honor it as such.”

While the first two episodes have mostly showed the beginnings of Joel and Ellie’s relationship, with Episode 2 leaving them to fend for themselves after Tess’ necessary sacrifice, the third episode focuses on two different characters entirely: Bill and Frank.

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Both come from the original The Last of Us game, though the show takes a much different, sadder direction with them – so let’s get into what happens.

The Last of Us Episode 3 ending explained

Bill and Frank kill themselves by overdosing on medication, slipping away into their final sleep. Joel later arrives at his town with Ellie, finding Bill has left all of his possessions to him, including a loaded truck, guns, and more, and they head off to find his brother Tommy.

The episode covers 15 years of Bill and Frank’s time together. By the end, it’s implied Frank had cancer and spent most of his days in pain and struggling to do basic things. He asks Bill for “one last day”, so they get married, have a nice meal, and die in each other’s arms.

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“This isn’t the tragic suicide at the end of the play. I’m old, and I’m satisfied, and, and you were my purpose,” Bill says. “I do not support this… I should be furious. But from an objective point of view, it’s incredibly romantic,” Frank says.

A few days later, Joel and Ellie make it to Lincoln, where an air of disquiet surrounds the town. When they go into Bill and Frank’s home, they find a note addressed “to whomever, but probably Joel.”

Bill explains that both him and Frank are dead, and asks Joel not to enter the bedroom, as it’ll be “quite a sight.” He also says Joel can take as much as he wants, so he can protect Tess, and reminds him one person worth saving.

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While Joel charges the battery for the pickup truck, Ellie has a look around and sneaks a gun into her bag. After setting out rules Ellie must follow, like no questions about their pasts and doing whatever he says, they set off to find Joel’s brother Tommy, who may be able to help with getting Ellie to the Fireflies.

In the truck, they listen to Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Long Long Time’, the same track Bill serenaded Frank with earlier in the episode, playing softly on the radio. The episode ends with the truck riding off into the distance, as the camera pans back through Bill’s open window, vaguely similar to the menu screen in the original game.

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You can find out more about Tommy’s location and why it’s important here.

The Last of Us Episode 4 will be available to watch on February 5 in the US and February 6 in the UK. You can check out the rest of our coverage here.