If you thought you recognized the final shot of The Last of Us Episode 3, you weren’t mistaken – it’s a major Easter Egg from the game, as confirmed by its director.
In our review of Episode 3, we said it’s “one of the greatest episodes ever committed to television, and pop culture history will honor it as such.”
While picking up with Joel and Ellie, the episode mostly follows the story of Bill and Frank, a survivalist and survivor whose fateful encounter results in an incredibly moving love story.
Your eyes may be drowning in tears at this point, but the very last shot is reminiscent of a key piece of imagery from The Last of Us game.
Spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 3 to follow…
The Last of Us Episode 3 director confirms Easter Egg
The final shot of Episode 3 sees Joel and Ellie driving away as the camera pulls back through Bill and Frank’s open window, with their curtains gently swaying with the breeze. This is an intentional callback to the menu screen in The Last of Us.
A few fans took to social media to highlight the similarity between the two shots, before Inverse confirmed it in an interview with director Peter Hoar.
Hoar was asked if it was a reference to the final shot of Part II, which also hangs on an open window with a breeze, and said: “I wouldn’t know that, but my director of photography, Eben Bolter, would know because he has played it.
“Two things were going on with that shot. When you play the original game there was a menu screen, and it was a window with a breeze. That’s where you select ‘play game’ or whatever.
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“There was this discussion with Craig where that might be something that we try and emulate, we would put it at the beginning of every episode. I think it was a gimmick really about if you’re on HBO Max, you could see it and click on it, and then you watch that.”
Originally, they’d planned on putting the shot at the beginning of the episode – but Hoar realized that wouldn’t make any sense. “They aren’t near a window. But at the end of the episode, we are there,” he continued.
“Obviously, we see Joel and Ellie disappear off into the sunset. But I wanted a last moment with Bill and Frank, and I didn’t know how else to do it. But if we pull back through their window, see the flowers that have died, which is also heartbreaking, and one of Frank’s pictures on the wall.
“I just thought that was our last moment. We’re actually coming back into the world of Frank and Bill for that one last shot because I didn’t want to go.”
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.