The Last of Us Episode 3: What was Frank sick with?

Frank in Episode 3 of The Last of UsHBO

What was Frank sick with in The Last of Us? Episode 3 tells the fateful, heartbreaking story of Bill and Frank, and fans may be wondering: what illness did he have?

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 continuing the story of Joel and Ellie, it mostly revolves around Bill and Frank, a survivalist and survivor whose chance encounter near the beginning of the pandemic changed their lives for the better.

As the episode draws to a close, Frank falls ill in his old age – so, what exactly was he sick with?

Article continues after ad

What was Frank sick with in The Last of Us?

According to co-showrunner Craig Mazin, Frank had either multiple sclerosis (MS) or early amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (AMS).

When their story reaches 2023, Frank is wheelchair-bound and frail, spending his days painting while Bill tends to their quiet life around him. He’s slow, in constant pain, and ready to go.

One morning, Bill wakes up to find him in his chair. “I promise I’m gonna stay up, because this is my last day,” he says.

The Last of Us LGBTQHBO

“There wasn’t anything to cure this before the world fell apart… give me one more day,” he says. “Do you love me?” he asks Bill. “Then love me the way I want you to.”

Article continues after ad

During the latest episode of The Last of Us podcast, Mazin said they “didn’t necessarily want to specify [his illness] for the audience… but it was a degenerative neuromuscular disorder.”

“This happens. It happens so commonly and yet so rarely; as people get older on screen, they tend to be fully healthy until the heart attack staggers them out of nowhere,” he continued.

“That does happen. For the majority of people, there’s a decline. We thought it was really interesting to think… look, Bill is older. Frank had literally run circles around him. He’s healthier. Bill gets shot. Then we jump ahead a number of years and it’s Frank who’s been brought low by this disease, and there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Article continues after ad

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.