In perhaps the least surprising news possible following episode 3 of The Last of Us airing – the episode has been review-bombed on IMDb. It’s received over 35,000 one-star reviews, with audience members complaining about it being a waste of time, adding nothing to the main storyline, and deviating too far from the games.
The episode introduced the characters of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), and was largely a self-contained tale of their love story. Joel and Ellie need to visit the couple for crucial supplies, but that isn’t really the focus of the episode. Far more time is spent giving Bill and Frank a rich backstory that was not present in the games.
Certain television shows which have dared to bring feminism into the MCU (She-Hulk), or bring a more diverse cast into Middle-earth (Rings of Power) have also been review bombed. Making a queer love story the centre of an entire episode of a videogame adaptation was always going to be a risky little game by showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin – but it’s one they’ve pulled off to huge critical acclaim.
The majority of fans – and even the IMDb users – have praised the episode and say they sobbed their way through it. Over 65,000 IMDb users gave the episode 10 stars, which is almost twice as many as those who gave it one star. It was always likely to be a polarising episode, but Druckmann and Mazin obviously thought it was worth the risk. Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett are probably already preparing their Emmy polishers.
Neil Druckmann is creator of the game, and the co-creator of the TV series adaptation. It’s obvious that any changes made to the game for television are done with his approval and for a reason. Television is a different medium to videogames, and if it’s not going to add any depth or backstory to the characters – it begs the question – what’s the point of adapting it at all? Videogame adaptations are currently all the rage in both movies and TV, so fans are going to have to get used to changes being made.
On that note, check out our guide to the best video game movies.