The following has spoilers for HBO’s The Very last of Us.

To connect with past episodes of The Final of Us, the video match-based HBO display in which a cordyceps infection passed as a result of flour and sugar turns individuals into zombies with mushrooms for faces, a foodstuff present would be like expressing Hannibal Lecter is a superior spokesperson for fava beans it is not accurately an endorsement. But its 3rd episode, which aired final evening, diverged from its key storyline to produce a very best-scenario scenario survivalist fantasy of what daily life could seem like amid this dystopia — and how even at the finish of the environment, food can convey about every little thing that is still good: care, hope, and like.

In the episode titled “Long, Extensive Time,” we see that day-to-working day lifestyle in a publish-cordyceps planet doesn’t have to be as bleak as it is inside the quarantine zones, where a armed service authority maintains buy. It attributes Bill, played by Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman, a gruff survivalist who hides in his bunker as the cordyceps an infection spreads. In a position to evade the original armed forces lookup of his house, Bill will make the emptied-out city of Lincoln, Massachusetts his. He raids Residence Depot for resources and wires, usually takes bottles from the wine retail outlet, and equips himself with gas and electrical energy, making a shielded compound wherever he cooks himself candlelit steak dinners in relative peace, alone. “It doesn’t get previous,” Bill states in excess of a single dinner, whilst looking at stability footage of an contaminated man or woman being killed by one of his traps.

Then, 4 many years afterwards, a gentleman named Frank, performed by The White Lotus’s Murray Bartlett, reveals up exterior Bill’s electric powered fence. On his way to the military services zone in Boston but with the relaxation of his crew dead, Frank wishes relaxation and foods. Invoice begrudgingly normally takes him in, cooking the two of them a meal of rabbit, veggies, and wine, just after which Frank is meant to go away. “A man who appreciates to pair rabbit with Beaujolais,” Frank remarks, impressed by Bill’s cooking. To Frank’s enjoyment, Monthly bill replies: “Everything preferences very good when you are starving.”

But the table is set with crystal glasses, and the plates of great china relaxation on golden chargers. When Monthly bill offers the plate to Frank he doesn’t just plop it down, but rests it and then does a small change — voila. This is a food that prioritizes enjoyment amid even the most dire circumstances. We have noticed Invoice do this solo, but here, the sharing of meals and satisfaction connects Monthly bill and Frank. It suggests a shared sensibility of enjoying everyday living ordeals, a thing that is no doubt progressively challenging amid a zombie crisis. Monthly bill, having said that surly he could be, is expressing that even a weary traveler deserves some thing awesome before returning to the wilds the place zombies can pop out at any time.

Frank does not depart. Around a couple years, the two occur to appreciate each and every other, developing a good — specified the circumstances — existence in which they paint collectively, make improvements to their city, and even have a yard party following generating close friends over the radio with Tess (Anna Torv) and Joel (Pedro Pascal), the smugglers at the heart of the show’s most important plotline. Many thanks to this romantic relationship, Frank trades a gun for some strawberry seeds and plants a mattress of them in the property as a shock for Invoice, whose cynicism gives way to awe as they sit alongside one another in the backyard garden. Even in normal circumstances, a peak summer season strawberry is this kind of a delight it’s only normal that Bill and Frank giggle with joy as they consume what we have an understanding of to be their to start with refreshing strawberries in several years. There is death and decline on an unattainable amount — and even now, there are the sweet, warm strawberries.

In the episode, food represents the concessions we from time to time make to present appreciate. It is the comprehending that any stockpile of foods Invoice founded for himself would go twice as rapidly with a different man or woman, but seeking to share it with Frank anyway. It is Frank secretly tending to this yard from seed in get to give Invoice a reward, and it’s Monthly bill continuing to cook elaborate foods for the two of them, even as he remarks that he’s sensation so substantially more mature — some thing that did not scare him when he was surviving alone.

10 decades afterwards, we see Bill and Frank a great deal more mature. With Frank’s will to live waning from illness, he ideas 1 previous great day with Bill: They will get married and then Bill will prepare dinner a delightful supper, just after which he will slip tablets into Frank’s wine that will end his daily life. As with their initially food, Invoice prepares two plates of rabbit and veggies he spots Frank’s on the table with that same loving transform, and he provides the Beaujolais as any sommelier would. We find out that despite the fact that Monthly bill stirs powder into Frank’s glass, he’d also dosed the bottle. “I’m outdated, I’m satisfied — and you have been my reason,” Invoice tells Frank before they retreat into their bed room. The food is a fitting close to their connection.

We really do not see much of Joel and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), the girl Joel is tasked with guarding, all through this episode, which could possibly experience like a derailing from the show’s greater plot arc. But the show’s divergence into Monthly bill and Frank’s minor environment results in its very best episode nonetheless because it reveals the issue of all this struggle. Why bother fleeing from all the zombies if there are not minor moments like halting to share strawberries with a person you really like to hold you relocating together?

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