Episode 3 Was Originally 2 Hours Long

Frank (Murray Bartlett) in The Last of Us.

Frank (Murray Bartlett) in The Last of Us.
Image: HBO

After its first two episodes, everyone knew The Last of Us was good, but episode three really put things on a whole new level. Titled “Long, Long Time,” the extended flashback beautifully told the love story of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), two men who fall in love and prove that good things are possible in a world where evil lurks around every corner.

It’s been praised all over the internet for the past two days but, apparently, there’s more episode to be had. In an interview with Deadline, Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin revealed that the first cut of the episode was closer to two hours and it was so sad, he hurt himself crying.

“It wasn’t until I saw the director’s cut that I knew [we had something special],” Mazin said. “Peter Hoar did his director’s cut with our editor, Tim Good, which was quite long. When they sent it to me, I think it was almost two hours or something like that. So, I was like, oh, that’s probably not good. And I sat down, but I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll watch the two-hour version of this episode.’ And I cried so hard that at one point, I actually said out loud, ‘Ow.’ I mean, it hurt. I cried so hard; it hurt. And I thought, ‘Well, if these guys can do this to me and I wrote this fucking thing, then I think it might work pretty well on other people.’”

So did they ever consider airing the full two-hour version? Mazin said HBO wouldn’t let them do an episode that was double the traditional length, but that thankfully, the network allow some wiggle room.

“HBO was kind enough to let us go a bit long,” Mazin said. “And look, I never want to overstay my welcome. I always want to leave people wanting more. But this is a longer episode, and what’s really interesting is, even though I think it’s like 73 minutes long, so many people who have seen it have said that hour flew by. And I’m like; it wasn’t just an hour. It was one hour and 12 minutes. And so that’s, I think, a real achievement. But it was really when I saw Peter and Tim’s cut that I just thought like, ‘Wow, this one got me right here. [Mazin places his hand on his chest].”

With the show newly renewed for a second season, and the episode enjoying near-universal praise, is there a chance we could see the Sadder Cut? Let the campaign commence.

For just the normal level of sadness though, The Last of Us episode called “Long, Long Time” is now streaming on HBO Max.

Unexpected, Poignant, and Beautiful | The Last of Us Review

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