The Latest Episode of “The Last of Us” Is Getting Review Bombed

Some viewers are lashing out at the beautiful and critically-acclaimed Bill and Frank episode ("Long, Long Time") of HBO's hit series

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in episode three of "The Last of Us"
Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in episode three of "The Last of Us"

The third episode of HBO’s The Last of Us took a risk — not in showing a loving gay relationship, but in taking an often quiet and emotional step (complete with good wine) outside of its post-apocalyptic landscape and expanding on a minor character arc from the popular video game. Critics and fans of good television swooned, but, as expected, trollish viewers are now review-bombing the episode in a futile attempt to show their displeasure.

Per, reviewers of the “Long, Long Time” episode are flooding the IMDb movie site with one-star reviews, pulling the average rating down to 8.0 out of 10. The first two episodes of the series, meanwhile, boast a 9.2 and 9.3 viewer rating.

The recent episode, which follows Nick Offerman’s survivalist Bill and Murray Bartlett’s Frank as the pair meet, fall in love, grow old and (spoiler alert) die together happily, was a critical success; Variety rightly crowned it “one of the most extraordinary episodes of television in recent memory.”

This Is the Wine They Were Drinking in Episode Three of “The Last of Us”
An affordable French classic made an appearance twice in the show’s most recent episode

That creative success hasn’t stopped 10,000+ one-star reviews from popping up on IMDb, however, even as the episode set viewership records for HBO. As some petulant fans whined, the show created a “token representation propaganda snoozefest” and was now “politicized.”

Without giving too much attention to these online attacks — the relationship was hinted at in the game, for those who couch their prejudice in a “faithfulness to the source material” excuse — it’s also an odd and tired ploy by angry viewers to influence pop culture. Review bombing might work a bit but often doesn’t: Marvel’s Captain Marvel was a hit in spite of sexist trolls, while Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi may have stumbled a tiny bit at the box office for the crime of making women and people of color noteworthy characters (some Jedi criticism suggests the film took too many chances outside of the Star Wars narrative; so congratulations to those fans who helped influence the studio to give us the listless and forgettable follow-up The Rise of Skywalker as compensation).

Perhaps HBO Max’s Velma is the one recent show where review bombing might make a difference, though even this horribly-rated reboot/prequel is garnering a lot of attention (and perhaps a renewal) because of the hatred — that show’s creative weakness, however, isn’t because all the characters are suddenly no longer all white and straight.

Given the critical hype and rating success, we doubt HBO is going to be too concerned about The Last of Us “only” pulling an 8/10 rating on a movie database.

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