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What Is The Song At The End Of The Last Of Us Episode 3?

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Episode 3

The third episode of HBO's "The Last of Us" marks the show's biggest departure from the source material yet. In the game, survivalist Bill (voiced by W. Earl Brown) is one of the more prominent supporting characters, but his relationship with dearly departed Frank has ended well before the player meets him, and it unfolds as a series of angry letters the player discovers before finally stumbling upon Frank's remains.

The show takes a very different approach to the two men's relationship. After a rocky start, Bill (Nick Offerman, elevating the character to a whole new level) and Frank (played by equally well-cast Murray Bartlett) become lovers, and make the most of their (mostly) happy years together before the bittersweet ending to their lengthy relationship. The episode is mostly anchored to the larger story by the appearances of current-timeline Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) at the beginning and the end, as well as a quick flashback cameo by Joel and Tess (Anna Torv) during their smuggling days.

After Bill and Frank's story is over, Joel and Ellie enter the compound and survey the aftermath, finding that Bill has left Joel a vehicle and a bunch of handy gear. In the car, they also find some tapes, and the cool, soulful tune that happens to play in the car stereo organically ends the episode in an appropriately moving tone.

As Joel explains to Ellie, the artist behind the song — a 1970 folk rock ballad called "Long, Long Time" — is Linda Ronstadt. Considering what a massive music fan Bill turns out to be, it makes perfect sense that a tape like this would turn up in his collection. There's more to this particular song, however.

Linda Ronstadt's Long, Long Time is an important song for Bill and Frank

Sharp-eared viewers might notice that the car scene isn't the Linda Ronstadt song's first appearance in the episode. On the day they accidentally meet, Frank and a nervous Bill bond over some quality food and impromptu piano music. After Frank clumsily attempts to play his favorite song, Bill takes over and performs a far more sad and soulful rendition, which leads to their first kiss. The tune is, of course, "Long, Long Time," which pretty much automatically makes it the pair's "our song."

With its lyrics about longing and hidden fear of being alone, the song is a very appropriate theme for the outwardly strong but secretly sensitive Bill. The last verse even lampshadows the end of this surprisingly touching post-apocalyptic love story with its twist on the refrain; "I think I'm gonna miss you for a long long time." As Bill tells Frank, he has considered this option, and simply doesn't wish to endure it after so many years watching over his loved one.

Knowing this, the song Joel and Ellie listen to as they drive away from the compound is a perfect accompaniment to the letter Bill left Joel, as they both offer a glimpse into the gruff doomsday prepper's true nature ... and as the episode comes to a close, the viewers will have time for one more tear as they realize that the first song Bill ever enjoyed with Frank was the last song he listened to in his car.