Spoilers for the HBO series The Last of Us are included in this article. Watching the season finale of HBO’s post-apocalyptic thriller, The Last of Us, left viewers with at least one unanswered question: what condition did Frank have that made him wish to terminate his life?
The Last of Us, based on the 2013 video game by Naughty Dog, is a faithful rendition of the source material. The story takes place 20 years after an infectious fungus disease had wiped off most of humanity. While some scenes are lifted wholesale from the video game, the show also significantly alters and expands upon other aspects of the story.
The relationship between Bill and Frank, which has been just hinted at in the games thus far, is one of the most important examples we’ve seen during the first three episodes. Another deviation from the norm is that Frank is never encountered in the game, at least not alive. So, let’s compare how he dies in the game and the HBO series.
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What Disease Does Frank Have In The Last Of Us?
In The Last of Us, whatever illness did Frank suffer from? Although the name of Frank’s disease is never mentioned on the show, it is clear from his symptoms that he suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) or another incurable neurological sickness.
Frank’s hands are rigid and he is confined to a wheelchair by the end of his story, just as one would expect from someone with this autoimmune disorder. In addition, he says that there is currently no treatment for his condition. Showrunner Craig Mazin said Frank has a neurological illness, but he didn’t specify which one, on HBO’s Last of Us podcast, hosted by Troy Baker (Joel in the games).
Specifically, “we didn’t want to necessarily specify that for the audience,” as stated by Mazin. It was a degenerative neuromuscular condition, and it could have been multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is a reality, after all. It’s a common occurrence, but it’s also unusual.
The conclusion to Bill and Frank’s narrative is revealed near the end of the episode “Long Long Time.” Frank makes his final decision as the morning sun fills their sunroom. With “one last good day” in mind, he begs Bill to let him go out with a bang.
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After giving each other rings and enjoying a lovely lunch together, Frank begs Bill to break his sleeping pills and mix them with his wine so he can pass out in Bill’s arms. Bill, feeling lonely, decides to share the tablets with Frank and tells him the news.
That’s not the suicide that ends the play tragically,” Bill says. “I’ve made it this far, I’m content, and you were the reason I lived.” Despite his initial animosity, Frank eventually admits, “From an objective point of view, it’s really romantic.” They toast one another with a final glass of wine before retiring to bed for the final time.
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