- Angry fans are review-bombing the latest episode of HBO’s “The Last of Us.”
- Some user reviews on Metacritic included homophobic comments.
- The episode features a same-sex relationship that expands on a character’s backstory from the game.
HBO’s latest episode of “The Last of Us,” its new video-game adaptation, aired Sunday to widespread praise and impressive ratings.
But the episode, titled “Long, Long Time,” is seemingly getting review-bombed by angry, homophobic fans of the game.
On the review aggregator Metacritic, the episode has a user rating of 4.2 (out of 10) as of Tuesday morning — much lower than the first and second episode’s scores of 8.8 and 8.9, respectively.
In the past, review-bombing — or when people deliberately give a show or movie a low rating to decrease its score on sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes — has typically occurred for racist, sexist, or homophobic reasons.
Looking through the user reviews, it’s clear that some of the game’s fans didn’t like the episode’s central love story between Bill, played by Nick Offerman, and Frank, played by Murray Bartlett.
In the game, it’s evident that Bill is gay and had a relationship with Frank, who never appears on-screen.
The HBO series takes their relationship in a different direction: In a flashback, Frank comes across Bill’s house after being the lone survivor of a group traveling to the Boston quarantine zone. From there, the episode recounts their romance over the course of nearly two decades until it catches up to the present.
One Metacritic user wrote that they “turned it off as soon as saw what was happening.” Other users complained of what they called the show’s “LGBT agenda” or “LGBT propaganda.”
Angry viewers took their complaints elsewhere, too. On Amazon-owned IMDb, the episode still has a decent rating of 8.2 (out of 10). But the second-largest share of ratings — behind a perfect 10 — are a 1.
Some viewers also complained on Twitter.
“As always Hollywood had to push the lgbt agenda on us,” one user tweeted.
“Why can’t they make even one movie or series without the LGBT whatever stuff?” another Twitter user wrote.
Neil Druckmann, the co-creator of the series who also developed the video game, told The Hollywood Reporter that Bill and Frank’s relationship “went over a lot of people’s heads” in the game.
“At the time, [the subtlety is] what helped get it in,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but it would have been controversial otherwise.”
Still, it looks like HBO is getting the last laugh.
The episode was watched by 6.4 million viewers on Sunday, HBO announced on Tuesday, giving it the highest first-night viewership yet for the series. The first two episodes are averaging over 21 million viewers since the show premiered two weeks ago, HBO said, and the network has already renewed the series for a second season.
Plus, critics are loving it: On Rotten Tomatoes, which doesn’t feature user ratings for individual episodes, the episode received a stellar 96% rating from critics.
Rolling Stone‘s Alan Sepinwall called it a “wonderfully powerful, achingly human story.” Victoria Ritvo wrote for Slate: “Although the episode is a masterpiece in its own right, what makes it brilliant as an adaptation is how it plays into the context of the larger show.”