The Last Of Us: What Episode Three’s ‘review bombing’ Says About Tolerance in our Society


Hannah Dowaliby, Editor of Community

HBO’s newest hit series, The Last of Us, which is a show adaptation of Naughty Dog’s highly successful video game referred to by the same name, has recently sparked an exceptional amount of controversy. Up until now, the show had been received very well by fans all over. 

The first two episodes were praised for the accurate portrayal of the main characters, Joel and Ellie, and the beautiful cinematography that accompanied it. However, following the release of the third episode on Jan. 29, 2023, it has been made clear that some people are still far too intolerant to accept that LGBTQ+ people deserve to be represented by the media and acknowledged by society. 

The third episode mostly focuses on two characters; Bill and Frank. Over the course of an hour and twenty minutes, the show excellently weaves a love story between these two characters, depicting their bittersweet scenario of finding romance amidst a catastrophic apocalypse.. Unsurprisingly, though, “fans” of the franchise have since put their bigotry on full display. 

On rating sites such as IMDB and Metacritic, people have review bombed episode 3 solely based on homophobic ideology, with one reviewer writing that gay people were “exerting their influence” to “push their agenda on the world.” The overall sentiment for these reviews are centered around the fact that the episode features gay characters at all — which is an unfortunate trend surrounding any show that displays queer characters.

The main problem is intolerance. These types of people only criticize gay characters in the media because they see it as an “agenda” or “political.” Unfortunately, they passionately oppose seeing LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream media at all. They get angry when a character is even alluded to being gay or otherwise. Not only is this discouraging to people who actively seek out characters they can relate to, but is also extremely harmful and promotes hate.

The most upsetting part of this situation is that it’s far from the first time this has happened, and is unlikely to be the last. The problem that it boils down to is, put simply, homophobia. People often try to defend themselves as the opposite — claiming they don’t have anything against gay people, yet still displaying all the traits of bigoted ideology. Others may defend their complaints by claiming they’re worried for the youth, claiming  queer people “brainwash” children into becoming gay, when it simply doesn’t work that way. 

Despite the gorgeous story that the directors of The Last of Us portrayed between these two characters, it appears that we still live in a time where people choose to be offended by love. Throughout this perpetual cycle of hatred, we continue to see the same response to representation in the media. These people refuse to change their views and claim that queerness makes them uncomfortable, but ultimately, why should an LGBTQ+ person have to filter or hide who they are for the sake of someone else’s comfort? The answer is easy. They shouldn’t have to.

Overall, it’s very disappointing that, in the media landscape, we are still at a point where blatant discrimination is so rampant, but, at the same time, it isn’t much of a surprise. Queer people have faced hatred for who they are for hundreds of years, and though it has gotten better overtime, it doesn’t look like this is going to completely change or stop while people with intolerant ideologies continue to push their agendas. Regardless of what the reviews say, The Last of Us has not disappointed a majority of the true fans, and I doubt that that sentiment will end any time soon.