The third episode of HBO’s The Last of Us has been rapturously received by critics and fans alike. Even before it premiered this past Sunday, reviewers who received advance screeners of the new show’s first four episodes were calling “Long Long Time” the best of the series so far.
So, why does the episode have a notably lower user rating on IMDB than the previous two? Well, it should probably come as no surprise that a certain segment of the show’s fans, as well as fans of the acclaimed video game on which it is based, took issue with the episode’s digression from the story of smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) and scrappy teen Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to focus on a gay couple surviving the mushroom-zombie apocalypse together.
The series premiere currently has a 9.2/10 user rating on IMDB based on over 62,000 user reviews. Only 1.3% of users rated the episode, “When You’re Lost in the Darkness,” with one star. Similarly, Episode 2, “Infected,” has a 9.3 rating, with only 1.5% of the nearly 56,000 user reviews giving it a 1-star rating.
“Long Long Time,” meanwhile has an 8/10 rating as of Wednesday, with a notable 28.3% of 96,458 users giving it a 1-star rating.
Those 1-star reviews are pretty telling. Many criticize the episode for slowing the show’s momentum and diverting from its main characters.“Long Long Time” is devoted almost entirely to the characters Bill and Frank, played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett. But as The Gamer notes, those criticisms contain a lot of thinly veiled homophobia.
“Ridiculous boring filler,” one user wrote. “This was purely to show [sic] horn in some LGBTQ storyline.”
Another encouraged others to “rate this from 4 to 1 because the LGBTQ community is rating it with a 10 which is kind of a scam.”
“It’s getting boring shoving LGBT characters in a show just for the sake of it,” another user wrote, “Without even adding value to the storyline or serving any purpose other than being labeled as an ‘inclusive’ show.”
Some reviews aren’t so subtle. “The whole episode is disgusting sexual scenes that violate common sense,” wrote one user, complaining that the series supports “the agenda and certain disgusting groups whose end is always ugly with a humiliating disease.”
Other takes bordered on the conspiratorial, calling the episode “propaganda” and accusing TV networks of “trying to introduce LGBT things on the shows and the objective is just one: control.”
Despite the backlash from online trolls, the show’s ratings have only increased week-to-week. HBO has already renewed The Last of Us for a second season.