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Likewise PicksFeb 1, 20235 min

Winner of the Week - Nick Offerman & Murray Bartlett

Likewise TV's inaugural Winners of the Week have been chosen—here are the performances that Likewisers can't get enough of!

By John Farrar

This week's chosen actors star in HBO Max's 'The Last of Us.'
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We love watching (and discussing) our favorite performances in television and movies and want to share our enthusiasms, so we’re launching a new regular feature: Winner of the Week. Each Friday, we will highlight the performance(s) that Likewisers can’t stop talking about. Perhaps it made us laugh, cry, or we were just dumbfounded by the brilliance of it all. We hope you enjoy—and tell us what you think in an email to!

The Winners

Winners of the Week: Nick Offerman & Murray Bartlett

Show: The Last of Us

Episode: Episode 3, “Long, Long Time” (1/29/2023)

Why Them?

With the constant praise of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey for their roles portraying Joel and Ellie in HBO Max’s video game adaptation The Last of Us, it’s surprising that our first Winner of the Week is going to two supporting characters—one of which is hardly discussed at all in the game. But considering the overwhelming number of viewers that reported teary eyes and broken hearts from Episode 3, Nick and Murray were the clear frontrunners this week.

Episode 3 of The Last of Us was the first episode that genuinely defied expectations. While continuing to honor the source material, this episode expands on the relationship between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), two survivalists that stay in communication with Joel in this apocalyptic world in a mutually beneficial relationship. Almost the entire episode is spent in flashbacks, focusing on the profound love and connection that developed between Bill and Frank.

This episode took full advantage of the liberties provided by film that the video game format simply doesn’t allow for: the ability to break away from Joel and Ellie’s perspective. A series allows the writers and director to go back in time to expand on relationships that were undeveloped in the game.

Heartbreaking, yet strangely hopeful and uplifting, many critics and audiences agree this is one of the most incredible episodes of any show in recent memory. It’s captivating to see Nick Offerman (known to many as his curmudgeonly Ron Swanson on NBC's hit comedy Parks and Recreation) play an emotionally complicated dramatic role—something I’ve never seen from him before. Murray Bartlett has many fans for his variety of roles, including Dom on HBO’s Looking and, most recently, Armond on Season 1 of The White Lotus. Based on the audience reviews I’ve read, it’s safe to say I was not the only one who started to ugly cry when "Long Long Time" by Linda Ronstadt came on as Joel and Ellie drove away.

Interested in watching The Last of Us? Add it to your watchlist here!

Likewiser Reviews:

The Last of Us, Episode 3: This is peak television. What we have here is one of the most gut-wrenching and masterfully crafted episodes ever brought to screen. Absolutely fing phenomenal with a career-best performance from Nick Offerman. I was already tearing up, but then that needle drops on Max Richter's "On the Nature of Daylight"!!!—an emotional kick to the teeth that just pushed me right over the fing edge. Holy sh** this will stick with me. - @queer-giraffe

So far (3 episodes in) this has exceeded my expectations and done enough differently from the game that I would recommend it to anyone regardless of pre-existing knowledge of the story. Episode 3 was especially a standout as it deviates slightly from the game in a good way. - @chase_villeneuve

Wow wow wow. And we all know episode 3 was just perfect. Cannot wait to keep watching! - @laura_f_1620

Want to stay in the know about each week's winners? Make sure to read our What to Watch newsletters for the latest on all things streaming!

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