The two share jokes, play with a stash of blueberries, and otherwise have a good time. What makes Bill and this chapter of the game so awesome is the fact that for the first time I can ever remember a major character in a Triple A game was homosexual and was actually a regular person. It plays much more as a strange bonding experience with Joel, someone she is still working very hard to get to open up to her. The first time I interpreted the scene as a young girl exploring the opposite sex.
When Joel refuses to let her be killed in surgery so her brain can be harvested for cure research, he is essentially helping her to move past that broken heart. Being a teenage girl, that mostly means annoying him, but she's trying very hard to get him to crack a smile. She initially lies and says he's a year older than he actually is in what might be a bid to impress her. Like Bill, Ellie's so realistically portrayed and executed that her sexuality, whatever it may be, doesn't become some awkward statement. She is who she is. Again, the scene comes out a little differently and even more nuanced and brilliant when you know about Ellie being gay.
In my second playthrough, though, I wanted to pay attention more. See if there were subtle hints that alluded to her sexual orientation. He won't let her kill herself because Riley died, just as Ellie healed Joel and kept him going after twenty bitter years of living with the death of his daughter. One, that I was sufficiently over being terrified of the game the first time to give it another go, and two, that I was curious whether or not the game would feel different knowing that Ellie was gay. Her quest is a one of chivalrous love. You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter s - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in! Frank had grown tired of Bill's small-mindedness and set-in-his-ways attitude, and had attempted to steal the car battery Bill was going to give to Joel.
Bill was Joel's smuggling contact, a paranoid loner that lived in the overrun and extremely booby-trapped town of Lincoln. He's her friend, not a potential boyfriend. He's someone that's been through the same horrific things she has that she can share with without a big emotional attachment. Then there's her relationship with Sam, who she and Joel run into with his older brother Henry in the bandit-held Pittsburgh.
Bill is also gay, something that you don't realize until you come across the body of his ex-lover Frank. It's weird how it makes you reconsider things. From Ellie's point of view Sam is something else. .
For instance, Ellie steals comics and a porno mag from Bill's stash, making it a point to needle Joel by remarking on the enormous penis of one of the models while they are leaving Lincoln in their truck. Now we're to understand that Ellie, who is essentially the secondary protagonist of 2013's biggest release, is not only gay, but according to Naughty Dog she was always written to be that way. What it is is a manifestation of survivor's guilt brought on by the fact that she had to kill the first girl she ever fell in love with after she succumbed to an infection Ellie is protected from. For the first time since leaving Boston, Ellie has someone her own age to connect with. That's her whole purpose, and the thing that keeps her going. Joel and Ellie's entire quest has been to try and help find a cure for the infection through her mutated immunity.
Now I see it differently. If anything, it makes the scene deeper. Maybe it's the ending that most benefits from the revelation, though. It's a monument to her broken heart. Joel and Ellie meet up with Bill hoping to cash in some favors and get a car to head west in. After the revelation of Ellie's kiss in Left Behind, the downloadable expansion to The Last of Us, I decided two things.
Bill's story and personality would not have changed a single iota if Frank had been Francine, and I saw it as a major step forward for portrayals of non-hetero characters in gaming. In the process he was bitten, infected, and hanged himself after leaving a very rude note for Bill to find. How does Ellie being gay change playing The Last of Us? It comes to a tragic end when Sam is infected while fleeing the city and Henry commits suicide after shooting Sam off of Ellie. It's telling, when you play the game through without that knowledge that there doesn't even seem to be a hint of that in the course of the plot.