The Last of Us director revealed that Steven Spielberg is a fan of the show’s bittersweet third episode.

Earlier this year, the HBO adaptation of the popular game franchise became an instant hit with TV enthusiasts for its stellar storytelling and showstopping acting performances from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.

While the entire first season was well-received, its heartbreaking third episode proved to be a standout with viewers.

Spoilers ahead. 

Titled ‘Long Long Time’ after the Linda Ronstadt classic, the narrative temporarily shifts from Joel and Ellie to paranoid survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman) and his laidback partner Frank (Murray Bartlett).

Throughout the episode, viewers follow the couple over two decades as they fall in love, protect their Lincoln home from infected people and raiders and strike a partnership with Joel (Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv).

In their later years, a terminally ill Frank asks Bill to euthanize him.

Offerman’s character subverts the harmful trope of equating homosexuality with tragedy, however, as he lethally doses both of their wine glasses, saying: “This isn’t the tragic suicide at the end of the play.”

Upon its release, the episode received universal critical acclaim – with praise aimed at Bartlett and Offerman’s performances, Craig Mazin’s script and Peter Hoar’s direction – and has since been praised as one of the best episodes of television ever broadcast.

The beloved episode and its cast/crew also gained the attention of various celebrity viewers, including legendary director Steven Spielberg. 

During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hoar revealed that the E.T. director sent a personal letter to Mazin praising the episode and its heartbreaking content. 

“Well, I didn’t get it directly, but [an actual Spielberg letter] came to Craig Mazin, the writer of my episode of The Last of Us – the writer of all the episodes,” he explained.

“He shared it with myself, Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett and [cinematographer] Ebn Bolter. Basically, a whole group of middle-aged men started squealing because their idol had realized who they were. I think he probably knew who everyone else was, but he didn’t know who I was. And now he’s probably forgotten.” 

Hoar’s recent comments come a few months after The Last of Us showrunners spilt some major tea about the show’s upcoming second season.

In an interview with British GQ, the showrunners were asked if the second season will “span the entire course” of the second game (The Last of Us: Part II), to which Mazin swiftly responded: “No. No way.”

Mazin refused to reveal how many seasons it would take, but did share that “more than one is factually correct”.

“Some of the stuff I’m most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we’ve discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version,” said Druckmann. “And I think it’s exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way.”

For more details regarding The Last of Us season two, click here.