Stephen King Can’t Wrap His Head Around A Detail From ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 3
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Stephen King Can’t Wrap His Head Around A Detail From ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 3

Episode three of HBO’s latest hit series The Last of Us, titled ‘Long Long Time’, is being celebrated left and right as one of ‘the greatest hours of television of all time,’ and rightfully so.

Granted, the episode hasn’t been without its critics, particularly those that are familiar with the source material and consider it an unnecessary diversion from the core plot, but to each their own. 

A new, albeit mild, criticism has come from a pretty high-profile figure, that being none other than acclaimed author Stephen King, and it is in relation to the episode’s geography: 

THE LAST OF US. Episode 3: Do you really want to tell me that’s 10 miles west of Boston?

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 31, 2023

King has something of a point here, given that, for one thing, the show wasn’t filmed on-location in Boston. For another, in the real world, those rough geographical coordinates place us roughly around the town of Waltham, which is still very much suburbia at the least, and a far cry from the lush forestry and babbling brooks depicted in the opening moments of the episode. 

In terms of the in-universe geography, however, the on-screen subtitle is spot-on – given that Joel and Ellie’s location at that point is about a five-hour hike from the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts, where Bill and Frank reside. In that regard, the abundance of greenery is fairly justified, as they would have cleared most signs of civilization at that point.

We took it upon ourselves to illustrate both King’s valid argument, as well as the show’s justification on Google Earth – highlighting the distance between the Massachusetts State House’s approximate location and the town of Lincoln comes in at around 13 miles:

When push comes to shove, however, the show’s scenes weren’t filmed in some lush forest between Waltham and Lincoln. In fact, the bulk of the show was filmed in Alberta, Canada. As such, we’re going to sit ourselves down on the fence. King’s critique of the geography is justified, but the show’s geographical justification is also more or less on the mark. 

We’ll have to wait and see where Joel and Ellie are heading off to next (however Alberta, Canada depicts it) when the next episode of The Last of Us hits HBO Max this Sunday.