(321-word review) My first thought after the episode was over is that critics and your average audience are incredibly extravagant, especially with their words. Critics considered this episode the season's best by far, with some considering it among the best television. Most average viewers seemingly agree on top of the ocean of tears accompanying that. Extravagant.
Regardless, this episode was different than the game, and I'm not saying that negatively. Its intention, in my opinion, seemed to concern filling in a gap/expanding the backstory of Bill and Frank since there wasn't any of this in the game; the outcome/ending of everything related to that, however, strayed off the source material path. I'm sure some people didn't like that part, but I didn't care that much. Let's face it. If you're not Joel, Ellie, or Tommy, you're not that important, with less screen time to boot in the game. That applies to who I'm talking about, whether people like it or not.
While I never became all choked up or full-on bawling, which is 100% the reaction by the majority and is a little baffling, this episode was well-done.
The cinematography by Eben Bolter was great, and that first shot (as Joel walks away from the stream) took me a second to realize what a fantastic one it was. The score, especially the cue during the montage of Bill and Frank leading up to the dinner, was good.
Nick Offerman's acting was good, and from the sound of his voice, he also tapped into the consciousness of Nicolas Cage; Murray Bartlett's acting wasn't as good but still decent, and I noticed Frank's resemblance in the present to Jordan Peterson. And the final scenes with Joel and Ellie were their best moments yet.
The catch is I wasn't on board with the arguable point of this episode, which was swaying the emotions and opening the tear ducts. That's not me.
Sufficiently entertaining, though.