In The Last of Us, Joel loses his daughter, Sarah, but not to the virus that is spreading; he loses her while making a desperate move to save her.
In 2003, Joel and Sarah navigate their lives as a happy father-daughter duo. Both are quite close to each other. Though Joel struggles with parenting as a single parent, which is quite evident, he puts effort into keeping his daughter happy.
Similarly, Sarah does her best to spend most of her time with her father. She plans to celebrate her father’s birthday to the fullest. After stealing money from his own drawer, she goes out to get his watch fixed.
Over the course of that day, a threat seemed to loom over the world. They don’t notice it at first. The police cars and fire trucks are running from one place to another. Shops are being closed, and people are being asked to stay indoors.
At night, things escalate. People go crazy all over the town. Sarah checks on her neighbors and finds an elderly woman eating her family members.
Joel, who had gone out to bail his brother, Tommy, out of jail, returned in time to save his daughter from that elderly woman.
Sarah, Joel, and Tommy’s accident
Sarah, Joel, and Tommy hop on a truck. Joel explains that it’s a virus that is forcing people to act like this.
Joel and Tommy intend to leave the town. Tommy hopes to help a family with a kid on the way, but Joel prioritizes saving themselves first because they have a kid too.
With traffic ahead, the trio goes offroad, only to find the army right in front of them. Sarah wonders if this virus is everywhere and if there is nowhere else to go.
The trio makes it to another town. Soon a plane comes crashing onto the street, resulting in their accident. All three of them survive, but Sarah ends up with a broken ankle.
Tommy, from the other side of the car, directs them to head for the river, where they will regroup. Joel picks Sarah up and runs from the infected people who are now hunting them down.
Does Sarah die?
One of the infected people gives Joel a chase. A gunshot takes the infected one out. A soldier shows up and asks Joel, who is holding his daughter in his hands, to stand still.
The soldier informs his superiors about their condition. The superiors order the soldier to kill them right away since Sarah is injured. Joel senses the move this soldier is about to make. He attempts to run after claiming that they are not sick.
The soldier still shoots. Joel and Sarah fall down. The soldier says sorry to Joel while pointing a gun at him, but before he could shoot, Tommy takes him out.
Joel checks on himself. It turns out he is fine, but Sarah got caught in the gunfire. Sarah’s condition is serious. Joel tries to revive her, but she ends up dying in his arms.
The loss stays with Joel for years. In the near future, in 2023, he faces a similar situation when a FEDRA soldier points a gun at him, Ellie, and Tess. At that time, Joel wastes no time in taking that soldier out.
Joel, Ellie, and Tess then leave for the west before more FEDRA soldiers could show up.