Sarah Miller (Nico Parker) sticks her hand in the water from a sprinkler in a scene from 'The Last of Us'

Prepare For ‘The Last Of Us’ Heartbreak With This Complete List of Deaths

You really want me to spoil everything?

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Is this some sort of self-hating behavior that you can’t enjoy TV without ruining the story for yourself? Are you okay? Do you want me to call someone? Do your loved ones know about about your struggles?


Are you like me and you really hate the feeling of jump scares (gunshots count as jump scares because they’re sudden and loud)? If so, I get it.

Whenever someone pulls a gun in a TV show I fight (with no success) the urge to cover my ears with my hands. Sometimes I’ll even put my foot in front of the screen to obscure some but not all of the screen because I still want to know what’s going on but I really don’t want to be jump scared. It’s unpleasant! Sue me.


Is The Last Of Us just so scary that you have to emotionally prepare yourself for every major character death. If so, I also understand. I was not looking forward to the first major character death in the series, because it’s also the worst death in the entire series. It just breaks. Your. Heart. Who am I talking about? Well, read on and find out in this complete list of The Last Of Us deaths.


sarah from the last of us
(HBO/Naughty Dog)

This character’s death fucking HURTS. It’s like someone just tore open my heart with a red hot poker and then poured negroni sbagliato with prosecco in it all over the wound. Then salt. Then bleach. Then salt again. More negroni. Then like 10 gin and tonics.

Sarah is shot by a soldier at the finale of the prologue to the game and TV series, just after she and Joel escape an ARMY of infected (they just had to run into the literal Army next, didn’t they?) The soldier who fired at Joel and Sarah is immediately shot dead by Tommy just before he can finish the job, but Sarah has already been mortally wounded. When the prologue has you in tears already, you know that the rest of the story is going to be a real gut-puncher.

Most Of The Human Race

Close up of a stalker in 'The Last of Us 2'
(Naughty Dog)

I mean… this should be a no-brainer considering the game is called The Last Of Us. Most of the world’s population is infected, and those that didn’t get infected were probably blown up or shot by the military in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading. After all, in the show, one academic’s solution to the infected problem “bombs”—and lots of them.


Robert from the last of us looking perpetually confused

Unlike most of the other deaths on this list, Robert’s does not come as a gut punch. Why? Because he deserved it.

In the game, Robert double-crosses Joel and Tess in a deal and tries to have them killed. When that plan fails, he then offers to make a deal with them in exchange for his life. But the thing about Robert is … he’s not very smart, so it’s not exactly a good deal. Rather than taking the deal, Tess shoots Robert in the head. Robert also dies in the show, but is killed offscreen when a trade between his gang and the Fireflies goes south. He’s really not a good businessman, is he?


Tess the last of us game

Another tough one to stomach. Joel’s ambiguously romantic smuggling partner Tess has her story come to a close just after escaping from the Boston Quarantine Zone with Joel and Ellie. While traversing the infected-ridden Boston metropolitan area, Tess is bitten on the neck (most likely by a clicker). This happens in the show as well, as Tess reveals her mortal injury after the gang survives the first clicker encounter.

In the game, Tess goes down in a blaze of gun smoke and glory. After the gang finds the corpses of the Firefly operatives they were supposed to rendezvous with, FEDRA soldiers converge on their position. Tess manages to take down multiple soldiers before she is shot dead. A fighter to the end.

In the HBO adaptation, her death goes a little differently. After finding the dead Fireflies, hundreds of infected are drawn to the gang due to signals that the Cordyceps fungus sends out across its nasty little network. Joel and Ellie make their escape, while Tess sacrifices herself to buy them extra time. While trying to spark a lighter to ignite a fuel-soaked floor, an infected man finds her and gives her a “fungus kiss,” bringing his lips to hers and shoving fungal strands down her throat. Before she can succumb to the infection, she manages to ignite the lighter and drop it on the floor, causing a massive fuel explosion that vaporizes her and the rest of the infected. Tess, you’re my hero.

Lots Of Random Dudes

Joel manhandled some poor saps while ellie watches

Listen, it’s The Last Of Us, SCORES of random guys get shot, choked out, stabbed, blown up, or set on fire by Joel and Ellie as they make their way across the country. Don’t worry though, all of these dudes are murderous assholes and would have killed the pair without a second thought. I’m sure that the show will pit Ellie and Joel up against a similar slew of nasty people and leave a trail of fresh corpses in their wake.

Henry and Sam

Henry and his brother Sam from Last of US

And just when I thought my heartstrings couldn’t be tugged any harder! Joel and Ellie meet Henry and his brother Sam in Pittsburg while trying to escape a particularly nasty group of human survivors. The brothers were so sweet and helpful! Ellie managed to meet a kid close to her age, while Joel and Henry bonded over riding Harleys and killing people.

Things got hairy after the gang encountered a group of infected, but everyone managed to escape bite-free! Or so we thought. We find out that Sam has been scratched on the leg by an infected, and turns overnight while the group takes shelter. After attacking Ellie in the morning, Joel attempts to kill Sam, but is stopped by Henry. Henry then shoots his little brother dead before turning the gun on himself. Oh it’s brutal. It’s so brutal. And I’m sure it will be just as brutal in the show.


Ellie kills David in the last of us

This is the only death on this list we can all REJOICE at. David is the leader of a group of cannibals that Joel and Ellie encounter in the “Winter” chapter of the game. After saving Ellie from a group of infected, David reveals to Ellie that some of the Random Dudes that Ellie and Joel killed at a university were actually David’s men. Ellie tries to flee from David, but is hunted down and captured. David keeps Ellie in a makeshift prison cell at his compound and offers for her to join the group.

Meanwhile, Joel kills a metric ton of random dudes in a series of increasingly grisly ways in order to find her. After killing David’s subordinate James, Ellie escapes from the prison cell and goes on the run. David finds her in a restaurant, and so begins one of the SCARIEST boss battles I’ve ever played in a game. David basically hides behind shit and then jumps out and tries to stab Ellie with a machete. It’s nerve-wracking. However, before David can land a killing blow on Ellie, she manages to grab his machete and HACKS HIS FACE TO PIECES. It’s a heartbreaking scene, not because David’s dies, but because a 14-year-old is forced to machete a man to death to protect herself. I’m sure it’ll be just as sickening in the show.

More Random Dudes

Joel kills the surgeon in the last of us

After Joel and Ellie finally meet the Fireflies, Ellie is taken away. Marlene reveals to Joel that a team of surgeons intends to operate on Ellie to create a vaccine, but the operation will kill her. Joel isn’t having it. He’s already lost one daughter, and he’s not going to lose another. Joel LAYS WASTE to the hospital and everyone in it, including the surgical team. This fact is a major plot of The Last Of Us 2, but I’m not going to spoil anything here. Joel then manages to escape the hospital with Ellie, but then meets …


Marlene and Ellie in the Last of Us

Marlene attempts to reason with Joel, trying to convince him at gunpoint to hand over an unconscious Ellie. Marlene claims that it’s only a matter of time before Ellie meets a grisly death at the hands of infected or murderous survivors alike. Marlene then lowers her gun and raises her hands in a gesture of surrender, hoping that the two can talk things out. Again, Joel isn’t having it.

Joel shoots Marlene in the abdomen and places Ellie in the backseat of a working car. Joel then returns to Marlene, who begs him to let her go. Joel refuses, saying “you’d just come after her” before shooting her in the head. It’s another particularly brutal death and one that is fated to happen in the show as well. It’s also the first time that a character’s death feels … ambiguous. Yes, Marlene would have likely tried to hunt Ellie and Joel down, but one can’t help but wonder if Joel was wrong to effectively sacrifice the human race to save the life of one girl.

Marlene’s death often sits uncomfortably with players and contributes to the haunting power of the game itself. The HBO adaptation has some massive shoes to fill with regard to recreating some of these moments, but from what I’ve seen so far, they might just pull it off.

(featured image: HBO)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.