Did Sarah, Tommy, and Mercy the Dog Survive The Last of Us Episode 1?

Does the series start with a body count out of its supporting cast?

by J.R. Waugh
Image: Sony Pictures Television

The Last of Us pulls no punches in telling a heartwrenching post-apocalyptic tale with morally nuanced characters at its helm. This is nothing surprising considering HBO is the home network, but it is remarkably true to the source material in many ways including this authenticity. No characters are ultimately safe for newcomers to get attached to, and this results in some tense viewing for the first episode. Characters introduced as early as episode 1 of The Last of Us won the viewers over, particularly Sarah, Tommy, and Mercy, and fans might wonder if any of them die before pressing play again. Spoiler warning if you haven’t finished episode 1!

Does Sarah Die in The Last of Us?

Sarah Miller, Joel’s daughter, tragically dies just a little over a half hour into episode 1 of The Last of Us. This is true to the original game’s canon but is arguably even better executed. Sarah is a strong-willed daughter of Joel’s, not afraid to steal from him to get him gifts he would never get himself, and highly compassionate. But her continuous horror at the pandemic unfolding into bedlam before her eyes as she, Joel, and Tommy escape was powerful, and viewers simply couldn’t look away.

How Does Sarah Die?

Image: Sony Pictures Television

When Joel tried to escape while martial law was being imposed, a patrolling soldier gunned her down, with Joel failing to protect or save her. This is only seen after Tommy successfully takes out the soldier before he could do more damage. This is Joel’s most pivotal moment, and it would influence future actions and relationships of his even decades later.

Despite this being a known moment to expect even for those who played the game, the introduction of this lovable character, only to show her devastating and merciless loss, is one of the most heartbreaking moments in recent years on television.

Does Tommy Die in The Last of Us?

Image: Sony Pictures Television

Tommy Miller, Joel’s brother remained unseen after the first half of the episode is frequently mentioned and alluded to, with Joel concerned for his brother’s safety outside the QZ. While we’ve yet to see him again in the show, he’s alive through both of the games, and with The Last of Us being such a close adaptation, it stands to reason that he won’t die anytime soon.

Does Mercy, the Dog, Die in The Last of Us?

Image: Sony Pictures Television

Mercy the dog, the pet of Miller neighbors Danny and Connie Adler, escaped in sheer terror after Nana’s CBI overtook her, which resulted in the violent deaths of Danny and Connie. While it’s ambiguous as to whether Mercy died in this episode, it’s obvious he wouldn’t have survived the 20-year time skip after running away from Sarah in The Last of Us. We can only hope that he escaped and lived a long happy life as the adorable dog he is.

- This article was updated on January 16th, 2023

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