The Last of Us 2 Ellie t-shirt prologue introduces us to Joel, who lives in Austin, Texas with his daughter Sarah. Joel comes home late, and Sarah is waiting for him to give him his birthday gift. The two joke around and watch TV together until Sarah falls asleep.
Sarah wakes up in her bed when her phone rings. On the other line is Tommy, Joel’s brother. He tells her he needs to talk to Joel urgently before getting cut off. Sarah then searches the house for her father, but there’s no sign of him. Eventually he appears, running inside after fending off… Something. Joel tells Sarah to get ready to leave.
The pair get into Tommy’s car and the three of them drive through the city, which is in a bad way. It turns out people are being infected by a mutated cordyceps fungus, which takes control of the brain and turns people into lifeless carriers stripped of humanity. Eventually, the fungus sprouts from the head and face of the infected.
As they drive through the city, which is in complete chaos, they’re struck by another vehicle and are forced to make their escape on foot. Tommy hangs back to hold off the infected while Joel and Sarah are stopped by a soldier, who is instructed to kill them. They dive away from the gunshots, but Sarah is hit. Tommy kills the soldier, saving Joel, but it’s too late for Sarah, who dies in her father’s arms.