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The Last of Us fans work out major theory about virus from episode one – did you spot it?

Warning, spoilers for episode one ahead…


last of us joel sarah© Photo: Sky
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Updated: January 19, 2023
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The Last of Us finally premiered on Sky and HBO after a long, long wait from fans – and it didn't disappoint. The zombie drama was widely praised by viewers and critics alike as it follows the breakout of a widespread infection – but did you spot how our main characters Joel and Sarah managed to avoid catching it? Find out here…

In the opening moments of the episode, two scientists discuss the future of epidemics and pandemics, with one ominously revealing that fungi are the single deadliest threat to the future of mankind – because if it evolves it can have the power to infect and overpower the host – strongly hinting that this is, indeed, how the apocalypse begins.

WATCH: This TikTok from IGN explains the theory

Throughout the episode, various close encounters with various foods appear to confirm that the fungus was spread through tainted flour. As IGN's TikTok pointed out, Joel and his daughter Sarah first hear about trouble in Jakarta, Indonesia on the radio, which incidentally is home to the biggest mill factory that makes flour.

In the same scene, both Sarah and Joel's brother Tommy comment on not having birthday pancakes as planned. Later, Joel and Sarah are both offered cookies by the neighbours, with Joel joking that he is on the Atkins diet – though their refusal is once again a moment where they avoided catching the infection that took their neighbours. In the scene, the neighbour is feeding his elderly mother-in-law bread – who is the first zombie that Sarah comes across in the outbreak.

sarah last us© Photo: Sky

Joel and Sarah avoided flour all day

Once again, Sarah avoids eating a cookie made by her neighbours, as she is disappointed that they are made from raisins and not chocolate chips. Finally, Joel forgets to pick up a birthday cake for himself and Sarah.

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Taking to Twitter to discuss, one person wrote: "The Last of Us never explained how the spread began in-game, but it seems clear in the show it's going to be tainted flour. The lead characters don't have any for pancakes, pass on biscuits and raisin cookies, Joel's on Atkins and forgets to buy a birthday cake."

Another person added: " The latest theory on what started the outbreak in #TheLastOfUs is that the virus spread through flour. If that's the case, then Joel having a forgetful mind and Sarah hating raisin cookies really saved them in that moment. This also explains the Adlers."

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