The Last of Us TV Series have just confirmed a fan-favourite Theory of the Game

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    The acclaimed HBO adaptation finally answered a lingering mystery from the original The Last of Us game, and in the first episode, no less. One of the franchise’s most enduring pieces of iconography — Joel’s wristwatch — gets the backstory fans have speculated about since the game’s release in 2013. The The Last of Us HBO series not only confirms a popular fan theory, but also develops the character of hardened survivor Joel (Pedro Pascal), who may be more sentimental than he admits.

    Joel wears a broken field watch on a nylon green strap in the original game. In a brand new addition to the story, Joel’s daughter Sarah fixes the watch as a birthday present in the prologue.

    The apocalypse begins hours later, and Joel and Sarah make a desperate escape. Later, they are stopped by a soldier, who is given the chilling order to shoot them on the spot. Sarah survives the encounter, but Joel does not. Joel lives alone in oppressive conditions after a lengthy time jump. His watch, now with a visibly shattered face, has been broken yet again.

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    Fans have been wondering how Joel’s watch broke for the second time since the release of The Last of Us. They’ve hypothesised that it happened when Sarah died several times. They were not only shot at, but they also fell down a rocky hill, which could easily have shattered the watch.

    When Sarah died in The Last of Us, Joel’s watch was not broken.

    The Last of Us
    credit: ign

    This fueled speculation for years that Joel’s watch was shattered in an offscreen event between the prologue and the game’s main plot. However, when the game was remastered for the PlayStation 5 last year, Joel’s watch broke during Sarah’s death. Perhaps that was the developer’s intention all along, but technical limitations or simple oversight prevented them from filling in this detail. The live-action series has clearly established this as canon.

    The first 30 minutes of The Last of Us TV show almost exactly recreates the game’s prologue, and it confirms that Joel’s watch broke when Joel and Sarah rolled down the hill. When Sarah dies, Joel’s wristwatch is now cracked, as it has been for the majority of the game.

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    Joel clearly misses his daughter. He’s doing everything he can to keep her close, and when Ellie (Bella Ramsey) points out the obvious to Joel, it foreshadows their eventual bond. Neither of the games made a big deal out of Joel’s watch, and the show is unlikely to either. However, when it comes to understanding Joel and his relationship with Ellie, it provides a telling detail in a drama obsessed with getting everything just right.

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