‘The Last Of Us’ Kathleen And Hunters, Explained – Why Did Kathleen Ignore The Threat Of An Infected Monster?


In the fourth episode of the HBO series “The Last of Us,” we are introduced to a character who was not a part of the narrative in the game and has been created just for the series. Kathleen, played by the enigmatic Melanie Lynskey, was the leader of a revolutionary group, and she had made it her mission in life to take revenge on the people who killed her brother. It is often said that in the battle of narratives, it does not matter who is telling the truth; what defines victory is how convincingly manipulative one can be. Often, by the time the truth triumphs, it is quite late, and the damage has already been done. Kathleen was trying to do something similar, and let’s see if she was able to fulfill her vendettas or not.

Spoilers Ahead

Who Were The Hunters In ‘The Last Of Us’ Game?

Ellie was curious to know about everything that had been happening in the world. Joel had also started talking to her, even if it felt like he was being coerced, and he kept informing her about the situation now and then. Joel told Ellie that the roads were clear because FEDRA had these huge trucks with a plow attached to them to remove the cars lying in the way to make space for their tanks. Ellie always got excited upon knowing such details, as she hadn’t witnessed the world beyond her military school or the quarantine zone. This time she expressed her desire to see a tank in real life. Joel had told her that the infected weren’t a threat as much as other humans were, as he knew that there was a possibility of meeting the Hunters.

Now we can say that, indeed, this clan was known for its anti-establishment sentiments, though they were far more unruly and disorganized as compared to the Fireflies. The hunters didn’t have a good reputation, as somewhere along the line, their actions stopped matching their intentions and motives that had brought them together in the first place. It all started when FEDRA started oppressing people, and the ones in the quarantine zones started suffering due to an extreme shortage of food supplies that led to their deaths. Now, we had seen in the earlier episodes of “The Last of Us” that any departure from established norms was met with severity, and unlike the pre-apocalyptic world, capital punishment was not reserved only for the rarest of the rare cases. People started protesting against FEDRA, and a chunk of those protesters joined Fireflies so that they could unite their forces and fight against the tyranny that had rather become the order of the day. But then there were a few who didn’t want to join the Fireflies, and they took shelter in abandoned cities and remote areas.

There was a reason why the hunters were seen as raiders and looters more than a rebel group: they used to rob the tourists who passed through their areas. They didn’t have the credibility that Fireflies enjoyed, and they had only themselves to blame for it. In the game, Ellie and Joel meet the hunters in Pittsburgh, but the series “The Last of Us” tweaks the narrative a bit and makes the deadly encounter happen in Kansas City. The hunter groups might have wanted to attempt a coup and overthrow FEDRA in the beginning, and they might have seen themselves as revolutionaries, but over time, that noble intention that bound them was lost. The hunters had a patent way of stopping any traveler that came their way. Generally, an injured man came asking for help, and when the tourists stopped their vehicles, the hunters would rob them and take away their supplies. Joel was well aware of their tactics, which is why he didn’t stop when he saw the injured hunter coming their way.

Who Was Kathleen? Why Was She Looking For Henry?

The fourth episode of the series, “The Last of Us,” introduces us to Kathleen, the leader of the revolutionary group. Though this revolutionary group is analogous to the Hunters in the game, the makers have given them a motive where, in addition to greed and survival instinct, their actions are also driven by vengeance. Kathleen was searching for a man named Henry Burrell, among many others. She had kept her family doctor, who had known her before the Cordyceps brain infection began wreaking havoc, in her custody. The doctor was forced to work as a FEDRA informant, and Kathleen believed that he knew the whereabouts of Henry. It was because of Henry’s information that the FEDRA had gotten hold of her brother, who was later killed in one of the state prisons. The doctor begged for mercy and told Kathleen that FEDRA made him do everything at gunpoint, but he didn’t snitch on her. Kathleen had reasons to believe that Henry was still in the city, and she wanted to find him at all costs.

Kathleen was driven purely by vengeance, and she no longer cared about fighting for the greater cause. But she couldn’t openly say so in public, and she was smart enough to understand that unless and until the people knew that their own safety was at stake, they would not follow her into battle. She came out from the abandoned FEDRA prison, where she was grilling the doctor and found out that two of her men had been killed by unknown strangers. She had no evidence to prove that the unknown trespassers, i.e., Ellie and Joel, were sent by Henry, but she still went ahead and pinned all the blame on him.

Why Did Kathleen Ignore The Presence Of An Infected Monster In The Basement?

We believe that Henry and Kathleen might have been allies earlier. The former probably backstabbed the latter by divulging information to FEDRA because they would have threatened to kill him or his younger brother, Sam. Kathleen concluded that if Henry had a radio, he would have definitely tried to establish contact and found someone out there to come and help him. She instilled fear in her people by claiming that Henry was the mastermind behind the killings and that he needed to be killed right away if they didn’t want any more people to be hurt. Kathleen just wanted to take revenge for the death of her brother, and she didn’t care if the rest of the people lived or died. We can say that conclusively because we got proof of her spiteful nature when she actually told her henchmen to ignore a threat that had the potential to wipe out their entire clan. When Kathleen was checking the basement of a building where Henry had been hiding earlier, she noticed the ground moving as if the tectonic plates were shaking and an earthquake was about to come. She knew that there was a possibility of a Bloater being there, but she hid that fact from her people because she didn’t want them to get distracted and stop looking for Henry. Had she actually cared for her people, she would have asked them to vacate the area or take precautions before the Bloater came out, but instead, she deceived them for her own selfish interests. It didn’t matter to her how many graves she had to dig as long as she got her revenge.

What To Expect Next From Kathleen In ‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 5?

Kathleen had become exactly like the kind of people she once hated. She asked her men to find each and every collaborator and kill them. She called herself a revolutionary, but in reality, she was worse than an oppressor. She was not only keeping her people in the dark, but she was shrewdly taking favors from them by deceiving and painting a false picture in front of them. People like Kathleen understand that nothing serves their interests better than hatred, which is why they keep the fire going at all times, ensuring that the people become as vengeful and soaked in animosity as they are. It was only a matter of time before her ardent followers realized that it was not the fungal infection or the FEDRA but their own leader who was leading them to their doom.

In the upcoming episodes, we will get to know if Kathleen is able to find Henry and Sam, who are now hiding together with Ellie and Joel. It would be a difficult task for the ever-efficient Joel to make an escape from there, as the hunters were swarming like bees in the entire area, but the presence of Sam and Henry might come as a blessing in disguise for them.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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