‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained: Are Henry And Sam Dead? What Happens To Kathleen?


“The Last of Us” Episode 5 picks up from the very moment where Episode 4 left us, with Joel and Ellie held at gunpoint by a young man and a boy, Henry, and Sam. In this new episode, we learn more about Henry and his acts in the past while also getting a perspective on Kathleen and her rebellion against FEDRA. Along with enough action and thrills, “The Last of Us” episode 5 also has emotional rollercoasters and brilliant storytelling, which has become a staple in each episode of the series.

Spoilers Ahead

Why Was Henry The Most Wanted Man In Kansas City?

“The Last of Us” Episode 5 begins ten days before Joel and Ellie’s arrival in Kansas City when the people’s rebellion has unfolded. As throngs of angry citizens gathered on the streets, the FEDRA officials were killed and tortured, marking an end to the authority’s brutal regime in the city. As is later mentioned by both Henry and Joel, the FEDRA at Kansas City was notoriously bad, having operated almost like a harsh dictatorship. They had tortured, killed, and raped innumerable people in the twenty years following the fungal outbreak and had riled up citizens for years. Therefore, it was no wonder that similar treatment was meted out by the rebels when they got the chance to do so against the FEDRA soldiers.

By this very time, Henry was wanted by Kathleen, for he had led to her brother Michael being killed. The exact reason for this is not revealed until a bit later, before Henry and Sam’s escape from the angry rebels is highlighted. Henry was close with people called collaborators, who were basically FEDRA informants living among citizens and rebels, and he too mentions having been a collaborator. From these contacts, Henry got in touch with Edelstein, the doctor seen being interrogated and killed by Kathleen in “The Last of Us” episode 4. Edelstein was a collaborator too, and he had information about a safe space where they could hide now that the FEDRA authority had been overthrown. It is established that Henry’s only living relative is his younger brother, eight-year-old Sam, who is deaf and mute. With Sam close by his side, Henry moved into the safe shelter with Edelstein, where he stayed until the doctor was captured and killed, and the brothers ran out of food. Henry had witnessed the gunfight between Joel and the rebels, and he wanted to make use of Joel’s protection. This was the reason why he and Sam entered the same building that Joel and Ellie were resting in at night, and now he convinces them to tag along with them.

Both sides of this fight in Kansas City are marked by a common point—a human thread for whom one would literally do anything and whose loss would propel them into any level of monstrosity. Henry’s story is exactly that—he had found out that at this very young age, Sam had gotten leukemia, and his pains could be kept in check only with the help of a specific medicine. Since it was post-apocalyptic times with very limited supplies of otherwise usual items, getting hold of medicine for leukemia was all the more difficult. Only a certain group of people happened to have access to this medicine, and this group happened to be FEDRA. It would be wrong to call Henry a collaborator, really; like every other character that we closely follow in “The Last of Us,” he too is driven by the need to protect himself and his brother and is ready to side with any group in order to ensure that. Sam is the only human thread that ties Henry down, and he is willing to go to any extent in order to protect the young boy.

Getting in touch with the FEDRA officials, he was promised the medicine, but under one condition—that he tells them about Michael’s whereabouts. As it happened, Michael was the beloved leader of the rebel group in Kansas City and was, therefore, FEDRA’s most hated enemy. Without giving it a second thought, Henry ratted out Michael’s location, getting him arrested and then tortured and killed so that he could get the crucial medicine for his brother’s well-being. It is not that Henry is without guilt or morality about his actions; as he explains to Joel later on, he does consider himself a really bad man for having done bad deeds. But to Henry, this bad deed was only so that he could ensure his brother’s safety, and given another chance, he would have surely done the very same again.

Why Does Kathleen’s Character Turn So Vengeful?

Just like her arch-enemy Henry, Kathleen’s actions and decisions are also shaped by the only human thread that she had and has now lost—her brother Michael. While her team of rebel soldiers is out hunting for Henry and Joel, Kathleen visits the old house and room in which she and Michael had grown up together. From her memories recalled during this scene, it is evident that the woman had been very close to her brother since their very childhood when the elder Michael would comfort and reassure her about the safety of their room. While it is very possible that Kathleen always had a very violent and vengeful side to her, this was terribly expressed only after the arrest and murder of her brother. After this loss, she decided to throw all goodness away and take on a rather evil, cold, and heartless form, in which she was desperate to kill Henry and even his kid brother in order to exact revenge.

The world presented in this post-apocalyptic fungal wasteland is such that every human bond is much more intense and solid than our real-world ones. This is definitely due to the fact that people had already lost so much and were already so bitter about it. They would therefore give their all to protect these bonds, and if the connections were lost, there would be literally no grasp or control over them. Kathleen is a typical example of this, but the extent to which she is ready to go is definitely worse. It is also not that she has no family left at all, for there is mention of her mother being alive, but the bond she had with Michael was something she cherished more than anything else. Her rage at present is, therefore, against each and every group and individual who got her brother killed, and she rallies the rebels to overthrow the FEDRA in Kansas City. Following this, she captured each of the known collaborators and killed them all, for they, too, were somehow linked to Michael’s death, according to her understanding. At present, Kathleen continues to hunt for Henry and Joel, as the rebel soldiers provide her full support too, for unlike Michael, Kathleen had actually brought about change and had defeated the oppressive FEDRA authority.

How Do Joel, Ellie, Henry, And Sam Escape The City? Is Kathleen Dead?

After Henry explains who they are to Joel and Ellie and lays out his plan for taking advantage of their protection in order to escape the city, the four team up. Ellie and Sam are an easy fit from the get-go, as the two can relate more to each other than to their respective adult companions. Sam carries along a dry-erase board in order to communicate with people who do not know sign language, and he uses this to talk to Ellie. The two find a comic book titled “Savage Starlight” (which is a collectible item in “The Last of Us” video game), and they both happen to be huge fans of it, having owned multiple issues of it earlier. Both of them say that they “have” so and so issues of the comic, but the sheer fact that they have left it all behind, that they are without any belongings of their own, is beyond their perception. This very heartbreaking innocence of what are essentially displaced children and the sudden images of a fairly normal childhood—Ellie reading the comic slowly to Sam so that he can follow her lips, she trying to pick up words in sign language, or the two playing with a football—are what make “The Last of Us” Episode 5 quite touching.

Added to this is the space in which most of this takes place, which is an abandoned underground shelter with colorful paintings all over the walls, suggesting that it once used to be a space inhabited by many children. As Henry and Joel go about their plan of traveling through the underground tunnel network to escape the city, they come across this shelter, which was an apparently common occurrence, as revealed by Joel. Many people, after the initial fungal outbreak, decided to move into bunkers and shelters underground and lived for many years in such places. By the end of their journey underground, the four are able to safely get out of the other side and have to only cross a bridge over a river in order to escape Kansas City. However, they come into direct danger when an abandoned street and neighborhood turn out to be guarded by the watchful eyes of a sniper. Leaving Henry, Sam, and Ellie behind the protection of an old car, Joel makes his way around the street, taking cover behind objects to protect himself from the sniper, and reaches the house where the gunner is. He climbs up to find that a sniper is an old man, and Joel pleads with him to surrender and not make him kill him, but the old man refuses to comply. Once Joel has dealt with him and taken the sniper rifle, the grave danger of the situation is revealed. The old man was an ally working with Kathleen’s rebel forces, and he had radioed her a message about spotting the wanted men in the area. By this time, Kathleen and her soldiers were rushing into the place, with a sinister snowplow leading the pack.

As Henry, Sam, and Ellie spot the soldiers, they start to run in an attempt to escape while Joel covers them from the building with the sniper rifle. He successfully kills the driver of the snowplow, and the heavy vehicle crashes into a house, causing an explosion and a fire to break out. This, in turn, leads to an even graver danger for all the people at the spot. Kansas City was different from other cities in present-day America due to the fact that it had no infected on its streets and neighborhoods. This was because the FEDRA had successfully driven all the infected underground some fifteen years ago, and they had never been let out since. All dead bodies were also carefully burned in order to avoid any possibility of further people getting infected. Henry had also mentioned that some two or three years ago, the FEDRA soldiers had apparently killed off all the infected underground as well, but that was definitely not the case.

In “The Last of Us” episode 4, we saw Kathleen and her henchman Perry check out a site where the floor was cracking due to pressure from something underneath it, and now it is very evident that the infected underground was just desperately looking for a way to come out. Unaware or unperturbed by all this, Kathleen corners Henry, Sam, and Ellie, telling Henry to surrender and come out. The young man tries to negotiate his brother’s safety, but Kathleen very cruelly dismisses such an idea, saying that Sam was always meant to die since he had leukemia, and she would definitely kill him too. It is at this very moment that the fire and explosion carve a hole into the ground, and after a brief moment’s pause, “The Last of Us” looks more like Bend Studio’s PS4 title “Days Gone.” Hordes of infected zombies climb out and run toward all the humans, causing a massive ruckus that allows Ellie to get to safety. From here, she spots Henry and Sam in trouble as two infected try to attack them too, and with Joel’s help with the sniper rifle, she saves them as well. By this time, a bigger and stronger infected creature (called a “bloater” in “The Last of Us” video game) climbs out and attacks the soldiers. Although neither the show nor the games delve into the origin of bloaters, these seem like the outcome of the fungus growing even further after one has turned into a clicker.

Joel meets up with the three others as they make use of the commotion all around to escape the place and the city. However, Kathleen always keeps an eye on them, and she now stops them in their tracks with her gun ready in her hands. But before the scene gets any worse, one of the infected clickers jumps onto Kathleen and kills her while Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam escape. Interestingly, the clicker that killed Kathleen seems to have once been a young girl. It is perhaps fate that the woman who did not want to show empathy toward children is killed by an infected child.

‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 5 Ending: How Did Henry And Sam Die?

As the four characters manage to escape, they take shelter in an abandoned house far away from all the danger they had just escaped. Joel offers Henry the opportunity to tag along with them to Wyoming, and Henry agrees to this proposal, too, since moving as a team of four would always be more beneficial than just the two of them. Both men discuss the most difficult part of adulting during an apocalypse—the immense responsibility of keeping their young companions safe.

Meanwhile, Ellie and Sam keep childishly enjoying their comic book, already having moved past the events they had experienced only some time ago. As Joel points out, the children have utter belief in the words “endure and survive,” which are the opening lines of their favorite comic book, but such words have no significance in the real world. But the events of their recent past do catch up soon when Ellie and Sam share each other’s fears in an intense scene. Seeing Ellie as an older sister now, Sam asks her if she is ever scared, and she replies that she is always scared of scorpions. Ellie then reveals her real fear, which is extremely tied to her situation in this world—she fears that she will end up alone. Ellie has always been a lonely child; she had been abandoned as a baby, had been left at FEDRA school by Marlene, and had no stable company until Joel and Tess, the latter having died too. Along with this, Ellie knows that she is immune to the fungus, while the people around her are not. She knows that there is very much a possibility of everyone else around her dying while she is left alone, and the young girl is terrified of this outcome.

On the other hand, Sam’s fear has a more immediate outcome than Ellie’s, and for this reason, it is perhaps even more shattering. Sam writes on his dry-erase board that he wonders whether a human stays human inside after they have been bitten by an infected, and within moments, the grim condition is evident. Sam rolls up his pants to show Ellie a bite mark on his leg, which the young boy had gotten during the struggle with the infected some hours earlier. Ellie is shocked by this, but she does not lose composure and instead thinks of ways to help the boy. To her, there is an obvious method, for her blood is like medicine to this fungus. Showing her own dried-up bite mark to Sam, she cuts a wound on her hand, pushes out some of her blood, and applies it to Sam’s wound. Ellie must definitely have doubts about whether this would help Sam in any way, but nonetheless, she tries her best to keep the boy feeling safe. Ellie stays awake with Sam the whole night until they both fall asleep some time into their plan. In the morning, Ellie wakes up to see Sam sitting by himself, mumbling something under his breath, and upon approaching him, she is attacked by Sam, who has turned into an infected.

Both of them run out of their room into the one where Joel and Henry had been resting and get the adults woken up by their noises. Sam jumps onto Ellie in an attempt to bite her, and Joel quickly reaches for his gun, preparing to do the worst. After all, Joel is not very different from Henry or Kathleen either, for he also has lost way too many connections in life to lose anymore. Whether Joel acknowledges it or not, his bond with Ellie is strong enough for him to protect her with all his might. This bond is perhaps clear from a very short scene earlier, in which Ellie tells Henry and Sam how Joel always says no to things she wants, but when she keeps nagging about it, he eventually agrees. Such an exchange, which is almost very close to a father-daughter relationship perhaps, would have been impossible to imagine with how Joel and Ellie behaved with each other towards the beginning of their journey. Therefore, when it comes to Ellie’s safety, Joel would perhaps shoot first and ask questions later, and so thankfully, Henry gets hold of the gun before the man can. The elder brother now realizes what is happening, and with shock and an almost instinctive action to keep Ellie from being bitten, he shoots Sam dead. The realization hits Henry soon enough as he shakily sees his brother’s bloodied corpse and questions what he has done. Like most others around him, Henry loses his human thread too, and he can take no more of the pain and suffering of this cruel world. Unlike Kathleen, Henry’s desire to harm himself is self-inflicted, and the young man shoots himself dead right before Joel and Ellie’s helpless eyes.

Some distance away from where they had taken shelter, Joel and Ellie respectfully bury the bodies of Henry and Sam in an effort to do as much as they can. Ellie now leaves Sam’s dry-erase board on the ground, and Joel spots the writing “I’m sorry” on it. These words are of Ellie as well, as it probably shows the girl’s disappointment in being unable to save Sam, who she was also perceiving as a younger brother. More than this, though, is Ellie’s disappointment in herself and her rare condition, which keeps her immune from the fungus. The girl had genuinely believed, to some extent, she could have saved or helped Sam with her blood, but the realization that it was not so simple, that too through the death of someone she was considering her younger brother, gravely affects Ellie. In a very serious tone, she asks Joel which side west is, and she then walks straight towards where Joel points, suggesting that Ellie is done playing around and that she is more determined than ever to reach the Firefly outpost in the west and get some medicinal cure developed from her blood.

What Should We Expect From ‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 6?

“The Last of Us” Episode 5 ends on a genuinely heartbreaking note, and the fact that the episode has arrived early due to Super Bowl Sunday means that we will have to wait longer than usual to watch the next one. This is perhaps good as getting over the ending of “The Last of Us” episode 5 will definitely require some time, and the next time the show returns, Joel and Ellie will be out on the road toward Wyoming. Joel is still determined to find and meet his brother, Tommy, even though there is no guarantee that he is even alive. On the other hand, Ellie is now driven to help the Firefly doctors prepare a cure from her blood, but all of this looks very bleak at present. Joel had earlier mentioned how there had been rumors about potential cures before as well, and while Ellie is definitely immune to the fungus, what if a cure is actually not possible? Nonetheless, “The Last of Us” is about pushing for survival to the last limit, and Joel and Ellie would definitely do the same.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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