‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 4: Who Is Kathleen? Why Did She Hide The Situation Regarding The Bloater?

The viewers accompany the fated pair, Ellie and Joel, through their cross-country journey in post-apocalyptic America as HBO’s “The Last of Us” continues its brilliant streak through its fourth episode. After the emotional turbulence of the last episode, we are quickly taken back onto the narrative track as the duo moves through Kansas City on their journey toward Wyoming. As seen in the episode, the city has been freed from the oppressive FEDRA regime, and a group of revolutionaries, inspired by the Hunters group in the game, has taken over the city. The leader of the group, Kathleen, played by Melanie Lynskey, is a series-exclusive character whose motivations and actions will expand the lore of the central narrative as well as affect the course of our protagonists. We will try to find the causality of some of her actions shown in the episode.

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Spoilers Ahead


Who Is Kathleen? Why Was She Hunting Henry And Sam?

Melanie Lynskey’s previous character roles, like Rose in “Two and a Half Men” or Pauline in her debut movie “Heavenly Creatures,” often found her perfectly cast as a mild-mannered, conservative person, seemingly of a fragile demeanor but having an unexpected potential for violence. Kathleen, as the leader of the revolutionary faction, exudes the same energy. The first time we see her, she questions a familiar face – the doctor- about the whereabouts of some persons, including Henry Burrell. From their conversation, it becomes clear that the doctor who was supposed to be on the side of the revolutionaries had defected to the oppressive FEDRA for some reason. The prime objective for Kathleen is to bring the defectors like the doctor to justice, and Henry is at the top of her hit list. However, she is quick to notice the faint change of expression on the doctor’s face after hearing Henry’s name and is able to deduce that he knows Henry’s whereabouts. From Kathleen’s statement, we get to know that she wants to conduct a manhunt for the person. She has a personal vendetta against Henry, whose defection to FEDRA resulted in her brother’s brutal death in captivity at the hands of FEDRA agents.

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Kathleen is driven by personal purpose, and usually, that doesn’t bode well in the case of leaders. The revolutionary group managed to drive out the oppressive FEDRA regime, which used its resources more on subjugating the residents of QZ and suppressing their rights using fear tactics than protecting the people—which isn’t too dissimilar from the way Kathleen seeks to operate. The revolutionaries might be another insurgent group looking to replace FEDRA, just like the Fireflies, but their ruthless means have no place for an idealistic approach like the latter. The doctor’s statements suggest a history of violence enacted by the revolutionaries, and the pile of burned corpses corroborates his words—a far cry from their motto, “We the People.” Historically, revolutionary forces have often become the instruments of the very oppression they set out to eradicate, and Kathleen-led revolutionaries have become that sort. The gaslighting on her part is vividly shown when the bodies of militants (who died during the scuffle with Joel and Ellie) returned to their base, and Kathleen utilizes their deaths to direct the tension toward Henry’s search. Even though she has no way of knowing whether or not Henry was involved in the incident, she carefully channels the mob rage to better exact her revenge. However, as the doctor believed her to be a better person—which she probably was once upon a time—that side of her hesitates to shoot the person who delivered her into this world, almost flinches at her own action of pointing the gun at him, and asks the doctor whether he still doesn’t consider her capable of killing. Unfortunately, once she gets the idea of using the death of the Hunter militia in her favor, she gets rid of the doctor, someone with whom she had a personal connection and, most importantly, had an indispensable skillset given the context. When Perry, Kathleen’s right-hand man, played by Jeffrey Pierce, who also voices the character Tommy in the game, takes Kathleen to show the attic where Henry and his brother Sam had previously spent some time, she senses Henry’s brotherly love for Sam being a liability all too well, which is tragically ironic in the sense that her brother’s demise led to her becoming cruel to such an extent.


Why Did Kathleen Hide The Situation Regarding The Bloater?

After showing Kathleen the attic hideout where Sam and Henry had been stationed previously, Perry takes her to the basement of the same building to show her a worst-case scenario. The floor of the basement is broken, and something is causing the floor to shake from the inside out, almost waiting to erupt. Terrified, both of them rush outside the room. The most probable cause of the situation, which both of them know, will be hordes of infected led by a monstrous Bloater, the monstrous, most viciously mutated among all of the Cordyceps hosts, which is also teased by the preview of the fifth episode. The first instinct of a leader should be to inform the people who look up to her about the predicament, as even the first question Perry asks Kathleen is regarding when they are going to tell others. Surprisingly, although she is clearly frightened, the situation isn’t Kathleen’s immediate concern. Instead, she wants to carry on the manhunt and address this later. For her, the opportunity to capture Henry while he seems to be still on their radar is unmissable, and if that means jeopardizing the lives of her people, then so be it. For her selfish goals, she is willing to mislead the people who sided with her—a decision she’ll probably come to regret soon enough. A significant, totally contrasting aspect between the women leaders of two revolutionary groups is that Marlene, as the leader of Firefly, tries to use all her resources to escort Ellie to safety, while Kathleen, as the leader of the Hunters, is hell-bent on using her resources to take the lives who wronged her.

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Kathleen’s inclusion added greater significance to the lore of the Hunter groups in the game, where they were reduced to just another group of survivalist opportunists. The series once again manages to improvise upon the source by adding subtext by providing them with a flawed motivation, as shown in the grounded way that the transfer of power may wreak anarchy if left in the wrong hands.


See more: How Does Love Serve As The Major Driving Force For The Major Characters In HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ Series?


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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