An early The Last of Us episode?! Thank you, Super Bowl. Folks, it’s finally time to find out if Henry is a good guy or a bad guy. Introduced by name nearly over a dozen times as rebel leader Kathleen (played by Yellowjackets’s Melanie Lynskey) kicked off her quest for blood, Henry ended the last episode by capturing our main duo at gunpoint. To learn more about what makes this guy so important? We start Episode Five by going back in time.
Dropped in the middle of a protest that turns violent, we see Henry hiding with his younger brother, Sam, who is deaf. Kathleen resents him for selling out their secrets to FEDRA—and she blames him for the death of her brother. More on that later. Right now, she’s questioning a group of captured potential informants. “Where is Henry?” she asks. It’s her number-one line, like when Batman interrogates the Joker in The Dark Knight. Someone mentions that he’s with a man named Edelstein. I’m going to guess is that he’s doctor Kathleen killed last episode.
What is a bloater?
A bloater is considered to be one of the end stages of infection for victims of the cordyceps fungus ravaging the world of The Last of Us. Unlike the more common clickers, people who have reached bloater stage are pretty much entirely encased in the fungus that grows from out of an infected’s head. This happens when the victim’s been infected for years and has somehow managed to “survive” that long. As Joel mentions in episode two, most infected only live around a month or so, but clickers and bloaters have been infected so long that the fungus has desecrated their eyes and they have to use echolocation to navigate. Clickers are more abundant, but if an infected lives long enough to become a bloater, its hulking frame and exploding pus sacks—oh yes, it has exploding pus sacks that it throws at Joel and Ellie—make it far more dangerous.
This is very likely a side effect of trying to cram so much story into just nine episodes of television — every one or two installment, The Last of Us jumps to a new place with a completely different cast of characters. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to develop many of them (Frank and Bill being the big exception, of course).
Henry and Sam’s tragic ending plays out almost exactly as it does in the game, the major difference being the added context of the insurrection and the conflict with Kathleen. Does the added backstory add to the drama of their deaths? Actually, no, not really. The scene from the game is every bit as soul-crushing as the show’s version, so it calls into question whether all of the drama involving Kathleen and her cohorts served this moment whatsoever.
That said, the added backstory doesn’t harm the scene, either. Watching the brothers die the way that they do is just plain awful, and Bella Ramsey’s whimper in reaction to Henry taking his own life is utterly heartbreaking.
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