Portrayed by Melanie Lynskey, Kathleen Coghlan is an important supporting character in the HBO post-apocalyptic action drama series ‘The Last of Us.’ She survived the 2003 Cordyceps fungi outbreak and lived in the quarantine zone in Kansas City, Missouri. Like every other QZ, the FEDRA had control there. However, the authoritarian government drew resistance, and Kathleen’s brother, Michael, was the leader of it. After her brother’s death, Kathleen took control of the revolution and overthrew FEDRA, proving to be just as brutal toward her detractors. If the ending of ‘The Last of Us’ episode 5 has made you wonder whether Kathleen is dead and Lynskey has left the show, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Kathleen Dead?
Yes, Kathleen is dead in ‘The Last of Us.’ She makes her first appearance in episode 4, interrogating a doctor whose name we later learn is Edelstein. Kathleen has spent her entire life in Kansas City. Her mother is still alive and lives there. As a doctor, Edelstein brought her into the world, but that doesn’t stop Kathleen from killing the man after realizing she has no need for him.
Michael was a man of principle, honor, and forgiveness. Kathleen met him in prison before his death, and he told her to forgive those who she thinks have wronged them. But Kathleen overthrew FEDRA and actively hunted the people who informed on their neighbors before executing them. She is after Henry because she believes he is responsible for her brother’s capture and death. And she is after Sam simply because of his association with his older brother.
Ten days after the successful revolution, Joel and Ellie drive into the city and end up killing two people, drawing Kathleen’s attention. This prompts Joel and Henry to form a tentative alliance. Although Henry knows the city and how to escape it, he has never been violent until meeting Joel and Ellie. Toward the end of episode 5, Kathleen and her group manage to catch up with Henry, Sam, Joel, and Ellie. With Joel trapped in a house not far from them, Henry decides to give himself up and tries to convince Kathleen to let Sam and Ellie go. She refuses, and just when she is about to kill him, the Infected emerges from the underground.
When FEDRA was still in charge, they forced the Infected below the surface. There is a bloater among the Infected, and it kills Kathleen’s second-in-command, Perry. The rest of the rebels are slaughtered. Kathleen dies when she points her gun at Henry, Sam, and Ellie, and a clicker attacks her.
Did Melanie Lynskey Leave The Last of Us?
Yes, Lynskey left ‘The Last of Us.’ In certain ways, ‘The Last of Us’ is a road series. As the central characters, Joel and Ellie, move through the post-apocalyptic American landscape, they encounter various people in every episode, most of whom end up dying by the end of that episode. The story involving Sam, Henry, Kathleen, and Perry is the same. It impacts the main characters and the overall narrative, especially through the deaths of these supporting characters.
Kathleen is a show-original character, though a rebel group like the one she leads does exist in the Naughty Dog game. They are called hunters, and Joel and Ellie encounter them along with Sam and Henry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not Kansas City. According to Lynskey, series co-creator Craig Mazin told her that her character was a war criminal and Michael was a Jesus-like figure. She was initially reluctant to take the role, but Mazin eventually convinced her. “He told me that her brother was basically Jesus,” Lynskey explained in an interview with EW. “Like, imagine growing up as the sibling of Jesus and being like, ‘My brother’s the greatest human being. He’s leading the world. He’s the kindest, most decent person. I don’t think I’m that great of a person. I don’t really need to be anything in particular because I have this person by my side.’”
The ‘Yellowjackets’ actress continued, “And then somebody brutally kills him and it’s so unfair. Who are you after that? You are forced to step into a role that you never asked for and you don’t think you’re very good at. The thing I found very interesting about her is, when she did step into the role, she didn’t have a lot of guilt about doing bad things, whereas her brother did. She found out that she was quite heartless and so she was able to be pretty effective in a way that he maybe wasn’t because she didn’t care about people. That’s a very interesting dynamic.”