2011’s ‘The Thing’ directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., is a sci-fi horror thriller. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton at its center, this movie is a prequel to the 1982 movie of the same name. Like its chronological successor, 2011’s ‘The Thing’ is also based on a novella called ‘Who Goes There?’ by John W. Campbell. The plot follows the events that take place in a Norwegian Antarctic research station directly before the 1982 movie.
In the movie, a group of scientists, including paleontologist Kate Lloyd, discovers an alien spacecraft and specimen buried inside a glacier. After bringing the specimen back to their facility, they realize the danger they have put themselves into. As the group tries to survive against the parasitic alien, their fears grow, and they start to turn on each other. The ending of this survival movie directly feeds into the 1982 original. Therefore a lot of the weight of the plot resides in its climax. If you’re curious to know more, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Thing.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Thing Plot Synopsis
The movie opens in 1982 Antarctica, where a group of Norwegian men is following after a transmission signal. The signal leads them to a crack in the glacier, and underneath it, they find an enormous alien craft. Meanwhile, in America, Dr. Sander Halvorson recruits the help of his research assistant, Adam, and a Columbia graduate vertebrate paleontologist, Kate, to accompany him on his trip to the Norwegian research station. There, with the aid of other scientists and crewmen, they excavate the alien specimen entombed within a slab of ice. Once back in the facility, Halvorson declares he intends to take a tissue sample from the “Thing” to use it for research purposes. Kate expresses her concerns about the idea. Regardless, the team drills into the ice a little and procures a sample from the Thing.
Afterward, while everyone celebrates their revolutionary scientific discovery, things steadily start going wrong. The Thing manages to burst out of its icy confinement and escapes through the roof. The whole group starts their search for the Thing and eventually comes across its menacing shadow underneath the crawlspace of the facility. However, before the group can stop the Thing, it takes down one of the crewmen, Henrik. They try to shoot the Thing down, but when bullets fail at the task, they resort to burning the Thing alive.
Later, Kate and Halvorson perform an autopsy on the charred remains of the Thing and Henrik and make some complicated discoveries. Disturbed by what she found, Kate takes a sample from the Thing and learns about the parasitic imitating nature of its cells. A few people, including Carter, decide to leave the facility and get help for Henrik’s sick friend Olav. But their chopper crashes mid-flight after one of the passengers abruptly transforms into a murderous creature.
Kate tries to warn the others about the Thing’s ability to imitate and hide as other people by assimilating into their bodies. Everyone disregards her concerns again— until the Thing, disguised as a geologist, Juliette finally attacks and kills one of their own. As the group tries to survive and figure out a way to know who among them has been turned, they become hostile toward one another. Eventually, survivors from the chopper return to the facility, rousing suspicions. Now the group, led by Kate, must keep the Thing confined to their base and prevent it from escaping into the outside world while keeping their lives intact.
The Thing Ending: Why Does Kate Kill Carter?
Kate and Carter first meet on the helicopter ride over to the research facility. When the Thing escapes from the ice and attacks Henrik, Carter is one of the first to start shooting at it. Later, he makes his displeasure known at Halvorson’s intention to study the creature’s dead body. Carter thinks they should destroy the body as soon as possible. However, he doesn’t stick around for much longer, deciding to take Olav to a doctor in another facility nearby. But Kate, who has just made a new discovery about the Thing, tries to flag their chopper down. Although dissuaded by his friends, Carter still decides to turn the helicopter around. Before they can land, Griggs— infected by the Thing— lashes out, sending the vessel crashing down.
The group assumes Carter and the others are dead and decides not to go looking for them and instead focuses on the Thing situation at hand. The group realizes they must quarantine themselves in the facility due to the virus-like nature of the Thing. This way, they can reduce the risk of exposing the rest of the world to this alien specimen. After a few more attacks and a string of deaths, Carter and Derek return back to the facility at nightfall. Upon their return, the group is doubtful of their escape at first. Suspecting them to be Thing hybrids, Kate and the others lock them up in a separate building.
Eventually, things start to descend into chaos after more Thing attacks. Carter and Derek escape with their weapons and join the group as they fight against a massive attack from the Thing. In the attack, several of them die, and in the end, only Carter and Kate are left alive and unharmed. As the two burn the corpses, they witness Halvorson driving off in a snowcat vehicle that Kate had previously disabled. Realizing Halvorson is infected, Kate and Carter follow after Halvorson-Thing. They reach the site of the initial excavation where the huge spacecraft was first discovered. There they face off against the Halvorson-Thing. Kate ultimately defeats it by blowing it up with a grenade. Now, with the final Thing hybrid gone, the two are left to return to civilization on their own.
Carter suggests they can reach a nearby Russian station in the snowcat. However, before they leave, Kate comes to a horrible realization. In the station, when Carter returns back after his helicopter crash, Kate defends him and stops the others from killing him. Similarly, when he escapes from his imprisonment, Kate again trusts him. She reveals to Carter that the reason behind her trust is that one of his ears had an earring. Because the Thing can’t imitate inorganic metal, Carter’s earring served as proof of his lack of Thing assimilation. However, now he no longer has a ring on his ears. Kate takes that as proof and uses a flamethrower to light Carter and the snowcat on fire, thus killing him.
What Happens to Lars?
Lars is a member of the Norwegian base. He is the only one there who doesn’t speak English and owns a dog. When the Thing initially escapes from the ice, the team finds it killed Lar’s dog. Though most people assume Lars must have died after he gets abducted and goes missing, Lars is actually one of the few people who are alive by the end of the movie. After the credits start rolling in, they are interrupted by snippets of Lars and his friend Matias. Matias is a Norwegian pilot who hasn’t been on base since the Thing attacks and has returned to find the facility in ruins. Upon his return, Matias encounters Lars. Lars only agrees to trust Matias after seeing his teeth fillings to ensure he is not a Thing hybrid. Matias and Lars then chase after Lar’s dog, who was previously assumed to be dead, as Lars tries to shoot the dog down.
This sequence directly ties into the 1982 chronological sequel of this movie. 1982’s ‘The Thing’ opens with a shot of a Norwegian helicopter chasing after a sled dog. The dog is a Thing hybrid and eventually goes on to put the events of the sequel’s plot in motion. Lars realizes the Thing has infected his dog and tries to kill it before it can infect others. Ultimately, Lars fails at this, and in the next movie, dies from getting shot before he can properly warn the other.
Read More: The Thing Ending, Explained