[Warning: This story contains spoilers from The Last of Us episode 4.] Hell has no fury like a despised sister. Sunday’s episode of The last of ustitled “Please Hold My Hand,” makes a detour to Kansas City, Missouri, as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) try to reach Joel’s brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) somewhere near Cody, Wyoming. Joel and Ellie are ambushed and imprisoned in the Kansas City QZ. They are hunted by the vengeful Kathleen’s (Melanie Lynskey) rebels who are on the hunt for brothers Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Wood).
We learn three things about Kathleen. First, she will do anything in her hunt for Henry, who she believes is responsible for her brother’s death. Second, she is ruthless: she resolutely shoots a doctor who gave birth to her – she takes out the man who literal brought her into this world. And third, she is not her revolutionary brother, who was beaten to death in a FEDRA cell.
“[Showrunner and episode writer Craig Mazin] said to me, “I hope you’re not offended, but I’d like you to play a war criminal.” I said, ‘Ugh, I don’t know.’ He said, “I had a feeling that would be your response. Let me tell you a little bit more,” Lynskey said OW. “He told me that her brother was actually Jesus. Imagine growing up as the brother or sister of Jesus and saying, ‘My brother is the greatest man. He leads the world. He is the nicest, most decent person. I don’t think I’m such a great person. I don’t really have to be anything special because I have this person by my side.’ And then someone brutally kills him and it’s so unfair. Who are you next?”
Lynskey continued, “You’re forced to step into a role that you never asked for and don’t think you’re very good at. What I found really interesting about her is that when she got into the role, she She didn’t have a lot of guilt about doing bad things whereas her brother did She discovered she was quite heartless and so she was able to be quite effective in a way that maybe he wasn’t because she had nothing to do cared about people. That’s a very interesting dynamic.”
In her approach to playing an original character not in the video game, the Yellow jackets star envisioned Kathleen as “being a person you could reject, who you don’t necessarily have to fear until you suddenly realize, ‘Oh sh-t! This is someone I’m supposed to be the most afraid of.'”
“I wanted her to be a little gentle. I wanted her to be gentle and delicate in the way she looked around. I wanted her to feel like a sweet person and then have a surprising capacity for violence,” explains Lynkey out. . “I thought the difference between how she carries herself and how she speaks and the things she does would be interesting.”
The inhabitants of the KC QZ are the show’s version of the game’s Hunters, territorial gangs who prey on “tourists”: victims who are killed and robbed for entering the quarantine zone they confiscated from FEDRA (the game is it’s the Pittsburgh QZ.) But like Joel – a hardened survivor whose hands are far from clean – there are shades of gray in Kathleen. And much more to learn.
“[Melanie’s Kathleen] is a very complicated character,” Mazin said during a panel at the CCXP convention in Brazil. “She’s a brilliant actor and we needed someone who could play someone who did terrible things, but when you got to know her you understood why and actually felt for her. One of the things that [The Last of Us game writer and series co-creator Neil Druckmann] created with the game was this philosophy that no one is ever pure good, no one is ever pure bad; we have the capacity to do both. And Melanie Lynskey plays someone who I think you’re going to hate and then love.”
Fans won’t have to wait that long to find out what happens next: Episode 5, “Endure and Survive,” airs early Friday, February 10, ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
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