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What Is A Collaborator In ‘The Last Of Us’?

Sam and Henry running in the last of us

Welp, Episode 5 of The Last of Us just came out and it jerked just about as many tears from me as this episode. The stars of the episode, Henry and Sam, are two of the finest characters in The Last of Us franchise. While we didn’t know much about the pair in the original game, the HBO series has been fleshing out the characters and their backstories and generally deepening the game’s preexisting lore. In Episode 5, the lore about the hunter-controlled city in the game is expanded upon even further, and a once-faceless group of killers is now given an almost sympathetic storyline.

What happened in Kansas City?

In the game, Joel and Ellie make their way to Pittsburg on their journey to find the Fireflies out west. Why they decided to go to Pittsburg is a mystery, considering that is hardly west of their original starting point in Boston. The pair discover that Pittsburg was once a Quarantine Zone (QZ) controlled by the Federal Disaster Relief Agency (FEDRA). However, the city was rocked by a coup where the civilians rose up against FEDRA and massacred them. While there is some “FUCK FEDRA” graffiti in the game that suggests the organization was oppressive or incompetent, the real reason why the people of Pittsburg rose up against FEDRA is a mystery.

This is not the case in the HBO show.

The Kansas City chapter of the show replaces the Pittsburg chapter of the game (probably because it is ACTUALLY west of Boston), but the story is basically the same. An armed resistance rose up against FEDRA. However, in the show, Henry tells us that FEDRA has been “raping, torturing, and murdering” the population of Kansas City for 20 years, and that it was only a matter of time before the people rebelled. And lord did they. FEDRA soldiers are hanged, shot, and hacked to pieces in the opening sequence of Episode 5 detailing the rebellion. Henry and Sam are on the run from the militia, and we soon find out why.

Henry collaborated with FEDRA.

He wasn’t alone in doing so. In Episode 5, there is a prison cell full of FEDRA collaborators who informed on their neighbors. While it’s never explicitly stated why, it’s likely that many did this in order to ensure their personal safety from FEDRA’s brutality, or simply to enjoy privileges that other civilians did not. The leader of the resistance movement, Kathleen, mocks the surviving collaborators and their willingness to rat out other civilians for “some apples,” suggesting that they did so for nothing but a fresh meal. After the collaborators give away Henry’s position, Kathleen has them all shot and their bodies burned. She has a personal vendetta against the FEDRA collaborators. After all, one such informant (Henry) was responsible for ratting out her brother Michael, the leader of the resistance movement. He was tortured and beaten to death by FEDRA soldiers.

Later in the episode, Henry reveals why he collaborated with FEDRA. His little brother Sam was sick with leukemia and FEDRA had a rare drug that could save his life. In exchange for the medicine, Henry informed on Kathleen’s brother Michael, which resulted in his arrest and murder. Kathleen was not sympathetic and made it her top priority to find and kill the brothers. But it didn’t go so well for her, did it? Thanks, Child Clicker!

Are there any collaborators in the game?

Not specifically, no. The men of the Pittsburg QZ are treated with absolutely zero sympathy. They don’t appear to be bound together under an ideology or a single leader. It’s likely that they were simply sick of taking orders from FEDRA and wanted to put the power in their own hands. In the game, they are described as “hunters” and lie in wait in the city for travelers to pass by. They then ambush them, rob them, and kill them. They seem less interested in creating a functioning society and more interested in creating a loose confederacy of violent gangs that seem to delight in bloodshed.

However, some of the hunters seem to hold a vendetta against Henry for unknown reasons. It’s likely that he has killed a few of them in order to protect himself and Sam, and they aren’t exactly the type to forgive grudges—or leave survivors.

(featured image: HBO)

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