The Last Of Us Episode 5 Ending Explained

Warning: This article contains spoilers for both The Last of Us episode 5 and the original game.The Last of Us episode 5 ended in an explosive finale with significant implications for the show’s overall story and Joel and Ellie, played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey respectively. The Last of Us episode 5 continued and subsequently culminated the storyline began in episode 4, with the conflict between the Hunters and Henry, Sam, Joel, and Ellie coming to a head. After The Last of Us episode 4’s cliffhanger, more is learned about Henry and Sam’s past as the two team up with Joel and Ellie to escape Kansas City unharmed.


In doing so, many of the elements of The Last of Us episode 4 were paid off in episode 5. From the unveiling of what lay underground in The Last of Us episode 4 in the mysterious basement, to more revelations surrounding Kathleen’s grudge against Lamar Johnson’s Henry, The Last of Us episode 5 satisfyingly concluded this story arc. That being said, here is everything about The Last of Us episode 5’s exciting – yet heartbreaking – ending explained.

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The Last Of Us Changes How Sam Was Infected

Keivonn Woodard as Sam in HBO's Last of Us character poster and the character model for Sam in The Last of Us Part I

The final scenes of The Last of Us episode 5 reveal that Sam (Keivonn Woodard) was bitten by an infected during the episode’s climactic action sequence. This follows the original game’s story, however with some notable differences. In the Last of Us game, Sam is bitten in a similar sequence, shortly after Joel takes out the sniper pinning down Henry, Sam, and Ellie. Like in The Last of Us episode 5, the game sees the Hunters – whose leader Kathleen in HBO’s The Last of Us is played by Melanie Lynskey – catch up to their prey, bringing with them the attention of an infected horde which results in Sam being bitten.

After this happens, the game portrays Sam as much more pessimistic about life than he was, which causes Ellie to leave him alone for the night. The next morning, the Cordyceps infection has taken hold of Sam, and he attacks Ellie, with Henry being forced to shoot his own brother. While many of these elements are similar, two main notable differences exist in The Last of Us episode 5’s portrayal of Sam’s tragic ending. One of these is that Sam reveals his bite to Ellie, something not present in the game. The second is that Ellie, upon Sam’s revelation, attempts to heal him with her blood.

Why Ellie Wrote “I’m Sorry” Over Sam’s Grave

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Keivonn Woodard as Sam in HBO's The Last of Us official character posters

Ellie’s attempted healing of Sam leads to a heartrending scene at the very end of the episode – which flips the introduction of Sam and Henry in The Last of Us episode 4’s ending through their departure from the series – in which Ellie places Sam’s drawing board over his grave reading the message “I’m sorry”. The reason for this stems from the fact that Ellie is immune in The Last of Us, and begins to showcase the survivor’s guilt Ellie feels from this. In the original game, Ellie does not find out about Sam’s bite before he turns, meaning her attempt to heal him is not in the original story.

Ellie attempting to heal Sam in the HBO adaptation then makes it all the more upsetting. Not only does it make Ellie a much more sympathetic character, and showcase that she truly believes her own immunity to The Last of Us’ Cordyceps infection can lead to a cure, but it makes Sam’s eventual death worse as the healing did not work. This makes the emotional impact of Sam’s death on the audience much greater, all the while furthering the feeling of guilt Ellie feels as a result of her own immunity.

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Bloater Explained: What The Last Of Us Episode 5’s New Infected Type Is

Bloater HBO Last of Us

The sequence in which Sam is initially bitten makes for one of The Last of Us’ most exciting scenes, thanks mainly in part to the introduction of a terrifying new infected type: a Bloater. Bloaters are found in the original game, with HBO’s The Last of Us making them that much more terrifying by increasing their rarity. In both The Last of Us show and game, Bloaters are infected hosts that have lived with the Cordyceps fungus for between 10 and 20 years. This is known as the fourth stage of infection after Runners, Stalkers, and Clickers – from The Last of Us episode 2 – make up the preceding three.

Similar to the Clickers whose prolonged infection status sees fungal growth beginning on the outside of their head, Bloaters begin growing fungal plates all over their body. This makes them increasingly difficult to kill, with the fungal plates acting as a form of armor, immune to bullets and other weapons. The Bloaters also have increased strength, with both of these attributes being highlighted by the Bloater’s fight with Perry in The Last of Us episode 5 after the latter’s bullets did not affect the creature before it ripped his head from his body.

The Meaning Behind Kathleen’s Death In Last Of Us Episode 5

Kathleen looking concerned and talking in The Last Of Us episode 4

Another plot point which The Last of Us episode 5 concluded was Kathleen’s after she caught up to Henry. After doing so, Kathleen reveals that she knows why Henry turned her brother into FEDRA. Despite knowing he did it to save Sam from leukemia – a change to Henry and Sam’s characters from The Last of Us game – Kathleen refuses to forgive Henry. She states that maybe Sam should have died, and the world does not revolve around him simply because he is a child. She also states that children die all the time in this world, before attempting to kill Henry.

The infected horde then interrupts her, which results in chaos until she and Henry cross paths again as the latter tries to escape with Sam, Ellie, and Joel. Before Kathleen can kill Henry, though, she is attacked by a young girl who has been infected and killed in the process. This provides a poetic justice of sorts for Kathleen’s ending, with her being killed by a child after stating that children die regularly and showing a lack of empathy for Sam’s condition.

Related: The Last Of Us Episode 4 Continues Its Biggest & Best Ellie Game Change

Henry’s Death Reflects His & Joel’s Story

Pedro Pascal as Joel, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, and Lamar Johnson as Henry in their Last of Us character posters

Much like how The Last of Us episode 3 foreshadowed Joel’s journey through Bill’s letter, Henry’s death by suicide does the same. After Henry shoots the infected Sam, the former takes his own life, causing Joel and Ellie to bury the brothers. This death reflects Henry’s story in two major ways. Earlier in The Last of Us episode 5, Henry talks to Joel about being the bad guy, as he has done “bad guy things”. This affects him at the end of the episode when he repeatedly asks “What have I done?” after shooting Sam, reflecting how he regards himself as the “bad guy” despite doing what he needed to survive.

Secondly, Henry’s death by suicide proves Kathleen’s earlier comments right, exemplifying that Henry’s world does revolve around Sam. Other than the ways this ending reflects Henry’s story, it also reflects Joel through Ellie and Sarah. Eventually, Joel will become like Henry in that his world revolves around Ellie as it did with Sarah. He will then do whatever it takes to save her, as he would rather die than be without her.

Biggest Video Game Changes In The Last Of Us Episode 5

Last of Us Episode 2 Game

While some big changes to the game’s storyline occurred in The Last of Us episode 4, episode 5 similarly confirms a few major differences. One of them is that Sam is Deaf and was previously diagnosed with leukemia. Another difference to Henry and Sam’s story is that they lived among the Hunters in the Kansas City QZ at one point, as opposed to simply being trespassing travelers like in the game. While there are some minor differences, the other major differences come in The Last of Us episode 5’s final sequences.

Much like The Last of Us episode 3’s Bill changes, The Last of Us episode 5 employs its game differences for the better. Another involves the Bloater’s appearance, which in the game happens in the tunnels beneath the city, as opposed to the suburban neighborhood of the show. The final major differences stem from Sam and Henry’s fates. Sam telling Ellie about his bite and Ellie trying to save him using her blood are two major differences that improve the sequence, as is Ellie and Joel burying the two brothers. The game simply cuts to the next section, meaning The Last of Us episode 5 continues making changes for the better.

New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.

More: 12 Video Game Easter Eggs & Hidden Details In The Last Of Us Episode 4

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