Spoilers for the ending of The Thing from 2011.

When Kate and Carter emerge from the spaceship, Carter is still wearing his flamethrower, like he was when he entered the ship.

However, he ditches the flamethrower and gets into the snowcat first. Of course, Kate then realizes he is a Thing who plans to drive the snowcat to the nearest base to get more biomass; she picks up the flamethrower and torches it.

Why did the Carther-Thing put itself in that position? It was alone with Kate, which was its modus operandi when infecting people before it was found out (like when the Juliette-Thing was alone with Kate earlier) and it had the flamethrower.

Why not infect or kill Kate at that point, instead of getting rid of its human weapon and getting into a vehicle with her? Even if it did manage to infect her en route without being found out first, assimiliation is a messy procedure, and it already crashed one helicopter while trying to overtake its passengers.

2 Answers 2


He wants to get close to Katie

When they first meet outside the spaceship, Katie is immediately wary of Carther. So it's reasonable to assume he took a risk in disarming, hoping she would trust him and climb into the snowcat with him where he could do his thing.

After all, he doesn't want to kill Katie, he wants to get close enough to infect her.

He's not very smart

It definitely would have made sense to just kill her and make his way to the next station alone. As the lone survivor, he could tell any story he wanted and there would be no talk of any infectious alien parasite!

But bad guys in movies rarely do the sensible thing.

  • I might have been unclear. I realize that Kate identified it as a Thing because of the missing earring (on the left ear, by the way), not because it dropped the flamethrower. I just don't understand why it dropped the flamethrower.
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 12:11
  • @tobiasvl I updated my answer, hope that's a little better.
    – Daft
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 14:10
  • "he doesn't want to kill Katie, he wants to get close enough to infect her" Are those not one in the same? Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 15:09
  • 2
    @zabeus How pedantic! :D He's armed with a flamethrower, if he plans on infecting her, I doubt he wants to set her on fire first.
    – Daft
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 15:12

It needed to remove the flamethrower in order to sit in the snowcat seat. It had no choice.

  • This only appears to partially answer the question and ignores the part about infecting Kate.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 9:35

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