Hello everybody and welcome to the first installment of our Through the Pages series for 2015! In anticipation for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, we will break down the second half of Mockingjay with our predictions on what will make it to the big screen and what will be left behind on the cutting room floor. Don’t forget to comment with your own predictions and speculation so that we can come back and examine who got what right or wrong!
Spoiler warning! Through the Pages involves a lot of book discussion, so if you haven’t yet read Mockingjay then proceed with caution, particularly now that we’re entering the true climax of the story. Or, better yet, go read the book and then come back and join in!
The chapter opens in District 2, where Katniss describes the Nut, the Capitol’s main military base after the Dark Days and the loss of District 13, encased inside a large mountain. She notes the difference between the people of Two and those of the other districts, much better fed, raised for fighting, while the outer districts suffer. As Katniss gets there, the outer villages have ceded to the rebels but the town is still divided. She’s moved around often while she’s there but she tries to help as much as possible, visiting the wounded or taping propos.
Katniss is depressed because of what’s been done to Peeta, missing the person he used to be, but she knows that what they had is over, and all that’s left to do now is kill Snow. In Thirteen, efforts are being made to “cure” him by giving him morphling while showing him the his true memories of Katniss. Progress is slow. President Coin sends in a group of “brains” that includes Beetee and Gale. Gale tells her he saw Peeta, and that it made him realize Katniss will never be with him if Peeta doesn’t get better. Still, Katniss accepts his affection, convinced that Peeta will never get better and she’ll die after killing Snow anyway. Gale, however, recognizes that she’s not herself at the moment, and that her affection doesn’t count if she’s not in her senses. They talk about life in Twelve, and Gale recounts the moment when he realized he cared for Katniss as more than a friend.
She’s invited to a strategy meeting where she meets the rebel commander from District 2, a former Hunger Games victor called Lyme. They try to come up with ways to take the Nut. Beetee insists he can take over the communication systems, but they can’t just storm the entrances to take the mountain. Gale suggests to not attempt to take it at all, but instead just shut it down, by starting avalanches and using the mountain itself to shut the entrances. The risk is that they might kill the people inside, suffocate them; the only chance of escape would be the train tunnel. Gale proposes blowing it up; he doesn’t want anyone in the Nut to survive.
I think we’ll get some establishing shots of the Nut, seen through Katniss’ eyes as usual. Boggs will explain to Katniss his suspicions about how easy it was to rescue Peeta, bringing up to speed the casual moviegoers, non-book readers, and the really forgetful old people (raises hand). Plutarch’s wonderfully insensitive “I think we’ve almost got him convinced you’re not a mutt!” will stay pretty close to its original form, dropping the mutt reference since that wasn’t specifically explained in earlier movies. The attempt to treat Peeta by reconditioning his cave memories will be cut altogether since the original cave scene was so
badly bungled severely truncated. We’ll get to see Katniss’ ongoing conflict between wanting to know how Peeta is doing and not being able to handle the answers.
The Gale/Katniss makeout scene will be cut because it would be way too confusing to an audience not privy to Katniss’ thoughts and motivations to see her macking on her best friend while the guy she’s supposedly crazy about is recovering from being brainwashed. I think most of the dialogue before and after it will also be cut because it displays a cruelty in him that even his later, more controversial decisions didn’t reveal. If the filmmakers want those decisions to have any moral resonance at all, they can’t afford to paint him as the callous, oblivious jerk he appears to be here.
We’ll see the strategy meeting on how to take the Nut, mostly in time-lapse form until the question of bombing the mountain comes up. As Gale explains his plan, we’ll see the mixed reactions of everyone around the room, the camera lingering longest on Katniss as she tries to reconcile the Gale she thought she knew with the ruthless tactician before her.
Lines I hope make it: “Word’s gotten out that mockingjays are hazardous to your health.” –Katniss.
I think the content of this chapter will be pared down to showcasing Gale’s hunter instincts and his ability to militarize his hunting strategies. The meeting about “cracking the Nut” is a great opportunity to introduce Lyme as well. I’d bet that we spend a lot of time in the Capitol during the film so they won’t want to spend too much time at District 2. Since we’ve seen so much of Effie throughout Part 1, I’m wondering if she’ll also make the trip to District 2. Otherwise, would we flash between Katniss & Gale in District 2 and Haymitch, Effie, Prim and Peeta in District 13? Maybe Effie could take the place of poor missing Madge in scolding Peeta for his treatment of Katniss?
I do hope they also mange a way to showcase how the people of District 2 are favored by the Capitol. I think it’s important to explain how the Capitol can play favorites among the districts and why rebels like Gale are willing to let people of District 2 with unknown loyalties, but who are holed up in the mountain, die in the avalanches.
The inclusion of the Gale/Katniss romance and kiss in Part 1 also makes me think that we could see the kissing scene depicted in this chapter. They might want to play up that love triangle and this is a great way to remind the audiences that both Gale and Peeta have a place in Katniss’s heart. (Side observation: I love that Gale makes himself out to be such a former playboy. That he kissed “too many to remember. Behind the school, on the slag heap, you name it” is the best. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true, I just love that he felt he needed to remind Katniss he was a hot commodity back in 12).
Lines I hope make it:
“When he came out, the only thing he asked about was the goat.”
I’d really like to see Mockingjay Part 2 open in District 2 and drop us right in the midst of the ongoing war. I’m not sure this will occur given the fragile state we last saw Katniss in, but I’m sure Francis and the team have a pretty emotional opening lined up! I can’t wait to see the D2 setpieces, especially the imposing Nut. Boggs will be the perfect way to get audiences up to speed, explaining to Katniss the relationship between D2 and the Capitol and how the war is going to date. We already had Gale tell us in Part 1 that Peeta’s rescue was too easy, but I’m sure Peeta’s ongoing treatment will be prominent throughout Part 2 (side note: I love Jennifer’s idea of Effie filling the Madge role!). Philip Seymour Hoffman hasn’t really brought an insensitive/aloof Plutarch to the screen as yet so I’m interested to see how Part 2 plays out, whether his lines will come off more cold or whether we will see some sympathy from him, which there was a glimpse of in the final moments of Part 1. I’m inclined to think we will start to see more of the insensitive tactician from him, as any ‘cost’ becomes acceptable.
I think the scene with Gale will be fairly condensed although I would like to see the kissing scene depicted in some format – it’s another moment where Katniss realises just how much Peeta means to her too. Even though it’s difficult to convey her thoughts on-screen there’s a great line from Gale in the book where he asks her what is going on, which is a perfect set-up. I also feel like the “It was just an act” / “Yeah, it was a good one” scene from Catching Fire between Katniss and Gale isn’t really resolved. We need to see that this is where Katniss starts to lose the boy with the snare, as Gale becomes someone almost unrecognisable and while I agree with Shannon’s point that it’s too easy to paint Gale as a jerk, I think they need some of this scene with Katniss to establish how everything starts to unravel.
The big part of course is the new plan to take the Nut, which I don’t think will take long to play out on-screen. This scene also helps show the audience the relationship Gale and Beetee have and how they are devising methods to win the war, which of course has huge consequences later on. I’m also excited to see the introduction of Commander Lyme here and what Gwendoline Christie’s portrayal of her will be like, I always imagined Lyme to be pretty imposing and every cast member has just been spot on. At any rate the events in D2 at this point set everything else in motion and I’m expecting the movie to start with a bang and send us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions – just like the second half of the book.
Lines I hope make it:
“Word’s gotten out that mockingjays are hazardous to your health.” – Katniss
“What is going on in your head?” – Gale
Like Tash, I think the movie’s going to open in D2, probably with Katniss looking out so we can see the sweeping landscape and our first glimpse of the Nut. A lot of the first part of the chapter is just describing D2, and I think that can be done simply via cinematography. It would be good to see Katniss sitting by the window, just sort of despondent while looking outside (it would parallel the beginning of Part 1, sans the mantra), and then have everyone else come in for a meeting, snapping her out of her thoughts. They could have her ask Beetee about Peeta (it’d be an efficient way to get us “up to speed” on his recovery process), or even Haymitch, if he’s there (set pictures of Woody Harrelson in Berlin seem to imply so). We don’t have to actually hear what is said in this meeting, just know that Katniss is thinking about Peeta.
Her first conversation with Gale could be after this meeting. I don’t think they’ll go too deep into Gale’s realization of his feelings for Katniss, but I do think they will mention how Gale feels about Peeta’s hijacking. It’s important if they plan to add their conversation at Tigris’ shop later on. And of course the “drunk” kiss, I think it’s a moment that really speaks to Katniss’ frame of mind at the time and her feelings for Peeta (and lack thereof for Gale).
The last meeting of the chapter will definitely be there, as it’s a setup for the Nut scenes and of course a critical moment for Gale’s characterization. It’ll also be our first introduction to Lyme (yaaaaaay Gwendoline Christie!). Beetee and Lyme will explain how the Nut works and why they want to disable it, and then Gale will drop the bomb (no pun intended… okay, maybe a little).
Lines I hope make it:
“It’s like kissing someone who’s drunk. It doesn’t count.” –Gale
“Not if we blow it up.” –Gale