Friday, September 4, 2015

Mockingjay Pt2 Countdown - Chapter 18

Chapter 18
"Squad Four-Five-One, you have been selected for a special mission..."
Patch design by WtoD12's Tiffany

It's another week for our Mockingjay Part 2 Countdown, and we dive right into Chapter 18. 

The beginning of the chapter starts continues Katniss's training, and she notices that Peeta is also training. Plutarch explains that it's for the cameras. It's possible some glimpse of this may make it in the movie so that Peeta's joining the squad later on does not come completely out of left field.

Eventually, Katniss and Johanna are recommended for the exam to see if they are ready to be deployed, and Katniss is told that the exam is designed to test each person's weaknesses. While in the test, Katniss realizes her perceived weakness is an inability to follow orders, and she passes when she goes against her instinct to ignore her squadron leader's order to hit the ground. This whole sequence would be great to see in the movie since seeing Katniss in the test would be entertaining for the movie, however I'm not sure how her internalized realization of her weakness would translate to the screen. Also, later in the chapter, Haymitch explains that Johanna didn't pass her exam. They flooded the street, triggering traumatic flashbacks from when Johanna was tortured in the Capitol. This conversation happens a few scenes later, but if the exam is in the movie then they will most likely just show what happened to Johanna prior to Katniss's exam.

Katniss finds herself in Squad 451 with Finnick, Gale, and several others under Boggs's command. In the chapter, Squad 451 is being briefed by Plutarch in Command about pods of unpredictable dangers set as weapons through out the Capitol. However, from what we've seen in trailers for the movie, it appears that it will be Commander Paylor who briefs the soldiers on a larger scale than what is described in the book. Finnick and Katniss together figure out that it's another Hunger Games, and also shown in the trailers, it seems fairly true to the book, though Finnick says the complete line.

Haymitch suggests to Finnick and Katniss to visit Johanna in the hospital. Katniss notes that Johanna doesn't have anything personal with her so she goes to the woods and gathers a bundle of pine tree needles. She gives it to Johanna as something to remind her of her home in District 7. Johanna makes Katniss promise to kill Snow. I hope this does make it into the movie as it is an important moment between the two characters. Also afterwards Johanna is fairly absent from the rest of the story so keeping most of her scenes is essential.

Katniss introduces the remaining members of Squad 451: Jackson, Leeg 1, Leeg 2, Mitchell, and Homes. All these characters have been cast in the movie so we know Katniss will have a full squad. Plutarch explains to them that they are the Star Squad, and their main objective is to be filmed for propaganda purposes. Katniss says goodbye to her family, and while this takes up about two paragraphs in the book, it's more likely that this will be a bigger scene in the movie considering it's the last time Katniss and Prim speak to each other (I'm sorry, is this a spoiler? Read the book).

Squad 451 is finally deployed, taken to the Capitol via hovercraft. Katniss explains how bored everyone is and how little they actually get to do. While I see this part of the movie being slightly more exciting than in the book for visual reasons (sweeping shots of a battle-torn Capitol, for example) I do hope they keep this moment in, if only for the humor:

Once in a while it seems a real sharpshooter’s services are needed. Eight hands go up, but Gale, Finnick, and I are never chosen. “It’s your own fault for being so camera-ready,” I tell Gale. If looks could kill.
The Holo makes its first appearance, and we've seen it briefly in trailers. Katniss plans to steal the squad's Holo before she leaves. I'm not entirely sure if Katniss will need to have a plan to go off on her own in the movie since it all becomes somewhat irrelevant anyway and just ends up happening. It's quite possible that they will skip Katniss's secret plan to leave for easier storytelling purposes.

Finally, Leeg 2 dies after stepping on a pod that shoots metal darts, and Peeta is sent to Squad 451 to take her place. He explains it was Coin's decision, and Katniss realizes that she is of more use to the rebellion dead than alive. I'm not entirely sure how this will be articulated in the movie, but it is essential that this point comes across to show Coin's duplicity and to fill the audience with doubts about Coin's motives.

Well that's it for Chapter 18. See you again next week!