If you’re a Hunger Games superfan, you probably reread Suzanne Collins’ books and anticipated every scene in the final movie, Mockingjay Part 2. If you’re not a Hunger Games superfan, you might have been confused by a few plot points in the recent film, even if you’ve watched the other Hunger Games movies. What was that black, oily stuff? How did that guy get caught in that net? What were those zombie-like creatures that attacked Katniss’ squad in the tunnels?
To help you out, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions about Mockingjay Part 2. (Needless to say, this post contains spoilers for the book and movie.)
What’s the black liquid that erupts from the pod in the courtyard?
It’s described in the book as having a “noxious tar smell,” but it’s also described as looking like this:
Black, oily matter spouts like a geyser from the street, billowing between the buildings, creating an impenetrable wall of darkness. It seems to be neither liquid nor gas, mechanical nor natural.
So it’s a tarlike substance designed to drown people.
Who’s the guy who ends up caught in the net, and what exactly happens to him?
His name is Mitchell, and he was a sharpshooter. (Remember this guy? Yeah, us neither.) While the tar wave is rushing into the courtyard, Peeta has a psychotic break and tries to attack Katniss, Mitchell tackles him, and Peeta throws Mitchell towards the black tar. That sets off another pod—a net lined with barbed wire—which catches Mitchell and pulls him out of the tar and into the air. Why did they put a pod in the same place as another pod? And isn’t that sort of gilding the lily? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Why does the Capitol assume that Katniss and the rest of Squad 451 are dead after the firebombing?
The cameras in the courtyard are covered with tar, so when all of Squad 451—except for the Leeg sisters, who stay behind—move to another building across the courtyard, the cameras don’t record them doing it. When the peacekeepers show up to kill the squad, they focus on the building the cameras had shown the squad running into while the tar-wave pod was going off. The Leegs shoot at the peacekeepers, so the peacekeepers assume that the entire squad is still inside when they firebomb the building.
Wait, but if the cameras in the courtyard were covered by tar, how does the Capitol get the video of the peacekeepers firebombing the building with the Leegs in it?
It’s implied that the peacekeepers have their own cameras built into their uniforms, and the angle of the footage broadcast by the Capitol suggests that it’s from a peacekeeper camera.
Who are the scary zombies in the sewers?
They’re “mutts” or (in the books) “muttations,” mutated animals created by the Capitol to serve as weapons. You might recall other types of mutts from the first Hunger Games movie: During the Hunger Games, the gamemakers send tracker jackers (huge, venomous wasps) and wolf mutts (huge, vicious dogs) into the arena. The sewer mutts are described in the book as “A mix of human and lizard and who knows what else. White, tight reptilian skin smeared with gore, clawed hands and feet, their faces a mess of conflicting features.”
What’s up with the tiger lady?
It’s not totally clear. In both the book and the movie, Katniss recognizes Tigris as a stylist “in the earliest Hunger Games I can remember.” In the book, Katniss surmises that Tigris chose to have repeated cosmetic procedures to make her look more like a tiger and eventually alienated the Capitol by having “one operation too many.” The appearance-altering surgeries favored by many in the Capitol are given more emphasis in the books, but they’ve appeared in less dramatic form earlier in the movies. For example, you may remember the pointed teeth of Enobaria.
What exactly happens during the bombing in front of President Snow’s estate at the end?
All of the residents of the Capitol are invited to the president’s mansion, a move that Katniss deduces is intended to make Snow look good to his remaining loyalists. Peacekeepers ask all the children to move closer to the mansion gates. In the book, Katniss thinks that Snow wants the children close to the mansion to “form his human shield”—he assumes that the rebels won’t bomb his home if it means killing innocent children. However, the rebels outwit Snow by using hovercrafts marked with the Capitol’s seal. When the hovercrafts drop parachutes onto the children, the children assume that they contain food, medicine, and other forms of aid (because in the Hunger Games, the Capitol help the tributes by parachuting in aid). However, the parachutes are actually rigged with two sets of bombs. Half of the bombs explode shortly after landing on the children, and the other half explode only after rebel medics (including Prim) have rushed in to help the injured children. Everyone in the Capitol who sees the bombing assumes that Snow is responsible for killing their children, and they turn against Snow.
Is Gale supposed to be evil at the end? Did he know about District 13’s plan to bomb children and medics?
He knew that the rebels possessed the kind of two-phase bomb that was used to kill the children and the medics in front of the president’s mansion—he and Beetee talked about designing the double-exploding bomb earlier in the movie. However, he wasn’t in on the rebels’ plan to end the war by killing the children and medics and turning the Capitol against Snow. Nonetheless, Katniss abhors Gale’s tolerance for killing civilians and his continued support for Coin, and she thinks that Prim’s death is indirectly his fault.
Why does Katniss yell at the cat?
The cat, Buttercup, belonged to Prim. In Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss finds the cat in the kitchen of her family’s house in the Victors’ Village and then smuggles the cat into District 13 because her sister loves it so much. Now, the cat has somehow made it from District 13 back to District 12 on foot. Katniss yells at it because the cat reminds her of Prim and she’s sad about Prim’s death.
At the end, are Katniss and Peeta just living all alone in District 12 with their two kids and literally no one else around them?
It kind of looks that way, right? In the book, however, Katniss and Peeta see people sifting through the rubble of District 12 shortly after the war ends. Later, after they’ve settled back into District 12 a bit, Katniss clarifies, “We’re not alone. A few hundred others return because, whatever has happened, this is our home.”