Apparently lucky numbers in The Hunger Games are odd ones; The Hunger Games and Mockingjay Part 1 were the strongest installments (though I think Catching Fire will improve on rewatch, as I may not have been fair to it coming off The Hunger Games' high).
I won't know until I read them whether they needed to split Mockingjay so it could be because of that, but while Part 2 was good, it suffers in comparison to Part 1. However, I don't think it's that, because there was plenty of material in Part 2; in fact, that's the problem. We really, super needed to see more of the Districts like we did in Part 1 that made it so incredibly effective at giving us scope without losing Katniss' story's momentum. Part 2 lost that balance; Katniss was fine, but the war was scaled down and when you're in your final battle in the Capitol--why would you do that? You can have both!
That said, I'm pretty satisfied with this. I was braced for misery porn--District 13's leadership becoming composed of way too many manipulative people and a quasi-benevolent vibe aimed toward the Districts which was so much red flag a thousand bull charged at thin air somewhere--but this was great. Commander Paylor as their first president was when I finally realized this would not end in low-grade depression and relaxed. She didn't have many scenes, but every one, she's the Leader; she's dressed the same as everyone, she makes no effort to stand out--much less pull rank--she doesn't seem to even see herself as more than 'person handling stuff in this area' and probably rarely needs to give a direct order; she says 'we should do this' you know this is a good idea that will fucking work and get to doing it. And yeah, the majority of new leaders need to be from the twelve districts.
(Props to the actress here for making Paylor very memorable. I was bracing myself for her to die tragically so yes, not misery porn, thank you God.)
1.) President Snow's defense on how he didn't bomb the people in front of his mansion with "I"m not wasteful"--my dude, no, no. The only reason anyone watching knows it's not you is your skin would be in danger and (maybe) you care enough about your granddaughter not to risk it. I mean it's not out of the realm of possibility.
2.) During the "We should have new Hunger Games" meeting, Katniss' flat-eyed stare at Coin wearing the same expression that upset Snow early on was a pretty good indicator all she was hearing was "I, Coin, shall place myself in a super public place without guards or literally any obstacles" which leaves only the question of how to assure she (Katniss) could enter freely while very armed and no one would be nearby to completely fail to stop her which would get on her nerves. When Katniss asks if she can kill Snow, Coin's reply was basically "Yes, I am now a very easy target that you cannot possibly miss, please shoot."
Did the New Hunger Games actually happen, though? I assume, at least in the movie, it was delayed due to murder drama and someone with sense quietly made it go away by cleverly scheduling like, parade and medal ceremonies and oh, not today, we're cleaning the Game arena, we missed some Snow, don't want a dirty first day, knock out the electricity and tell someone to get Paylor to calmly tell everyone to fix some roads, seriously, I used to be a PA and the power to schedule is in fact like being a small god whose power is small and incredibly specific much like an atom is small and when split, it's power is specific.
3.) Which leads me to why I don't trust District 13. Yes, Coin is their president but that doesn't mean they knew or approved of her Capitol 13 future. Sadly, that doesn't matter. The leader of District 13, a district never reaped or forced to offer tribute, was the one to suggest Hunger Games - Capitol Edition, which like, fuck you that's some trauma appropriation like whoa. That you staffed the meeting with the surviving Tributes does not mitigate this; it underlines it. This isn't revenge for the suffering of the 12 districts--and she has no right whatsoever to claim right of vengeance, the Districts aren't hers--but a way to establish herself among the Capitol as the new leader, do not fuck with me, as well as imply 13 is the new Capitol.
4.) That is not to say it would be okay to do if someone from one of the 12 suggested it (nonononono) because no, no do not do this. But it would be very personal, due to decades of trauma, an act of rage and pain and grief. The level of emotion and determination and sheer will it took to rise up against the Capitol (which is goddamn impressive when you really think about how their start value was in the goddamn negatives), required to kill themselves to take out those peacekeepers in the woods, the dam, to invade the Capitol, to fight, to believe in something impossible, that they could be free--you can't come down from that and it had to go somewhere.
So yeah, if someone from one of the 12 had suggested it, it would still be wrong and fuck no, but it'd be understandable and the more level-headed would immediately be looking for safe ways for the Districts to burn off some of that rage and realize the nightmare is over without crimes against humanity being enacted.
Having said that, on the off-chance Commander Paylor was like, literally nowhere near the Capitol--surveying a mine and saving forgotten miners who kneel and swear loyalty because you do that when she shows up--if the Districts decided to do a Hunger Games: All the Vengeance, it still wouldn't be the same as if District 13 did it. For one, it only would happen because of what I said earlier: emotionally, they are still in war and that can make unthinkable things seem just. For another--and because of the former--it is super unlikely it would ever, ever happen again. Possible, yes, but not likely.
It's not that they're purer and better for suffering (I just threw up a little in my mouth) or simpler, rural people with simple, rural values (...again), but three generations of trauma from the horror of the Games are ingrained in their bones to the point of collective near-PTSD. They could pull it off the first time on the sheer emotional overload of collective anger and vengeance, but I don't think they could do it cold a year later. Any remaining satisfaction seeing Capitol children (assumedly) die would be drown under flashbacks of seeing their own children there, and just as importantly, they aren't Capitol people; they are not third generation conditioned into callousness to think watching children kill each other is an entertainment event. A Capitol!Rue on the screen could likely lead to a second revolution.
5.) Coin ordering the bombing in front of the Mansion is bothering me.
I get the (assumed) use in getting Snow's people to turn on him; I get the symbolism and political capital, I get the propaganda, and that is why I also--in a weird way--get why Snow called it wasteful and Katniss didn't have hysterics at the sheer hypocrisy.
The only thing we know it accomplished in practical terms was shortening the amount of time it would take for Capitol to surrender and get Snow, but by my calculations, not very much. It's great fodder to get Capitol people to give in because Snow is totes evil and bombing kids, but it's not like they didn't have so much shit on Snow that we felt a lack of an extra bombing. Also: Capitol people are soft. Peacekeepers aren't, but the majority of the population is gonna roll with whoever's in charge now. This wasn't a malicious act, which would actually be better; it's a political one that didn't actually give you much in return.
This was an atrocity, war allows for (way too much leeway) but even if you are morally and ethically bankrupt but politically motivated, even if this will forever be hidden and no one will know, the cost/benefit analysis requires you to factor in "is this shit going to net me enough now to be worth what will potentially happen if it gets out? Related: do I have good enough reasons to pass the casual smell test if it should be discovered? Related: have I considered all potential problems that could result from this and if I am sure of them, does doing still outweigh those?" In this case: it cost too much for way too little, and that's when I lower the potential of discovery down quite a bit.
So a lot of people--specifically a lot of children--were murdered for a very small return when killing children so dramatically is a high-risk/high-reward choice. So yeah, it was wasteful.
That Coin didn't correctly do the math on this is pretty obvious, but it's also obvious she's also poor at potential problems and--who knew?--incredibly over confident. While she may not have known specifically Prim was going to be there, she had to know Prim was a medic because she is not stupid; the Mockingjay's Inspirational Sister is fucking living mythology, she should know what Prim has for breakfast and when she takes bathroom breaks just on spec. While Katniss' death has plenty of potential, Prim's is unmitigated disaster no matter how she dies unless Katniss dies literally with her in shared sisterness. When evaluating potential problems, it should have occurred to spend about fifteen seconds double checking the Prim question.
(If she didn't know Prim was a medic, Coin is an idiot.)
Now, potential problem apparently missed though obvious; Prim was killed and Katniss was there to see it (and apparently Katniss is the offspring of Wolverine and Domino, unkillable and lucky as fuck). Coin is very aware that Katniss doesn't like her much and may comfort herself thinking Katniss really doesn't like anyone and therefore it's not specific or come from suspicion, and anyway, there's no way Katniss will ever find out or have more than suspicion and anyway, she'd never be able to prove it.
6.) About liking, by the way. It's considered a fact that Katniss isn't all that likable, with exceptions: Peeta is likable. And in a sense, true; she's not witty and charming to cameras, she's not really nice, she's impatient, has a quick temper she doesn't always care to control, she shows her contempt to bullshit openly, and even if she had fucks to give, she wouldn't both wasting them on caring if you like her (except when her life is on the line and even then, it's more resignation than anything).
It'd be more accurate to say, however, that she cannot perform for an audience and project an image that will work collectively. Basically, manipulation is not her wheelhouse. When the audience who needs to like her are Capitol people looking forward to watching her die, you might as well ask her to breathe water; hiding her contempt and revulsion alone is not guaranteed.
If she doesn't like you, you know about it, so Coin, like others whose best attempts at 'friendly' with Katniss were met with disdain, assume the problem is Katniss just dislikes everyone not a blood relation or district-mate from childhood; otherwise, she'd like them. They are making an effort and as the problem is definitely not them, therefore its Katniss. And from a certain point of view, they aren't wrong: she doesn't like Coin or many of the people she meets from District 13, that can't be denied, but it also can't be denied that they're sketchy as fuck and the meet-cute was something not quite a rescue (acquiring a resource would be more accurate) but not exactly a kidnapping (Katniss really didn't want to die in the Special Hunger Games, and nominally this is about her safety, that much she knows is genuine). They do not improve on acquaintance, either. They pretend they see her as a person while treating her like a prop and Katniss is really good at discerning bullshit. They pretend to sympathize with her trauma while not understanding it at all and then turn around and use it to gain more traction. They feel entitled to her loyalty and compliance without offering the same in return. And she--quite correctly--assumes if dead Katniss was more valuable than living Katniss, they might not outright kill her but wouldn't be above sending her into situations with poor odds of survival and recording the entire thing for propaganda.
No, she does not like you, but that is a Katniss problem in the sense she's not stupid; the reasons she doesn't like you are very much you-problems.
Katniss does like people; she likes a lot of people and bonds with surprising speed. They do not have to be childhood friends, district friends, or even from the district, and the time required can be under a week; she's open to liking across the board. She nabbed two Capitol people right off the bat with zero effort on anyone's part. She bonded with Haymitch in more than just shared Tribute trauma, which surprised everyone, especially Haymitch, (who continues to be baffled most likely). She and Rue were soul-siblings in like, minutes (interrupted soon after by wasps, admittedly). Her ability to like people is extremely well-developed; it can safely be assume default, she wants to like people. The problem is, through all four movies, the majority of her time is spent with people that are trying to kill her, manipulate her, kill her family/friends/District, or sketchy as fuck. Worse, only half of them are acknowledged enemies.
Further: people generally do like Katniss when they meet (granted, sometimes very much against their will and feeling confused). She's really good at making friends, being kind, openly affectionate, fiercely loyal, warm, honest (but not the type that calls themselves 'brutally honest' because that is also bullshit), interested in them, and will sing for them just because they ask. She saves people literally for no reason than she's there and the need saving. She cries when something hurts her and it's irrelevant if anyone's watching, and if you're hurt, she'll cry for you while desperately trying to save you. She does't lie except under seriously extenuating death is really possible circumstances, and dislikes it even then.
All these things are super likable, but that's the thing; she's a bad performer. These things belong to people she likes, and she can't give any of that to anyone else any more than she can fly.
Katniss is genuinely super-likable; fight me.
7.) About killing Coin and being sent secretly away for her own protection, pardon in a year.
I cheated and went to get a summary of what happened in the book, and frankly, for the movie, this worked much better than trying to convince the audience that arresting Katniss and then trying her for murder is something that would happen. (Books can add much more context than movies so it probably works there perfectly and considering the insanity defense, yeaa.)
I get it's important to establish rule of law, and first degree murder in full view of everyone is not even close to ambiguous, and Coin was--nominally--the head of state so trifecta of why they'd have to arrest, try and convict her and it would be a conviction no matter how hard to prosecutor tried to fail at their job.
The first problem is, the union of all Districts is so brand new the glue hasn't even been applied yet; all that's holding them together is what joined them in war and that's the Mockingjay, a symbol embodied by literal Katniss. Symbols are important--and in this case literally made full rebellion possible--so tarnishing it is a no-go. The mockingjay symbol (the drawn on trees, appears on flags and pins kind) is going to be for some time showing up on banners and shown at big events to reinforce unity now that the war no longer joins them; there is literally nothing else that will overcome the almost century they were joined only in watching their children kill each other on TV (or in the case of 13, not even having that much as no one knew they existed). Katniss the person is still the embodiment of that symbol. You cannot have one without the other.
Second and so very related; the number of extremists who are super mad about Coin's death (it's not impossible she could inspire that, in theory) and feel Katniss must pay is going to be an order of magnitude smaller than those who would crown her queen or god, because extremists gotta extreme. Both are very small groups relative to the total population, but it is probable all of them are super armed, many are suffering from PTSD, and being fresh out of war, are not in any way inhibited when it comes to committing violence, sabotage, and conducting suicide missions. Even if the vast majority had no strong feelings in general, they also are probably still armed, have PTSD, and it would not take much to set off a war by sheer accident, and some percentage who would encourage it to make a grab for power.
Like, the solution of just--ignoring the problem? until it goes away?--is now displayed in the only time that will work gangbusters. Send Katniss home to chill, get some elections going, the Katniss question is deflected with something that could be interpreted as investigation or something, and just keep on keeping on. A year, there's stability, a working government, the Katniss question is settled with a pardon, which the extreme anti-Katniss can take as a bitter satisfaction, sort of 'she totes did it but the Districts are brats, so politics', extreme pro-Katniss feels bitter satisfaction 'she was innocent but District 13 were dicks and had to be placated, politics" and those conflicted aka "that was very wrong but I seriously didn't care" and "murder is bad but I like Katniss" and "Wow, I forgot all about that," and "who is Coin? Did I miss something?" are relieved they have official sanction to forget that bit of unpleasantness and wear their Katniss-themed t-shirts and not feel a little awkward or worried someone will think wearing it is an invitation to bombard them with strong opinions when they just want to get a cup of coffee before work, godammit.
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