THE FILM: Mockingjay Part 2
THE PAIR: Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence)
THE MOMENT: “Stay with Me.”
Suzanne Collins’ worldwide bestselling dystopian series, The Hunger Games came to its cinematic close with the “part 2” adaptation of her novel Mockingjay late last year. In the past month, the film was released to DVD which brings the series full circle and closes out what was a well done YA adaptation series.
The story, for anyone unfamiliar, is about a young girl named Katniss Everdeen who inspired the entire country of Panem, divided into “districts,” to unite against the greater evil of President Snow. Of course, over the series, there are two potential love interests for the heroine, which inspired “Team Gale” or “Team Peeta” fangirls. Most were probably of the latter fanbase partially because of how beautiful this relationship was visualized to screen in this latter installment of the Mockingjay adaptations.
Peeta and Katniss had a very different relationship than Katniss had with Gale. Their relationship began as a need of protection; protecting each other in the face of greater dangers, but unlike Katniss (who rarely felt anything because of her need to simply survive), Peeta never had to fake his feelings for Katniss. This leads us into today’s romantic moment.
Only beware, since this is the final film in the franchise, there will be spoilers.
The Romantic Moment: Peeta and Katniss
As Katniss, Peeta and their fellow comrades try to evade the watchful eyes of Panem, they have to make a desperate run for safety and cover. Taking flight from their pursuers, Katniss along with their fellow travelers fight to escape those chasing them. Looking back, Katniss sees Peeta has fallen behind and is captive to his battling mind and sitting prone on the floor, unmoving.
Rushing back, she shouts his name. “Peeta!” She runs in a frantic dash back towards him. “We have to keep going!”
Unable to move, he remains on all fours, clutching his head muttering and begging to be left behind. “I can’t keep control!” he exclaims referencing the state of his mind.
Bringing him to an upright position, everything else fades away for a moment as Katniss brings him around to face her.
With great fervor, Katniss says, kneeling in front of him, she commands, “Look at me!” Placing her hands on either side of his face, she captures his face and kisses him.
Refusing to leave him to self-destruct, with her hand on his face in an impassioned voice she says, “Look at me!” Softening her tone, she begs him, “Stay with me.”
Looking into her eyes, the audience can see instantly as something inside Peeta shifts, and without explanation, Katniss becomes real to him again. He knows she’s not a delusion or an enemy, and for that single flash, he remembers. He remembers what they fought through to exist together and all they mean to each other. Holding her gaze, he says only, “Always.”
Later, after they’ve evaded one threat, they find shelter in a darkened tunnel. Following his capture by the Capitol that succeeded (at least for a time) in conditioning him to believe Katniss is the enemy, Peeta struggles to return to his former self. He can’t remember what he once loved about Katniss, and still under the effects of the Capitol, he attempts to kill Katniss on more than one occasion. He fights against knowing what’s real and what was planted in his mind by the Capitol. Thus, they continue on with a game he and Katniss began. (To help Peeta distinguish between what’s real or not real.)
Needing to be able to sift the good from the bad in his mind, Peeta asks Katniss to begin helping him remember what’s real or not real. Following a taxing journey, as they take refuge in a tunnel, hiding out from those hunting them, Peeta recounts some of the things the Capitol did to him. He remembers being “stung” by a venom meant to corrupt his memories.
“When they used the venom on me, they… they would show me pictures of my life. At first, they all… They all blurred together.” Looking somehow like he’s no longer whole, he presses on revealing how he’s able to sort out the memories from the fabrications. “But now… now I can sort them out a little.”
As he persists, a lone tear rolls down his cheek. He continues as if he doesn’t realize his recall is inspiring tears. “Like the ones that they changed, they have this quality… It’s like they’re shiny. They’ve been glossed over.”
Unable to listen to any more of Peeta’s remembrances (and already feeling guilty Peeta was held and tortured), Katniss simply tells him “You should get some rest.”
As she sits across the way, he makes a statement. “You’re still trying to protect me.” And then asks, “Real or not real?”
Quietly, Katniss replies, “Real.” Continuing she reminds him, “That’s what you and I do. Keep each other alive.”
Their conversation is suspended as Peeta tries to rest and Katniss keeps watch. For now, as they give themselves a respite – no matter how brief, it’s enough that he’s back, and prepared to, with Katniss by his side, continue fighting for freedom… and for them.
Have you seen Mockingjay, Part 2? What did you think of these as adaptations or the romance between these two? As always, your insight and comments are most welcome!