Summary and Analysis
Part 1: "The Ashes":
Katniss, who has been injured in the air raid, and her team return to District 13, where Katniss is hospitalized. Called into the command center, she and everyone else present watch the propo of Katniss and her team in District 8; the propo has already been aired many times throughout Panem — except for in the Capitol.
Following the meeting and, later, Haymitch’s chastising Katniss for pulling out her communication earpiece during the air raid, she and Finnick watch the newest propo on television at dinner. Immediately afterward the Capitol broadcasts an interview of Peeta, who has lost weight and developed a nervous tremor; he moves as if he’s been injured, but Katniss realizes that he couldn’t have deteriorated this quickly. She realizes that the Capitol must have filmed Peeta right after he came out of the arena and has tortured him ever since.
Over the broadcast, Peeta speaks directly to Katniss, telling her that she’s being used as a weapon to destroy all of humanity and asking her if she truly trusts the rebels with whom she’s working. Katniss realizes that she doesn’t trust the rebels or Plutarch or Coin, but she knows she must do damage control to protect Peeta. Finnick tells her to pretend they didn’t see Peeta’s broadcast, and Plutarch and Fulvia say nothing to Katniss about Peeta.
Boggs again protects and cares for Katniss, carrying her to the hovercraft when she’s too weak to make it on her own. Katniss senses that, though her role in the revolution is a large one, Boggs still sees her for the young girl she is, even sighing over her when she vomits from exhaustion.
Katniss is developing a stronger bond with her camera crew members, who impress her with their commitment to their work and the rebel cause and remind her of Cinna for the pride they take in their work. Just as Cinna served as a source of confidence and motivation for Katniss, her camera crew is also beginning to fulfill that role.
With the first propo airing, an ongoing battle for airwaves with the Capitol escalates as Beetee now tries to infiltrate the Capitol’s broadcasts to bring the truth to the Capitol’s citizens. For so long, the Capitol has used propaganda to manipulate the districts. Now, both sides fight with propaganda to try and gain alliances.
When Katniss first saw Peeta in a broadcast, she felt a great deal of relief, believing that he was in good health, albeit still in the hands of the Capitol. With this most recent interview of Peeta, though, Katniss understands that the Capitol has indeed been torturing him, probably since his capture. Once again, the Capitol has manipulated Katniss and the rest of Panem, showing only what they want to, spinning appearances to suit their needs.
Finnick’s actions at the end of this chapter, when he tells Katniss to pretend they never saw the new interview with Peeta, indicate that he must not trust those in charge of Command, just as Katniss is hesitant to trust them. Plutarch and Fulvia’s making no mention of Peeta’s broadcast and pretending all is well increases Katniss’ growing distrust of those who play a part in making decisions that affect her life.