Chapter 20 Summary
Boggs is dying, and the streets around Katniss are exploding into violence as more pods go off. Boggs asks Katniss to bring him his Holo, a sophisticated device that contains maps and other strategic information. Boggs commands the device to give Katniss prime security clearance, in other words, making her the leader of the Squad. Before he dies, Boggs tells Katniss “not to trust them. Don’t go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do.” A wave of black goo is pouring through the street and the rebels quickly flee. Peeta, maddened by the chaos and his hijacked memories, tries to kill Katniss, but she evades him. Another rebel tries to contain Peeta, but Peeta kicks him into another pod, killing him. The rebels flee into a nearby building, but they leave Boggs behind. Katniss knows that after a body has lost a certain amount of blood, it cannot be saved.
Up to this point, Jackson has been the second in command. However, now that she demands Katniss to pass her the Holo, Katniss explains that she is in charge. Jackson cannot believe that Boggs has passed command to Katniss. However, Katniss claims that Coin has assigned her to assassinate President Snow to end the war before the population of Panem reaches critical levels. Cressida helps fill in other details, namely that Peeta is present because he has knowledge of President Snow’s home. They resolve to continue under Katniss’s leadership, though they leave the building the way that they came in.
They march through the black goo and enter a nearby building. They can hear bombs going off at their previous location. Inside, a television turns on, which, Cressida explains, happens in the Capitol during emergency broadcasts. The emergency broadcast shows footage of Katniss’s squad struggling against the pods. It declares that they are all dead, an announcement followed by a polished montage of Katniss’s violent life. The commentators point out how fitting it is that the Mockingjay’s life has come to such a violent end. In some respects, Katniss feels that she has been liberated. However, she also knows that this news will be difficult for the rebels, especially their families back in District 13.
Now, they must decide what to do next. After Peeta tried to kill Katniss, another member of the Squad knocked Peeta unconscious and has carried him this far. Now, Peeta has awakened without anyone realizing it. What they should do now, Peeta suggests while looking at Gale, is kill him.