Katniss has just killed a wealthy Capitol resident. This person was about to cry out for help when she saw Katniss, and Katniss didn’t want to alert others to her presence. In the woman’s house, the team finds clothes and makeup. Gale, Cressida, and Pollux change clothes, and Peeta and Katniss use the makeup to disguise their faces.
Throughout the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss has used disguises and false appearances to save her life. It’s only appropriate, then, that she should do so one more time, concealing her appearance with the same makeup once used to emphasize her celebrity status.
The group sets out through the Capitol. There are loud sirens and news bulletins calling for Katniss’s immediate arrest—the news that she died has been overturned. Cressida takes the group to a store owned by her friend Tigris. Tigris, like many residents of the Capitol, has paid for elaborate surgeries to make her face look feline. When they arrive, Katniss senses a trap. Then she recalls that Tigris used to be a successful stylist for tributes of the Hunger Games, and later Snow fired her for having too many surgeries. Katniss tells Tigris that she plans to kill Snow personally, and in response, Tigris seems to smile.
It was a huge advantage that Snow believed Katniss to be dead, and now we’re informed that Katniss no longer has that helpful anonymity. Collins reminds us of Tigris, the designer who was cast out of her career for altering her face too many times, and who was mentioned in an earlier book. It’s suggested that there is something self-defeating about the Capitol’s emphasis on appearances and surgery—over time, such changes become too grotesque even for the artificial people of the Capitol.
Tigris helps the group take care of Gale’s neck injury. As Peeta and Katniss care for him, Peeta recalls Katniss risking her life to find him medicine in the first Hunger Games. Katniss feels relieved that Peeta is remembering their friendship, but she’s equally distressed that so many of her friends have died on a mission that she invented on the spot. Her plans to kill President Snow seem foolish now, as there’s no way of telling where Snow is.
At many points Katniss makes plans and then realizes that her plans are useless and naive. Katniss has long wanted to shoot Snow, but now she has no idea how she’ll go about accomplishing this goal. It’s telling that Katniss realizes all this after tending to Gale—she sees that she must be more careful with her plans, as they endanger her closest friends.
Katniss spends the night at Tigris’s home, trying and failing to fall asleep. Racked with guilt, she tells her team that she’s been lying: she was given no instructions to kill President Snow. To Katniss’s surprise, Gale isn’t surprised by this news at all. He insists that everyone knew Katniss was lying: she clearly wanted to kill Snow all along, and wanted an excuse to do it. Jackson agreed to Katniss’s plan because Jackson trusted Boggs. Peeta agrees with Gale, and points out that Tigris’s shop is only five blocks from Snow’s mansion—they can find a way to break inside and kill Snow.
There’s something darkly humorous about how easily Gale sees through Katniss’s lie. She’s become so used to lying “for the camera” that she forgets that there are people, like Gale, who know her well enough to see through her acting. Only a few chapters before the end of the novel, Katniss is being childish and immature again—it’s the other members of her team, like Gale and Tigris, who display the most poise and ingenuity here.
Katniss, invigorated by her team’s support, spends the rest of the day trying, unsuccessfully, to think of a plan to infiltrate Snow’s mansion. At the end of the day, she overhears a conversation between Peeta and Gale. They are talking about Katniss. Peeta insists that Katniss loves Gale, while Gale is convinced that Katniss loves Peeta. Gale ruefully points out that they have bigger problems to worry about than which one of them Katniss will choose in the end. Peeta wonders how Katniss will make up her mind, and Gale responds that Katniss will choose whomever “she thinks she can’t survive without.”
Gale’s statement is rude, shocking, and, it must be said, somewhat true: Katniss does seem to be bouncing back and forth between Gale and Peeta, depending on which one of them is either in pain or capable of mitigating her own pain. They are each important to different parts of Katniss’s past and future, and so in choosing between them she is, in a way, deciding more than just which boy she likes the most.