While hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, Josh Hutcherson introduced his The Hunger Games: Catching Fire character like so: “I play Peeta, the brave young hero who immediately gets hurt and has to be carried around for the rest of the movie.” It’s funny, because it’s true! Poor Peeta just cannot do anything right once the games begin in Catching Fire, and in every single sequence, you can count on him to get hurt, fall down, or otherwise require assistance from Katniss and her far more capable colleagues. Here then, for posterity, is a thorough list of all the times Peeta messes up in Catching Fire. (Spoilers follow, natch.)
Almost Drowning Right Off the Bat
As the 75th annual Hunger Games begin, Katniss and the other contenders dive off their watery perches, swim for their lives, climb onto some narrow catwalks, and sprint for the weapons cache at the Cornucopia. After they grab their items of choice and engage in some deadly Tribute-on-Tribute action, Katniss looks around and thinks to ask, “Where’s Peeta?” Turns out, Peeta didn’t even make it to the Cornucopia, because another Tribute is drowning him. Already. Peeta and his attacker both disappear under the water, and at the last second, Peeta somehow gets the upper hand and vanquishes his tormenter, but the tone is set: You can’t leave Peeta alone for even a single minute without him almost shuffling off this mortal coil.
Getting Zapped by the Force Field
Smart, savvy, curious Katniss detects the presence of force fields in the jungle and immediately calls out to Peeta, lest he get zapped by one. Dumb, dim, hard-of-hearing Peeta fails to take heed and immediately walks straight into an invisible zapper, which promptly sends him flying and stops his heart. Not that we didn’t appreciate the subsequent Finnick-on-Peeta CPR scene, but we should note that Mags made it this far without almost dying twice, and she’s an 80-year-old human backpack. Step up your game, Peeta.
Succumbing to the Poison Gas First
In one eerie sequence, Katniss and her allies have their uneasy rest interrupted by a quickly encroaching mist, which Katniss immediately (and painfully) discovers to be made of pumped-in poison gas. As soon as she shouts out her findings and tells everyone to run, you know that Peeta is gonna be the first damn person to fall over and get gassed. It’s at that point that Mags just walks into the fog and voluntarily offs herself; that’s how much she simply can’t with Peeta. She is all out of can’ts to give. There is a worldwide shortage of can’t, and Mags is on back order. R.I.P., girl.
Falling All the Damn Time
I am not sure what kind of sensible shoes Peeta packed for his Hunger Games experience, but they must have miserable tread, because the boy just cannot stay upright while running for more than ten seconds at a time. He falls in the jungle so much that he might as well be Kate from Lost. Peeta! You are a liability. Stop tying your shoelaces together.
Not Really Understanding the Whole Attacked-by-Monkeys Thing
Just when Katniss & Co. think they’re out of the woods, they find themselves beset by killer mandrills. Katniss and Finnick have already fought off several of the loud, screeching monkeys before Peeta sort of wanders into frame aimlessly, not even seeming to realize that they are fighting for their lives against terrifying Rafikis. You will not be surprised to learn that he is immediately attacked and is about to suffer a humiliating murder-by-monkey when an unnamed Tribute sacrifices herself for Peeta instead. Yes, in the space of ten minutes, two female Tributes have had to suicide in order to keep Peeta alive. It’s a strategy, I’ll give him that.
Uselessness During the Clock Sequence
Once Wiress determines that the catwalks leading out from the Cornucopia are actually the spires of an arena-wide clock, the whole area goes spinning, and Katniss and her fellow Tributes struggle to hold on to rock outcroppings so they won’t be flung into the turbulent, churning waters. Every single one of them is brave and strong enough to also grab onto another ally … well, every single one except guess who. We’ll give you a hint: He’s the one who’s just hanging out on the spinning clock by himself, all derr-derr-derr, and his name rhymes with “Peeta Mellark,” because it’s Peeta Mellark.
Failing to Protect Beetee
When Beetee sends Katniss ahead to the beach to plant his special wire, he assures her that Peeta will stay behind and protect him, and Katniss levels him with a priceless “Bitch, please” look. She knows that the only thing Peeta can protect is a “You must be this tall to ride” sign from meeting the top of his head, and sure enough, when Katniss returns three minutes later, Beetee is unconscious and the baker’s son is nowhere to be found. Peeta! You had one job!
Getting Kidnapped by the Capitol
Once Katniss is extracted from the arena and finally comes to, she learns that nearly all of her friends have made it out of the clutches of the Capitol. (Including Beetee — who, when last we saw him, was practically dead.) Almost automatically at this point, Katniss asks, “Where’s Peeta?”
Three guesses, Katnip. Three. Damn. Guesses.