Last week, Tris passed Dauntless initiation and then used a handy list to reveal evil plots that are evil:
One: Colored serum contains transmitters.
Two: Transmitters connect the mind to a simulation program.
Three: Erudite developed the serum.
Four: Eric and Max are working with the Erudite.
But I do know how Erudite will get us to fight.
Tris tries to get Four alone so she can tell him she has an important list she wants to show him, but things are crazy today after initiation. Before she can get to him, the evil plan has already been put into motion.
I wake to squeaking mattresses and shuffling feet. It’s too dark for me to see clearly, but as my eyes adjust, I see that Christina is tying her shoelaces. I open my mouth to ask her what she’s doing, but then I notice that across from me, Will is putting on a shirt. Everyone is awake, but everyone is silent.
“Christina,” I hiss. She doesn’t look at me, so I grab her shoulder and shake it. “Christina!”
She just keeps tying her shoelaces.
Tris quickly realizes that all the other initiates are basically just sleepwalkers at this point.
All the initiates fall into a line when they finish dressing.
I’m glad to know that a priority for the People Behind this Evil Plan is to ensure that everyone is appropriately dressed before carrying out whatever their sinister biddings are. Kudos to whoever the simulation programmer was on this one, there wasn’t a stone unturned here. They even remembered to tie their shoes! I think Christina even managed to put some eyeliner on probably.
Tris tries her hardest to blend in and do things like walk in unison with everyone else.
I pick up a gun and a holster and a belt, copying Will, who is directly in front of me. I try to match his movements, but I can’t predict what he’s going to do, so I end up fumbling more than I’d like to. I grit my teeth. I just have to trust that no one is watching me.
This really surprises me given I’m sure Tris has surely aroused suspicion what with all her deleted footage and amazing fear landscape skills. I would think if there was even a whiff of divergence on someone they’d keep an eye on them when their big plan is finally being put in action. [Matthew says: Not to spoil anything, but when this does get officially revealed to the antagonist tomorrow, they’re basically like, “Uh, yes. We knew.”]
I can’t wage war against Abnegation, against my family. I would rather die. My fear landscape proved that. My list of options narrows, and I see the path I must take. I will pretend long enough to get to the Abnegation sector of the city. I will save my family. And whatever happens after that doesn’t matter. A blanket of calm settles over me.
I didn’t realize that her fear landscape symbolized waging war on all of Abnegation. It’s pretty amazing that Tris had that kind of foresight! It must be because she’s divergent as fuck. Oh, in case you were wondering, her being divergent as fuck might also be the reason she’s not currently being mind controlled. BUH WUHHHH!?!?
I focus on matching my rhythm to his as I reach the top of the stairs, passing another Dauntless leader. Now I know who the Dauntless leaders are, because they are the only people who are awake.
Well, not the only people. I must be awake because I am Divergent.
I really want to know if anyone reading this book was like, “Omg I wasn’t sure why Tris was still aware of her surroundings! I thought it was maybe because of something she ate earlier, but it’s the whole being Divergent thing after all!”
[Matthew says: And with that, it’s time for the long-awaited “Matthew has been dying to explain why this ending is total bullshit that contradicts the entire premise of the book”! (Not a regular feature.) So you’ve probably noticed that I kept dropping hints (or even explicit criticisms) that the plot twist/climax directly contradicts the Faction system, which, as you might have gathered, is sort of the whole book. HERE IS WHY. The entire point of the Faction system is that people CHOOSE their faction. That people CHOOSE to fall under one of these types, regardless of what their test results say. CHOICE. It’s even right there on the cover:
So if your Faction is a personal choice based on how you feel within your heart of hearts or whatever, then how come suddenly it’s a hard, scientifically-defined quality of a person? We’ve brought in mind-control drugs that don’t work on people who are Divergent and don’t fit into one of the Factions, and I don’t know if you know this, but chemicals tend to react independently of anyone’s personal feelings about them. There’s no way faction can be both a choice and a scientific phenomenon – these two things are mutually exclusive. Except that’s exactly the climax we’ve been given.
To be fair, there’s sort of a counterargument that, hey, maybe the drugs work on the weak-minded or something. People choose to buy into an optional philosophy and commit to it so hard that that is what the drug is interacting with. Maybe there’s no conformity enzymes or whatever in Divergent people for the drug to interact with. But these are so many ifs propping up this suspension bridge of disbelief that it’s too flimsy to take seriously. I don’t think a story could contradict its main premise more thoroughly if Romeo and Juliet broke up because shit was just getting too crazy.]
Tris manages to find Four and realizes that he also is not being mind controlled.
My entire body is alive with energy. I squeeze his hand, and he squeezes back. He is awake. I was right.
I actually really liked that they were in this together and made a team. One thing I will say is that their love story makes more sense than a lot of the ones we read here. They come from such a similar past and they share the whole Divergent thing, and right now they’re a team.
The Dauntless are taken to the Abnegation compound (or whatever it’s called) and start shooting everyone. It’s actually really horrible. [Matthew says: It’s a good thing I had that other joke/criticism in my back pocket this whole time, because OOF. This chapter is rough.] Tris and Four try to blend in while figuring out how to save some Abnegations. But Eric shows up.
“They really can’t see us? Or hear us?” a female voice asks.
“Oh, they can see and hear. They just aren’t processing what they see and hear the same way,” says Eric. “They receive commands from our computers in the transmitters we injected them with…” At this, he presses his fingers to the injection site to show the woman where it is. Stay still, I tell myself. Still, still, still. “…and carry them out seamlessly.”
Buy one of our mind-controlled humans today for the low price of $99.99! Come on down to Eric’s Used People store now!
Eric shifts a step to the side and leans close to Tobias’s face, grinning.
“Now, this is a happy sight,” he says. “The legendary Four. No one’s going to remember that I came in second now, are they? No one’s going to ask me, ‘What was it like to train with the guy who has only four fears?’”
Was that really a question that people were keen to ask? Given most of these fears would never come up in training, it doesn’t seem like it would be particularly different than training with anyone else. It’s not like he has super strength or can shoot lasers from his eyes. Then people might have questions.
He draws his gun and points it at Tobias’s right temple. My heart pounds so hard I feel it in my skull. He can’t shoot; he wouldn’t. Eric tilts his head. “Think anyone would notice if he accidentally got shot?”
The other woman is like, “Sure, why not?” Tris puts a stop to this by putting her gun to Eric’s head.
“You won’t shoot me,” Eric replies.
“Interesting theory,” I say. But I can’t murder him; I can’t. I grit my teeth and shift my arm down, firing at Eric’s foot. He screams and grabs his foot with both hands.
Why the fuck can’t Tris murder Eric? It seems like she’s only unable to do this so he’ll still be a character later on because Roth was too lazy to write another villain. [Matthew says: Honestly, at least she’s saving the villain with some character rather than the villain who is the antimatter of character.]
Tris and Four run! And are immediately apprehended.
“Divergent rebels,” Eric says, standing on one foot. His face is a sickly white. “Surrender your weapons.”
THAT IS WHY YOU ALWAYS MURDER THE BAD GUY WHEN YOU CAN, TRIS!
Question: What were some of the most frustrating times the good guy had a chance to kill the bad guy and didn’t take it because Stupid Reason?