Previously, people who can be described with multiple adjectives were captured by people who are only one adjective, because their many adjectives were ruining their plan to kill off more people who are only one different adjective. [Ariel says: I hate to be a downer, but technically Tris and Four can be narrowed down to one adjective too: Divergent.]
Tris and Fourbias (note: not canon) [Ariel says: But it has just officially become BBGT canon, which is even better. Just like Beautiful Cannibals.] are taken to Janine, who is the evil villain by virtue of… because…
Really? How are they rebelling? What are they rebelling against? Not being controlled by mind-control drugs? That’s hardly their fault, really. So the conflict is that people who chose to be one way are using people who chose to be a different way to kill people who chose to be a third way, and the “rebels” with the most agency here are the ones who happened to be born a certain way?
Not that this wouldn’t be a good metaphor for the arbitrariness of human conflict if the protagonists didn’t baselessly label everyone they met too.
[Janine] probably wears the glasses out of vanity rather than necessity, because she thinks they make her look smarter. [Ariel says: My note in the book simply reads, “Janine was just angry that there wasn’t a hipster faction she could belong to.]
“You,” she says, pointing at me. “I expected. All the trouble with your aptitude test results made me suspicious from the beginning.”
Everybody follow Captain Obvious aboard the S.S. No Shit!
Amazingly enough, Janine is surprised to see that Four is Divergent, because his “test results, initiation simulations,” and “everything” had “checked out”. Gee, Janine, those do sound like pretty stringent ways to check for subjective traits. [Ariel says: I imagine the faction system is essentially the equivalent of our current education system. Every so often someone comes out and is like, “I have the solution. Why don’t we put MORE standardised tests out there. This time, though, let’s ask kids if they’d choose a knife or cheese! The results to these kinds of rigorous testing are concrete and indisputable.]
Janine explains her evil plan, because that’s what evil villains do and there is literally nothing more to her character than this.
“It perplexed me that the Divergent were immune to the [mind-control] serum that I developed”
OH, REALLY? YOU DON’T SAY?
“Luckily, I have another batch to test.”
Why fucking not.
Janine explains her evil plan to kill off the “self-righteous” Abnegation “who reject wealth and advancement” in order to create a new government “in which people will live in wealth, comfort, and prosperity”. With magic, I guess. Luckily for my head-to-head-banged-on-the-table ratio for this chapter, Tris also thinks about this evil plan for more than four seconds.
“At whose expense?” I ask […] “All that wealth… doesn’t come from nowhere.”
“Currently, the factionless are a drain on our resources,” Jeanine replies.
Um, the factionless are your working class. If you get rid of them, you have no laborers. Is this antagonist for real? I can’t take a villain seriously if their evil plan has zero grasp on basic economics. [Ariel says: The only resources we’ve ever seen them consume are the home-made muffins baked by Abnegation, so I guess Janine is just really fucking angry that she hasn’t gotten any.]
Four/Tobias and Janine exchange quips over the nature of good and evil. Tris just sort of stands there. Which would be alright if the characters weren’t quite so literally good and evil, so we get dry…
“If you could control your temper […] you would not be in this situation to begin with, Tobias.”
“I’m in this situation because you put me here,” he snaps, “The second you orchestrated an attack against innocent people.”
“I would expect Marcus’s son to understand that not all those people are innocent.” […]
“At least his evil didn’t involve the widespread manipulation [and] systematic murder of every political leader we have.”
Divergent suddenly realizes that the book is 81% over and they haven’t had a single sentence establishing the main antagonist’s character yet, so it shrugs and makes the best of it:
She is more machine than maniac. She sees problems and forms solutions based on the data she collects.
“This character is like a machine” is author for “I totally forgot to do this ‘character’ thing”.
Janine prepares the MacGuffin 2.0 to use on Four, but for Tris…
“You are too injured to be of much use to me, so your execution will occur at the conclusion of this meeting.”
Four suddenly attacks and strangles Jeanine, because the most effective way to get out of this situation is definitely a very slow way to kill someone. He’s pulled off of her by Dauntless guards (Tris explains that she doesn’t know if they’re mind-controlled or just evil, which would be fair if it weren’t far too late for me to care) and then successfully drugged. [Ariel says: Or they’re option 3 which is that they’re insanely jealous of Fourbias just like Eric.]
“The advantage to this version of the simulation,” [Janine says,] “is that he can act independently, and is therefore far more effective than a mindless soldier.”
Fuck this. Divergent is just pulling together random words together that sound sort of like explanations.
Anyway, we’ve pretty thoroughly established that Janine’s character is arbitrary evil villain who is evil, so because she literally just said that this scene would end with Tris being killed, her next move is to…
SHE LETS TRIS LIVE.
“And take her to room B13.”
Even though she 1) literally just said she was going to kill Tris now, like right now, 2) has no reason to keep Tris alive, 3) has a lot of good reasons to kill Tris now, because she’s apparently dangerous and this is the middle of Janine’s important evil plan that Tris would definitely try to stop if she happened to not be captured suddenly, and 4) SHE LITERALLY JUST SAID SHE WAS GOING TO KILL TRIS. WHY WOULD YOU NOT DO THAT NOW.
Question: Come up with Janine’s evil character traits! Because Divergent didn’t.