Previously, things happened.
Having just fled the Amity compound, Tris, Four, Caleb and Susan follow train tracks towards “the city.” If there’s one thing that the Dauntless can always rely on, it’s train hopping, so Tris suggests they hop on a train coming towards them.
On the train are a bunch of armed factionless people because I guess it’s time we get to know a rag tag band of misfits! [Matthew says: You know, the ones who aren’t the misfits from Divergent we’ve already been following around.]
The factionless man with the gun looks familiar [Ariel says: Celeb factionless man! Do you think he’s the guy from the simulation?]. He wears tattered clothes in different colors—a black T-shirt with a torn Abnegation jacket over it, blue jeans mended with red thread, brown boots. All faction clothing is represented in the group before me: black Candor pants paired with black Dauntless shirts, yellow dresses with blue sweatshirts over them. Most items are torn or smudged in some way, but some are not. Freshly stolen, I imagine.
Omg such symbolism I have never before beheld!
The mystery of who the familiar man is is immediately resolved:
“They aren’t Amity,” the man with the gun says. “They’re Dauntless.” Then I recognize him: he is Edward, a fellow initiate who left Dauntless after Peter attacked him with a butter knife. That is why he wears an eye patch.
…Okay I understand how it can take a second to register who someone is when it’s out of context, but this sort of makes it seem like just because he’s wearing a hodgepodge of clothing from various factions made it hard to peg him down. It wasn’t like Edward was only mentioned once, the whole scene where he gets stabbed in the eye made him pretty memorable to the audience and Tris. In fact, Tris fucking mentioned him a few chapters ago when she’s talking about how horrible Peter is!
The factionless are basically like, “Get the fuck off our train,” but for some reason when Tobias says who he is, it changes everything. [Matthew says: OMG. You guys. MORE SECRETS. There are so many secrets I can’t keep track of what I actually know.]
The effect of the name on the people in the car is immediate and bewildering: they lower their weapons. They exchange meaningful looks.
“Eaton? Really?” Edward says, eyebrows raised. “I have to admit, I did not see that coming.” [Matthew says: I did, but probably not for the same reason.] He clears his throat. “Fine, you can come. But when we get to the city, you’ve got to come with us.” Then he smiles a little. “We know someone who’s been looking for you, Tobias Eaton.”
Hasn’t Edward literally been factionless for like fucking 2 weeks? I swear to god, he got stabbed in the eye, and then 1-2 weeks later was initiation and then immediately shit went down. How has he become this hardened, in-the-know guy in such a short period of time?
Tobias apparently knows who’s looking for him, but is like, “Uggg I’ll explain later. Whatever. I can’t even right now.” Tris speculates who it is that might be looking for Tobias. Results are inconclusive.
I’m not sure who could know Tobias among the factionless. It could be Drew or Molly, who failed Dauntless initiation—but they didn’t even know Tobias’s real name, and besides, Edward probably would have killed them by now, judging by how ready he was to shoot us. It must be someone from Abnegation, or from school.
But why would he have killed them if they were also factionless…? THE SENSE IT MAKES NOT!!
I’d tell you where they go next, but I can’t possibly describe it as eloquently as Tris can:
We are in a factionless storehouse, and the factionless, who are supposed to be scattered, isolated, and without community … are together inside it. Are together, like a faction.
In other words, “Faction. Faction faction. Factionless. Faction? Less? Factionless.” [Matthew says: So in other words, you could skipped the first book, turned to this page, and you’d be pretty much caught up on all the major themes at play, here.]
Tris continues to act like zoo visitor who is amazed that monkeys display similar behaviour to humans. She makes astute observations about how the factionless are living together and, I shit you not, making jokes and “speak to each other quietly.”
Edward explains that the factionless used to be scattered, but once Abnegation started giving them food they joined together and bided their time until something like this happened. [Matthew says: So… something that happened before these books actually started, so we’ve literally always been familiar with this changed circumstance. Dramatic.] They take Tobias to see his mystery friend and it’s…
I realize that he and the woman have the same nose—hooked, a little too big on her face but the right size on his. They also have the same strong jaw, distinct chin, spare upper lip, stick-out ears. Only her eyes are different—instead of blue, they are so dark they look black.
“Evelyn,” he says, his voice shaking a little.
Evelyn was the name of Marcus’s wife and Tobias’s mother. My grip on Tobias’s hand loosens. Just days ago I was remembering her funeral. Her funeral. And now she stands in front of me, her eyes colder than the eyes of any Abnegation woman I’ve ever seen.
Woah. A character who I barely remembered was supposed to be dead is actually alive?! I am supposed to have feelings about this I think!
Evelyn and Four argue vaguely about how Four could still join her and how choices can be made again. Blah mysterious tension blah.
“What makes you think I’m interested in spending time anywhere near you?” he demands. I hear his footsteps stop, and slow down so I can hear how she responds.
Because I’m your mother,” she says, and her voice almost breaks over the words, uncharacteristically vulnerable. “Because you’re my son.”
“Uncharacteristically vulnerable”? She has been a character for less than a chapter! She can’t be doing anything uncharacteristically. Shut the fuck up, book.
Anyway, she tells Four he should take her and the factionless seriously because they’re double the size of Dauntless now and are going to play a big part in determining the future.
Four also explains that his mother sent him a coded message about a year ago, but that he wasn’t all that thrilled with her considering she left him alone with his abusive dad. He also mentions she had an affair, and he doesn’t blame her for doing that. Just the whole leaving alone with Marcus thing, which I think is a super justified reason for being mad. But one million dollars says she’s like, “OMG I had to give you a choice to switch factions/couldn’t make you factionless/it was for your own good/I love you son.”
Did you even remember Four’s mother was supposed to be dead? Why the fuck did they have a fake funeral for her? Did she fake her own death? Ug. I don’t get it.