Yesterday in Insurgent, Tris and Four get captured. Again. [Ariel says: Just another wacky adventure for our heroes.]
Arriving at the headquarters of the series’ other totally neglected faction (which amazingly makes Insurgent charity for itself), Tris and Four find themselves arrested despite expecting to meet the friendly half of their divided faction.
Every faction is supposed to have holding rooms for those who make trouble, but I’ve never been in one before.
…you were just in one. Like, five chapters ago. [Ariel says: Tris isn’t taking Amity’s happy pills seriously enough!]
Tris tries to think about what they could have done that would make Candor and the “good” half of Dauntless treat them like an enemy, and eventually realizes that maybe it’s because she shot Will during the simulation.
I shot Will. I shot a number of other Dauntless. They were under the simulation, but maybe Candor doesn’t know that or doesn’t think it’s a good enough reason.
Man, if only they had some recorded evidence on a hard drive or something that would help them get out of this jam. IF ONLY.
They’re taken to Candor leader Jack Kang, whom Tris also describes as handsome, like basically every other character in this book. What the hell kind of apocalypse happened in Divergent that humanity only has the attractive genes left?
“They told me you seemed confused about why you were arrested,” he says. His voice is deep, but strangely flat, like it could not create an echo even at the bottom of an empty cavern. “To me that means either you’re falsely accused or good at pretending.”
To me, this book either has a plot or just has characters constantly talking about the plot.
Jack explains that Four is accused of crimes against humanity and Tris is accused of being his accomplice, which is an accusation they can make because, incredibly unsurprisingly…
“We saw video footage of the attack. You were running the attack simulation,” says Jack.
“How could you have seen that footage? We took the data,” says Tobias.
“You took one copy of the data.”
Jack explains that the footage was sent to all the computers throughout the city, so “all we saw was” Four running the simulation and then kicking Tris’s ass until – in a genuinely but probably unintentionally amusing moment where the novel’s actual adults desperately try to live in this inexplicable young adult fiction world – they “stopped [and] had a rather abrupt lovers’ reconciliation”. So Jack wants to interrogate them under truth serum, because Divergent is all about really, really easy ways to solve its problems.
[Ariel says: My immediate thought was, yet again, why is this happening if it’s not going to add anything to the plot? I know Matt made a really good point yesterday about how introducing a fact about a character after they die can be really significant to the plot, but this series gives me 0 confidence that plot points occur or “important” information is revealed in order to lead to something that is actually significant and meaningful. When a book reveals something supposedly shocking about a character or has a major misunderstanding where the main characters are arrested/thought to be evil…it should feel important! I never thought I’d say this, but at least Crossfire filler is more amusing than this.]
“One possible reason [you stole the hard drive] is because the simulation was over and you didn’t want us to get our hands on it.” […]
“The simulation didn’t end,” I say. “We stopped it, you-”
Jack holds up his hand. “I am not interested in what you have to say right now. The truth will come out when you are both interrogated under the influence of truth serum.”
Why are we even doing this? What are the stakes here? We’re waiting for our reliable first-person narrator to be forced to say what we already know will help them.
So since this new circumstance itself isn’t an actual source of narrative tension (Pro Writing Tip: don’t do that), there are three things that this plot mechanism is actually doing.
- Teasing that Tris’s big secret (that she’s… divergent) will come out under the truth serum. But it won’t (or won’t matter), because the Divergent series has not yet actually been about divergence. It’s about mind-control drugs.
- Teasing that Tris’s other big secret (that she killed Will) will come out under the truth serum. So Tris and Four will clear their names of crimes against humanity (like we know they will), and the book will return to the exact same boring status quo it was at before, except now Christina will be totally mad at Tris. [Ariel says: That’ll teach Christina not to steal credit for winning capture the flag ever again.]
- Promising that even though we already know the truth will (quite literally) set them free, actually getting there will be a long, circuitous process that will meaninglessly and meanderingly inflate the tension for just a little bit longer for the sake of tension, because, hey, we have 500 pages of YA to get through.
Speaking of Christina and tension for the sake of tension:
Christina shoves her way past the others and throws her arms around me. […] Christina will be there at the interrogation. She will hear what I did to Will. She will never forgive me.
Unless I fight the serum, swallow the truth – if I can.
Christina asks Tris if she heard that Will died in the attack, and Tris covers up for now by saying that she saw him get shot on the monitors. But Tobias notices this.
He knows I didn’t see Will in the monitors, and he didn’t know that Will was dead.
Because apparently Tobias remembers everything he saw Tris seeing while he was under the influence of the mind-control simulation that made him not see things correctly.
Christina, the last of Tris’s original band of friends [Ariel says: Hey, let’s not forget about Peter, the beloved asshole who is your asshole, so you let him stick around], tells us that the rest of the B-string A-Team of Uriah, not Uriah, and also not Uriah are still alive and well. Really, if I wrote their names, would you remember who you are? I’m already waiting for someone to write a comment asking who Uriah is.
Christina brings them to the interrogation room, where subtle subversive symbolism happens.
Most of Candor and the remnants of Dauntless are already gathered. Some of them sit on the tiered benches [and] the rest are crowded around the Candor symbol. In the center of the symbol, between the unbalanced scales, are two empty chairs. [Ariel says: It’s a really slow day at Candor. Candor is basically like the dystopian version of the Students Without Netflix.]
There, a man named Niles administers the truth serum to Tobias.
Question of the Day! If you could get any animal in the world as a pet, but you had to name it after a character from a book we’ve read on this blog, what would it be and what would you name it? And why?