PLOT TWIST: Insurgent Chapter 31

Okay, I know the big plot twist we’re all in fits of giggles about on the blog right now is the recently-spoiled twist that Cami’s ex, TJ, is semi-secretly Trenton’s brother, Thomas, over in Beautiful Oblivion. But Insurgent throws quite a doozy at us today!

Ya hear that? Doozy. I’m not sure I spelled that correctly, but it’s just for Insurgent, so I don’t care.

[Ariel says: Matt and I were also giggling over the article he sent me showcasing the lack of real life or fictional chemistry between the actors who play Christian and Ana. In fact, the article argues it looks like the actors hate each other. It’s great.]


Insurgent Chapter 31

After her last torture/simulation/meaningless experience in an unending road to nowhere, Tris dreamed of her mother.

I wake wondering how I did not notice, every day I sat across from her at the breakfast table, that she was full to bursting with Dauntless energy.

Given that we had like four scenes ever with Tris’s mom before she was killed off , we’re just gonna have to take Tris’s word for it that this thing we never saw is a thing that she never noticed. [Ariel says: The scenes I do remember with her mother were when she cut Tris’ hair, which she didn’t do very Dauntlessly in my humble opinion. Unless you count holding scissors as a Very Dangerous Task].

Tris continues to openly question why Peter’s still in the book.

“Why are you constantly escorting me places?” I say. “Isn’t there a depraved activity you’re supposed to be taking part in? Kicking puppies or spying on girls while they change, or something?”
“I know what you did to Will, you know. Don’t pretend that you’re better than I am, because you and I, we’re exactly the same.” […]
“You’re wrong ,” I say. “We may both be bad, but there’s a huge difference between us— I’m not content with being this way.”
Peter snorts a little

I wonder if he snorted because that’s, like, the least relevant reason why their very different brands of how a very vague adjective applies to them. This is like saying an apple and a walrus may both be slowly decaying over time, but there’s a huge difference between them – a walrus has tusks. [Ariel says: Yeah, pretty sure Tris could have also pointed out that when Peter stabbed Edward in the eye, it was not because his life was in immediate danger.]


Tris is led to a room where four Dauntless traitors, two Erudite scientists, and Jeanine are in a room with a bunch of machines Tris can’t identity. She worries briefly that Jeanine has changed her mind and has executed her, and puts up a brief, valiant struggle against her untimely death I could maybe care about if we weren’t only 65% of the way into the book.

But it turns out Tris isn’t here to be executed!

This isn't it.
This isn’t it.

But to torture her in front of Four so that he gives up information about the factionless safe houses!

But, wait, doesn’t truth serum exist in these books? Shouldn’t they use that? Why, I bet there’d have to be a convenient and not especially believable reason why-

“Truth serum would be preferable, of course, but it would take days to coerce Jack Kang into handing some over, as it is jealously guarded by the Candor, and I’d rather not waste a few days.”

Oh phew! I was worried that it wouldn’t make sense why the world’s only remaining scientists made a drug and then gave literally all of it to a group of people who have 0% of the world’s military in comparison to their own 100% of the military.

Fine. So what are they gonna do instead?

“The simulations stimulate the amygdala, which is responsible for processing fear [and] induce a hallucination based on that fear” […]
“When I was developing the Dauntless simulations , years ago, we discovered that certain levels of potency overwhelmed the brain and made it too insensible with terror to invent new surroundings, which was when we diluted the solution so that the simulations would be more instructive. But I still remember how to make it.”

Um, yes. You just… don’t dilute it… If all you did was dilute the solution, then you just added water to it. It’s still the same chemical, just less concentrated. So you really should remember how to make it. Because you do.

I’m starting to think that the reason why the villains in the Divergent series are scientists are because Veronica Roth has a horrendous grasp of science.


Aw, man, this is looking desperate!

“What does she need to know?” I say, interrupting her.
“Information about the factionless safe houses,” he replies without looking at me.
My eyes widen. The factionless are the last hope any of us has

Which is interesting, because Tris has literally never trusted the factionless before this point in the narrative.

I'm getting some mileage out of this walrus.
I’m gonna get some mileage out of this walrus.

Tris is injected with the exact same chemical, but without water, and she begins tripping balls.

“Tris,” says Tobias. I look away from the crows.
He stands by the door, where he was before I was injected, but now he has a knife. He holds it out from his body and turns it so the blade points in, at his stomach. Then he brings it toward himself, touching the tip of the blade to his stomach.
“What are you doing? Stop!”
He smiles a little and says, “I’m doing this for you.”
He pushes the knife in farther, slow, and blood stains the hem of his shirt.

Why does tripping-balls Tobias have the exact same motivation as real-life Tobias? [Ariel says: Because tripping-balls!Tris is unable to deny the fact that he’s the fucking worst.]

Tobias cries for them to stop the torture and agrees to mark the factionless safe houses on a map. They inject Tris with a sedative and she stops hallucinating, then starts getting sleepy.

“While you’re here . . .” Jeanine says once Tobias and his escorts are gone. She looks up and focuses her watery eyes on one of the Erudite. “Get him and bring him in here. It’s time.”

Man, sounds like an Marcus is gonna come back, huh?

I promised you full transparency with these procedures. So I feel it’s only fair that you know exactly who has been assisting me in my endeavors.” She smiles a little. “Who told me what three factions you had an aptitude for, and what our best chance was to get you to come here, and to put your mother in the last simulation to make it more effective.”

Yup. Marcus any second now.

She looks toward the doorway as the sedative sets in, making everything blur at the edges. I look over my shoulder, and through the haze of drugs I see him.

aaron paul breaking bad what


Ok. So when I first read this I totally thought it was going to be Marcus (because motherfucker’s, like, the character for totally expected unexpected twists), so this totally caught me off guard. But when I was telling my girlfriend about this chapter and told her that there was a plot twist and a character who was helping the Erudite against Tris, she immediately said, “It’s Caleb.” [Ariel says: I guess as soon as Jeanine says all that, we should immediately have known, but I read that moment so fast that I was genuinely surprised as well because I wouldn’t have expected Caleb to betray her.] I guess that I probably could have guessed that it would be Caleb, because 1) everyone else is dead and there are no other characters, and 2) it follows the tried-and-true “it’s always the least-likely person regardless of how much sense that makes” rule.

after the thin man jimmy stewart

Okay, I bet that the overlapping audience of people reading this blog post about Insurgent who have also seen After The Thin Man is probably, like, me, but the fact that James Fucking Stewart was playing the plot twist murderer alone should give you an idea of what’s up. The Least Likely Person twist isn’t inherently a bad twist, but you really gotta stick the landing.

And that brings me back to Insurgent. On the one hand, the Caleb plot twist was the first sign of life in this book since I opened the front cover. It’s the only thing so far that’s gotten me to think that something interesting might happen here. But it’s largely interesting because of the big problem on the other side of the coin: it makes no fucking sense. And given how much trouble the Divergent series has historically had with making sense, I’m not really optimistic.

Anyway, what I’m really trying to say is 1) QUESTION OF THE DAY: What do you think of the Caleb plot twist?, and 2) You should go watch After The Thin Man.

And also The Thin Man, if you wanna be, like, sequential about it.
And also The Thin Man, if you wanna be, like, sequential about it.


  1. Hanna Reply

    I have seen aaaaalllll the Thin Man movies! Yay for underappreciated back and white films!

    If you thought the Caleb twist was fun to write about just wait until you read Allegiant, or whatever that last book was called.

    • matthewjulius Reply

      I’ve only seen the first two, but I’ve heard that’s sort of all you need.
      Oh, I’m aware of THE plot twist in Allegiant. I try to include little jokes for everyone else who knows, but there’s a lot of stuff to make fun of.

  2. Bellomy Reply

    but the fact that James Fucking Stewart was playing the plot twist murderer alone should give you an idea of what’s up.

    Maybe I would watch the movie if you HADN’T JUST TOLD ME THE ENDING.

    Also, I don’t remember who Caleb was, so yeah. Marcus I vaguely remember as “Oh yeah, the douchey guy. Maybe Four’s father? Not sure.”

    • matthewjulius Reply

      The ending really isn’t important. They’re delightful comedy-murder mysteries where the murder mystery is fairly secondary. You’re really just watching then for the jokes

  3. Bellomy Reply

    Also Ariel “JUSTIFIED” HOW FAR ARE YOU. Did you reach episode 9 of S2 yet? Or further?

    Sorry but NOBODY I know has even heard of this show and it’s killing me. SEASON SIX IN FOUR MORE DAYS, PEOPLE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU THE HELL.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      Ahhh We just watched episode 7! I immediately was like, “I need to bitch to Bellomy about how stupid this Winona-centric episode was yawwwwwn bring Mags back, damn it!” It was all the stuff with the money stolen from the evidence room and zzzzzz. But Boyd was great as usual!

      I found out yesterday that my dad is a massive fan of Justified. I feel he failed at his parental duties by not convincing me to watch the show.

      Should be watching episodes 8/9 tomorrow hopefully!

      • Bellomy Reply

        One thing “Justified” is really, really good at is cashing its checks. Even the relatively lame Winona storyline ends up having a really nice payoff later on..

        Walton Goggins as Boyd is amazing. The fact that he doesn’t steal the show just speaks to the strength of the cast.

        Parent or no parent, if you don’t at least make an effort to get people to watch “Justified” you’re a failure at life.

  4. knittyhelen Reply

    I… Forgot Caleb even existed. These books are so bad at making you care for characters that you quite literally forget they exist. I guess it makes it more surprising when they come back maybe?

    I’m hoping the lack of Christian/Ana chemistry will make people realise there is also no chemistry between them in the book and actually it’s not even a romance. Here’s hoping.

  5. Ana Reply

    I remember Caleb because his actor also plays Augustus Waters and I like when that sort of thing happens.

  6. milli Reply

    you know the article you linked about dornan and johnson’s chemistry(lack of) also has a article linked about how much dakota johnson hates fifty shades.i mean i have heard actors hating doing movies from which they can’t get out of because of contractual obligation but dakota does not have any excuse except for desire for fame? i guess.
    it just make her sound like a complete hypocrite and not to mention with a sheep herd mentality.she was talking on YouTube on how fifty shades is like a modern “Fairy-tale” and now she goes and does this…

  7. milli Reply

    oh and i also forgot to type: jamie dornan is quite rude about the fact he has to act as a BDSM dominant.considering the fact he took this project, i thought he would have a healthy level of understanding if not agreement about BDSM , but the way he talks about it is like it is repugnant disease and not a lifestyle choice. sheesh!

  8. Pingback: Nothing Is Explained Again: Insurgent Chapter 33 - Bad Books, Good Times

  9. gasolinespider Reply

    Caleb?! DUN DUN DUUU- I forget who that is. There’re so many different “important” minor characters in this book that I lost track of everyone except the main characters, Marcus, Jeanine, and Peter. So, the twistiness of this reveal is lost on me.


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