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!
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
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.
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.
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.