Guys! Guys! We’re fucking done with Insurgent today! I mean, we still have Allegiant, but we can still feel like we’ve accomplished something now. Let’s reflect back on Insurgent! Remember that time we hung out with people that didn’t contribute to the plot? And then those other people who didn’t contribute to the plot? And then Tris was captured and then she wasn’t? And then someone said “Insurgent”? Can anyone tell me what the fuck happened in this book?
Okay, honestly, I miscounted how many chapters were left, but it’s fine because this one is just Tris walking through a room and then not talking Tori out of killing Jeanine, because she doesn’t believe her when Tris tells her about the secret computer file Jeanine needs to find that Tris had never ever mentioned to anyone previously ever. See? It’s like you read it yourself.
So Tori just killed Jeanine (that happened), which really puts a damper on Tris’s plan to sort of try to not kill Jeanine first.
Tori stands, a wild look in her eyes, and turns toward me. […] all the sacrifices I made – my relationship with Tobias, Fernando’s life, my standing among the Dauntless – were for nothing.
There, there, Tris. You refused to communicate with anyone about these plans, so they were always for nothing.
Tobias and Uriah storm in as if to fight a battle—Uriah coughing, probably from the poison
Okay, wait, why is Jeanine’s last line of defense a room that tasks people with solving a puzzle before it kills them, rather than just being… something that kills them? The only people that can solve this puzzle are the people trying to kill her. Jeanine’s not divergent, so she can’t even solve that puzzle. This is like hiding in a closet and thinking, “Ha! That fire will never get me now! There’s a wood door in the way!” Why was her last line of defense so bad that the first people to try to break through it – who totaled four people – were able to do so?
Regardless, Jeanine is dead, Tris tried to stop Tori from doing so, and Tori tells Four and Uriah that Tris is a traitor. Nobody believes Tris when she says that she was looking for secret information, which is probably unrelated to how she had just lied to them about not being involved at all.
“Tris, what’s going on? Is she right? Why are you even here?”
It’s almost like most of this was pretty avoidable!
Tobias tells Tris that they found Marcus in the other room, and is seriously hurt that she teamed up with his abusive dad to work behind his back, which is maybe the first time Tobias has had a pretty good point in this book. Tris tries to convince Tobias that she’s telling the truth about Jeanine keeping A Secret. Not with logic or explanations. God, no. With the power of love.
“The truth.” He snorts. “You think you learned the truth from a liar, a traitor, and a sociopath?”
“I think that you are the liar!” I say, my voice quaking. “You tell me you love me, you trust me, you think I’m more perceptive than the average person. And the first second that belief in my perceptiveness, that trust, that love is put to the test, it all falls apart.” […]
I stare at him like I can communicate the truth with my eyes, but that is impossible.
Tori announces that Tris should be taken downstairs with “all the other war criminals”, and Tobias… doesn’t do anything. Man, I wonder if he’s going to conveniently come back later with all the answers?
Uriah takes Tris downstairs, and this super not-subtle thing happens:
“Give me your gun, Uriah,” says Therese. “Someone needs to be able to shoot potential belligerents, and you can’t do it if you’re keeping her from falling down the stairs.”
Uriah surrenders his gun without question. I frown— Therese already has a gun, so why did it matter for him to give his?
Tris sees the aftermath of the battle for the first time and sees that there are a lot of dead Candor, whom the Erudite used as mind-control soldiers. In a surprising show of restraint for the Divergent series, it lets the weight of all the dead speak for itself rather than try to induce emotion by killing off a bunch of minor characters we never cared about. Don’t worry it’ll fuck up this same theme really soon.
Four suddenly reappears and takes Caleb with him.
“I want you to disarm the security system for Jeanine’s laboratory,” says Tobias without looking back. “So that the factionless can access her computer.”
And destroy it, I think, and if possible, my heart becomes even heavier.
*long sigh* Okay, we only have to play along for, what, another 15 pages? Oh yeah. That’s totally what’s going to happen! It is NOT obviously something else! Uh… oh no!
Tris and Christina, waiting for the same obvious twists that we know are coming to just happen already, suddenly realize something in this book had an inadequate explanation.
“Wait,” she says. “It was a simulation? Without a transmitter?”
They muse on this for about a page, as though it ever mattered, will ever matter again in the narrative, or as though it isn’t ranked at like #132 on the list of things in Divergent that didn’t make any sense.
Also, Lynn dies, giving us one last chance to struggle to remember who Lynn is.
The doctor purses her lips, and I know that Lynn is as good as dead.
“Fix her!” says Uriah. “You can fix her, so do it!”
“On the contrary,” the doctor says, looking up at him. “Because you set the hospital floors of this building on fire, I cannot fix her.”
Uriah spends his last moments with his dear friend Lynn, who has surprising last words for him.
“Uri, listen. I loved her too. I did.”
“You loved who?” he says, his voice breaking.
“Marlene,” says Lynn.
“Yeah, we all loved Marlene,” he says.
“No, that’s not what I mean.” She shakes her head. She closes her eyes.
And that was how Lynn died. The one girl character in this book with a buzz cut was revealed to be a lesbian.
Okay, ready for more plot twists than you can shake a stick at? Then you’re gonna love the last chapter of Insurgent.
Tori and Harrison-
-come down to the main room with the others carrying Jeanine’s body. Johanna Reyes (the former Amity leader) shows up and has a confrontation with Tori.
“Yeah, I saw you and your little band of peacekeepers, getting in everyone’s way,” says Tori.
“Yes, that was intentional,” Johanna replies. “Since getting in the way meant standing between guns and innocents, and saved a great number of lives.”
I think Amity just stood in between two armies shooting at each other because they were the only faction that hadn’t yet been massacred and were feeling left out.
Tori informs Johanna that they’re going to form a new political system excluding Amity’s faction from representation. Johanna doles out some clunky, heavy-handed themes.
“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
Whatever could that mean? Man, if only the main character would explain it to me over the course of the next three paragraphs.
Something about her words hits me. I am sure she meant them as a threat, and a feeble one, but it rings in my head like it was something more— like she could easily have been talking not about the Amity, but about another oppressed group. The factionless.
Aw snap! That sucks! Thanks, Tris!
And as I look around the room, at every Dauntless soldier and every factionless soldier, I begin to see a pattern.
Mhm. Indeed! Thanks, Tris!
“Christina,” I say. “The factionless have all the guns.”
Evelyn (Four’s mom/factionless leader) pulls out her gun and fires above the crowd and announces a plot twist we all knew was happening either last chapter or half a book ago, depending on when you started counting.
“The faction system that has long supported itself on the backs of discarded human beings will be disbanded at once,” says Evelyn.
Tori breaks in, looking scandalized. “What are you talking about, disbanded?”
“What I am talking about,” says Evelyn, looking at Tori for the first time, “is that your faction, which up until a few weeks ago was clamoring along with the Erudite for the restriction of food and goods to the factionless, a clamor that resulted in the destruction of the Abnegation, will no longer exist.”
It’s really weird that the story’s loudest voice that the faction system doesn’t work – the only conclusion that could possibly work in a story that has something as stupid as the faction system as its entire premise – are also characterized as its chaotic voices of insanity. Like, this ending should make perfect sense. Every faction has been partially slaughtered at the hands of the other factions. If it weren’t for Tris, Team Evelyn would be looking like the underdogs free from the faction system that tore itself apart right about now.
Evelyn tells us something we’ve been told like 9000 times, but in a punnier way, so it’s totes worth hearing it again.
Evelyn smiles a little. “And if you decide to take up arms against us,” she says, “you will be hard pressed to find any arms to take up.”
But, of course, this theme would have made too much sense, so we have to quickly get rid of it.
Behind her, the door to the stairwell opens, and Tobias steps out
“You were right ,” Tobias says quietly, balancing on the balls of his feet. He smiles a little. “I do know who you are. I just needed to be reminded.” […]
Then all the screens in the Erudite lobby— at least those that weren’t destroyed in the attack— flicker on […]
“This,” he says, only to me, “is the information that will change everything.”
Okay, ready for number two?
Everyone goes silent as the video begins, which is simply a woman sitting at a desk, talking to the camera.
“Hello,” she says. “My name is Amanda Ritter. In this file I will tell you only what you need to know. I am the leader of an organization fighting for justice and peace. This fight has become increasingly more important— and consequently, nearly impossible— in the past few decades. That is because of this.”
Images flash across the wall, almost too fast for me to see. A man on his knees with a gun pressed to his forehead . The woman pointing it at him, her face emotionless.
From a distance, a small person hanging by the neck from a telephone pole.
A hole in the ground the size of a house, full of bodies.
And there are other images too, but they move faster, so I get only impressions of blood and bone and death and cruelty […]
“The battle we are fighting is not against a particular group. It is against human nature itself— or at least what it has become.”
So… Divergent is happening… because an intangible concept that has somehow caused something no more specific than vaguely connected themes… is being dealt with in a conversely extremely tangible way. Like… the rest of the book. Oh, god, this isn’t going to make any sense at all, is it?
Wait, really. What’s going on here? Is this really what’s happening? Chicago post-apocalypse dystopia is a social experiment to fix human nature? Jesus, how bad was this vague apocalypse that made humanity, uh, worse? This has to be the first time in history someone has looked at Chicago and said, “This. This will fix human nature.”
Ok. Some of this has to start making sense soo- oh my god, who am I fucking kidding? This is Divergent.
“In order to keep you safe, we devised a way for you to be separated from us. From our water supply.”
I thought this was an issue of human nature itself. Now it’s in the water? This book made it to one example before it immediately contradicted itself.
“From our technology.”
“Except for our guns. In order to fix human civilization, we’re going to lock up a bunch of people in a box and give them guns.”
“From our societal structure.”
So they came up with the faction system???
“We have formed your society in a particular way in the hope that you will rediscover the moral sense most of us have lost.”
“In order to help you rediscover this sense of morality, we designed your entire social structure to be like a BuzzFeed quiz.”
“The reason I am leaving this footage for you is so that you will know when it’s time to help us. You will know that it is time when there are many among you whose minds appear to be more flexible than the others. The name you should give those people is Divergent.”
Oh my goodness, you have to be kidding.
Let’s get this straight. The Chicago faction system in Divergent is a scientific/social experiment which wants to increase certain genes/personality traits/morality, which are all apparently interchangeable things, in the population, to save humanity from having become… something.
Guys, their actual solution to their problem is inbreeding. That solves zero problems.
Seriously why is the premise of Divergent using inbreeding to give people more moral genes?
So. Uh. This is actually a book about the benefits of inbreeding now. I have no idea where we go from there. Can this get stupider?
“Once they become abundant among you, your leaders should give the command for Amity to unlock the gate forever, so that you may emerge from your isolation.”
Oh my god, it did. How is a subpopulation expressing one beneficial phenotype (not to mention all the not-beneficial phenotypes, like hemophilia, because inbreeding) going to save the much larger rest of humanity from their, uh, evil phenotype? What are they supposed to do? Fuck them to salvation? Literally?
The woman in the type explains that she is one of the first generation of the experiment, which means she is voluntarily having her memory wiped and being given false memories to join this new experimental society. And because there wasn’t enough plot twisting:
“My name will be Edith Prior,” she says.
Seriously. Of all the things to suspend dis-
The video stops. The projector glows blue against the wall. I clutch Tobias’s hand, and there is a moment of silence like a withheld breath.
Then the shouting begins.
Which is a funny ending, because I seem to recall it was when everyone finished reading Allegiant that everyone started shouting.
But you want to know what the weird part is? I mean, the extra weird part? Aside from how inbreeding is going to save humanity? You know how the Divergent series constantly overexplains itself? How Tris breaks down every little theme and every single narrative development, like the book is absolutely terrified that someone will miss a single thing that happens in it?
You know how the book ends with everybody watching a video about how human nature has turned evil and resulted in overwhelming death and destruction, so these people are their only hope? These people, who are surrounded in a post-battle, wartorn building by overwhelming death and destruction?
And that this is more than a little ironic?
Why is this the one thing that the book doesn’t feel the need to beat over the reader’s head? The book explains everything to the reader, so… did… did the book not pick up on its best, most ironic theme?
Question of the day! What the fuck?