Ugh, you guys, I got into a conversation that started as a totally innocuous “my kids are really into Divergent and it’s so dumb” conversation, and then rapidly went downhill into a “in a world full of men, a girl saves the world?” conversation, which was totally not what I signed up for, and all I wanted in the first place was coffee.
Anyway, today we go into actual reasons why Divergent is terrible. You will recognize most of them are very familiar, because this story certainly could have ended a half thousand words ago.
Chapter 27: Tris
Currently, Nita and a bunch of nondescript minor characters have blown some shit up. Nita and nondescript minor character #7 has David (the leader of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, in case you have no idea who just came in through the Divergent revolving door of important characters) at gunpoint, demanding that he open the door.
“I don’t believe you’ll shoot me,” he says. “Because I’m the only one in this building who knows this information, and you want that serum.” […]
The man and Nita exchange a look. Then the man shifts the gun down, to David’s feet, and fires.
The stakes certainly do feel real, at the exact middle of a book, where antagonists we met a few chapters ago are trying to take a thing we learned about roughly two chapters ago.
Tris can tell some shit’s about to go down, and tells Matthew (still not me) to go get help. When he leaves, Nita moves on to phase 2 of her plan and prepares to inject David with a combination of truth serum and fear serum. Nondescript minor character #7 helpfully reminds us how many times this has been retconned.
“Thought you said that stuff doesn’t work on him,” the man with the gun says.
“I said he could resist it, not that it didn’t work at all,” she says.
Remember when these books were all about how the Divergent were immune to serums? Except when the plot got too complicated and now they’re not? But sort of? Maybe later we’ll find out it’s more potent if you take it in edible form.
David offers an argument that could be generously described as “not compelling”:
“I know this is just the fault of your genes, Nita,”
And Nita suddenly goes full-on evil:
Nita smiles a twisted smile. With relish, she sticks the needle in his neck and presses the plunger.
David starts flipping out and Nita promises to make whatever hallucination he’s experiencing stop if he opens the door for them. We also just sort of ignore how if he’s totally not lucid while he’s making such a promise, it might be hard to later reinforce. Rather than take the story into this obvious cycle of something pointless happening, then it not mattering, then something else pointless happening, and so on (aside from the story as a whole, mind you), Tris just starts shooting up the place.
“Her,” David says, pointing at the space in front of him.
Pointing at me. I stretch my arms around the corner of the wall and fire twice.
The first bullet hits the wall. The second hits the man in the arm, so the huge weapon topples to the floor.
So… who’s she shooting at, exactly? The government guy that she hates? The underclass anarchists that she hates? The group of people with guns and explosives who are sort of ok with her and are not currently shooting at her?
“Tris,” Nita says, “you don’t know what you’re doing—”
“You’re probably right,” I say, and I fire again.
No, seriously, this doesn’t make any sense. Who the fuck is Tris shooting at? And why?
I hit Nita’s side, right above her hip.
Ok, she’s shooting at the anarchists!
David surges toward me with a grimace of pain […] Then I press one of my guns to the back of his head.
And at David! That… wait… ok, I’m going to humbly propose that if it isn’t readily apparent why your main character has a gun pointed at someone, maybe that character’s motivation could use a little work.
To be fair, this does make a little more sense after Tris starts explaining things, but isn’t that sort of worse? Would a Clint Eastwood movies or Star Wars or something seem ok if after a firefight, everything stopped and someone went, “Here’s why I shot those people, by the way.”
“Fire, and I’ll shoot him in the head,” I say.
“You wouldn’t kill your own leader,” the red-haired woman says.
“He’s not my leader. I don’t care if he lives or dies,” I say. “But if you think I’m going to let you gain control of that death serum, you’re insane.”
Tris tries to back away and leave with David, but nondescript minor character #3 shoots at her and grazes her. Then Matthew comes back with more people, who shoot at Nita and company. Everyone’s just shooting people. You’re all caught up now.
I can’t believe I did it.
Not even Tris knows why she’s fucking shooting at people.
Chapter 28: Tris
Everyone goes to the hospital (on account of all the everyone shooting at everyone) and Tris gets medical attention on her bullet graze. We learn that David will live and that Nita will live. So in a way, the story is back where it was before a firefight, which is a really weird thing to have not really alter your status quo. (Sure, they’re probably not super happy with Nita right now, but do you really think that will change whether these characters eventually pull guns on each other again?)
I feel strangely separate from her pain.
How funny. That makes two of us.
Christina shows up because she hasn’t been doing anything in this book aside from communicating information to Tris, and we learn that we don’t know if Uriah is ok and that genetics-racism exists. I mean, yeah, we already knew that, probably, but we just can’t know for sure unless Tris spells it out for us!
“They won’t tell anyone anything. They won’t let us see him. It’s like they think they own him and everything that happens to him!”
“They work differently here. I’m sure they’ll tell you when they know something concrete.”
“Well, they would tell you,” she says, scowling. “But I’m not convinced they would give me a second look.”
A few days ago I might have disagreed with her, unsure how influential their belief in genetic damage was on their behavior. I’m not sure what to do— not sure how to talk to her now that I have these advantages and she does not
We also learn that Tobias was arrested for his involvement with the anarchists.