In today’s chapters, the old story back in the Chicago experiment very slightly progresses, and the new story in the Bureau also very slightly progresses. We also notice that something kinda interesting almost happens: since Tris and Tobias are spending more time apart, they’re on completely different sides of this divide.
Ok, hopefully I got you pumped up enough to read about another two chapters of Allegiant, because they’re still two chapters of Allegiant.
Chapter 31: Tobias
Tobias feels guilty about his role in the attempted coup against the Bureau, but wanders into the HQ to watch the monitors of the Chicago experiment. He does this right as Marcus and Johanna begin a secret meeting to progress the plot, which is remarkably fortunate timing.
“I knew you stayed in the city,” she says. “They’re looking all over for you.”
It’s like no matter where anyone goes in this story, nothing happens anyway.
Marcus explains his incredibly vague plan to reclaim the city from Evelyn and the factionless.
“Evelyn controls the city because she controls the weapons. If we take those weapons away, she won’t have nearly as much power”
Holy shit, Marcus, you just solved every problem in the world! How do we resolve tension in the middle east? Take away all the weapons in the middle east! How do we alleviate worries that terrorists might acquire nuclear weapons? Take away all the nuclear weapons! And why stop there? Marcus’s “take away the problem and the problem is gone” plan can do anything! Let’s take away racism! Then racism isn’t a problem anymore! GUYS, THIS IS SUCH A GREAT PLAN! I don’t see how Johanna could possibly say no to a plan so detailed and totally real as this one!
Marcus says. “I contacted you because I thought you were a friend.”
“I thought you contacted me because you know I’m still the leader of the Allegiant, and you want an ally,” Johanna says […] “They told me what your boy said when he was under truth serum. That nasty rumor Jeanine Matthews spread about you and your son . . . it was true, wasn’t it?”
Don’t get too excited. She still immediately agrees to Marcus’s completely substance-less plan anyway.
“Let me join you in leading the Allegiant,” he says. “I was an Abnegation leader. I was practically the leader of this entire city. People will rally behind me.”
“People have rallied already,” Johanna points out. “And not behind a person, but behind the desire to reinstate the factions. Who says I needyou?”
“Not to diminish your accomplishments, but the Allegiant are still too insignificant to be any more than a small uprising,” Marcus says. “There are more factionless than any of us knew. You do need me. You know it.” […]
Carefully, Johanna says to him, “Can you promise me that you will, wherever possible, try to limit the destruction we will cause?”
Why does this happen? Johanna has just learned that Marcus is a monster who lied about abusing his child and spouse for years, and this is the plan that forces her to side with him anyway? Ugh, fuck the old story. Let’s go see what Tris is up to with the new story.
Chapter 32: Tris
Over in the new story that’s completely replaced the dumb, ol’ Chicago experiment story anyway (Remember when this story was what the entire first two books were about? Fuck that noise! That was sooo one book ago!), David summons Tris to his office. Tris is worried this will be awkward, since their last encounter ended with Tris using him as a human shield of sorts, but it’s ok, because she’s also worried about boys.
Uriah is still in a coma. I still can’t look at Tobias […] I’m not sure when, or if, anything will ever get better, not sure if these wounds are the kind that can heal.
Tris once again rediscovers the theme that people are complicated and don’t fit into evil/not evil categories.
David sits in a wheelchair […] Though I know that he had something to do with the attack simulation, and with all those deaths, I find it difficult to pair those actions with the man I see in front of me.
Unless they’re Erudite, of course.
David thanks Tris for her role in saving his life and the Bureau, and tells her that – while they still don’t know what to actually do with all her friends that escaped the Chicago experiment – he would like her to begin training to be on the group of councilors that runs the Bureau.
And so Divergent flips the coin of character motivation…
The councilors are probably the same people who authorized the attack simulation and ensured that it was passed on to Jeanine at the right time. And he wants me to sit among them, learn to become them.
“I’m sorry,” I say slowly. “I don’t think this is something I’m ready for at this time.”
“I see,” David says. I take note of the disappointment on his face. I hope I bought myself some time.
So I guess that’s her decision about that! Except it’s totally not. I made that dialogue up. Here’s what she really says:
“Of course,” I say, and smile. “I would be honored.”
If someone offers you an opportunity to get closer to your enemy, you always take it. I know that without having learned it from anyone.
But did you believe me the first time? Does it necessarily make more sense, based on how we know Tris thinks and what (if anything) is motivating her right now, that she would say yes instead of no? We even have a “I just knew” in here! We’re literally making up her motivation on the spot here, so this is another case where the characters’ decisions are a bit more like…
Tris uses her new connection with David to ask about his relationship with her mother. For some reason. Because as you might imagine, this immediately gets weird.
“You were . . . close with my mother, while she was here?” I say. […]
Yes, we were close, your mother and I.” His voice softens when he talks about her— he is no longer the toughened leader of this compound, but an old man, reflecting on some fonder past.
The book elaborates on this point with Veronica Roth’s usual talent for subtlety:
The past that happened before he got her killed.
David also reveals that he remembers that Tris threatened to shoot him in the Weapons Lab, but explains that he sees this as a good thing, because it shows that Tris is willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. Tris takes the opportunity to ask what would have happened if Nita and co simply blew up the door into the Weapons Lab.
The answer is, of course, another serum.
“A serum would have been released into the air… one that masks could not have protected against, because it is absorbed into the skin,” says David. “One that even the genetically pure cannot fight off. I don’t know how Nita knows about it, since it’s not supposed to be public knowledge, but I suppose we’ll find out some other time.”
Who wants to place a bet that Nita learned this through yet another serum too?