I know, I know, it’s not Grey. We could all use a break from that. Already.
Chapter 47: Tris
Over on Tris’s side of the climax, her plan to sneakily take Caleb on his suicide mission to the weapons lab without anyone picking up on what’s going on hits a snag when someone picks up on what’s going on. Or rather, Matthew and Tris note that there’s a noticeable lack of something going on, and determine that something must have happened to Cara’s plan to shut off the lights. So they create their own mass chaos.
“You have a gun, don’t you?” I say. “Fire into the air.”
“Do it,” I say through gritted teeth.
Matthew takes his gun out. I grab Caleb’s elbow and steer him down the hallway. Over my shoulder I watch Matthew lift the gun over his head and fire straight up, at one of the glass panels above him.
In the ensuing mayhem, Tris and Caleb run to the weapons lab, but get stopped by security officers, because it turns out it’s harder to break into a secure area when you’ve just fired a gun in a public location, amazingly enough.
As Tris and Caleb are stopped in the corridor, Tris realizes her plan to sacrifice her brother’s life might not work out so well. But for a couple different reasons, which we saw coming from like a whole dang book ago:
When I look at him, I don’t see the cowardly young man who sold me out to Jeanine Matthews, and I don’t hear the excuses he gave afterward.
When I look at him […] I see the brother who told me to make my own choices, the night before the Choosing Ceremony.
I don’t belong to Abnegation, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I don’t belong to the Bureau or the experiment or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me […]all I can hear in my mind, are the words I said to him a few days ago: I would never deliver you to your own execution.
“Caleb,” I say. “Give me the backpack.”
Tris and Caleb then proceed to have an entire goddamn conversation about this while the guards have their guns drawn on them, somehow.
the guard screams at the end of the hallway. “Put down your weapon or we will fire!”
“I might survive the death serum,” I say. “I’m good at fighting off serums. There’s a chance I’ll survive.”
Tris tricks the guards into thinking that Caleb is her hostage so he can get away.
“Caleb,” I say, “I love you.”
His eyes gleam with tears as he says, “I love you, too, Beatrice.”
“If I don’t survive,” I say, “tell Tobias I didn’t want to leave him.”
I back up, aiming over Caleb’s shoulder at one of the security guards. I inhale and steady my hand. I exhale and fire. I hear a pained yell, and sprint in the other direction with the sound of gunfire in my ears.
The saddest part of this is she definitely just deafened Caleb by firing the gun in his ear, so “Tell my boyfriend I didn’t want to leave him” is 100% the last thing Caleb will ever hear.
Tristhen runs off to blow up the door to the weapons lab (which she somehow has time to set up, run a safe distance from, and then run back to it while being chased by these two guards, who clearly don’t want to be here right now), as well as her heavily-foreshadowed death.
At the end of the hallway, the guards have caught up with me. They fire, and a bullet hits me in the fleshy part of my arm. […] Through the windows in those doors I see the Weapons Lab […] I hear a spraying sound and know that the death serum is floating through the air, but the guards are behind me, and I don’t have time to put on the suit that will delay its effects.
I also know, I just know, that I can survive this.
Chapter 48: Tobias
Meanwhile, on Tobias’s side of the climax, Tobias and Peter have successfully reached their destination
by not firing a gun in a crowd of people.
“So what are we going to do, break a window? Look for a back door?”
“I’m just going to walk in,” I say. “I’m her son.”
“You also betrayed her and left the city when she forbade anyone from doing that,” he says, “and she sent people after you to stop you. People with guns.”
“You can stay here if you want,” I say.
“Where the serum goes, I go,” he says. “But if you get shot at, I’m going to grab it and run.”
“I don’t expect anything more.”
He is a strange sort of person.
Sure, Tobias. Nobody else in this book does things with vague motivations that don’t hold up under scrutiny. Only Peter is the weird one.
They enter and are immediately greeted with guns, but once they realize it’s Tobias, they go get Evelyn. Evelyn makes Peter wait outside, which he’s cool with since he doesn’t have any particular reason to be anywhere in this plot anyway.
Tobias fills in his mom on the Bureau’s plan to wipe of the memories of everyone in the city later in the night.
Veronica Roth Evelyn has totally given up on any villainy, so she just accepts it immediately. Then things get weird.
I sit down across from her at the table and put the vial of memory serum between us.
“I came to make you drink this,” I say.
This… well, this is a plan. Maybe he’s thought of an insanely convincing reason in the last… not even an hour. Let’s hear him out.
“I thought it was the only way to prevent total destruction,” I say. “I know that Marcus and Johanna and their people are going to attack, and I know that you will dowhatever it takes to stop them, including using that death serum you possess to its best advantage.” I tilt my head. “Am I wrong?”
Ok, sure, but… we’re still going to get to the part where this will somehow also 1) stop Marcus from attacking, and 2) stop the Bureau from wiping everyone’s memory, right?
“The reason the factions were evil is because there was no way out of them,” I say. “They gave us the illusion of choice without actually giving us a choice.”
Oh, fuck, we’re talking about the meaning of the factions again.
To be fair, the conversation does mainly just cover Tobia’s and Evelyn’s fraught mother-son relationship, and the emotion in here is more real than anything we’ve read in actual hundreds of pages.
“If you thought that, why didn’t you tell me?” she says, her voice louder and her eyes avoiding mine, avoiding me. “Tell me, instead of betraying me?”
“Because I’m afraid of you!” […] “You . . . you remind me of him!”
“Don’t you dare.” She clenches her hands into fists and almost spits at me, “Don’t you dare.”
Of course, none of their conversation has anything to do with why it actually makes any sense for Evelyn to willingly wipe her memory forever, but you weren’t expecting reasons by this point, were you?
Anyway, Tobias has like nineteenth epiphany about the meaning of using this one memory wipe, so hopefully you weren’t too caught up on whatever the greater reason was for doing it last time.
But she is more than my mother. She is a person in her own right, and she does not belong to me.
I do not get to choose what she becomes just because I can’t deal with who she is.
“No,” I say. “No, I came to give you a choice.”
But hopefully you didn’t think this one would make sense either.
“I thought about going to see Marcus tonight, but I didn’t.” I swallow hard. “I came to see you instead because . . . because I think there’s a hope of reconciliation between us. Not now, not soon, but someday.”
As in after she’s permanently wiped her memory. So Tobias’s pitch her is that she can do something that won’t stop her husband’s violent coup against her rule, nor will prevent the Bureau from wiping everyone’s memory, but will offer the chance of reconciliation with her, after she has permanently forgotten who he is.
she reaches across the table and pulls me fiercely into her arms, which form a wire cage around me, surprisingly strong.
“Let them have the city and everything in it,”
Of course she does.