Allegiant Chapter 55: Tobias (Because Tris is Dead)
Tobias is, unsurprisingly, still sad about Tris’ death.
Those lost in the memory serum haze are gathered into groups and given the truth: that human nature is complex, that all our genes are different, but neither damaged nor pure. They are also given the lie: that their memories were erased because of a freak accident, and that they were on the verge of lobbying the government for equality for GDs.
Wait, why the fuck did they even use the words “genetically damaged” if they’re trying to show that that was complete bullshit. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just be like, “People are all created differently, but we’re all special in our own way!” Rather than invent a story about how they were “lobbying the government for equality for GDs.” Surely, some asshole might use this as a way to start the whole problem over again by claiming that the genetically pure are better. Like why give them this arbitrary distinction if you’ve realized how meaningless it is? I really don’t get it. They might as well have just told people they were on the verge of lobbying the government for more chocolate cake.
Tobias also informs us that Johanna is arranging transport for anyone in the Chicago experiment that wants to leave, and he tells us he doesn’t care what happens to any of them. Except the whole reason they went through with this fucking plan was because they cared enough to save their memories, so now seems like a stupid time to give up caring what happens to them now.
Caleb approaches Tobias and delivers Tris’ final message.
“She told me that if she didn’t survive, I should tell you . . .” Caleb chokes, then pulls himself up straight, fighting off tears. “That she didn’t want to leave you.”
I should feel something, hearing her last words to me, shouldn’t I? I feel nothing. I feel farther away than ever.”
“Yeah?” I say harshly. “Then why did she? Why didn’t she let you die?”
NONE OF US FUCKING KNOW, DUDE. Even Caleb is just like, “Idk. That’s just the way it is.” Which seems like the most appropriate way this book can explain Tris’ death.
I know why she wanted to tell me that she didn’t want to leave me. She wanted me to know that this was not another Erudite headquarters, not a lie told to make me sleep while she went to die, not an act of unnecessary self-sacrifice.
This whole idea that Tris was finally able to die because this was the right time to sacrifice herself seems really poorly executed here to me. Like the message is that all the times before she wanted to die for the wrong reasons but this time it was meaningful? Because Caleb was going to die for the wrong reason, so Tris had to step in and sacrifice herself in the correct manner?
Mourning!Tobias sadly wanders around until he finds Cara talking to a bland, memory-less Peter about…how to get back to the dormitory basically. What a thrilling and fulfilling conclusion for this character who hung around the books with no purpose whatsoever.
Cara and Tobias sit in sad silence until Christina comes over. We sure can count on Christina to bring something interesting to the table!
“There you are,” Christina says, jogging toward us. Her face is swollen and her voice is listless, like a heavy sigh. “Come on, it’s time. They’re unplugging him.”
So now it’s time for Uriah to also die, because you should always follow a major character death with a minor character death to try to maximize the characters’ suffering without maximizing the reader’s suffering or something.
For some reason Tobias’ mom is in the hospital when they show up because this was an appropriate time to remind us that she’s around.
We make it to the observation window outside Uriah’s room, and Evelyn is there—Amar picked her up in my stead, a few days ago. She tries to touch my shoulder and I yank it away, not wanting to be comforted.
For a second I thought the point was going to subtly show us that they were making steps forward to heal their relationship, but I guess she really is just mentioned to remind us of her existence.
Also in the hospital is David.
“What is he doing there?” I feel like all my muscles and bones and nerves are on fire.
“He’s still technically the leader of the Bureau, at least until they replace him,” Cara says from behind me. “Tobias, he doesn’t remember anything. The man you knew doesn’t exist anymore; he’s as good as dead. That man doesn’t remember kill—”
“Shut up!” I snap. David signs the clipboard and turns around, pushing himself toward the door. It opens, and I can’t stop myself—I lunge toward him, and only Evelyn’s wiry frame stops me from wrapping my hands around his throat. He gives me a strange look and pushes himself down the hallway as I press against my mother’s arm, which feels like a bar across my shoulders.
“Tobias,” Evelyn says. “Calm. Down.”
“Why didn’t someone lock him up?” I demand, and my eyes are too blurry to see out of.
“Because he still works for the government,” Cara says. “Just because they’ve declared it an unfortunate accident doesn’t mean they’ve fired everyone. And the government isn’t going to lock him up just because he killed a rebel under duress.”
Um given no one fucking remembers anything, why not just make up a story in which David deserves to be in jail? Or just be like, ‘He doesn’t remember anything that happened. We’re not going to hold him accountable.” Even that would be slightly more interesting than, “He still works for the government!” HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW THAT. You could have told him he was literally anything and he would have believed you. I guess maybe she means the part of the government that didn’t lose their memory? But then if that part of the government is still operating under the guise that genetically damaged/genetically pure are different…won’t everything stay the same?
It’s also really weird how David just looks at Tobias like, “What is this guy on about?” And isn’t at all like alarmed or curious why this random dude is attacking him.
Anyway, Uriah dies.
Allegiant Chapter 56: STILL FUCKING TOBIAS
Tobias returns to Chicago and his old house…to shave his head. Why is this book still going on? I know I’ve said that since like page 2, but I really am at a loss.
Holding a vial of the memory serum, Tobias first explains to us again how it works (I can’t wait to never have to read anyone in this series explain a fucking serum to me for the millionth time) and then starts telling us what’s going on with Johanna. I guess these things are related somehow:
The experiment is over. Johanna successfully negotiated with the government—David’s superiors—to allow the former faction members to stay in the city, provided they are self-sufficient, submit to the government’s authority, and allow outsiders to come in and join them, making Chicago just another metropolitan area, like Milwaukee. The Bureau, once in charge of the experiment, will now keep order in Chicago’s city limits.
Again, why are David’s superiors suddenly willing to change their whole system now if they retained all their memories? What has actually been achieved here?
It will be the only metropolitan area in the country governed by people who don’t believe in genetic damage. A kind of paradise. Matthew told me he hopes people from the fringe will trickle in to fill all the empty spaces, and find there a life more prosperous than the one they left.
I give up.
Apparently, so does Tobias who just wants to forget about all this nonsense and be someone else. But Christina shows up and tells him he’s a coward. They argue, but Christina makes valid points about not erasing Tris from his life and how she would never want to forget Will.
Tobias breaks down, and it’s actually very sad and not stupid until this bit:
Eventually I pull away, but her hands stay on my shoulders, warm and rough with calluses. Maybe just as skin on a hand grows tougher after pain in repetition, a person does too. But I don’t want to become a calloused man.
Allegiant… you were so close to just have a nice, sad scene without any heavy-handed metaphors. Just shhhh.
I’m not saying that metaphor couldn’t have been written really well, the heart of it is good, it’s just the fact that he was like, “Christina’s hands have callouses…WHAT IF MY EMOTIONS ARE LIKE THIS.”
The chapter ends with Tobias telling us he needs to be brave by continuing on with his life even though he’s in pain. This is true, but we already got this lesson hammered home when Tris lost her family and overcame her suicidal feelings. I didn’t need that moral repackaged and delivered through Tobias.
My deepest apologies, but there’s still a god damn epilogue, so stay tuned for that tomorrow.