Okay, so Tris is gonna die now. Tobias is screaming he wants to see her, and Peter tells her where a window is that they can glimpse each other through, and then they do that.
The next hallway is packed with Dauntless traitors, tall and short, young and old, armed and unarmed. They all wear the blue armband of betrayal.
“Hey!” Peter shouts. “Clear a path!”
The Dauntless traitors closest to us hear him, and press against the walls to make way for us. The other Dauntless traitors follow suit soon after, and everyone is quiet. Peter steps back to let me go ahead of him. I know the way from here.
I don’t know where the pounding starts, but someone drums their fists against the wall, and someone else joins in, and I walk down the aisle between solemn-but-raucous Dauntless traitors, their hands in motion at their sides. The pounding is so fast my heart races to keep up with it.
Some of the Dauntless traitors incline their heads to me—I’m not sure why.
I’m going to assume this goes with whatever alternate had Tris be a strong character before now. What a good scene in that story this must be.
Dauntless traitors crowded the hallway; the Erudite crowd the execution room, but there, they have made a path for me already. Silently they study me as I walk to the metal table in the center of the room.
Jeanine stands a few steps away. The scratches on her face show through hastily applied makeup.
And here we go: evil women wear ineffectual makeup, as always. Evil = makeup. Makeup that tries and fails to hide THE TRUTH.
Tris does not decide to go down swinging. I will grant that this action seems completely in keeping with her character, but that just highlights the problem with her character.
Tris admits that she totally was trying to get herself killed and suddenly realizes this is actually a bad idea, which she does silently and still without making any effort to fight back.
Incidentally, she’ll be killed by purple serum, because “serum” is the only sciencey word the author knows so it is all things to all people.
Peter leans forward and looks into my eyes.
“The serum will go into effect in one minute,” he says. “Be brave, Tris.”
This successfully distracts her from being afraid because wtf wtf wtf.
Her heart monitor stops but she’s still alive. No one notices she’s still breathing. No one checks the body. Peter is told to remove the body to somewhere it can sit completely unobserved before the autopsy hours and hours later.
“What do—” Tobias’s voice. Tobias! “Oh my God. Oh—”
“Spare me your blubbering, okay?” Peter says. “She’s not dead; she’s just paralyzed. It’ll only last for about a minute. Now get ready to run.”
So that’s a thing.
Peter delivers them to the giant trash incinerator, and incidentally that kind of thing is super wasteful. If Erudite is motivated by the knowledge they’re running out of everything, you’d think they’d be a little more careful. Peter turned it off, so it’s their escape route.
“Take the least logical route!” shouts Tobias.
“What?” Peter says.
“The least logical route,” Tobias says. “So they won’t find us!”
I read it so you have to too.
Then it occurs to me: The least logical thing to do is stop running.
The least logical thing to do when trying not to be found it to hide.
“How did you do it?” I say.
“It wasn’t that hard,” he says. “I dyed a paralytic serum purple and switched it out with the death serum. Replaced the wire that was supposed to read your heartbeat with a dead one. The bit with the heart monitor was harder; I had to get some Erudite help with a remote and stuff—you wouldn’t understand it if I explained it to you.”
“Why did you do it?” I say. “You want me dead. You were willing to do it yourself! What changed?”
Thank god the paralyzing serums are apparently clear and easy to dye allowing WAIT SOME ERUDITE HELPED WITH THIS? TRIS WHY DO YOU CARE WHY PSYCHO BOY HELPED WHAT ABOUT THAT OTHER PERSON? THAT OTHER, INFINITELY MORE INTERESTING PERSON?
Instead, Peter explains that he’s a cliche and therefore has this honor code because back when Tris saved him for no damn reason at the start of the book, he’s realized he had to pay her back.
We were even before that—I almost killed you during initiation, you almost killed me during the attack simulation; we’re square, right?
Tris says the idea of people keeping score is the insane part of this statement.
“It’s not?” Peter raises his eyebrows. “I don’t know what world you live in, but in mine, people only do things for you for one of two reasons. The first is if they want something in return. And the second is if they feel like they owe you something.”
I would remind you here that Peter is, supposedly, Candor, where if people were doing stuff just to get something from you, they’d just say it. But why let the few established facts of the setting get in the way of the only possibly way for Peter’s presence to get more boring?
Tobias, instead of realizing that they need to murder the psychopath before he turns on them again in five minutes, then says they’ll just have to keep doing him favors so they stay on his good side, because clearly that is the way to deal with this.
Tris wonders what horrible childhood Peter had that taught him this and seriously he’s fucking Candor this makes no sense.
They then proceed to walk in broad sight to the factionless/Dauntless stronghold in Abnegation, because it’s very dramatic how conversations sputter and die, and eyes cling to my face and body
Tobias heads to his old house, because obviously that’s where he’d think to hang out, and inside is Evelyn, because ditto, obviously. At least there’s no sign of fucking Edward.
Evelyn puts one arm around Tobias and touches his face with the other, pressing her cheek to his. She says something to him. He smiles at her when he pulls away. Mother and son, reconciled. I am not sure it’s wise.
Fuck you, book.
Tobias goes to his old room where we’re told that Marcus has left everything just like it was. Maybe next book we can learn that Marcus, like Peter, deserves our consideration and time. Not Evelyn, though. She’s just evil.
Tris has a quick breakdown about her family being gone and Tobias says he’s family now and she says she loves him and they kiss. Again. I feel like this entire thing was resolved the first book, so it’s hard to feel much investment here.
The next day Tris gets up feeling kind of dead.
I don’t turn on the lights in the bathroom because I know they will be pale and bright, just like the lights in the Erudite compound.
A nice detail.
Then she finds all her friends have come over to take over Tobias’ room.
Together we go down the stairs, our footsteps thundering as they never would have been allowed to in my parents’ house. My father used to scold me for running down the stairs. “Do not call attention to yourself,” he said. “It is not courteous to the people around you.”
More nice details. Abnegation is the best handled of the factions.
I stand in the doorway to the living room. Five people are crowded onto the three-person couch, playing a card game I recognize from Candor headquarters. A man sits in the armchair with a woman balanced on his lap, and someone else perches on the arm, a can of soup in hand. Tobias sits on the floor, his back against the coffee table. Every part of his posture suggests ease—one leg bent, the other straight, an arm slung across his knee, his head tilted to listen. I have never seen him look so comfortable without a gun. I didn’t think it was possible.
Really, all of this is suddenly nicely written. Good details, good setting – it’s a lot like the Dauntless community moments last book.
Of course, we’re still in downer mode, so:
I get the same sinking feeling in my stomach that I always get when I know I’ve been lied to, but I don’t know who it was that lied to me this time, or about what, exactly. But this is not what I was taught to expect of factionlessness. I was taught that it was worse than death.
This would be good except why didn’t she have this revelation back when she met the factionless earlier and they were clearly short of worse than death?
We learn they’re in Marcus’ house because Evelyn kicked him out of it. That kind of makes sense.
“It caused a huge blowup on the front lawn, but eventually Evelyn won.”
Of course, it means portraying the whole thing in a way that minimizes the whole abusive husband and father bit. Maybe this is building up to why the narration keeps insisting Evelyn is evil, we’ll find out she was just lying about him being abusive to her because everyone knows women lie about that sort of thing all the time.
In case we’d forgotten she was evil, Tris looks at Evelyn who’s chatting with the psychopath they brought with the.
My stomach churns. Tobias talks about her almost reverently. But I still remember what she said to me about my transience in Tobias’s life.
I GET IT SHE’S EVIL.
Tobias is all “Mom’s probably trying to convince him to be factionless :D factionism is so silly isn’t it :D”
I don’t feel like picking a fight with him here. Or reminding him that it won’t be so easy to persuade Dauntless and Candor to join the factionless in their crusade against the faction system.
It may take another war.
That makes no sense, so I guess it’ll happen.
Evelyn doesn’t even seem to want to get rid of the factions, as reasonable as that’d be, she just wants the factionless to be equals instead of starving. But point is, she’s evil and probably just doing it so she can rule the place with an iron (and incompetent) fist.
Fucking Edward then shows up. He assaults Peter. Since obviously he’s not going to kill Peter because Peter will not fucking die, even this doesn’t endear me to him.
Peter jolts back so hard he slams his head into the wall. Edward grins, and all around us, the factionless laugh.
There’s no sign here that any of the factionless know Peter is the guy who stabbed Edward’s eye. It’s just haha, we’re assholes. Edward then threatens to stab Peter’s throat out with a fork, but Evelyn calls him back.
Tobias informs us that when Drew was also kicked out of Dauntless, Peter beat him not quite to death upon his arrival at the factionless.
“Evidently that’s why that other transfer—Myra, I think her name was?—left Edward. Too gentle to bear it.”
Oh, fuck you book.
Bear in mind that even if this entire sequence of events was necessary, there’s still no goddamn reason we had to have Edward this whole time. Having Myra show up with no sign of him while she worked with Evelyn and only seeing Edward now would’ve gotten the same message across.
I feel hollow at the thought of Drew, almost dead at the hands of Edward. Drew attacked me, too.
So I guess we’re shaping up for a moral of holding grudges over assaults is wrong.
Tobias asks if she’s okay staying in an Abnegation house and she says that surprisingly, she can handle it.
“Really. The simulations in Erudite headquarters … helped me, somehow. To hold on, maybe.” I frown. “Or maybe not. Maybe they helped me to stop holding on so tightly.”
I will take this as canon confirmation that my PTSD/simulations theory is correct.
He kisses her, the factionless joke about how they thought Abnegation were sexless and had kids by willing it, Tobias laughs as if the complete repudiation of his and Tris’ Dauntless choice matters not, and Tris informs us that these are totally his true faction.
They are not characterized by a particular virtue. They claim all colors, all activities, all virtues, and all flaws as their own.
So…the book is heading toward the idea factions are evil, as is mandatory, but it’s still true that Evelyn is evil for thinking factions are evil.
I don’t know what binds them together. The only common ground they have, as far as I know, is failure.
Except that we know people also willingly leave, and even if you choose to ignore that, kicking Dauntless out for getting old or injured isn’t really failure.
Zeke pushes Shauna in her wheelchair
Why has no one taken Zeke aside and said it’s creepy how much in denial he is, and how he needs to accept that the loss of walking ability has made Shauna a nonperson?
Hey, I bet Dauntless do the same funerals for people who leave as the Abnegation! “Let’s remember Grandma as she was, and not as she is now after we threatened to shoot her if she didn’t GTFO to live a life of malnourishment on the streets.”
past the house of Alice Brewster, former Abnegation leader.
A female Abnegation leader! Who’s dead now, but hey, last book Jeanine was the only female leader and this book there’s two but they’re both evil. Alice was probably only slightly evil before she died so we could spend our time on Marcus Marcus Marcus.
Wouldn’t it be great if Marcus was just dead and Alice was the one Tobias was being standoffish with? He holds a grudge against all the Abnegation leaders for never seeing how evil Marcus was, she can’t believe Marcus was evil and the fact he died in the valiant assault on Dauntless HQ just proves he was great, and Tris can’t say otherwise because saying she made him do it at gunpoint has its own problems…
So much better than revealing Marcus is a childbeater and then just having him wander about the rest of the story anyway.
I turn left at the next intersection and start down the cracked sidewalk toward the building where Abnegation had its monthly faction-wide meetings. Though it feels like it has been a long time since I last went there, I still remember where it is.
…so, underage members still took place in the meetings, and meetings appear to be the mechanism by which one casts Abnegation members out, ergo, if this happened, Tris should’ve been aware of it.
Also, does this mean Abnegation was democratic? Why do all factions apparently do their stuff “once a month”? I’m starting to see how Amity’s once a week food deliveries must seem like amazing levels of industry.
She goes to sit where her family used to sit, and fucking Marcus appears because he hasn’t blighted enough of the story with his inexplicably presence. He’s decided to finally chat about the super important info Jeanine stole. She says that hey, maybe she knows already. He says no.
“You don’t know that.”
“I do, actually. Because I have seen what happens to people when they hear the truth. They look like they have forgotten what they were searching for, and are just wandering around trying to remember.”
That’s pretty dramatic but unless we’re going Lovecraft here I doubt it.
The conversation then drags on pointlessly for a bit, then he admits that actually he wasn’t going to tell her.
but not because I don’t want to. It’s because I have no idea how to describe it to you. You have to see it for yourself.”
Tris quickly checks to verify that yup, the author’s name is not Lovecraft, and calls bullshit, he’s just trying to sound important.
He says that this information he can’t say with words was in this file they were going to show everyone which, given files are generally composed largely of words, suggests you can say the damn thing with words. Jeanine attacked a week before the planned reveal date. If this was Lovecraftian, there’d be a good story here where the apparent antagonist had actually gone insane under the strain. After all, who better than Erudite to find out the secret info, and who worse to handle the knowledge that some knowledge simply can’t be known by humans? Their initial attempt to suppress it was a noble attempt but even just the secondhand awareness that yellow-sign type information exists invalidates their entire purpose for existence. The world cannot be known and trying just means sooner or later you run into something like this that destroys you! IA IA CTHULHU FHTAGN!
That’s why they’re suddenly into culling massive numbers of people. They want to get their numbers down low enough science is no longer needed to help support the population. It’s an attempt to deal with a problem as filtered through growingly unhinged minds.
“We are not from here, Beatrice. We were all placed here, for a specific purpose. A while ago, the Abnegation were forced to enlist the help of Erudite in order to achieve that purpose, but eventually everything went awry because of Jeanine. Because she doesn’t want to do what we are supposed to do. She would rather resort to murder.”
Of course, the more likely explanation is just that this is a deliberately isolated group that the main body of humanity asked to do a social experiment with the faction thing for unknown reasons, but what if it’s the planet or reality that they’re not “from”? And that’s what’s beyond the fence and why it’s impossible to convey with mere words.
Suddenly I understand the problem. The factionless plan to destroy, not only the important figures in Erudite, but all the data they have. They will level everything.
I have never thought that plan was a good idea, but I knew that we could come back from it, because the Erudite still know the relevant information, even if they don’t have their data. But this is something even the most intelligent Erudite do not know; something that, if everything is destroyed, we cannot replicate.
Except for the fact the guy standing next to you right now telling you this already knows it.
Also, all you have to do to find it out again is walk out. It’s possible you’re under quarantine for a stupidity virus and they’ll shoot you, but they’ll also probably drop leaflets reexplaining the situation when they realize you’re trying to communicate because you don’t know what’s going on.
Even if we accepted this is a valid issue, all she has to do is tell everyone else the Erudite have information that needs to be shared rather than destroyed. This isn’t even information that has to stay mostly hidden given supposedly the whole idea was to announce it to everyone.
Tris demands to know why she should help and, when told the good of society she demands an actual reason, and he says that specifically her mom raided the HQ not to save her, who she had no way of knowing was there, but to get the file, meaning Tris was saved instead of it. Tris explains that the Abnegation are always willing to die for another person, despite there being no sign of that behavior so far from Abnegation, but never for things, so if her mom risked death to get the file it must be super important. Why no one can just say the information in the first place remains unexplained.
Also, she realizes he’s manipulating her but goes along anyway.