Insurgent Ch47 + Conclusion

Last time, gay people! There was only one and now she’s a corpse, but hey, still better representation that usual.

Tris deals with this by shutting down further, but notes that hey, there’s a good chance she’ll be executed and never have to actually think about how many people are dead. Then Jeanine’s corpse is thrown into the room.

I have trouble connecting this body with the woman I knew, the woman without a conscience.
And even she was more complicated than I thought, keeping a secret that she thought was too terrible to reveal, out of a heinously twisted protective instinct.

I’d like to remind everyone that Tris can’t have an actual opinion about if this is a good idea or not, because she still does not know what the damn secret is. She also doesn’t know if Abnegation was really planning on telling anyone or if Marcus just said they were, as for all we know, the rest of Abnegation thought Jeanine stole it to reveal it and were dying to try to get it back to stop that.

Also, she can’t not have a conscience and be doing everything because she thinks it’s right. Words mean things, Tris.

Johanna shows up.

“Yeah, I saw you and your little band of peacekeepers, getting in everyone’s way,” says Tori.
“Yes, that was intentional,” Johanna replies. “Since getting in the way meant standing between guns and innocents, and saved a great number of lives.”

It’s really unclear what role Amity could play given it was zombies vs Dauntless. If they were meat shields for the Dauntless, Tori wouldn’t be annoyed, but if they tried being meat shields for the zombies, they’d be shot to death. But fine, they did something that got in everyone’s way but somehow reduced deaths, and Tori is mad despite most of the deaths in this case being zombies who Dauntless didn’t want to hurt. Meanwhile, Tris informs us that Johanna is beautiful in part because of her scar.

“Since you are still so very generous,” says Tori, “I wonder if you might carry a message back to the Amity.”
“I don’t feel comfortable leaving you and your army to dole out justice as you see fit,” says Johanna, “but I will certainly send someone else to Amity with a message.”
“Fine,” says Tori. “Tell them that a new political system will soon be formed that will exclude them from representation. This, we believe, is their just punishment for failing to choose a side in this conflict. They will, of course, be obligated to continue to produce and deliver food to the city, but they will be under supervision by one of the leading factions.”

Book, book, book. The previous setup was everyone was excluded from representation and Abnegation ordered them around. Transitioning to a republic that only excludes some people is a step up. Also, Amity clearly showed they are useless fuckers who can’t be trusted in a time of crisis. You can’t have people who are willing to do anything, including letting people die, to reduce overall conflict.

Also, you lazy fucks don’t bother harvesting crops and maybe being under another group with actual work ethics will help with that.

“Fine,” she says. “I’m going to go do something useful. I don’t suppose you would allow some of us to come in here and tend to these wounded?”
Tori gives her a look.
“I didn’t think so,” says Johanna. “Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”

This is an odd statement for people whose previous system involved disenfrancising people way worse. But Tris has decided that brains are okay in moderation and makes that connection! Then she realizes only the factionless have guns.

Time for Evil Mom the Evil Rebel against the just and good abusive faction reign.

“The faction system that has long supported itself on the backs of discarded human beings will be disbanded at once,” says Evelyn. “We know this transition will be difficult for you, but—”
“We?” Tori breaks in, looking scandalized. “What are you talking about, disbanded?”
“What I am talking about,” says Evelyn, looking at Tori for the first time, “is that your faction, which up until a few weeks ago was clamoring along with the Erudite for the restriction of food and goods to the factionless, a clamor that resulted in the destruction of the Abnegation, will no longer exist.”

SO EVIL.

Evelyn continues to evilly explain that she gets that they’ve been taught faction is all, but they’ll get over it.

She pushes herself to her feet and limps toward Evelyn, who calmly takes her gun in hand and points it at Tori.
“I have not been starving for more than a decade just to give in to a Dauntless woman with a leg injury,” Evelyn says. “So unless you want me to shoot you, take a seat with your fellow ex-faction members.”

Luckily Tobias shows up before Evelyn can do anything especially evil, like suggest democracy. Her crazed rant got through to him! And now we finally learn what the secret was.

We pull apart and turn toward the wall, where a woman with short brown hair is projected. She sits at a metal desk with her hands folded, in a location I don’t recognize. The background is too dim.
“Hello,” she says. “My name is Amanda Ritter. In this file I will tell you only what you need to know. I am the leader of an organization fighting for justice and peace. This fight has become increasingly more important—and consequently, nearly impossible—in the past few decades. That is because of this.”
Images flash across the wall, almost too fast for me to see. A man on his knees with a gun pressed to his forehead. The woman pointing it at him, her face emotionless.
From a distance, a small person hanging by the neck from a telephone pole.
A hole in the ground the size of a house, full of bodies.
And there are other images too, but they move faster, so I get only impressions of blood and bone and death and cruelty, empty faces, soulless eyes, terrified eyes.
Just when I have had enough, when I feel like I am going to scream if I see any more, the woman reappears on the screen, behind her desk.
“You do not remember any of that,” she says. “But if you are thinking these are the actions of a terrorist group or a tyrannical government regime, you are only partially correct. Half of the people in those pictures, committing those terrible acts, were your neighbors. Your relatives. Your coworkers. The battle we are fighting is not against a particular group. It is against human nature itself—or at least what it has become.”

“That is why you are so important,” Amanda says. “Our struggle against violence and cruelty is only treating the symptoms of a disease, not curing it. You are the cure.
“In order to keep you safe, we devised a way for you to be separated from us. From our water supply. From our technology. From our societal structure. We have formed your society in a particular way in the hope that you will rediscover the moral sense most of us have lost.



So much for that! I sure hope you guys had a backup plan.


Over time, we hope that you will begin to change as most of us cannot.
“The reason I am leaving this footage for you is so that you will know when it’s time to help us. You will know that it is time when there are many among you whose minds appear to be more flexible than the others. The name you should give those people is Divergent. Once they become abundant among you, your leaders should give the command for Amity to unlock the gate forever, so that you may emerge from your isolation.”

“The information in this video is to be restricted to those in government only,” Amanda says. “You are to be a clean slate. But do not forget us.”

“I am about to join your number,” she says. “Like the rest of you, I will voluntarily forget my name, my family, and my home. I will take on a new identity, with false memories and a false history. But so that you know the information I have provided you with is accurate, I will tell you the name I am about to take as my own.”

“My name will be Edith Prior,” she says. “And there is much I am happy to forget.”

So…that was that. A secret that absolutely could’ve just been explained. It’s funny, I liked the last book overall and just felt the final section to be shoddy, while here the book’s been pretty awful this whole time but that was a pretty okay bang to go out on. The social experiment aspect was obvious, but the exact reason wasn’t, and it does a good job of upping the stakes because apparently things are even worse out there (although it’s unclear if that was greatest hits of human atrocities or what you’d see walking down the average street. Might be interesting to have one of these things where it’s the people inside the fence that have been turned into monsters.)

The fact the factionless system is obviously bad could have been designed to make people try to improve things. The fact divergence has anything to do with it, though, is dumb. You can explain the faction arrangement as similar to my previous theory it was a reaction from the war, people are searching for a new morality. But they shouldn’t know what the outcome is beforehand, and the mess of different things we’re told about divergence don’t add up well – the aptitude for multiple virtues fits, but the simulation superpowers continue to have nothing to do with that. And maybe Tris’ brain structure is actually what they were trying to get? Because the most likely reason for divergents is they’re just people who diverge from the norm, which would mean they do it in different ways. (I’m also unclear on how factions like Amity are supposed to do any good up against people who apparently have been turning into a society of psychopaths.)

There’s also a lot of random detail in there that makes little sense – why do they need separate water? If they’re literally worried that crazymaking violence is in the water because who knows maybe, then they obviously have no idea what’s going on, which doesn’t fit with how they seemed to have such an exact idea how this would work out.

And having the woman in the video be her ancestor is stupid and adds nothing.

Still, while obviously whatever comes next will be nonsensical and probably bear only passing resemblance to the current story, at least it does sound exciting.

I’m not sure what possible plot fixes there are. Everything pales before the fact there was no coherent plot as we shot between universes constantly. I’m also pretty sure the main solution is that Divergent should’ve been the only book. But the social experiment thing sort of has legs. They’re isolated and unused to dealing with anything new, kept far behind technologically – meeting the outside would is obviously going to be a disaster, but if it’s a situation bad enough that this disaster seemed their best option, it’s certainly going to be an interesting disaster. You could also have them here because of some alarmist crazies and have them find themselves in a world where they’re the scary violent people who commit atrocities. It’s not even much of a stretch, since even before the stress of the in-fighting, it seemed plausible the first thing they’d do upon finding out there were no factions is start conquering and forcing people into factions.

But mostly, the fix for this book is that it should not be. Divergent could’ve had a proper ending and have that been it.

Even if there’s anything to the social experiment, it should’ve happened at the start while society is still shocked by Erudite’s attack on Abnegation. All the drama between factions would’ve worked fine with them debating what to do in response, and it’d have just worked better by having it make sense they’d be debating  what to do rather than being all “I’m sure Hitler will stop invading any day now!” If we need continued Erudite aggression, they could try to take over the other factions to keep them from leaving.

So. Apparently for some reason the top poll choice is to continue this to the end, followed distantly by Animorphs. But I’m really busy right now, so I’m going to post a bunch of stuff I have already done first.

12 Comments

  1. Aardvark123 says:
    To be honest, I am really looking forward to Animorphs. However, the stuff you have already done will probably be good as well.
    1. Farla says:
      From the looks of it, it’ll be next after Divergent is done.
  2. Savanah says:
    That was… anti climatic, they hiped this secret so much, that it felt kinda of… eh
    1. Farla says:
      Well, after dragging it out this long nothing would be able to live up to it.
  3. Eilonwy_has_an_aardvark says:
    Yeah, the first book should have ended with this revelation about the nature of the city.

    If the Divergent march out of the city in the second book (as the video instructs), that leaves the factions under-explored, which would make the case for having internal strife interfere with the exit. Do internal strife for the first third-to-half, leave Evelyn in charge, and then leave the city.

    Let Tris and her allies get into lots of trouble outside the city, with the prospect that things might go really wrong (because when you’re only in the second book, big changes are still possible, but in the third, you’re required to solve your problems) and then the cliff-hanger is (a) the mission in real jeopardy; (b) the city in real jeopardy; or (c) an Even More Dire Revelation (or all three!).

    Structurally, that’s not perfect, but it gives us more space to care about new cast outside the city and it cranks up the stakes.

    1. Farla says:
      If the Divergent march out of the city in the second book (as the video instructs), that leaves the factio0ns under-explored, which would make the case for having internal strife interfere with the exit.

      Oh, there’s so many reasons they shouldn’t just head out. Like the fact they just genocided one of their factions, so, who exactly are they to tell people what to do? Plus turns out the factionless were five seconds away from genociding a lot more factions! Then when we get over the fact they clearly failed to create a more moral community, there’s the question of how they’re supposed to go out to a society of mass murderers and do anything about it, or if they’re even needed (maybe everyone actually is dead by now, or maybe they figured out their problems on their own…)

      The Erudite faction clearly doesn’t want people going out – although I realize now we don’t even know what precisely their reason for that is. The obvious reason is fearing what’s out there, but maybe it’s that the divergent thing suggests the factions are meant to be a transitional phase and it means the end of factions. Her brother rambled a bit about “what’s outside” but Jeanine seemed focused on fixing up the faction system.

  4. Betty Cross says:
    The big reveal in book three was a letdown to me. I was expecting the outside world to be a howling wilderness, no people left. Seeing this, members of rival factions look each other in the eye and say, “Holy sh*t, we’re all that’s left of the human race. We’ve got to get along.”

    But it won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the whole trilogy.

    1. Farla says:
      Really, even if there are people outside…well, it’s sort of like a reverse Lord of the Flies, where the adult shows up but is all “we need your purity developed from being separated from the sinful adult world to teach us not to do bad things!” and they’re all “Uh we just were hunting this kid insisting he was a food animal and then we were gonna eat him.”

      They obviously aren’t in any state to be a moral beacon to anybody else, and apparently any people outside the gates may be even worse, and also that means it’s totally possible they could end up that terrible if they don’t get their shit together fast. If there was ever a time to say they need to get their own house in order, it’s now.

  5. Number27 says:
    Are we supposed to take away from the secret video that simulation serum which makes people kill each other has gone viral and the purpose of the faction experiment was to breed simulation resistant people? Because that was my sense, reading that passage. Maybe we wobbled into an alternate where that was the plot in the middle of the reveal but came back out by the end?
    1. Farla says:
      Ooh, that’d have been a quality apocalypse!

      I remember reading a short story once where kids were raised in this weird school where there were patches of impenetrable darkness all over, and the weird thing was when they tried to hide in them the adults could see them fine. Also, they found these weird images that made them feel sick to look at and, being kids, would sneak away to see how long they could look at them in one go. Turned out that it was one of those scifi settings where people had invented brainmelting pictures, so the kids were being kept safe by having brain chips that made most of the world dark to avoid seeing stuff by accident. But it turned out the kids were immunizing themselves through exposure, and the adults realized that instead, they should’ve been plastering the weaker images all over so the kids would be able to shake off the deadly ones.

      1. Number27 says:
        That kind of “tech messes with brains” horror is fascinating and underutilized. My mind may have gone that direction because of Dollhouse, a Joss Whedon series based around mind wipe/ transfer tech. The series follows a company doing this in secret to basically make custom super escorts for all occasions, with the people in question being mainly Whedon patented Strong Female Characters. That goes about as well as you’d expect. The final episode of the first season, though, flashes forward several years into post apocalypse world where someone figured out how to perform wipes/ transfers remotely, the tech proliferated and people started using it as a weapon which rapidly broke society. Now people have their names tattooed on their backs. When you meet someone, they read your name and you tell them what it is to prove you’re still you.
        1. Farla says:
          That sounds awesome. I’m just sad it apparently wasn’t the final episode of the final season.

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