Last time, why is Marcus not dead.
DAVID SUMMONS ME to his office the next day, and I am afraid that he remembers how I used him as a shield when I was backing away from the Weapons Lab, how I pointed a gun at his head and said I didn’t care if he lived or died.
FUCK IT WE ARE NOW GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE KUROSHITSUJI MOVIE
So I finally sat down to watch it and I really liked it! The Kuro setting of Victorian England as interpreted through Japan is a delight, and the movie then transposed that setting back into modern Japan and it actually worked out pretty well. It’s like, they wanted Japanese actors and to take place in Tokyo, and they wanted Victorian fashion, and so they just did that.
Girl!Ciel was awesome and everyone’s objections were stupid and the people thinking them were stupid and I loved her so much. She is not exactly PTSDboy, but VaguelyResemblingAFunctionalIndividualgirl was great too, and she was in Ciel’s exact outfit down to his stompy heels. This is how you do “no it is the character’s choice to wear this” everyone, she has heels to make her look taller but they aren’t super big and attention drawing because then people would be thinking she’s wearing heels, not that she’s tall. Also, because a knife wouldn’t fit into them otherwise. She was so brave and also an asshole and also so brave! She even got to keep Ciel’s exact level of uselessness in a fight without losing Ciel’s total lack of shit-giving about that fact.
I can’t actually say if the movie was objectively any good, because like all Kuro adaptations it has a couple popular story points to hit, so I have no idea how it comes off to someone who’s seeing those for the first time, but they’re rehashed every time because they’re fun, and the characters were fun, and there were great fight scenes that I could actually enjoy because the violence was done without gushing blood everywhere. Half the time the camera aims just above the hit so you don’t even see it, and even when people are getting headshot left and right there’s no gore. Plus, they didn’t have time for all of the servants so they picked Rin, the best one.
Also Sebastian was good, especially with the kitties, but he needed to brush his damn hair and he was too nice. But it seems like she didn’t give him the “no lying” clause so you can fanwank the niceness away as him just knowing how to deal with traumatized kids and not yet evil enough masters and fix that problem. Plus apparently he’s been stalking the family line for the past hundred years waiting to pop in whenever for a contract and that’s hilarious.
But here’s what I love most about this movie: it opens with her getting a batch of human trafficking mobsters wiped out, but then she’s all BYE LOSERS ALSO STOP PRAYING YOUR GOD IS DEAD to the terrorized girls. She has the people skills of a cactus that is also on fire. She is slightly nicer than Boy!Ciel, but I think that’s more that we don’t have as much time in a movie to have quite as fucked up a protagonist rather than that she’s got to be nicer because she’s a girl – if anything, the anime’s adaption is the one that makes Ciel unnecessarily cuddly. The drama of the movie relies on the fact she’s an asshole and so we can’t be sure if the eventually outcome will be a good one for anyone.
And to grudgingly return now to what I’m supposed to be doing, she would absolutely rescue someone and stop the rest from getting a weapon by using him as a human shield/hostage based on the fact the other people wanted to torture info out of him and she could just shoot him, and she’s just be like “Obviously I pulled it off because I am perfect!” and demand the police give her another check for cleaning up their mess yet again and her demon would be all sad she hadn’t been evil that day. Hell, she’d have done all that even if she’d had to solve the issue by shooting the guy herself. She wouldn’t have felt bad unless she had actually fucked things up. Hell, lots of people totally die in the movie and she’s just like, oh, so that’s what was going on, I get it now!
So where were we, Tris you were beating yourself up about something irrelevant, and…
Hm, also she’s all mad at him because she still blames him for the deaths of everybody, so we’re just lurching into the next plotline. She’s totally fine with the oppression and all generally, but the deaths of her birth faction, it’s okay to have an uprising over that.
David sits in a wheelchair, his legs covered in a stiff material—to keep the bones in place so they can heal, I assume.
Apparently we’ve retconned out all previous mentions of casts.
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. I wonder if this is how it is with all evil men, that to someone, they look just like good men, talk like good men, are just as likable as good men.
You already had this revelation with Marcus. It’d be repetitive enough if this guy was replacement Marcus, but for some reason Marcus is still. Not. Dead. So actually we’re now looking at multiple evil men being manipulative.
I will grant that at least the book is rectifying its earlier problems of evil women in power by just going for everyone being evil.
He keeps talking about how she’s so great and she keeps feeling like shit. We learn he’s got a council of unspecified power that advises him, and wants to have her train to join, especially after seeing that they need someone who’s better with the whole violence thing. She figures all those people must’ve signed off on the murder/enslavement of her factions, so hey, targets! He then rambles vaguely about her mom being great and how he wanted her to become one of the leaders…
“We had a similar history. I was also plucked right out of the damaged world as a child . . . my parents were severely dysfunctional people who were both taken to prison when I was young. Rather than succumbing to an adoption system overburdened with orphans, my siblings and I ran to the fringe—the same place where your mother also took refuge, years later—and only I came out of there alive.”
So confirmed, he should be totally susceptible to the serums because he’s not from inside an experiment.
Incidentally, what the hell is the gameplan here? If they’re trying to breed their society back to the original model, why don’t they seem to have any ways of finding the healthier gene kids and focusing their resources on keeping them alive? They don’t seem to have to answer to any sort of ethics committee, and anyway they assume the “damaged” are just crazy murderers, so if your orphanages are full, why not just kick out all the impure and keep only the
blond pure kids?
It sort of reminds me of that old story The Marching Morons in how it never made any sense to me that you could end up in that situation, even accepting the whole hang-wringing about how bad it is the dumb people have babies. The whole thing only works if you assume the normal people spend all their time propping up the dumb ones even as they whine how terrible it is that they have to do this. Similarly, the “damaged” are supposedly unstable and definitely living in poverty and stress, while the “pure” are calling the shots. Why aren’t the damaged removing themselves from the gene pool faster? Why does it seem like the effort is all focused on keeping the damaged gene people alive so that some of their babies might be pure, while no real effort is going into keeping the “pure” alive and breeding?
They’re not just racist, they’re idiots at it!
Tris just feels bad he’s saying things that mean he’s a person because wow people not being cardboard, if only Jeanine was here to cackle at us instead.
He ends by saying he remembers how she got them out of there, and that he’s grateful.
“You demonstrated the quality I most need in my advisers,” he says. “Which is the ability to make sacrifices for the greater good.
And “greater good” means “evil” because nazis. This may or may not be connected to why the book keeps having Tris tell us her smart and successful plan based on a clear understanding of morality was very very wrong and she is a very very bad person for it.
“What would have happened, if they had set off another explosion to get into the Weapons Lab?” I say. “Nita said it would trigger a backup security measure if they did, but it seemed like the most obvious solution to their problem, to me.”
“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.”
“What does the serum do?”
His smile turns into a grimace. “Let’s just say it’s bad enough that Nita would rather be in prison for the rest of her life than come into contact with it.”
So the death serum is actually yet another torture serum, and they use it instead of normal not torture poison because REASON NOT FOUND.
Then it’s Tobias again. Peter is all LOL ur a traitorz because like Marcus, Peter just will not fuck out of the plot already. He’s here to be obsessing about maps so the author can remind us Tobias is also bugged by how incredibly large the world turned out to be, since that’s better than just showing us Tobias doing this.
So everything I’ve ever worried about or said or done, how can it possibly matter?” He shakes his head. “It doesn’t.”
None of this makes sense in Peter’s mouth. Since when does Peter even have a conscience to make excuses to? I don’t know why Tobias can’t be the one saying these things and feeling this way. Worsening how the two POVs seem identical, Tobias then says a line that sounds like it’s Tris’:
“Of course it does,” I say. “All that land is filled with people, every one of them different, and the things they do to each other matter.”
He shakes his head again, and I wonder, suddenly, if this is how he comforts himself: by convincing himself that the bad things he’s done don’t matter. I see how the mammoth planet that terrifies me seems like a haven to him, a place where he can disappear into its great space, never distinguishing himself, and never being held responsible for his actions.
Even that last bit sounds more like something that really would appeal to Tobias, who never wanted to be in charge of anything.
Peter and Tobias continue to banter for no clear reason. Tobias even stops to point out this makes no sense. We end with Peter saying Tris is so special everyone just listens to her.
“I’m just saying, if she decides someone is worthless, everyone follows suit. That’s a strange talent, for someone who used to be just another boring Stiff, isn’t it? And maybe too much power for one person to have, right?”
“Her talent isn’t for controlling other people’s opinions,” I say, “it’s for usually being right about people.”
He closes his eyes. “Whatever you say, Four.”
All my limbs feel brittle with tension. I leave the dormitory and the maps with their red circles, though I’m not sure where else to go.
To me, Tris has always seemed magnetic in a way I could not describe, and that she was not aware of. I have never feared or hated her for it, the way Peter does, but then, I have always been in a position of strength myself, not threatened by her. Now that I have lost that position, I can feel the tug toward resentment, as strong and sure as a hand around my arm.
What is with this trope?
What does it add? Why is it happening? Why does it keep popping up as a purely informed attribute?
The worst was when it popped up for Katniss, but it seemed like it was in play for Katsa as well, if potentially semi-justified given her magnetism was partly the result of people knowing she was Batman. It’s one of those things that female characters seem to just get, they’re always unaware of it, and it always ends up casting doubt over how much they actually earned their respect and how much is mysterious female magnetism.
Tris certainly doesn’t seem like she was magnetic. She spends much of the first book being awkward and easily made fun of, as well as people’s punching bag, and that only changes as she proves herself with concrete actions. Tris doesn’t get invited to the skyscraper joyride because the other Dauntless just think she’s so magnetic, she gets it because she’s the one who figures out how to win capture the flag.
Anyway. Cara finds Tobias.
“We’re having a meeting, and your presence is required.”
“Who is ‘we,’ exactly?”
“GDs and GD sympathizers who don’t want to let the Bureau get away with certain things,” she says, and then she cocks her head to the side. “But better planners than the last ones you fell in with.”
Why would they possibly invite Tobias?
First off, they’re just flat out not going to be inviting in new people with a crackdown currently going on, especially after their side looks so bad and any new people will be that much more likely to betray them. Second, Tobias personally is now highly motivated to turn them in because he’s super guilty and last time they were lying and meant to do something terrible, so obviously that’s all that’s happening this time too. Third, Tobias is under heavy survallience because they know he was involved, so at absolute best, he doesn’t tell them purposefully, they just know anyway because they’re following him.
But the author is also just plain sick of having the characters sit around, so we’re hopping right back on the plot train and he’s joining the resistence yet again.
“You wouldn’t have done it, I bet.”
“That is only because I have been taught to be cautious when I don’t know all the information, and you have been taught that risks can produce great rewards.”
What I’d really like is, instead of repeating rebellion a million times, we got into this. How much of the factions is nature and how much is nurture? Do the “damaged” genes function as mental illness, things that can be managed but not solved, or could you stuff everyone in Candor and you’d just end up with slightly greater diversity of Candor people? Dauntless is the worst faction in terms of stability and long term happiness, but is throwing Grandma off a train and ordering kids to dangle off bridges and being all LOL WHATEV at butterknives through eyes inevitable? How much can you pick how this manifests.
She pauses at the door to the labs Matthew and his supervisor use, and knocks. Matthew tugs it open and takes a bite out of the apple he’s holding.
Symbolism! And possibly foreshadowing.
“I think that’s everyone,” Matthew says. “Okay . . . so . . . um. Tris, I suck at this.”
“You do, actually,” she says with a grin. I feel a flare of jealousy.
So Tris is now in charge. She explains that their goal here is to better protect their own city, since these guys seem to be assholes. Shockingly, the blonde blue eyed pure gene faction-born and faction-accepted is not at all interested in dealing with the systemic prejudice of the world outside, just keeping the bit that was her life safe.
Her brilliant plan? Reveal the truth because she’s sure the rank and file don’t know what’s really going on, and as soon as they know they’ll….not care in the slightest because there’s systemic prejudice against the “damaged” jesus fuck Tris.
It’s like the author thought up a couple different ways things could’ve gone back in Insurgent, and she’s going to use them all now. This would make perfect sense for their response back then – find and reveal the truth to Erudite’s rank and file, assuming that like Dauntless, it was only the top people acting against the rest of them, and also knowing that the other factions definitely weren’t in on it and wouldn’t stand for it when it’s revealed to them as well.
Tris further explains that somehow the serum is a virus that replicated in the air or whatever, so, what if they did that with truth serum? Man, this would’ve been a better plan if the book hadn’t just told us five times that the pure are inherently resistant to serums because. The book’s decided to deal with that plot hole, the one just introduced for no reason, by retconning more.
GPs can resist truth serum.”
“That’s not necessarily true,” Matthew says, pinching the string around his neck and then twisting it. “We don’t see that many Divergent resisting truth serum. Just Tris, in recent memory. The capacity for serum resistance seems to be higher in some people than others—take yourself, for example, Tobias.”
No, it’s totally irrelevant! The “pure” and the “divergent” are not the same thing! That’s why Tobias had the whole OH NOES I IS NOT PURE bit, because the serum resistance gene is an unrelated gene they stuck on to make finding fixed gene people easier. Tobias is resistant but not “pure”.
More, we already know there’s ALSO an inoculation against it (because it’s a virus) and it’d make way more sense they inoculate people against all the serums in case of accident. Then you’d still have the issue of figuring out a way to improve the serum without making it a mess of retcons and retretcons and retretretcons.
Caleb and Cara will work on that, Christina and Tobias will try to keep an eye on the evil rebellion, and Tris will try to get in with the current leadership.
After the meeting, it’s time for yet another apology/fight.
Tobias apologizes and it rapidly becomes clear he doesn’t actually agree there’s any pattern to this, just that he happened to make this same mistake twice in a row.
“It’s just the same thing all over again, isn’t it? You don’t respect me as much as you say you do. When it comes down to it, you still believe I can’t think rationally—”
“That is not what’s happening!” I say hotly. “I respect you more than anyone. But right now I’m wondering what bothers you more, that I made a stupid decision or that I didn’t make your decision.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means,” I say, “that you may have said you just wanted us to be honest with each other, but I think you really wanted me to always agree with you.”
“I can’t believe you would say that! You were wrong—”
“Yeah, I was wrong!” I’m shouting now, and I don’t know where the anger came from, except that I can feel it swirling around inside me, violent and vicious and the strongest I have felt in days. “I was wrong, I made a huge mistake! My best friend’s brother is as good as dead! And now you’re acting like a parent, punishing me for it because I didn’t do as I was told. Well, you are not my parent, Tris, and you don’t get to tell me what to do, what to choose—!”
I can’t imagine the author could mean for Tobias to be right, because what the fuck, but I can’t understand how she believes we’d have any sympathy for him being wrong here either. Maybe it just doesn’t matter – once characters are in a relationship, the will they/won’t they drama is replaced by fighting, and so they’ll fight even if it doesn’t make sense for this to still be an issue.