Tris Has Another Awful Plan: Insurgent Chapters 38 and 39

Posted on February 6, 2015 by


Last chance to vote in the poll! It determines what we’re reading starting, you know, Monday, so I kinda need to get on that soon.

BUT ALSO VERY IMPORTANTLY, please tell me that you’ve read this Gawker piece about the disastrous Fifty Shades press tour, and that you’ve seen this excruciatingly awkward video:

Insurgent Chapter 38

Tris thinks about her mother’s last words to her in light of Marcus’s reveal that she went into danger trying to save the file about The Secret. So once again…


I didn’t know what I would do, when I found you. Meaning: I didn’t know how to save both you and the file. But it was always my intention to save you.
I shake my head. Is that how she said it, or am I manipulating my own memory because of what Marcus told me? There is no way to know. All I can do is decide if I trust Marcus or not.

Sure, I get that Tris is probably rethinking a lot of things after Marcus’s new information, but so much of this book is Tris rethinking things that have already happened, we’ve gotten to the point where Insurgent literally slaps “Meaning:” in front of a sentence that’s supposed to tell the reader the new thing they should be thinking.

And while he has done cruel, evil things, our society is not divided into “good” and “bad.”

Girl, dividing society into “good” and “bad” is literally this whole book.

Evelyn (Tobias/Four’s estranged mom and factionless leader, just in case you too are having trouble keeping track of this book’s kazillion characters who contribute half a thing to the story before dying) explains the plan for their big attack on Erudite. Reasoning that Erudite’s power isn’t its people, but its information, she explains the strategy for a nonspecific attack on the Erudite HQ, with one group attempting to breach their defense and work their way up through the building while other, smaller groups “proceed immediately to the higher levels of the building to dispense with certain key Erudite officials”. Guys, this just means that group 2 is doing the exact same thing group 1 is, but faster. And after group 1 does the hardest part. What’s group 2 doing while group 1 attempts to fight into the ground floor of the building? None of this makes sense. [Ariel says: I’m so relieved you had the same reaction to this section. I’m so insecure I just thought, “Wow, I’d make a horrible army general :(“]

Yeah, I played Final Fantasy Tactics when I was 12. I'm basically an expert at guerrilla warfare strategy.

Yeah, I played Final Fantasy Tactics when I was 12. I’m basically an expert at guerrilla warfare strategy.

Tori also explains that anyone who was shot with a simulation transmitter will have to stay behind, which people actually argue about, because that’s how dumb all the characters in this book are.

Eventually, someone shows signs of actual thinking.

“Yeah,” says Christina. “It’s just . . . Invading a faction’s headquarters and killing everyone, isn’t that what the Erudite just did to Abnegation?”

I'm getting a lot of usage out of this gif

I’m getting a lot of usage out of this gif

“This is different. This is not an attack out of nowhere, unprovoked,” says Lynn, scowling at her.
“Yeah,” Christina says. “Yeah, I know.”
She looks at me. I don’t say anything. She has a point— it doesn’t feel right.

Well, then! Looks like it’s time for Tris to solve everything on her own with a cunning plan of her own and not only not asking others for help, but actively lying to them and working against them.

If I participate in the attack, I can’t go after the information Jeanine stole from Abnegation.
I have to choose one or the other. Tobias said that dealing with Erudite was more important than finding out the truth. And if he had not promised the factionless control over all of Erudite’s data, he might have been right. But he left me no choice. I have to help Marcus, if there is even a chance that he is telling the truth. I have to work against the people I love best.
And right now, I have to lie.

Yayyy Tris-decisions. My favorite. [Ariel says: I think it’s also worth reminiscing about the time that Tobias made a huge deal about having Tris come with him to help decide if they should agree to Evelyn’s terms and he immediately was like, “WE ACCEPT YOUR RIDICULOUS PROPOSAL!” Without even asking Tris.]

“I still can’t fire a gun.” I look up at him. “And after what happened in Erudite headquarters […] I don’t want to seem like a coward.” […]
He sighs, and touches his forehead to mine. “You’re the bravest person I’ve ever met. Stay here. Let yourself mend.” […]
He thinks I will be here, but I will be working against him

[Ariel says: Of course Tobias would be super willing to let Tris stay behind if he thinks she’s finally showing vulnerability. He just desperately needs her to be weak. Also, something about that last line made me think of Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls who always has to over-explain things and then often follows his speeches up with an evil laugh.

My reading of this scene: “He thinks I will be here, but I will not be here for I will be working against him. Working against him in a way that is not with him and that is in fact the opposite of what he wants. MWHAHAHAHAHA.”]

Aw, geez. I wonder if Tris can explain another reason why this is bad.

[I will be] working with the father he despises.

Oh, good. I forgot I read that six pages ago.

Chapter 39

Naturally, the first part of Tris’s super awesome lone wolf, fix-everything-by-myself plan is to ignore the only actual logical part of the Factionless/Dauntless plan and recruit Christina – who very much is susceptible to being taken over by a simulation – to be her confidant in her secret mission.

How the hell is there not a single "I have a cunning plan" Blackadder gif on the internet?

How the hell is there not a single “I have a cunning plan” Blackadder gif on the internet?

But first, they need to put on their makeup.

Seriously. There’s like two pages of Tris and Christina putting on makeup. What the hell kind of dystopian apocalypse is this?

They dress up in Amity clothing, hidden under their black Dauntless jackets, and meet up with Marcus to drive through the gates (hiding in plain sight past the traitor Dauntless) to Amity HQ, which I guess is their plan. Why am I only guessing it’s their plan? Nobody actually says that they’re going to Amity, or why they’re going to Amity, until – in true Tris fashion – Tris has to think of why she’s there literally as she’s explaining why she’s there to the Amity.

“Tell me, Marcus,” says Johanna. “Why have you come to visit?”
“I think Beatrice should handle that,” he says. “I am merely the transportation.” […]
“Um . . .” I say. Not my most brilliant opening. I wipe my palms on my skirt. “Things have gotten bad.”

judge judy facepalm

Tris then explains about the Factionless/Dauntless plan to invade Erudite, and how this is bad because it will destroy essential information in Erudite possession. Johanna then asks the same question that the reader is thinking.

“I’m confused, Beatrice,” she says. “What exactly do you want us to do?”

Because REALLY.

Because REALLY.

Tris tells the Amity that she wanted them to know what was going on, and continues to do an awful job of doing anything.

“I also wanted to ask you if we can talk to the Erudite you’re keeping safe here,” I say. “I know they’re hidden, but I need access to them.”
“And what do you intend to do?” she says.
“Shoot them,” I say, rolling my eyes.
“That isn’t funny.”

Yes, because when you’re already having trouble explaining why what you’re doing makes any sense, the best thing to do is to use sarcasm.



That night Tris sees and then participates in an Amity religious ceremony, which is sort of interesting, but ultimately full of as much false profundity as the rest of the book, so you’re not missing much.

That morning, Johnana calls an emergency meeting, which Christina and Marcus attend, but Tris secretly observes hiding behind a tree. For some reason. [Ariel says: She’s clearly a tactical mastermind. She employs other techniques like hiding in a random bush when an enemy approaches or wearing a moustache as a Super Secret disguise.]

Johanna explains about the upcoming battle that “will be waged not against the Erudite-Dauntless army but against Erudite innocents and the knowledge they have worked so hard to acquire”, and asks the Amity to revote on their neutrality. Eventually, they reach a decision.

And speaking of false profundity.

“Obviously it was difficult to find agreement,” she says. “But the majority of you wish to uphold our policy of uninvolvement. […] My conscience forces me to go against this decision. Anyone else whose conscience drives them toward the city is welcome to come with me. […] I understand if this means I can’t be a part of Amity anymore.” […]
Johanna bows in the general direction of the crowd [and] walks toward the exit.

Ok. Wait. If only a majority chose to remain uninvolved, then that means there’s a decent percentage of Amity who feel exactly like Johanna, so why is Johanna the one who’s like “Well, I disagree, so I am banished from Amity now!” I mean, I get that she’s basically trying to lead a schism so any other dissenting Amity have the option to follow her, but it seems kind of weird that she’s making this public exit from a community that doesn’t entirely disagree with her? This would be like if Mitt Romney tried to lead an exodus to the Czech Republic after he lost the 2012 election.

Question of the day: SO HOW ABOUT THAT FIFTY SHADES INTERVIEW, HUH? What was your favorite moment where Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were almost audibly counting down to when they could just go home?

Posted in: Insurgent