Okie dokie, so last time, we ended with Thomas and Brenda being rescued by the very welcome return of Minho. Chapter 39 begins with Minho freeing the pair from their bonds and revealing a bit of how he and the other Gladers have survived thus far. Basically, Jorge (the other Crank the Gladers joined forces with) has been leading the remaining Gladers through the city. They had come across Thomas and Brenda just before they were taken hostage by the three Cranks from the alley. The Gladers then planned their ambush.
There's a bit of Thomas's internal monologue about the goddamn love triangle. I'm not going to go into it because I don't fucking care and it's not relevant to the story. I'm still really annoyed that this is part of the
|Seriously, enough with the love triangles.|
After this brief discussion, the three go upstairs to join the others, who are holding the Cranks hostage. There is only one Crank noticeably missing, the one with the gun. The Gladers head out into the alley. Once there, they are greeted by Crank with the gun, who shoots Thomas in the shoulder. Nothing ever gets better for this poor kid. Dystopian novels are hard on kids.
Anyway, the other Gladers carry Thomas away. He fades in and out of consciousness for a while. Someone removes the bullet from his shoulder. Thomas is in complete agony. After the bullet is removed, Thomas knows that he has an infection. He can feel it.
The next thing that happens is bizarre. Thomas is taken by two people dressed in green smocks. As Thomas explains it, "They looked evil, like giant, demented, human-eating insects wrapped in plastic." He then reads what is written across their chests - WICKED. Because of fucking course it is. They take him to a hospital, where they cure his infection, which is nice of them, but not entirely selfless. WICKED is still worried about the Variables and how he and the others will react to everything. One person is seriously pissed off about the gun being in play, saying, "This wasn’t supposed to happen... How’d a working gun get in the city?" This basically reveals what the reader already suspected, that the Scorch Trial isn't real. I mean, it is real, but it's not reality.
At the end, WICKED sends Thomas back to the Scorch with the other Gladers, but not before they have a lovely conversation about Candidates. This is the first time the concept of Candidates is brought up. They say that there are only "four or five" viable Candidates left, but Thomas is their best hope for something. When they tell Thomas, who is pretending to be asleep so that he can listen in, that he is going back, one person tells him, "It’s what you would’ve wanted us to do." That past tense is terrifying.
Let's talk about WICKED for a bit. These fuckers are controlling everything around the Gladers and have been since before the Gladers can remember (literally). They run the whole novel, but no one know what they are up to. We don't know what information is real, what is fake, or what reality even looks like. The reveal that the Scorch Trial is not only a test, but a complete fiction, brings into question literally everything. Conceivably, nothing WICKED has told us could be true. Based on this information, we have even less concrete information than before, because it calls into question everything we "know" about what has already happened.
The other interesting thing is the presence of the gun. The people form WICKED say it wasn't supposed to be there. This means that there are variables that WICKED hasn't accounted for. They control things, but there are still ways of surprising them and taking control for yourself. The introduction of the gun is, I think, going to be an interesting piece of foreshadowing. I am interested in seeing exactly where this concept of unforeseen variables will be taken in relation to the Gladers.
Until next time, happy reading.