Sunday, September 7, 2014

Death Cure Part 10: Let's Get This Over With

For once, that is not just pithy sarcasm. That's the actual theme of the end of this book.
I couldn't do it all in one post.

Let's get down to it.

Chapters 51-64

I know, I promised I would finish the book. And, to my credit, I did. It's just a lot to get through, so this is going to have to be a two part write up. The book is finished and I was going to write it all up tonight, but I wrote about half and was over 1,700 words. I swear by all that is right and holy, I will post part 2 Tuesday

Okay, on to the text.

At the end of the last chapter, Vince of the Right Arm had revealed their plan to sneak into WICKED using their kidnapped Immunes as cover. He explain the plan a bit further. He tells Thomas that a member of the Right Arm has developed a chip that can shut down all of the weapons that WICKED use. See, they work on electronics and blah blah blah basically, they will have an even shot of taking the compound. Thomas agrees to plant the device, going in a few hours before the rest of the Right Arm comes. He is taught to use the device by the lady who designed it, and takes it with him in a backpack. This plan is put in motion when Thomas gets into a van with the guard who drove them to the current location and a Berg pilot who is going to fly them to a location near the WICKED compound and they head to the airport

On the way to the airport, boy does some shit go down. Everything is horrible. That's the real theme of this fucking book. So, the van that they are traveling is attacked. Again. These people need to stop traveling by van. Anyway, they are hit by a car. They don't get attacked after that, but Thomas sees a Crank he recognizes. Newt. Newt is standing outside the van. Thomas demands to be let outside so he can speak to Newt. Thomas threatens the guard with the gun he was given back at the meeting with Vince. He gets out of the van and shit gets worse. Thomas starts pleading with Newt to get in the van and come with. Newt is almost entirely Gone. He recognizes Thomas, but is, y'know, furious. Cause he's a Crank. He takes Thomas to task about the note Newt left Thomas. Newt wants to know why Thomas didn't kill him. Newt keeps getting closer and closer to Thomas until he finally jumps on top of Thomas. Newt then grabs Thomas's hand that holds the gun. Newt moves it until the barrel of the gun is pressed against his own forehead. He then demands that Thomas kill him. He screams and demands, but Thomas just can't do it. He can't kill his friend.
He can't watch another friend die. All of a sudden, all the crazy drains from Newt and he looks into Thomas's eyes. "Please, Tommy. Please." Thomas can't refuse his pleas any longer. He pulls the trigger.

This so not okay...
Holy shit. Take a moment to deal with the fact the Thomas just mercy killed one of his best friends. Then take a moment to deal with the fact these kids are about 17. I'll be here when you're done openly weeping.

Okay, are we ready to start again? Good. You'll regret that decision in a bit. Let's get back into it.

Thomas can't look at what he's just done. He doesn't open his eyes until he is already running back to the van. He dives in the back and puts his head in his hands. "What have I done?" is all he can quietly mumble to himself on the way to the airport.

For the rest of the trip, Thomas is numb. He is completely in shock over what he just had to do. He does everything he is told. When they get to the airport, he just gets on the Berg, find a place to lay down, and naps. His dreams are filled with Newt and with Chuck, his two friend he watched die. Finally, he is awoken by the guard, who tells him that they are just about to the spot where they are going to drop him. After a bit, they reach the spot, which is a deeply wooded area a couple of miles from WICKED. He has to hike in so that it doesn't look like he is part of an ambush. Understandable.

Thomas trudges through the woods and the snow (they must not have gone far from Denver). He thinks about Newt, even though he tries not to. He tries to focus on the wilderness. Eventually, he makes it to WICKED. There are beetle blades that watch him, but he just keeps going. He walks up to the doors, the very same ones they were escorted out through during the "escape" from the Maze. He knocks and is met by Rat Man. He's very cordial with Thomas. "I'm glad you made the right decision." What an asshole. "Let's just get on with it," is Thomas's reply. "He'd do this - he'd play the part - but he didn't have to be nice about it." Exactly. Go along with it until the Right Arm gets there, but don't ever let them think they got the best of you. You go, Thomas. Way to believe that shit isn't about to get way fucking worse. Good for you.

Of course, we know better. Nothing ever gets better in this series - only worse. Way, way worse. Thomas asks to use the bathroom before they get down to business so he can plant the device that will disable the weapons. Then, Rat Man takes Thomas to his office where two doctors are waiting. One is a Psych the other is a physician. One, the psych, is a very nice, sympathetic lady who treats Thomas with kindness. The other is a typical WICKED jerkass. They go about telling Thomas what is means for him to be the Final Candidate. Basically, it was Thomas's free thinking that got him the dubious honor. Thomas is understandably down-trodden to learn that his rebellions were what made him the Final Candidate. "Played to the end" is how he puts it in his own mind. Then they get to the really horrible part. The final thing they need, the final part of the puzzle that is required for the cure is Thomas's brain.

It's not just that they need him to use it, oh no. They need to take it out and play with it. Vivisection is how the doctor puts it. They are going to remove it while he is STILL ALIVE. Then they lay down the real kicker - it might not even work. There is only a small chance this might work. All of this, all the trials, all the death,
all the misery, is just to set Thomas up to die at the right time. So they could play with his fucking brain as he died. Again, I feel the need to remind everyone that this is a 17 year old boy. He asks what happens if it doesn't work. "Then we'll keep... working at it." The lady Psych says. So, Thomas is the Final Candidate only in one sense. They have backups. They have no issues trying again. Nothing ends with Thomas. Fuck.
The way they causally explain how he's going to be murdered is sickening.

The Psych lady is very kind and asks Thomas if he needs a minute. He says he does because he is stalling for the Right Arm to arrive in time for him to not die. He is taken to an empty room and given a device on which to write notes to his friends to say goodbye. Holy shit that was a depressing sentence to write. Jesus. He types messages just to Brenda and Minho. He then naps to stall for time.

After a bit, Thomas is woken up by Rat Man knocking at the door. He tells him that it is time to go. They have to start the procedure. You know, the one that will kill this teenager for no good reason. Rat Man leads him into another room where there are nurses and the dickhead doctor, Chirstensen, that was in Rat Man's office. Thomas is really starting to panic because he doesn't know if he's going to be rescued. Almost on cue, a siren goes off. Someone runs into the room and says that, "A Berg arrived with a delivery, but it was a trick to get people inside - they're trying to take over the main building this very second." Don't go being relived, though. Rat Man (whose real name is Janson, FYI) answers with, "Looks like we need to hurry and get this procedure started. Christensen, put him under." Noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Rat Man is the worst person imaginable.
Suddenly, Thomas is injected with something that makes him go completely limp. From the neck down, he
can't feel anything. He is put on a gurney and Christensen starts performing tests on him. Thomas is full of panic and terror. The doctor works quickly, not knowing how much time he has to get this done. He tells Thomas that he is finished, that it's time to move him to the operating room and start the procedure. He is wheeled to a different room and sedated. Everyone is hurrying around him and just before he goes under Thomas says, "I hope it works." How fucking tragic. Everything about this book hurts your soul.

Thomas hears someone calling his name. He is still unconscious, but he hears his name over and over. He decides to follow the voice. "Thomas, I have faith in you," he hears a woman say just before he wakes up in a recovery room. He sees a door closing and tries to call out, but he can't. There is, however, a manila folder on a table by the bed. He grabs in and looks at what is inside. Inside, there is a map and a letter addressed to him and written by Chancellor Paige. You remember Chancellor Paige? Brenda told Thomas as the beginning of this book that Chancellor Paige was the only person, other than her, that Thomas could trust. Turns out, Brenda was right. In the letter, Chancellor Paige tells Thomas about how she disagrees with she disagrees with the people who think that Thomas's brain needs to be dissected. She was able to give him a stay of execution. She then tasks him with finding the other Immunes that WICKED have taken using the map provided. She has marked out where they are being kept and how to get there. She has also provided an escape. She planted a Flat Trans in a secret location that will take them to, as she puts it, "what I hope will be a new life." I hope she's right. These kids need a goddamn break.

Thomas decides to believe that the letter is genuine because he trust Brenda and Brenda trusts the Chancellor. He starts walking toward an exit and looks at the map. He sees something on the map that fills him with dread. WICKED have hidden the Immunes inside the Maze.


There is a lot to cover here. Everything is pretty much shit and it doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon. The two big events in this section were the death of Newt and the revelation of what WICKED's final solution was. And yes, that is a Nazi reference. We have reached that point.

I'm going to ignore those because we know that they are horrible and tragic things that serve no purpose. They happened because WICKED has no regard for the lives of these kids. They did things to see what would happen and then they asked Thomas to die for a possible maybe if we're lucky cure. It's horrifying and senseless and we all know this. What I really want to talk about is the way this story is being told. The little quirks of story telling that are unique to this writer. Basically, I want to talk about James Dashner as a writer.

I've been looking for a reason to use this gif.
The story is fantastic, that is for sure. I love this story it's dark and challenging and compelling. It makes you look at your choices and the choices being made for you by your government. But the way this story is being told is really... basic. Things like the fact any time long passages of time need to be skipped, it is done by having Thomas go to sleep is a basic and easy trope. He repeats lines so often that you can't avoid the themes. Sometimes, it's almost like he forgets entire characters, for instance, Newt in  the Scorch Trial and Teresa in this book. I mean, have I even mentioned Teresa in the last 5 updates? I doubt it. I know her name hasn't appeared in the book in roughly 150 pages. Then there is the fact that Newt's death is almost a non-issue. It's an anticlimax and it should be a huge moment. I mean, for fucks sake, Thomas shot his friend in the head. That deserves a little attention. That deserves some examination. But there is very little. It pops up at the end of a few chapters, almost as a fucking afterthought. This story is so good that it deserves a more nuanced approach. It's kinda like reading a James Cameron script. Everything has terribly obvious names (Unobtainium, Launchers) and subtly has no place. What I'm trying to say is, I'm disappointed in the writing style. I'm not disappointed in the books as a whole. In fact, I like them so much, I'm having to pick apart small things. I'm getting pedantic because I have nothing else to complain about. And boy, do I love complaining.

Anyway, that's going to be it for now. Check back in late Tuesday for the thrilling conclusion of The Death Cure!

Until then, happy reading.

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