Review/ Read Along: "The Scorch Trials" Chapters 5-8

Amanda McHugh ‘18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
“The Scorch Trials,” sequel to “The Maze Runner” (written by James Dashner and directed by Wes Ball) will be hitting the big screen on September 18. To get psyched for more action-packed dystopia, Emertainment Monthly will be re-reading and reviewing “The Scorch Trials” chapter by chapter.
We last left off with the Gladers meeting a new character, Aris. They learn that Aris is from the same exact experiment the Gladers went through; The maze, the stone walls, the Grievers. Aris was also called “the Trigger,” just like Theresa was called (Though Theresa is still nowhere to be found leaving Thomas’s hormones unanswered). The boys also learn that Aris’s best friend, Rachel, was killed by WICKED in the same fashion Chuck died for Thomas. Moreover, Thomas and Aris can communicate telepathically too. Within this conversation, we see Newt trying to figure things out, while Thomas is stunned and quiet. This is a new side of Thomas that we didn’t really see in The Maze Runner. Readers could’ve expected him to want to know everything and try to solve the problem, like he did in the maze. But with Theresa gone, Thomas is now at a loss.

The Scorch Trials" Cover. Source: Penguin Random House
The Scorch Trials” Cover. Source: Penguin Random House
On the neck of Aris, Thomas spots small, black writing of a tattoo. Newt reads it “Property of WICKED. Group B. Subject B1. The Partner.” Aris swears that he doesn’t remember anyone putting a tattoo on his neck like that, but Minho doesn’t believe him. That is, until they spot a similar looking tattoo on his neck reading “Property of WICKED. Group A. Subject A7. The Leader.” Minho’s short temper shows here when he becomes frustrated. They thought they had escaped WICKED, but slowly realize that maybe they haven’t and are still in their games. The other boys quickly realize they too have tattoos on their neck, but other than Newt and Thomas, they don’t have labels after their Subject number. Newt’s label reads “The Glue,” which they conclude means he keeps the group together. However, Thomas’s label is different from the other three, as it reads “to be killed by Group B.”
Unfortunately the boys don’t have time to question Thomas’s tattoo because a blaring sound erupts which they can’t figure out where it’s coming from. The boys rush out of the room back into the common room, but the common room no longer has the hanging dead bodies. Even the odor is gone from the room. They rush to their dormitories, and now see a brick wall outside the windows where the Cranks were screaming just twenty minutes ago. Minho hides his fear behind harsh sarcastic jokes, but Newt tries to figure out what’s going on. Confused, Thomas reaches out to Theresa again in his head. She finally answers, but instead of his warm best friend, she is cold and yells at him to leave her alone. She no longer remembers him and wants him out of her head. Thomas, not only confused but heart broken and lost, falls onto his bed and dreams.
Again revealing something of his past, Thomas remembers when WICKED cut his head open when they were looking for the flare virus in his brain. They keep cutting deeper into his head, not caring if they kill him. But more importantly, they hope they he will be able to save them. Though we keep hearing that Thomas and the others are supposed to save them, no answer for what the flare is has been revealed.
Though the boys cannot explain the tattoos, the dead bodies and odor gone, and the Cranks replaced with a brick wall, it’s clear that WICKED is responsible for all this. In addition, it also shows how much power WICKED has, and the extent of what they’re capable of doing. What organization can fake (or not fake?) dead bodies hanging from the ceiling, and then in twenty minutes make it like it never happened? Or put tattoos on people’s necks without them knowing? Obviously we knew WICKED had power in The Maze Runner by trapping the boys in there and making them fight for their lives, but even this is a new level for WICKED.
It’s also development to see Thomas slowly breaking down sobbing in his bed instead of being the one to bring everyone up. Now it’s Newt who’s keeping everything together and controlling the panic (Maybe why he’s called “The Glue”). We also see Thomas and Minho butting heads a few times. Nothing major, but being the story is in a close third-person narrative on Thomas, we know that Thomas is bothered by Minho’s sarcasm, and even Newt’s want to figure everything out. Though this has not happened before, it’ll be interesting to see how, or if, this escalates as the novel continues.
Also be sure to check out The Scorch Trials trailer! Can you spot any differences already between the book and trailer?

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