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Review/ Read Along: Meet the Cranks in "The Scorch Trials" Chapters 35-38

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.

The world The Maze Runner series takes place in is a dystopian, post sun flare world. Unlike other YA novels where the governments fall, or zombies attack, the Maze Runner world was attacked by its own sun. In addition, the governments didn’t fight afterwards, but instead united and combined together. They joined all the resources, supplies, and technology to create WICKED after the Flare virus spread too rapidly for anyone to contain. Within the next few chapters we learn from Brenda that there are few quarantined areas of the world. But the middle of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, are a complete wasteland, a scorch. Brenda and Jorge assume they’re somewhere in Mexico according to all the Spanish food and signs they’ve been reading.

We last left off with Brenda and Thomas falling asleep, assumingly alone, in the back of a truck. They wake up in the middle of the night, and Brenda explains to Thomas where the Flare came from. Though no one knows the exact origin of the Flare, they know the Flare feeds off brain activity, literally eating it alive. Brenda explains that the rich can afford a medicine call the Bliss. Bliss is not a cure for the Flare, but it slows down the brain activity, almost making the person emotionless and numb. The less brain activity, the less the Flare has to feed on, therefore the slower it spreads. WICKED is the only hope for a cure for the Flare. According to one of Thomas’s dreams, they are gathering patterns of brain activity. The Variables are supposed to stimulate very specific brain activity, which will in turn help them find a cure. However, the people in Thomas’ dream comment they won’t be there for the end of the experiments. Sounds ominous, but it either means they’re dying of the Flare, or the experiments are going to take so long so one will be there for the end. Though they have never stated how gathering brain patterns will help find a cure, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to bet all your money on them.

When Thomas awakens, he steps outside and sees a dusty, old, metal plaque reading “Thomas, you’re the real leader.” Brenda tells him there are signs like that all over the city, and she thinks Jorge trusted him so easily because of those signs. Though Thomas is mad at her for not telling him about these signs, they hear a loud drumming sound and go to the end of the alley. But three Cranks sneak up behind them while they’re distracted, and take them to a “party.”

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Rose Salazar as Brenda in “The Scorch Trials.” Source: 20th Century Fox

These cranks aren’t quite as Gone as the last ones. Brenda and Thomas are supposed to be in the early stages of the Flare (though if you watched the first movie you’ll already know Thomas is immune to the Flare and actually doesn’t have it), but Thomas describes these Cranks almost as “mocking them” with every word. As if they’re intelligence and humanity is still intact, but can switch off on a whim. These Cranks act eccentric and odd, but they still have some humanity and intelligence left in them. They haven’t reached that “past Gone” phase, fully animalistic, heartless, no humanity left in them.  They’ve been watching them throughout the night, and assume Thomas is the boy the signs are talking about. Once at the party, Thomas and Brenda awkwardly dance with each other. Thomas still feels guilty about betraying Theresa, wishing she was there instead. Though he really doesn’t have time to be thinking about Theresa considering a Crank makes him drink a drugged drink, and he passes out. But right before he passes out, Brenda tried to kiss him, and Thomas stupidly says “You’ll never be her.”

When he wakes up, Thomas is tied to a chair with duct tape, and Brenda is tied and gagged across the room. The Crank, apparently a former lawyer, asks for his full story. Thomas figures he has nothing to lose at this point, and tells this Crank everything from the beginning. Though we’re not sure what this Crank was going to do with him because as soon as Thomas finishes, there is loud thumping coming from above. The Cranks assume it’s other Cranks past Gone attacking them, so they leave to help. Thomas jumps his chair closer to Brenda, praying that it isn’t the Cranks from before coming back for them. But just as they hear dead bodies falling down the stairs, it’s no other than Minho covered head to toe in dirt, grime, blood, and sweat.

Seeing the different levels of the Flare within the past few chapters proves how in depth James Dashner went into think thing through. We can see glimpses of the animalistic Cranks in the new trailer, as well as some of them in earlier stages. They look almost zombie like, with no control. Check out this link to see a slow downed, HD gif of the Cranks thanks to iheartnewt.tumblr.com, a blog dedicated mostly to The Maze Runner! The trailer also releases some new information about the movie, which will be discussed in next week’s article!

Be sure to check out the NEW trailer for The Scorch Trials, which comes out September 18!

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