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 boys learning about what the Scorch Trials would entail, crossing a stretch of desert and deserted city for 100 miles. Though Minho doesn’t want to be the leader of the group, Newt convinces him to take the position. It makes sense why Minho wouldn’t want to take a leadership role. Back in the maze he watched Alby struggle to keep everyone together, make hard decisions, and even sacrifice his life in the films. But in their situation, they’re all doing things they don’t want to do, so once in charge, Minho’s stance immediately changes as he orders the boys around, and keeps them moving. It’s a drastic change from how we normally see Minho hiding behind sarcasm, but he gets the group together, and keeps them going forward.
The Flat Trans is a silvery, swirly screen of fog that the boys have to step through. From later books, we learn that a Flat Trans is an advanced piece of technology only the rich can afford, and takes one to a very specific place. The boys end up in a single file, pitch-black hallway smelling damp and leathery. After about half a mile, they hear a harsh, raspy voice say “One chance deal. Go back now, you won’t be sliced.” Some of them consider going back, like Winston, but Frypan points out they don’t know who to trust; Rat man, or some whispery voice in a dark hallway. Again we see Frypan pointing out both sides of a situation in order for the group to weigh each possibility. Unlike in The Maze Runner, there is more character development here for the other minor characters, like Frypan and Winston. Their voice and opinion is heard, making the group sound more realistic, and team-like.
After another half a mile of walking, they hear the same voice “You’re all dead. You’re all going to be sliced. Dead and sliced.” By putting this voice here, Dashner makes the boys think they can have a choice, instead of being forced to cross the scorch. It is as if WICKED isn’t necessarily as immoral as we think. The boy’s constant struggle whether or not WICKED is bad, or good, is a question that we may see in multiple parts of the series.
A kid starts screaming, horrific yells escalating higher and higher. Thomas rushes past the boys in front of him to help the victim, and jumps on him. He reaches around in the dark to see what’s wrong, but when he tries to put his hands on the kid’s face to calm him down, instead of a head he feels a cool, metal spherical ball. Thomas jumps back, and the metal balls rolls away. Panic erupts in the group, but Newt calms everyone down by saying they have to work together to get out of there. Precious Newt being the “glue” continues to keep everyone’s fear to a minimum. The boys run down the hall, and though the metal ball takes another boy down, the group doesn’t stop until Minho hits a staircase. He finds there’s a hatch at the top of the staircase, but the light is too blinding for their eyes, so he shoves a towel under the door so their eyes can adjust.
Just when they’re about to leave, they see a liquid metal above them start to drip down. But instead of falling to the floor, it flies horizontally into Winston’s face (See diagram below provided by Gina Damico for visual). Thomas immediately jumps down the stairs onto Winston. He tries to pull the metal off him, but it’s hot and moving all around, like its alive. Using a blanket around his hands, Thomas helps Winston pull off the molten metal off his head, and once it’s off it turns into a spherical ball. However, Winston’s hair is gone, and instead is red patches of blood and scarred skin. Not wanting to risk molten metal that eats the head, Minho orders for him, Newt, and Thomas to go first through the door to make sure it’s safe for the rest.
Within these chapters we really see the three boys take on their roles as a leader, peacekeeper, and reactor. Minho keeps everyone moving forward, and makes tough decisions to leave behind two of their friends who died. Newt keeps the group calm, and controls the panic and fear they all fear. Thomas acts instinctively and bravely in the moment, and is able to save Winston. We also see the advanced technology this world has, such as the Flat Trans and the molten metal eating people’s heads. What else could their world have that we don’t?