Welcome to yet another chapter where all the build-up of previous chapters gets tied up in a neat little bow without anything bad happening to Wanda at all.  Ah, predictability.  But as I mentioned last chapter, what else could I have expected, given the title of this one?

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We start off with the Healer coming back into the room with Cerulean at her side, the Healer carrying the water she went to get for Wanda, and Cerulean carrying “a rectangle with a handle“.  Seriously?  A rectangle with a handle?  Was it necessary to bother with that description, Meyer?  We know it’s a goddamn mirror, but it takes you a couple of paragraphs to reveal that, as though this is some kind of suspenseful moment where rectangles with handles are threatening to Wanda, especially when they’re being handed to her.  God, this is stupid.

Also, why does Cerulean need to be described as “the dark-skinned woman“?  Is that necessary either?  You described her as dark-skinned the first time we met her; pretty sure that was enough.  She has a name now; use it.  I don’t know if things like that bother anyone else, but I find them annoying.  It’s so nice starting chapters this way.

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Wanda is relieved when she realizes the “rectangle with a handle” is a mirror, and reflects on how kind the aliens are.  Again.  She looks at herself in the mirror and is shocked to see that she looks just as she did before she made her trip out into the wilderness from San Diego, and then she gets into this crap:

It was a face that belonged to Wanderer, the soul.  It belonged here, in this civilized place where there was no violence and no horror.

No, you unconscionable bitch, it is not a face that belongs to Wanderer, and it did not ever belong to Wanderer!  It’s a face that belongs to Melanie Stryder, and you damn well know that!  Why doesn’t Stryder speak up here?  Her face does not belong in the alien world; it belongs with the humans, just like all the other faces on the goddamn planet, so fuck “Wanderer”!

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Then we get an overwhelmingly bullshit filled paragraph where Wanda tries to convince herself that it’s easy for her to lie to them because she’s only telling them things that should be true.  I hate when people come up with bullshit reasons for why they do dishonest things, and this is the cream of the crop.  Because you should be doing alien shit, it makes it easier to lie and say that you are, and that makes the lies seem better to you?

On top of this, she refers to living an alien life as “contributing to a greater good“.  What the hell happened to that realization she had at Walter’s death about how the souls were wrong, and her understanding the pain it causes the humans to live like this, as well as what it’s like to be trapped in a body you can’t control and all that shit?  What was the point of going through all that if in the end she’s just going to go right back to thinking what the aliens are doing is “for the greater good”?

Or is this all just shit Meyer is adding in to make us think that Wanda’s going to decide to go back with the aliens when we know she most definitely isn’t because, as before, there are still multiple chapters left in this book, and besides, the chapter is called “Succeeded“, and we all know that applies to her mission to get meds, not the aliens succeeding in convincing her back to their side or something.  I hate that Meyer keeps doing this.  She’s not good at it, so she has to just STOP.

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Anyway, the Healer asks Wanda what she thinks of her face and she says “I look perfect“, which irks me because most people would not say something that drips with ego like that.  They might say “it looks perfect”, but not *I* look perfect.  Or maybe I’m wrong, and that’s how most people would react, but I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Wanda keeps looking at herself, noticing how dishevelled she is, and then has a brief discussion with the Healer about camping before she starts staring at her own shiny eyes in the mirror.  Stryder finally speaks up, reminding Wanda of Jamie to try to break her out of her love fest with her reflection, because she (Stryder) is afraid that Wanda is going to decide to go back with the aliens.  So yeah, we are doing this crap.  It’s not believable, Meyer; lay off.

Wanda tells Stryder “I know who I am“, and I don’t actually know what the hell that’s supposed to mean, because it could mean a couple of things in this context, but then she seems to snap out of it and thanks the Healer, saying she should go.

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The Healer offers to let her sleep there because it’s late, which seems very odd considering as I said before, this seems to be a walk-in clinic type situation, so I would doubt they usually accommodate that sort of thing…but I guess it’s just all part of them being ever so lovely, perfect creatures, isn’t it?

Wanda says she’s not tired because she feels perfect (yep, perfect), so off she goes with Cerulean to leave the building.  Meyer attempts to make us feel tense again by having Cerulean touch Wanda’s shoulder before she leaves, which makes Wanda think that Cerulean has noticed her pack is now much fuller than it was when she came in, but her attempt is entirely unsuccessful because there’s no way anyone reading this could think Wanda is going to get caught.  It just doesn’t work that way; we’ve seen that by now.

Cerulean tells Wanda to be more careful, which Wanda agrees to do, and then they part ways and Wanda heads back to the car, slightly panicking at the thought that the Healer might look in the cabinets and realize what’s happened before she (Wanda) is gone.  But even if the Healer did notice, would it really matter?  The souls don’t believe that other souls ever lie or do anything bad; she said herself they’re not suspicious…so the Healer would probably just think she misplaced them, or that there weren’t as many in there as she’d thought, wouldn’t she?  They do seem to be that easily duped.  Well, except for the Seeker, anyway, and she’s not involved in this, so there’s really no tension or fear here.
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Wanda sees that the car is still there, and panics a bit when she realizes it looks empty, because she’s completely fucking stupid and can’t remember right away that that’s exactly the goddamn point and it was her idea.  She gets in the car and apparently ignores her urge to slam down the locks on the car doors because there’s no need to, so I’m probably right about what I said in the last paragraph.  Why is she nervous at all, if she’s confident enough about it to think that there’s no reason to slam the locks down?  Or is this another of those “the souls aren’t violent” things, where it’s not necessary to lock the doors because the souls wouldn’t attack them even if they could get in?  If it is, I swear to god…

Jared asks if she’s okay, and she shushes him, then drives out of the parking lot, waving to Cerulean as she goes.  Jared sees the wave and asks if she was making friends, so she tells him that all souls are friends, and that, too, annoys me.  I get annoyed about a lot in this book; probably much more than most people reading it…

Jared asks again if she’s alright, and she tells him she’s healed and then shows him her arm.  He is surprised, and climbs out between the seats to sit in the front with her, where he’s able to see her healed face in the light of a streetlamp, which also shocks him.

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He questions her about her venture, and she reveals to him that her healed injuries don’t hurt and that the aliens didn’t suspect anything.  She says they didn’t even check her eyes (though the descriptions of the eyes make it sound like they’re kind of obvious, so you’d be able to tell just by looking at her if you were in a lit room, which they were), they just healed her because she was hurt, because they’re not suspicious, just like she said.  So Meyer reminds herself and everyone else that she did say that, even though she contradicted it repeatedly.  It’s a lack of suspicion sandwich!

Jared asks what Wanda got as he opens the bag to look, and she tells him she got the right things, if they make it back in time, as well as more for the future, but she only took what she understood.  Jared assures her that they’ll make it back in time, then starts examining the bottles, but luckily only Smooth and No Pain are mentioned so we don’t need to go over what they all are and what they do again like we usually do.  Amazing!

Jared stares at Wanda in wonder for a bit, amazed that she actually did it, because he hadn’t thought she would really make it out.  Wanda is surprised by this, and asks him why he let her try if he thought that way, and he says it’s because he thought it was better to die trying than to live without Jamie.  Awwww.  Or it would be aww, if he wasn’t risking someone else’s life instead of his own.  Though I guess in a way it was a risk to both of them if she got caught, so that’s a little bit better.  Except it’s not, because then he’s risking the lives of everyone in the caves, too, including Jamie.  …Yup.

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Wanda and Stryder are both too overcome by what Jared has said to speak, because what he has said makes them all a family somehow.  Wanda quickly shrugs that off, though, because she realizes feeling that way will come to nothing for her, so she just goes back to the topic of her having been successful and says even he probably could have done it if he’d acted naturally.

Um, no.  For one, he doesn’t have the eyes, and as I said, I’m pretty sure they noticed her eyes even if she didn’t realize they noticed them, and two, she mentions right there that they looked at her neck scar and that his is too obviously homemade, so how the hell would he have gotten away with it?

They talk again about how easy it is for her to act so natural with the aliens, because she knows what they expect, and she’s one of them.  She goes on to say that if Jared trusted her, she could probably get him anything he wanted, and I have to wonder if that’s foreshadowing.  If so, please god no; we do not need more chapters like these.

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Wanda starts to get giddy as she wonders if Jared realizes that she would, in fact, do anything in the world for him if he wanted it, which is kind of very sad, and then Jared says he does trust her, with all their lives.  Little does he know, she spent a bunch of time in there considering going back with the aliens, and it’s only Stryder that snapped her out of that.

Wanda thanks Jared for trusting her, then Stryder thanks Wanda for being the reason Jamie is going to live, and they’re back at the wash with Jared reattaching the tarps to the car.  Jared starts driving, and they go back to where the car was stashed before and stash it there again, though I’m not entirely sure how, because I thought that he would have put the Jeep in the place where he had had the car hidden, but apparently not; it seems it was just left out in the open. Brilliant.

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They get in the Jeep and begin to drive back, and Wanda asks where the blindfold is.  Jared asks why she’s looking for it, since there’s no need for it as if she had wanted to turn them all in she had her chance, so it’s obvious she’s one of them now.  Wanda still thinks some people might be upset and that her being blindfolded would make them feel better, but Jared says those people need to get over it.  I’d say at this point, he’s right, to a degree.

Wanda mentions that it won’t be easy for them to get back in, and then starts to explain to Jared what he’ll have to do with the medications to heal Jamie, if things go sour for her.  Jared won’t let her tell him the details though, because he says Wanda will be giving the directions for healing, not him, and he’ll shoot anyone that tries to touch her.  Okay, fine, but it would be a good idea for someone else to know it in case something else happens, like she falls and knocks herself out or something…better safe than sorry.  Oh well; not like that’ll happen here anyway, because everything always works out conveniently in this book.

They go back and forth for a bit, but Jared doesn’t give her the blindfold, so she makes one out of her old, dirty shirt because she still believes it will make it easier for them to get in and get to Jamie faster.  They go quiet and keep driving all the way to the caves, and when they’re almost there, Jared tells Wanda that “they’re waiting“.

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Jared pulls the gun out, just in case, and someone yells to them to stop.  Jared explains that it’s just them and that he’s still human, then says he’s bringing the Jeep under cover because they have meds for Jamie and they’re in a hurry.  He warns that no matter what whoever it is is thinking, they won’t be getting in his way, and pulls the Jeep in.

When he’s parked, Jared tells Wanda everything’s fine, so she gets out and Jared lifts her onto his shoulder again, carrying the gun in his other hand (which she doesn’t like.  We needed to be reminded of that again, because the other thousand times were obviously not sufficient).

Kyle shows up, yelling at Jared for being an idiot, and Jeb and Ian are there too, Jeb seeming calm and Ian worried about Wanda, of course.  Jared tells them all to get out of the way because they’re in a hurry, but does tell them Wanda is in perfect shape, she just insisted on being blindfolded.

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He asks how Jamie is, and Jeb says he’s hot, so Jared says Wanda has what they need.  Ian decides to try to slow things down for no apparent reason by saying he can carry Wanda, but Jared says she’s fine where she is, which Wanda verifies.

They run through the caves, angry people all around, but Jared not paying them any mind as long as they get out of the way.  He asks if Doc is with Jamie, but Wanda doesn’t know what the reply is, though we know he definitely is because convenience.  More description of going through the caves again, and then Jared stops and slides Wanda down, then takes the blindfold off of her.

There’s a random description of the room that I’m not sure why we needed, and Doc of course (I must be psychic), but Sharon is there as well, kneeling down by Jamie, as is Maggie.  Sharon tries to attack Jared in anger, but Jared easily spins her around and catches her hands behind her back, and Jeb intervenes when Maggie tries to make a move forward.

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Doc tells Jared to let Sharon go, and I still can’t figure out why someone as good as him would date such a horrendous fucking bitch, but there you have it.  Jared ignores Doc and tells Wanda to heal Jamie, but Doc tries to stand in the way of Wanda doing so, blocking her access to Jamie.

Wanda begs Doc to help her, for Jamie’s sake, but Doc doesn’t say anything, so Ian tries to encourage Doc to help too, telling him not to let his pride get in the way of keeping Jamie alive.  Doc tells Ian it’s not his pride that’s the problem, it’s that they don’t know what the foreign substances will do to Jamie.  Ian reminds him that Jamie can’t get much worse, and then Wanda tells Doc to look at her face.

Everyone in the room looks too, and they’re all shocked.  Doc asks her how she’s healed, and she says she’ll show him, then begs him again.  Doc decides that Ian is right that Jamie can’t get much worse, and Sharon protests, but everyone ignores her (yay), and Wanda begins to get the supplies out of the backpack.

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Wanda asks Ian for water, which he brings as Wanda gets out a square of the No Pain and puts it on Jamie’s tongue.  She uses the water to wash it down, then sprays the Inside Clean and waits for him to inhale.  I’m not sure he’d inhale well enough while unconscious for that to work, but whatever, it is magical alien medicine, and this book is very convenient, so I’m sure it was enough.

Wanda finds the Cool and discovers that it is another tissue square, so she puts that on Jamie’s tongue too, and washes it down with some water.  She then asks Doc if he has a knife, and he immediately guesses she wants him to open the wound, which she says is the case because she wants to clean it.

Doc says he thought of doing that but didn’t because of the pain, which does not sound like something any doctor would do; if the kid was on the verge of death and cleaning and draining the wound might help, he sure as hell would do it, regardless of the pain.  And besides, if pain was such a worry, why the hell didn’t they look for painkillers again when they looked for the antibiotics?

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Wanda tells him that Jamie will feel nothing now, and Ian points out that Jamie’s face is returning to normal, which makes Stryder and Wanda both happy.  Doc is amazed, and Wanda starts trying to educate the doctor, so after slight awkwardness with Sharon on Doc’s part and both of them looking through bags, Doc finds the scalpel.

Before Doc can use the scalpel, though, Jamie wakes up and starts to ask Wanda what’s going on and why everyone is there, and that’s the end of the chapter.

I don’t actually know what to say now that I’ve finished this recap.  I think anything I could say, I’ve said a million times before about this book, so perhaps I’ll leave it at that.  This book is just consistently bad, and far too convenient.  Actually those, I think, are the only things that are consistent about it.  Yaaay.  15 more recaps to go…

(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)

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