Mark Reads ‘Feed’: Chapter 21

In the twenty-first chapter of Feed, this is fucked up. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.

Twenty-one

Y’all ain’t shit. YOU TRICKED ME INTO READING THIS. AND NOW IT IS PAINFUL TO STOP AND I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO JUST STREAMLINE AND BINGE A SERIES IN MY WHOLE LIFE. THIS IS AGONIZING. I CAN’T. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO STOP AFTER THAT CLIFFHANGER?

Count me as 100% aboard the Newsflesh train, and I refuse to disembark. This chapter alone is one of my favorites in the whole book even without that unreal ending. It’s tense. It’s awkward. It’s urgent. It’s creepy. It all takes place in a hotel room AND IT STILL HAD ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. No, you don’t get it, this whole scene is basically three people sitting around a computer for an hour and IT IS STILL THRILLING AND EXCITING. What magical powers do you have, Mira Grant, and how can I acquire them for writing my own book? Thank you very much.

First of all, when Shaun told Georgia that Mahir was still unavailable, all I could think was that he’d been murdered. Someone had intercepted Georgia’s call from the CDC and off’d him. I’m just going straight to RELENTLESS BLEAK because it’s the only way to stay safe.

But I suppose everything’s not bleak, considering that the characters within this very book refuse to demonize Buffy. Do they hate what she did? Yes. They despise it, and so do I. Yet even Georgia, who takes loyalty very seriously, never seems to come out with a direct condemnation of Buffy as a person. I think that’s why she accepts Rick’s reason for wanting to stay on the team. He is dedicated to keeping the memory of Buffy’s life before her betrayal alive. He doesn’t want her to be remembered for one act at the end of her life. Personally, I don’t know if this is how I would react to this predicament, but I respect that these characters want to do this. I would, however, be interested in Ryman’s take on all of this, especially since he lost his parents and his daughter because of Buffy’s disloyalty.

This is going to be a goddamn mess, and for more reasons than Buffy’s actions.

Honestly, that’s what this chapter conveys to me. I am not even remotely prepared for what’s going to happen. Look, these terrorists PURPOSELY GOT THE ENTIRE BLOGGER TEAM REPORTED AS DEAD. It’s an intentional method of calling their journalistic integrity into question. Oh my god, if they can’t kill them literally, these assholes are going to kill their careers. Is it okay for me to be frightened of these people? Yes, of course. So when Georgia was ready to go all in and expose what happened, I thought Rick was right. This didn’t seem like a good idea. That is, until this:

“Somebody who’s depending on secrecy wants us out of the way. So screw ‘em. We’re taking that secrecy away.”

Okay, that’s a much better point. I imagine these terrorists are relying on the team to stay quiet out of fear, which makes Georgia’s rumination on fear in her blog all the more relevant.

Most of this chapter focuses on what the team finds in Buffy’s will and on her server. Unsurprisingly, Buffy left her personal files to Shaun and Georgia, a damning indictment of her knowledge of what she’d done wrong. And it’s great that while Grant makes it so that the characters do have complicated feelings, she also doesn’t let Buffy escape blame. That’s clear when the group gets to the video that Buffy made prior to her death. It’s an eerie, unsettling scene. Here’s a new moment with a character who isn’t even around anymore, and it exposes just how terrible she was to the people around her. Her confession is stated in plain language, and for someone who wrote flowery, erotic fiction, it’s shockingly stark. She defrauded the American public. She gave private information to a third party with the expressed promise that it would be used to “further undermine the campaign.”

Buffy sold them out. And when she realized what this meant, she couldn’t back out. It was too late. People were dead, and then she died.

Yet amidst this horrific confession, there was a tiny moment where Georgia was able to put aside her anger and shock to say sorry to Buffy. Buffy had begged to go home, and Georgia had said no. I don’t think Georgia blames herself for what happened. That was clearly Buffy’s fault. But she still kept Buffy around, unknowingly guaranteeing she would perish. So Georgia allows a moment of tenderness, and I respect her for that.

I wondered what was Buffy’s laptop. I wondered where the listening devices were. I wanted to know so much, but I assumed that Grant would hold on to these secrets for a while. You know, to drag the mystery out! I was trying to prepare myself for the journey, and for a moment, I believed I had. Georgia spends time talking to Mahir, who wasn’t killed, but had simply drank too much at a wake and poetry reading in Buffy’s honor. Great, NOW I’M SAD AGAIN. Mahir is, understandably, freaked out by Georgia’s serious tone, especially when she keeps giving him assignments that involve him making physical copies of things. He can tell that some shit is going down, but he doesn’t know the degree by which things ARE TOTALLY AWFUL.

See, and I thought I did. I really did.

“And I’m telling you, they’re getting too close. With the Meissonier girl gone, we can’t steer them anymore. There’s no telling how many of those damn bugs she planted around the offices. I told you we couldn’t trust a spook.”

Done. 100,000% done forever. Grant gave us a villain, one we were meant to hate, then purposely misdirected us to make it seem like it was too obvious that he was the bad guy, AND THEN HE WAS THE FUCKING BAD GUY THE WHOLE TIME.

“I don’t care how you take the rest of them out,” Tate barked. “Just do it. If the CDC couldn’t finish them off, we’ll find another way.”

Yeah. YEAH. WHAT THE FUCK THE SENATOR’S OWN RUNNING MATE IS BEHIND THE MURDER OF HALF HIS FAMILY. Buffy died for Governor Tate’s agenda.

“Shut up, sit down, and get started. We have work to do.”

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO, GEORGIA???

Sometimes the wrong choice is the only one that lets you face the end with dignity, grace, and the awareness that you’re doing the right thing.

WHAT???

…was it the day we realized this might be the last thing we ever did… and decided not to care?

WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO???? Why do I have to stop I AM OPPRESSING MYSELF.

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About Mark Reads

Vegan cyclist, Internet community nerd, atheist bookworm, high-five purveyor.
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