Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1341
Jake’s comment stays with Layla as she tries to decipher his motives. “God willing. Everything and nothing?”
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Ayesha suggests that Layla consider David’s proposal. She reminds Layla that even if they managed to escape through some other means, there is nowhere to go. They cannot even hide in Mexico, because they’d be shot climbing over the border wall.
Ayesha does not trust Jake and thinks he is using Layla to obtain information. Layla assures her that Jake is genuine.
Layla talks about the White Rose. Soheil is familiar with this reference to Hans and Sophie Scholl, students who were executed for denouncing Hitler. Sophie believed that someone had to start resisting.
Soheil asks if they are considering a resistance. Layla’s idea is to write stories about life at Mobius, which David will give to the media. Soheil promises to help and suggests a protest fast. Ayesha mentions that she had previously suggested a teen vegetable garden to the librarian, who purchased supplies. While they plant seeds in the garden, they can recruit people and plant seeds of rebellion.
Layla, Ayesha, and Soheil witness their friend Noor being dragged away by guards. Noor had previously told Layla that rebellion was the American way. Two women try to help Noor but are beaten by the guards and removed.
The Director shoots a gun in the air, and the crowd falls silent. He wants everyone to hear the distant sounds of the women screaming.
Unable to sleep, Layla writes Noor’s story. The next morning, she lies to her parents about meeting Ayesha and instead meets Jake to give him the story. He brings her to the Mess hall, where David surprises her. He is dressed in a sanitation uniform that Jake gave him so he could enter Mobius undetected.
Layla is concerned for David’s safety, as he will be responsible for leaking the story to the media. Unbeknownst to Jake, David gives Layla a flip phone so that she can call him any time she wants.
Jake again warns Layla against any kind of disobedient act. He knows they are taking a big risk in leaking the story, and he reiterates that he can only protect Layla so much. He says it’s not just the president behind the internment camps—it’s Homeland Security, the CIA, and the FBI:
You need to understand that the president operates like the Constitution is a blank slate . . . No one is challenging him. People won’t even call him out on his blatant lies.
Jake reminds Layla that people are trying to help, but she needs to trust him and heed his advice.
The Director walks toward them and addresses Layla by name, showing that he knows who she is. He asks where she has been. Jake answers that she lost her necklace, and he brought her to retrieve it. The Director warns them that he sees everything.
Layla is struck by the irony of their vegetable garden’s name—“Peace Garden.” Jake tells Layla about his mother, who loved gardening, and his father, who is a military man. Layla expresses sympathy for the fact that he lost his mother when he was twelve. “It’s never easy to lose what you love,” she says.
Later, Jake comes to Layla’s mobile home. Awkwardly, they stand in the common room, knowing there are cameras. He gestures to her room so they can talk freely. When she asks what will happen when someone sees him enter her room, Jake says the Director will assume rape or coercion and will not care. He promises that if he ever saw something like that happen, he would stop it.
Jake informs her that Noor’s blood-stained hijab was found on the premises; someone had written “resist” across it. He feels it is his duty to protect the United States from all enemies, even the ones within. He apologizes for having to go along with the Director’s orders for now but hints that he also has “counter-orders.” The Director trusts him, and keeping that trust is the only way Jake feels he can keep Layla safe.
Layla notices Jake’s demeanor is softer than usual. He worries that the Director could hurt her and that he might not be able to stop him. When she admits she’s afraid, he hugs her, and she feels safe. Jake seems suddenly dismayed and apologizes. He reminds her that she’s not alone and that people are protesting at the White House.
He stops her from divulging any of her plans, saying that if he does not know, no one can take the information from him.
Layla secretly meets David, who shows her an article about the impact her story is having on the world. Although she’s happy to see David, Layla feels there is a growing separation between them. He questions her about Jake, but she assures him there is nothing going on between them.
Suddenly, they hear Jake yell for them to come out; he enters the room and warns them that the Director is approaching. He hides Layla’s newest story in his boot, just before the Director bursts in. Quickly, Layla whispers for David to stream the event on Instagram. He films the Director’s menacing words as a guard violently flings Layla against the refrigerator. David states that he is broadcasting live, so the Director changes his tone. He acts concerned for Layla’s welfare and instructs Jake to take her to the infirmary.
When the Director leaves, Jake reprimands David for endangering Layla by giving her a phone and meeting her in secret. David tells Layla he loves her and asks Jake to keep her safe.
Lying to her parents about her swollen cheek, Layla tells them she tripped. They watch on the media unit as the Director angrily tells of a traitor who has leaked false information about Mobius to the outside world. He states that the entire community will suffer and promises a reward to anyone who can identify the traitor. He says people from the Red Cross will visit tomorrow, and he wants to show community pride.
The minders give everyone a job so that they will look good for the Red Cross visit, and they promise a reward if the visit goes well. Layla thinks about the only real reward: freedom, a right that was stolen from them.
Frightened about the next day’s planned protest fast, Layla prays for protection.
The media and protesters are outside the fence. Layla feels encouraged when she spots David in the crowd. Jake explains that this protest is in response to Layla’s story. Social media is buzzing, placing pressure on the government.
Layla worries that the Red Cross team will not see the truth. She knows from her history class that the Red Cross visited Nazi concentration camps but believed the lies they were told and shown; they did not save people from being murdered. Seeing the Red Cross at Mobius does not give her the hope that the protest does.
Jake urges those involved in the protest fast to be more careful—he heard people talking about it. Soheil does not trust Jake, although Ayesha and Layla vouch for him. Jake promises he will not turn them in, no matter what the Director might do to him.
Jake says that when his unit was moved into the Exclusion Guard, he forgot his duty to protect the United States and simply followed orders. Now, he is still following orders, but they counter the Director’s. He will use the Director’s trust in him to help the people of Mobius.
Jake vows to smuggle another of Layla’s stories out of the camp, and Layla is troubled, thinking about what the Director would do to him if his treachery were discovered. She also fears the fast, since those involved will be in the open and could be injured—or worse.