Last Reviewed on April 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1190
Two of the Director’s guards roughly pull Layla up from the bed. They place duct tape over her mouth, handcuff her, and force a bag over her head. There is no way for her to fight and nowhere to run.
The Director asks her again to become an informant and tells her that it’s the best way to ease the consequences she and others will feel. He tells her someone has already given him information, and Layla immediately knows it was Abdul. When she refuses to become an informant, the Director hits her across the face, splitting her lip. He reminds her of Soheil and threatens that others will be hurt. He blames her for not thinking about the results of her actions and tells her his patience is limited.
Fred helps Layla back to her cell and brings her more ice packs. He tells her that the Director is being watched by the War Department and the president. Layla looks to her father’s poetry for reassurance.
The Director violently wakes Layla to tell her that the media has made her a hero. He angrily reads her an excerpt from a news story praising her as a freedom fighter and condemning him as a criminal. He says the “fake news” has twisted the truth.
He stops short in his rant to demand that Layla beg him for her life. She refuses. He throws her to the floor just as Jake bursts into the cell demanding that the Director leave at once. Jake identifies himself as a member of the United States National Guard and declares that the Director is out of order. Then he takes out his gun and stands as a shield in front of Layla. Unfazed by the Director’s threat of court martial, Jake says that no one is above the law in the United States and that mistreating prisoners violates international and military laws.
Faced with no choice, the Director laughs nervously and leaves.
Jake comforts Layla and promises to make the Director pay for his actions. In a state of shock, she clings to him for support. He and Fred berate themselves for not keeping Layla safe.
Dr. Han enters the cell to care for Layla’s wounds and to give her pain medicine. The doctor records Layla’s statement about what happened and intends to press charges against the Director. She also puts Jake in charge of protecting Layla. Jake gingerly carries Layla back to her trailer, but she becomes agitated and faints when she learns that the Director has taken her parents into custody.
Awakening from a deep sleep, Layla tells Jake she feels responsible for everything that has happened. He assures her it’s his fault instead: he followed orders to step back and let the Director do what he wanted. It was the only way High Command felt they could obtain evidence against the Director. He apologizes profusely for going along with a plan that left her as bait in a trap.
Fred reports that Dr. Han not only gave Layla’s video to the National Guard and the Attorney General, she also leaked it to the press as insurance. He says that the president will most likely save himself at the expense of the secretary of war to avoid taking the blame for this debacle.
Mobius is on lockdown, and the Director has locked himself in his office.
The next morning, Layla leaves with Ayesha for roll call, intending for everyone to see her face and know what the Director is capable of doing.
Saleem hurts her wrist as he scans her bar code, angrily telling her she deserves it. Ayesha comes to her aid, only to have Saleem throw her to the ground. Layla rushes to shield Ayesha and chastises Saleem for going against his own people. As Saleem moves menacingly toward Layla, Khadijah auntie, an old woman, hits him with her cane. Fauzia tries to reason with her husband, but he pushes her to the ground as well, intending to hit Khadijah auntie. A crowd forms, and someone throws Saleem to the ground. Shocked at their disobedience, he rushes to report them.
Khadijah auntie reminds Layla that Laylah leads the movement, and Layla decides to march to the fence and demand freedom. This time, everyone is part of the movement, and they support Layla as she speaks of America, liberty, and religious freedom. “We are Americans. We make America great. This is our country. And we’re taking it back.”
They march proudly to the fence.
On the other side of the fence, the protesters and media rush forward. Layla notes that the electricity must be off and sees it as a victory. Exclusion Guards hurry over, but some of them join Layla’s group instead of the Director’s. Jake stands next to Layla for support and protection.
As they demand to be freed, Layla’s parents are pushed out of a door, followed by the Director, who urges her to stop the demonstration so that no one else will be hurt. Two guards aim guns at Ali and Sophia, and Layla notices that Ali’s arm is visibly injured.
Layla refuses to bargain; she reminds the Director that the world watches this exchange. He pushes Ali and Sophia down the stairs, and they run to reunite with Layla. The Director goads the crowd, telling them they foolishly follow a girl and ignore the guns and the electric fence.
Someone shouts that they are united, and Layla tells the Director he has lost.
Suddenly, the Director tells his guard to shoot Layla; Jake orders them to stand down.
The Director turns around and shoots his gun.
Layla is surrounded by confusion, screams, and panic, and she realizes she is on the ground. Jake is bleeding profusely; she tries to stop the blood, but it’s too late. Layla realizes that Jake stepped in front of her when the Director aimed his gun, taking the bullet meant for her.
Desperately trying to stop the blood, Layla prays that this will not be the end of Jake’s story. He chokes out: "Layla. I . . . You." People gather around them and pray for Jake. She sees his eyes close “for the last time.”
As the family prepares to go home, Layla thinks of those who have given their lives. She leaves her belongings in the trailer, wanting nothing to remind her of Mobius. She thinks of Ayesha, who is suffering after losing Soheil.
Layla recalls that once, Jake had told her about his friend who worked for the United States Air Force Pararescue team. He said their motto was “That Others May Live.” She realizes that is what has happened at Mobius. People have given their lives so that the Exclusion laws could be repealed, the internment camps could be closed, the president could be impeached.
Layla does not know where her life is heading, but she is confident she will find her way. She looks ahead, not behind her, as she leaves the camp.