Check out our episode here! (features The Elite and The One) The One by Kiera Cass
The One begins with an immediate rebel attack. The girls are ushered into a safe room, but are nearly immediately let out again. They would have not even been sent to the safe room because a guard did come and tell them never mind, but Sylvia insisted that she wouldn't let the girls go until the king said so, so 20 minutes later, they're out. Back in her room afterward, America finds a letter from her little sister May declaring that their older sister had a baby and she hopes they'll all be together by Christmas. America decides she's ending The Selection by putting on the sluttiest dress and hitting on Maxon, showing him that she desires him sexually after his father told her at the end of the last book that Maxon's getting it from all angles from all the other girls. He laughs at her because she's being ridiculous and then she's embarrassed to go to breakfast the next day. But she does.
The king has to go on an emergency trip and doesn't invite Maxon to go with him, treating him like a child. Maxon is used to it though and knows that his father is never going to relinquish control. But he can't control everything, like sending America home, even though she should definitely be sent home. Maxon has a plan to get America back on top again and jokes with her so everything's fine. And then she's in the Women's Room. And the girls are watching all the guards run around shirtless. And then they all talk about how far they've gone with Maxon which makes America jealous again, but that's nothing new. She's sure she's still his favorite, though Kriss is still a tough contender. All Celeste wants is the crown and Elise has been preparing her whole life for an arranged marriage, so she's sure that if Maxon picks her then love will eventually come. So really, it's going to be Kriss or America.
After some inevitable bickering between America and Maxon, she is awoken by a guard one morning who escorts her down to Maxon and the two rebels America saw when she ran into the forest. They have come to speak specifically to Maxon and America. One of the rebels introduces himself as August Illéa. He is a direct descendant of Gregory Illéa and they've come to seek help from Maxon. The northern rebels support Maxon as future king but want him to get rid of the castes. They know that Gregory created them because he was a vindictive asshole and they want them dismantled. They know that the southern rebels, if they do manage to take over, will make promises that things will be better but will actually make things worse, or at least keep them the exact same. The only thing they want is for Maxon to marry America because they know she has their same ideals. Telling Maxon this though makes him angry because he hates being bullied and constantly told what to do. America stands up for him kind of and for herself kind of and leaves. The female rebel, Georgia, follows and tells her how great she is because she doesn't even want to be a princess at all, but they have someone else in mind if Maxon won't marry America. August and Maxon follow soon after and the rebels leave with the promise of keeping in touch.
Maxon and America fight again after she leaves the Women's Room later. The Queen chastises the girls a little for hating each other and tells them that after the competition is over, they will be best friends or like family. America feels emotional about this and leaves and walks into Maxon where they have the same discussion that they have all the time. She passes the king in the hallway later and he takes away her family's stipend so she finds a spot away from her bickering maids to write a letter home explaining the bad news. Anne has been giving Lucy a hard time because Lucy is distracted by something, but America doesn't want to interfere with them. While she's away writing, she hears Kriss and Maxon come down the hall and witnesses their first real mouth-kiss and Kriss telling Maxon that he is important to her. (Have we mentioned that Kriss has a tradition of not kissing on the mouth until being engaged? Well, she broke it.) America gets jealous but again probably won't do anything about it even though Maxon always implies he just wants someone to want him. We'll see if she listens this time.
Before we can find out, there's a message from the southern rebels during the Report. They are going to start attacking those in the same castes as the girls, Twos, Threes, Fours and Fives, starting at the top and working their way down. Elise has nothing to say to the public, Celeste tells everyone to be safe, Kriss suggests that Twos and Threes shelter Fours and Fives, and America suggests they fight. The king stops her on her way out of the room telling her that that was a bad idea and she says that his ideas aren't so great either and they have to do something, otherwise he won't have a country to rule anymore.
Maxon stops by her room that night, telling her he loves fighting with her but doesn't want to argue anymore. He thinks that what she said in the Report will put her in the top spot again because people will see that she's strong and cares about them. They hold hands and he notices her Aspen-button bracelet, which he's noticed several other times before, and looks concerned about it. He's said before it seems like America sometimes loves someone else and probably this bracelet had something to do with those feelings. He asks to spend the next day with her. They dance on the roof in the rain and America finally realizes that she loves him but doesn't tell him. When they come back inside, they are met by the king who is furious with Maxon for being outside with all the rebel threats. He ends their day together, pulling Maxon away.
The next day, they're all in the Women's Room again not really knowing what to do with themselves, well, all except for Celeste. America goes to find a book to read and finds Celeste crying instead. She has a new magazine with America polling as the country's favorite again. Celeste is upset because she's just a model and her looks are going to fade and she's not going to be important anymore. She and America make amends and then she offers to break Kriss's leg so she'll be out of the competition. On her way back to the Women's Room, America encounters Aspen who is getting bigger because since becoming a soldier, he's been getting pumped full of injections. America asks him for help getting to August Illéa and of course he'll do anything for her. Maxon got word to August who set up a meeting place and Aspen helps Maxon and America sneak out of the palace through the kitchens and a delivery truck. Maxon is a little suspicious of just why this Officer Leger is so willing to help America, but doesn't ask any serious questions about it and the escape goes off without a hitch.
The meeting with August and Georgia also goes well. They are pleased with America asking people to fight on the Report and say they will fight too if Maxon can give them guns. He won't do that though because they could just as easily attack the palace with guns if they wanted to or his father could find out, which would possibly be worse. August tells them that the Southerners are not attacking many people now, but they'll probably start up again soon and when they find out anything, he'll let Maxon know. August gives them a phone number to call if they need anything and they leave. When they get back to the delivery truck, there are rebels with guns that attack. They recognize America so she runs but gets shot in the arm. She hides in an alley and is found by a young girl who recently became an Eight and is now a prostitute. She offers America a prostitute job but luckily Maxon and Aspen come by before too long and they all, including Paige the Tiny Prostitute, go back to the palace. In Aspen's room, Maxon sees an unsigned love letter written by America a few years ago pinned to the wall and comments on how it must feel to have someone so devoted to you and write you love letters. Aspen leaves the room. They send Paige to work with Mallory, also known as Marlee, and bring Anne in to stitch America up. She doesn't ask questions.
The next day America feels like crap and is hungover because the only thing they had to dull her gunshot pain was liquor, but she manages to make it down for lunch. Sylvia declares that they will be having a televised tea party soon and that they each have to invite two guests. America is certain that the king planned this to make her look useless, but Celeste offers to invite more of her influential friends if America can't find anyone to invite. She's not so terrible if she's on your side. Back in her room, America asks Anne if there's any way she can repay her for her gunshot sewing help and she asks if America will see if Aspen has any interest in her since they're such good friends. America is delighted to do so, which means she's definitely not in love with him anymore at all. Maxon comes by later and they almost tell each other that they love each other but of course they don't. Instead America talks to him about who she intends to invite to the tea party. Nicoletta, the Italian princess that America impressed so much at the reception she and Kriss put on that she gave her her personal phone number, and Georgia. They secretly talk during the tea party about the Italians funding the Northern rebels.
Next comes something called The Convicting where the Elite will have to sentence a thief to jail time. America doesn't want to do it because she's seen firsthand what people will do when they are hungry. She asks Queen Amberly to let her convict someone who's done something actually worth being imprisoned for, but the Queen says she needs to do this most of all because people think she's running wild. She lets America know in not so many words that the king doesn't want her there anymore so she needs to be perfect. Aannnddddd of course she disobeys. Instead of convicting the man to prison for life for stealing clothes for his children, which definitely doesn't warrant a life sentence and is definitely the king's way of punishing the man for probably being a rebel sympathizer and punishing America because he hates her, she takes off the jewelry given to her by Maxon to wear to this ceremony and the necklace her father gave her, gives it to the man and tells him to pay his debt to the king. The watching crowd applauds, but the king is of course furious. But... No one else is. The king suggests to Maxon that they send all these reject girls home and have a new Selection. Of course he's not going to do that. Also, the public absolutely adores America for standing up to the king. It seems most everyone is tired of him. All the girls come to America's room to check on her because they knew King Clarkson would do something despicable to her. They all have doubts about themselves and become closer than ever before. Maxon interrupts them to talk to America but again, they don't really get anywhere.
Now that all the girls are getting along, they spend a day in the Women's Room giving each other makeovers, and they include the Queen, too. And they borrow a camera from Maxon to photograph everything. But then America is summoned to the king who is furious that the Italians like her and is sure that she's done something to them. She says she only showed them kindness. Then King Clarkson tries to force her to read propaganda to the castes, telling them to stay with their own and ignore everyone in the other castes. She refuses. The king says she must not love Maxon and she must be there for ulterior motives, and if she won't read this propaganda because she doesn't love Maxon then he's kicking her out in three days, right before Christmas. She leaves and Maxon follows her, but instead of telling him she loves him and that his father is clearly a manipulative assbag, they fight. AGAIN.
Now it's Christmas Eve and Maxon invites America to see his room. They look at all the photographs he's taken and many are of her. She asks if he'd want to take photographs if he wasn't the prince and yes, of course he would. She tells him that he'd be a Five. All he wants is for her to tell him she loves him and if she does, he'll end everything. But for some reason, she believes she'll never have all of him until he sends everyone else home. BUT THAT IS SERIOUSLY WHAT HE'S TRYING TO DO IF SHE'D JUST TELL HIM SHE LOVES HIM. He's about to try to coerce her with a make out session, but then a guard comes in and tells them that America's father has died. She goes home for the funeral but the king won't let Maxon go with her. Maxon sends Aspen and several other guards with her and Lucy, too. They have the funeral and then America spends time playing with May and dressing up Lucy.
America's mother gives the older children letters written to them by their father years before he died. He had a known heart condition and knew he didn't have much time left. America's letter, however, has had recent additions. He's proud of her of course, but he also reveals that he was the one who told August and Georgia about Gregory Illéa's diaries because he was a Northern rebel too. He didn't say it outright, obviously, but he definitely was one. Kota, her older brother, is an asshole and is upset that their father left him the house because he considers it a dump. He orders Aspen to serve him a drink since he's a Six, but oh no, he's a Two now. When America stands up for him, Kota asks if their affair is still going on, shocking everyone. She says that yes, they used to date and were going to get married, but then they broke up and now she has Maxon, but she's sure if Kota knows, others might too, so when they go back to the palace, she's going to tell Maxon everything. May was surprised to find out about them, and Lucy is in tears. America talks to her sister Kenna who kind of shames her for trying to keep Aspen as a safety net. On the plane ride back, Aspen tries to tell America something after talking to Lucy for a long time, but she shuts him down.
Back at the palace, America tries to go to her room, but a maid asks her why she's not going to the reception. She's led to a bustling party with all the girls who were sent home and finds out that it will either be her or Kriss marrying Maxon. She and Kriss talk privately and decide that they're going to be happy for one another no matter what, but then America notices that Kriss has a star necklace, which is just like the stars hidden in her father's letter, which are just like the stars on Georgia's jacket. Kriss is a Northern rebel! America pulls her to the bathroom and confronts her, but Kriss says she loves Maxon and yeah, she's a rebel and she was put into the Selection on purpose, but she really does love him and thinks they could do great things.
America goes to her room and Maxon comes in later, tells her that she's The One and they make out and then he spends the night in her room. When he wakes up to go back to his own room, they laugh and play together and Aspen comes dashing in, thinking she's in trouble. She's embarrassed, but Maxon brushes it off and they talk some more and then he leaves. Aspen comes back in and shouts at her for sleeping with Maxon, and she gets close to him and says she didn't, but then Maxon comes back down the hall with Kriss and was going to talk to both of them together to break the news to Kriss, but now, he's sending America home because she's been lying to him the entire time and she loves Aspen. They try to explain, but he doesn't listen and tells her to get her maids to fix her up nicely to go home. When he came in to see her when she first got back, he brought in an envelope that she only opens now and it's full of silly love letters that are all the more heartbreaking now that she's going home.
At the celebration the next day where Maxon will reveal that he's marrying Kriss, he's pretty terrible to America. She notices that everyone seems on edge and that the guards look a little unkempt. Maxon says something awful to America again, forcing her to smile until she's out of his life, so she's glancing all around the room, trying not to look at anyone for fear of crying. Then she watches as the scruffy guards whip out red sashes and guns and shoot Celeste in the back of the head. The southern rebels have snuck in and are shooting people left and right. One comes close and is about to shoot America, but Maxon jumps in front and takes the bullet. Aspen comes to help and takes a screaming Kriss away. Maxon apologizes for almost ruining their lives and tells her he loves her and will love her until his last breath, which may be coming soon. Aspen comes back and tries to take Maxon but he insists he take America instead and keep her safe. They creep down the hall toward a safe room. Aspen checks a guard, he's dead, so he takes his gun and gives it to America. As they go down a dead end looking for a safe room, a red sash comes around the corner and America shoots. Aspen tries to tell her to do something, but then shoves her into the safe room and leaves.
America tries to shoot her way out of the safe room but fails. August and Gavril Fadaye open her door later and she realizes that Gavril wears a star and is a rebel too. They take her to the hospital when she starts freaking out trying to find out if Maxon and Aspen are alive. Aspen is. She finds him in the hospital too and he tells her that she saved his life but that he doesn't love her anymore. She assumes that Maxon is dead and is sad about it, but Aspen tells her that he's not dead and he's now the king because both King Clarkson and Queen Amberly were killed. The northern rebels really helped them a lot and if it wasn't for them, more people would be dead. Then Lucy comes in and smooches him all over and America sneaks away to find Maxon. He's in his room all bandaged up. When she comes in, Maxon dismisses everyone in his room and puts aside the paperwork he's studying. He instructs America to look at another set of papers. These have an outline for dismantling the castes, working from the bottom up. While she's reading the papers over and over again, he places a ring on top and proposes. Of course she says yes. They have a lovely wedding with Marlee as a bridesmaid and her husband standing with Maxon. It's a good sign for the future for them to be there. Aspen walks America down the aisle and gives her away. She knows that her life with Maxon will be tough, but they will have so much more than a happily ever after.