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aka: The Maze Runner Series

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The Books

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Teresa truly in love with Thomas and is sorry for what she did in The Scorch? Or is she actually a sociopath who manipulates Thomas' feelings for her to her advantage? She doesn't seem to realize that Thomas would be upset with her actions, opting instead to declare that she's done apologizing and he should get over it. It doesn't help matters when she goes over to Thomas acting all cuddly when he obviously wants his space. And also, was her Anguished Declaration of Love genuine, or was it a final mind screw to hurt Thomas since she's dying?
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: If you ask a Maze Runner fan who their favorite character is, 9/10 times they will say Newt. Thanks to his memorable one-liners, tragic backstory, and likable personality (the fact that he's played by Pretty Boy Thomas Brodie-Sangster doesn't hurt either), he has a ton of fangirls, and even critics of the characters have said he was one of the few they liked. Minho is also one to a lesser extent.
  • Faux Symbolism: We have a character go through numerous hardships in a world on the breaking point thanks to the actions of those up top having to sacrifice himself to appease the sins of said world. Sound familiar? For added bonus he and the other of the persecuted get to inherit the earth!
  • Ho Yay:
    • Throughout the series, it becomes more and more visible for Thomas and Minho.
    Minho (to Thomas): If I don't see you on the other side, remember that I love you.
    • Newt seems to get fond of Thomas incredibly quickly, shows affection in various ways and shows signs of jealousy repeatedly when Teresa or Brenda are mentioned. Could easily be interpreted as more than simple friendship. It's played up quite a bit in the films, especially when Newt aggressively accuses Thomas of still caring about Teresa. Could be interpreted as just an effect of the Flare, but it could also be jealousy.
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    • Alby and Newt lead the Glade together and can easily be seen as a couple instead of a regular duo: Newt's hurt reaction when a recovering Alby wants to talk to Thomas only, the heart-breaking way he strongly reacts when Alby dies... James Dashner has actually teased at them in fan Q&As.
  • Fan Preferred Pairing: You'd be hard pressed to find someone who actually ships Brenda with Thomas, as is implied to be canon. Arguably the most popular ship in the fandom is Thomas and Newt (Newtmas), and those who don't ship that usually pair Thomas with either Teresa (Thomesa) or Minho (Thominho).
  • Idiot Plot: WICKED's plan is basically this: instead of studying the Immunes actual immune system (the part of the body responsible for fighting diseases) they instead focus on mapping their neurological system (that is, the part of the body responsible for making decisions, and feeling emotions, and interpreting data, and making you "you") and never once do they realize that not only are these bodily systems completely unrelated, but that even if they could analyze the human brain to the point where they could copy its layout into another human being, it still wouldn't do anything because the body is dying of a disease, which is why the Immune are immune: their immune system is independent of the brain. WICKED should have studied that much more understood part of the body, but if they had, we would have no plot.
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  • Magnificent Bitch: Dr. Ava Paige is the intelligent and ruthless Chancellor of WICKED. As revealed in The Fever Code, she rose to power by manipulating Thomas and his friends into murdering several members of WICKED's high command. When Thomas suggested inserting Teresa and himself into the Maze Trials with their memories intact, she pretended to go along with the plan, only to betray him and wipe his and Teresa's memories anyways. Throughout the first two books, her machinations begin to come into play, as the test subjects for the Maze Trials are put into various situations in order to study their neurological patterns. By the end of the series, Paige accepts that a cure to the Flare will never come, and provides Thomas and his friends with a safe haven to rebuild humanity in.
  • Narm: Unfortunately, the books are rife with these moments.
    • In The Scorch Trials, take a shot every time a chapter includes or ends with Thomas passing out and/or falling asleep. It gets to the point where the vast majority of character interactions and, frankly, plot development are all offscreen while the reader is treated to some more flashback dreams.
    • Also in the Scorch Trials, almost any character who isn't Thomas, Minho, Brenda, Aris, Frypan or Newt gets no description, no significant dialogue and not even names. Out of the 20 Gladers the book starts with, Thomas interacts with almost none of them. Non-Glader characters are only referred to by the most prominent feature on their body (Blondie, Ratmannote , etc). The author really wasn't concerned about introducing new or particularly memorable characters.
    • In The Death Cure, the revelation that Teresa and the other escapade Gladers were captured immediately after getting to Denver and accomplished absolutely nothing after being off page for two-thirds of the book. is a bit disappointing.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The books really push the idea that everything that happens is actually one of WICKED's machinations, making one wonder how one would feel if one's life was also entirely managed by unseen Mad Scientists. It doesn't help that, by the end, everything that happened was pretty much what WICKED, or at least its leader, wanted anyway.
  • The Un-Twist: The "this person we thought was our ally was actually working for WICKED!" plot twist is so overused in the last two books that it's honestly more surprising when someone or something doesn't turn out to secretly be part of WICKED's machinations.
    • For that matter, the meaning of WICKED note . Especially since the first appearance of the full name comes directly after Thomas brings it up.
  • The Woobie:
    • Newt: Hates every living minute inside the Maze. Has the responsibility of leadership weighing on him. Watched his oldest friends die horribly. Committed suicide but failed. Is infected with the Flare for science. Has to spend several weeks slowly going crazy before being put out of his misery.
    • Teresa: Forced to betray her best friend to save their lives. Said friend refused to forgive her for the rest of the series. Tries to save that friend and gets crushed to death just seconds away from safety.
  • What an Idiot!: The Glader policy of absolute secrecy and disdain towards greenies leaves a lot to be desired. For example, when Thomas has just been dumped in the glade and is greeted by its inhabitants.
    You'd Expect: This being a song and dance all these characters are well acquainted with, Thomas would be sat down (by force if necessary), then told in detail the exact conditions of his new life. It is in their absolute best interests to make sure every new person that pops up becomes a contributing member of their society after all.
    Instead: The characters outright refuse to tell Thomas anything until "the tour" and respond with disproportionate hostility to his questioning. There is no benefit to anyone to just leave new arrivals in the dark, especially when everyone is ostensibly working towards the same goal of leaving the maze. Instead of every member of the Glade using their noggin to solve the problem, only a select few are entrusted to actually even attempt to solve the maze while everyone else twiddles their thumbs in ignorance. The real kicker is that unlike the movie, this is never really brought up after Thomas becomes a runner. No explanation is given to why the Gladers ostracize newcomers outside of not wanting to hear a thousand questions.

The films:

  • The Maze Runner
  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure

  • Complete Monster: Assistant Director Janson, debuting in the second film, is a cold, self-serving man who serves as the chief operative of WCKD, helping to oversee the Maze experiments with many dozens of children immune to the Flare virus exposed to the horrors of WCKD's Mazes, with countless numbers of them killed. Trying to trick the survivors into letting their organs be harvested under the false pretense of giving them refuge, and later aiding in an attack on the Right Arm while personally executing Mary, one of their leaders, Janson comes into his own in The Death Cure, where he becomes even more ruthless in trying to procure a cure to the Flare. Janson orders a crowd of protesters fired on by cannons to get at Thomas, smugly implores Thomas to shoot Teresa when he takes her at gunpoint, and having Thomas's friend Minho exposed to horrible, potentially lethal psychological experiments to lure him out. Janson ultimately murders WCKD's head Dr. Paige himself and, with the cure revealed to be in Thomas's blood, reveals his true goal to build a future of his own design by selecting who gets to be cured while leaving all the rest of humanity to be driven insane and slowly die from the Flare. Even in an organization of mad scientists with little regards to how far they have to plunge to root out a cure to the Flare, Janson stands out as an utter sociopath with no scruples or benevolent intentions whatsoever.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In the first two films, Thomas is given the vast majority of the screen time, meaning Newt, Teresa, Minho and other characters don't get near as many memorable scenes as they deserve (and got in the books). This was a problem with fans and critics, especially those who prefer them to Thomas. Luckily, this is amended in the last movie (and in the second movie somewhat for Teresa). Newt gets an emotional and dynamic character arc with his transformation into a crank and some of the best acting in the movie, Minho gets to do more than snark for a change in the scenes where he's being tortured by WCKD, and we get to see Teresa's caring spirit and conflicting emotions as she works to find a cure for the Flare.

Alternative Title(s): The Maze Runner Series

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