It’s now clear that Dauntless training was intended as war preparation. The fights accustomed the initiates to hurting their own friends and weeded out trainees, like Al, who were unwilling to harm others for no apparent reason. The fear hallucinations in the second and third stages encouraged Tris and her friends to respond with violence to threatening situations. At the same time, the hallucinations helped Erudite leaders develop the test serum into a version that could control the Dauntless as a group. Finally, the tests allowed the Erudite and Dauntless leaders to identify Divergent people. Tris wasn’t sure why her Divergence was so dangerous, but now she realizes it’s because she’s immune to the serum. The ease with which Tris manipulated and escaped her fear simulations was a signal that traditional mind control serums wouldn’t work on her, and now she and Tobias are the only ones who aren’t brainwashed. Their ability to think independently makes them unwilling to participate in a bloody uprising, and thus jeopardizes the Erudite’s plans to seize power.

It’s not entirely clear why Tris doesn’t immediately tell Tobias her suspicions about the Dauntless tracking serum, but her delay may have something to do with the fact that she’s just placed first in the Dauntless rankings. At the moment it dawns on her that Dauntless is about to do something terrible, she’s in the midst of celebrating her first-place ranking, not to mention thrilled that Tobias is kissing her in public. This is a far cry from the beginning of training, when she was fearful she’d get kicked out of the faction and uncomfortable when others showed affection. Their public kiss as her victory is announced shows that her connection with Tobias has made her braver in more ways than one.

Even though Tris is horrified that the uprising begins before she can do anything about it, she’s overjoyed when it reveals that Tobias is Divergent. Just as she suspected, they share a connection that goes beyond their shared Abnegation upbringing. They can both think for themselves, despite what the factions have told them. The realization makes her more confident than ever, even though she’s in real danger, not just in a simulation. When she shoots Eric in the foot to stop him from killing Tobias, then takes a bullet to the shoulder, she shows that she’s willing to risk her life in order to protect the people she cares about.