Paging Doctor Plot Device: Chapter 19 of 50 Shades Freed

So Ray is aaaallllll better now aaannnnd cue the crying. Ana cries with happiness. Ray asks where he is and if Ana can bring him a glass of water. Ana goes for the water and then skips, literally skips, back to his bedside.

Christian is all, fucking finally! He wants to have Ray transferred to Seattle so they can go home and Christian’s mom can watch Ray. Ana isn’t sure Ray is well enough to be moved, I mean he literally just woke up, and like two days ago the doctors were ready to give up on him. But Christian doesn’t care – he just wants to get the hell home.
They go back to the hotel and Christian suggests they celebrate. What follows is this delightful moment of what-the-fuckery:

“Celebrate?”
“Your dad.”
“Oh, him.” I giggle.

She forgot already? Just keep swimming Ana, just keep swimming.

They decide to celebrate by staying in and eating tarte tatin. Oh please, no need to have characters with plausible taste or preferences, just google “rich people food” and have them eat whatever is the top result.

Then this exchange happens:

You’re going to try to take over the world? Oh, no sorry, my mistake. They are going to have sex. But not just any sex, no way. Normal sex isn’t life affirming enough. Ana wants something life affirming. Great!

You know what is super amazingly life affirming? Being tied to a sofa with a the sash from a bathrobe! Ummm…apparently.

Well, I guess pretending your love life is a hostage situation *is* kinda like snatching life from the jaws of death.

Heh heh.

I said snatch.

But I digress.

The sex is, of course, as implausible as ever. Christian puts his “two middle fingers inside,” Ana and I’m left to wonder just how many fingers this dude has.

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Ana orgasms on command even though Christian barely touches her. Although in happy news we are actually using the word ‘clitoris’ now pretty regularly, so there’s that. Then Christian gets his billionaire freak on in less than a paragraph, so I guess it’s good that he took care of Ana first.

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Afterwards, Christian asks:

“LIFE AFFFIRMING ENOUGH FOR YOU?”

And it’s in these weird-ass all caps too. Yeah Ana, I GOT YOUR ‘LIFE AFFIRMING’ RIGHT HERE BABY. They are lying in bed, and Ana makes a point of mentioning that Christian is still fully clothed. But how did you? Didn’t you just? I mean…

Wha?

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Then for some reason Ana suddenly morphs into Gollum; she spends half a page whispering and cooing at Christian about how ‘precious’ he is.

Christian, naturally, is skeptical. He knows he’s an asshole. After the whole Lord of the Rings thing wears off, they go at it again. Ana tells Christian she is going to fuck him with her mouth. One supposes that means fellatio, but one never knows with this book. And we never find out for sure because we skip over to the next day.

Christian informs Ana that a police detective is coming to interview Ana about that whole thing where her boss tried to kidnap and possibly kill her, which seems like it happened a million years ago, but probably was only a week – the timeframes are weird in this book.

They visit Ray, who Ana describes as itchy and scratchy.

Itchy AND Scratchy?

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Not much of anything happens except some pointless placeholder scenes to kill time until the police detective shows up. He tells us that Jack is accusing Ana of sexual harassment, as if that in some way excuses sabotaging the helicopter, and trying to kidnap Ana. Christian is furious. And yeah, that makes sense because what does that have to do with anything?

The only reason I can see for this scene is that Christian and the detective mention a cryptic note, but they never explain what they are talking about, and Ana never asks. But if the note turns out to be important, then this scene was the flimsy pretense for introducing it.

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We skip to the next day and Ray is already in Seattle. So either Ray was well enough to move or Christian just used his billionaire force-wave to convince them.

Ana is just leaving, having helped Ray get settled in his new room. Her phone vibrates, but she ignores it. As Ana is leaving her personal gynecologist (who I guess has an office in this hospital) runs into Ana by an amazing and totally not forced into the narrative coincidence. Thank goodness, because Doctor Plot Device urgently needs to speak to Ana. Ana has cancelled four (count ‘em – 4) appointments to renew her birth control prescription and Dr. PD MD wants to know why. Ana denies having cancelled any appointments, which is just lame but sure, whatever.

Dr. PD ushers Ana into her office insisting that Ana needs her birth control shot, like, yesterday. But first, since it’s so late they’d better do…

Dun dun dun!

…a pregnancy test.

With surprisingly little ado, or suspense even the test comes back positive. The chapter ends with much wailing and gnashing of teeth as Ana processes this not all that surprising news. I mean, honestly. Oh well, I almost can’t wait until next chapter to see how Ana tries to break the news to Christian.

Almost.

Yeah. Not really.

hedonismbot

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Chapter 19 0f 50 Shades Darker is Mercifully Short and Sweet

Fucking finally, a short chapter. Halle-frikken-luiah!

Since the chapter is so short, it has to dramatically step up its tedium factor. I guess. Does that make sense? No? Welcome to 50 Shades! We start with an epic pages long montage detailing all the cloying, insipid things Cristian has ever said to Ana. Ana has clearly already pegged Christian as dead and is just waiting for confirmation.

She has somehow gotten back to Christian’s apartment and dragged all of Ana’s friends along for the ride. Christian’s family and staff are all huddled around in little groups waiting for news, and not you know, OUT LOOKING. They are watching the news and talking with ‘the authorities’ about Christian’s disappearance.

Ana begs God for Christian’s life and promises to go to church faithfully if he survives. I am eager to watch this not happen at all. Ana stares into the fireplace like a lobotomized manatee and waits for something to happen.

And then Christian just shows up.

Are we gonna see this again in ORAS?

There’s shrieking and hugging and then anger and accusations. Instead of getting up or moving or anything Ana stays in her chair and stares some more. She thinks about how much Christian’s family loves him and how he just doesn’t know it.

Ana finally gets up to hug Christian, and then she and Christian’s mother alternate between relief at seeing him alive and fury that he didn’t bother to call anyone. Christian tells them his helicopter engines both started on fire; he made an emergency landing and then hitchhiked home. No problem.

He stops to be briefly jealous that José is present and then says, “What’s with the welcoming committee?” He has no idea why his family is there. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

Back in chapter 15 Christian sent Taylor to check on Ana at work because she didn’t reply to his emails quickly enough, yet in this chapter, Christian has no idea that he ought to call somebody, anybody to let them know that he is in fact not dead. He was gone long enough that not only were the police involved in a search, but also long enough that the search had been called off.

In all that time it literally never occurred to him to think about anyone else’s feelings for even one second. HE knew he was okay, so what’s the big deal? He’s that asshole who doesn’t use his turn signals because *he* knows where he’s going. He actually starts to get irritated by all these people feeling feelings at him. The nerve!

Christian settles in and tells the long version of his story. Ana gets confused, stops paying attention and describes his watch instead, “an Omega with three small dials.”

It turns out that Christian was taking a detour, and flying extra low to show his passenger the sights on the way back. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to land quickly enough to get the fire out. So he very nearly almost died. From the number of times Carrick (Christian’s soap opera-themed father) mentions the engine fire and how odd it is, it is painfully clear that we are being primed to find out that it was no accident.

Are we about to tangle with Evil Ex number 3? Will there be an epic battle of the bands culminating in a vegan-mind-power boss fight? Here’s a hint Ana: if she has a giant glowy eye attack it with the arrows. You’re welcome.

Christian then apologises for not calling. By way of explanation he claims that he was in too much of a hurry to get back home to stop and call. Then he glares meaningfully at José. Ana fills in the gaps for us – basically Christian was sooo jealous at the thought of José existing at Ana he couldn’t be bothered to call them.

Or, maybe he didn’t call on purpose to make sure it ruined Ana’s night out. It wouldn’t be out of character, considering all the stalking and interfering he’s done up to this point. I mean, he bought the company where Ana works to spite her for refusing to work for him. Soooo yeah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The party breaks up and everyone goes home, except for José who is stuck at Casa Awkwarda for the night. José heads for bed, but not before making an off colour remark about being available next time Ana’s Richie Rich boyfriend goes missing. Ana knows some real class acts, I must say.

Ana goes after Christian, who has gone off to find some supper. Christian makes sure to emphasise how much José is still in love with Ana. Because that’s what’s important right now. Christian reluctantly admits he had a few scary moments landing Charlie Tango, and that all his thoughts were about Ana.

Ana then realises that it is past midnight and technically Christian’s birthday. She gives him the first present. The one she bought in a tourist shop. It’s a keychain. A cheap, crappy keychain. But!!! It says “Yes.” Her birthday present is agreeing to marry him. Way to cop out of buying a gift, Ana!

And that’s it. Super short. Super sweet. Super insipid.

Chapter 19 of 50 Shades of Grey: I Love the Smell of Facepalm in the Morning

Long story short, there is no sex in Chapter 19. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I disappointed? I don’t think I could be any more disappointed than I already am with this book.

The chapter starts as Christian wakes Ana up to tell her she has to be ready to leave for his parents’ house in half an hour. Back me up here people: there is no woman alive who can go from ‘bed’ to ‘ready to meet the parents’ in half an hour. It just isn’t done. Ana showers and heads downstairs to leave in fifteen minutes. ‘Half an hour? I only need fifteen minutes’, said no woman ever. Now I know this book was written by a man. For sure.

As a side note, Ana realizes that Christian still has her underwear. That’s probably for the best, as she’d just be putting her stanky panties back on. Yuck. She decides not to wear any, as this will, “drive him crazy.” At this point, 332 pages into the book, I’m not sure what Ana means by that.  Will it drive Christian crazy with lust? Will it piss him off that she is meeting his parents ‘sans culottes’ as Ana calls it? Or will he be frustrated that she isn’t begging for her panties back?  I’m a little sad that I there hasn’t been enough character development for me to infer her intentions here.

And therein lies the problem with this book. Or one of them anyhow. The characters aren’t developed enough to make this work as an erotic story featuring people I care about, and there isn’t enough sex to make it a porn worth wasting my time on. It’s like a horrible melding of the worst features of both.

Before they leave to meet the parents, they have time to dance – to Sinatra. They whirl and spin and ‘cover the floor’.  I’m led to think they are dancing the fucking polka. But whatever.

Off they go to meet the parents. Zzzzzzz…before they get there Ana manages to get herself all jealous about Christian’s first lover whom they uncreatively refer to as Mrs. Robinson. She’s mad because now Christian is all screwed up and Ana has to deal with it. Nope honey, you don’t. You can leave. There’s a whole world of screwed up men out there for your enjoyment.

Ana wants to be ‘part of his world’, but ‘not on his terms’. No you don’t want to be part of his world. Because then you wouldn’t be having this conversation with yourself. You want a different guy who just happens to look like Christian. There’s a difference.  An important one. You get the feeling, reading 50 Shades, (at least I do) that Ana was made in a lab and just dumped out of the maturation chamber right before the book begins, with a head full of implanted false memories, possibly by Christian himself (the evil billionaire genius). Because she doesn’t seem to know much about anything.

Christian offers her a penny for her thoughts. Ha! As if any of the muddled sparking that goes on in her brain counts as a thought. But, whatever. Oh Christian! Not only are you broken and unloveable, you also talk in clichés! Sweet!

The wacky antics begin right off as we meet Christian’s parents and have polite conversation with them. OMG his parents are named Grace and Carrick. Somebody watches too many soap operas! By, somebody’ I mean E. L. James. And by ‘too many’ I mean ever having watched one once ever.

And then they have dirty filthy sex right under the dinner table! No they don’t. Oh God, why would they? What, do you think this is porn or something? Geez you people! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Lets see if I can get this over quickly: Kate and Elliot are there. Christian’s parents, and his squealy little sister. They are all thrilled to bits that Christian has found somebody. Because they all thought he was gay. Kate has a case of the can’t-shut-ups and tells everyone that Ana is going on vacation to Georgia. Christian is furious. Kate then blabs that Ana went out with Jose one night and Christian is livid, though he acts polite at the table. One of the servants makes googly eyes at Christian and Ana is furious. Interesting! No wait, the other thing: tedious.

They then tuck in to good old fashioned American foods, like Beef Wellington and Lemon Syllabub. This is sooo British I expect Rik Mayall’s Richard Richard character to burst in screaming, “Gasman! Gasman!” Because WTF?!

The whole meal screams to me zero research. Zero. These are Americans! They eat bacon-wrapped fried chicken, and chocolate covered bacon for dessert. Or so I’ve heard. Ahhh…

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So boring dinner stays boring. Afterward, Christian tells his family he is going to show Ana around the grounds. They get outside and Christian, still furious, hoists Ana over his shoulder, smacks her up good, and stamps off. He tells Ana that he is going to spank her and then fuck her. His words. Ana has no idea why, but then, she has so few ideas about anything really. All she knows is that she’s not happy about it.

Sexy!

So, at least there promises to be some sex next chapter. Which would be great if it was consensual! But, yeah. Not so much. Sigh. Maybe chapter 20 will be better…