[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]
Here I am! Sorry (again…) for the MASSIVE delay, all of my other responsibilities have been taking priority, and it’s just been hard to find the time/energy for this blog. BUT I’M HERE. And I’m usually a wee bit more productive in the fall (what with the back-to-school vibe), so maybe these blogs will be a little more consistent. No promises though. You know I’m a nightmare about posting things on-time here. But I will do my best! And thank you SO SO SO much for your patience. As always, you guys are the absolute best.
RECAP: Ana returns back to work after their Aspen trip, and is immediately confronted by two of Christian’s ex-subs, Leila (the one who tried to shoot Ana) and Susi. Ana talks a lot about how beautiful the two women are (I ship it), and they talk to her about how they wanted to meet her because she “caught” Christian. Unsurprisingly, Christian calls and interrupts the whole meeting to literally scream at his wife for “disobeying instructions,” even though he never even GAVE her these instructions to not talk to his ex-subs. Ana, to her credit, hangs up, but knows that she’s got a storm coming (because her husband is an abusive nightmare but WHAT ELSE IS NEW). Leila and Ana talk about how they both love(d) Christian and how great he is, but then the object of their affection shows up and is a raging sack of shit, like he always is, to immediately fire Ana’s bodyguard (Prescott) for no real reason. He then yells at Ana about defying him, although Ana calmly explains that he’s full of shit. He also says he doesn’t want her “tainted” by his “old life.” Christian wants Ana to leave work early (probably so he can abuse her more), but Ana calls him on his bullshit. BUT THEN he completely derails the conversation and starts talking about sex. And then they do decide to go home, and of course have mind-blowing sex. BUT THEN a few days (and some obnoxious emails) later Ana gets a call from José’s father who says that her step-dad Ray has been in an accident.
“Mr. Rodriguez, what’s happened?” My voice is hoarse and thick with unshed tears. Ray. Sweet Ray. My dad.
Yeah, ok, we get it, he’s your father-figure. You keep beating that point home like we’re suddenly going to care about it, buuuuut we don’t. Saying “he’s basically my father!” doesn’t make Ray suddenly matter as a character.
So apparently Ray has been in a car accident, and he’s been airlifted to Portland. It appears that Mr. Rodriguez may have had something to do with the accident? Maybe he was driving the car? He says “Oh, Ana, I didn’t see the car. I just didn’t see it…” and his voice cracks. But if he was in the accident, why is he fine?
Ana leaves work in a hurry, cancelling all of her appointments for the day (I still don’t get how she magically became the senior editor at this publishing house but okay…). Ana tries to call Christian from the car, but he left his phone with his secretary, so Ana leaves a message with her. When the secretary asks if Ana is ok, she says “no” and just says to have Christian call her.
I bet Mr. Over-reaction totally won’t freak out about that one.
Ana’s phone rings a short time later.
“Christian,” I gasp.
“Christ, Ana. What’s wrong?”
Wow…surprisingly level-headed! Apparently Christian only gets upset when Ana violates one of his bullshit “rules,” but when she frantically calls and leaves a message that she’s not okay, all she gets is a “Christ, Ana.” Ugh.
“It’s Ray–he’s been in an accident.”
“Yes. I am on my way to Portland.”
Has E.L. James EVER HEARD TWO HUMAN BEINGS HAVE A CONVERSATION.
“My dad’s hurt.”
Christian apparently will meet Ana there in 3 hours, because he has a very important, non-specific business meeting with some guys from Taiwan about a “deal” they’ve been “hammering out for months.”
Why do I know nothing about this?
BECAUSE CHRISTIAN DOESN’T SHARE THINGS WITH YOU. BECAUSE HE LIKES TO CONTROL YOU, AND DOESN’T OPEN UP TO YOU, AND YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A VERY UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, CONGRATU-FUCKING-LATIONS.
“omgggg why doesn’t my extremely emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive husband share things with meee???”
Because he’s a piece of shit, Ana.
ALSO. WHAT THE FUCK BUSINESS DOES CHRISTIAN EVEN FUCKING DO.
FUN FACT, KIDS: TO MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS BELIEVABLE, DO SOME FUCKING RESEARCH.
If they’re in “business,” maybe spend 2 seconds of time and FIGURE OUT WHAT FUCKING KIND OF BUSINESS THEY DO, AND THEN TALK TO SOMEONE IN THAT BUSINESS SO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS AND CAN MAKE THAT CHARACTER’S LIFE AND EXPERIENCES MORE BELIEVABLE.
You cannot (or should not be able to…) get away with half-assing character development like this. It’s lazy, and it’s bullshit, and it’s boring. If we knew what kind of “business” Christian did, we would understand more about him and his day-to-day experiences. But, of course, if we knew what kind of business he did, his unrealistically high paycheck wouldn’t make sense, because you’re placing him in a world that is too real, as opposed to placing him in this fantasy world where people can just make billions of dollars per second doing “business” and people with a degree in English (and without an email address) can just waltz in and get a major publishing job in a matter of days.
Basically this whole book is bullshit fantasy escapism and it’s terrible. I more easily believe in Tolkien’s always-saves-the-day Eagle bullshit than I believe in any of this.
Oh, and of course Christian is going to FLY to Portland, even though the last time he flew he almost died (except not really, because his helicopter crashed and he LITERALLY didn’t get a scratch on him). So now Ana is freaking out about that too.
Ana arrives at the hospital and sees Mr. Rodriguez and José. Mr. Rodriguez is in a cast, but seems otherwise fine. Ana starts crying and José puts his arms around her and strokes her hair. I’m sure THAT will go over well with Christian.
Apparently Mr. Rodriguez, José and Ray were on a fishing trip, when they were hit by a drunk driver, who hit the passenger side of the car, where Ray was sitting. They have no idea how he’s doing, apparently.
Now Ana’s cold, so José puts his jacket on her shoulders.
I’m so glad E.L. James used a severe car accident as a plot device to set up a jealous meeting between José and Christian. Like…are you kidding me? If that’s honestly what this is leading up to I’m going to lose my mind. And I’m sure Christian will get mad at Ana for no reason and use sex to punish her for having a male friend.
WOOPS and now Ana and José are holding hands. Mr. Rodriguez is holding her other hand, BUT STILL. The potential drama is PALPABLE.
Oh but they stopped, because Sawyer (another bodyguard) brought Ana tea. But then they end up holding hands again.
Christian strides in. His face darkens momentarily when he notices my hand in José’s.
Ana runs into his arms and is all comforted and whatever. Christian asks what the deal is, and they fill him in. He then sits down with Ana.
“Have you eaten?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“Are you hungry?”
I shake my head.
“But you’re cold?” he asks, eyeing José’s jacket.
He shifts in his chair, but wisely says nothing.
Oh wow, Christian is full of surprises this chapter! That’s twice now that I expected him to lose his shit, and he appears to be just mildly uncomfortable! I’m literally in shock right now.
But more importantly, what the fuck is that line of questioning? It sounds like he’s confused that she’s both not hungry AND cold. Like those two things rarely occur together or something. “You’re not hungry…but you’re cold???” *BRAIN EXPLODES*
A doctor comes in and asks Ana if she’s Ray’s next of kin.
“I’m his daughter, Ana.”
“Mrs. Grey,” Christian interrupts him.
WHY ARE YOU INTERRUPTING THE FUCKING DOCTOR, CHRISTIAN??? I KNOW YOU WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT YOU’VE PEED IN A CIRCLE AROUND ANA AND SHE’S THEREFORE YOUR PROPERTY, BUT I THINK THERE ARE *SLIGHTLY* MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO TALK ABOUT RIGHT NOW.
Apparently Ray is stable, but in critical condition. He’s suffered several severe internal injuries, and had severe contusions to the head, and had to be put in a coma while they monitor the brain swelling. Christian asks what the prognosis is, and the doctor says it’s possible Ray could make a complete recovery (which I’m sure he will, because this is Magic Christmas Land of Miracles), but it’s “in God’s hands now.”
The doctor leaves, and then so do Mr. Rodriguez and José. Ana gives José his jacket back, and Christian has Sawyer drive the two home, leaving Ana and Christian alone in the waiting room.
Ana asks how the helicopter was, and Christian says “she was yar,” which is apparently a reference to a movie, The Philadelphia Story.
“I don’t know it.”
“I think I have it on Blu-Ray at home. We can watch it and make out.” He kisses my hair and I smile once more.
DUDE, HER DAD MIGHT HAVE FUCKING BRAIN DAMAGE. HOLD OFF WITH YOUR “Netflix and Chill” BULLSHIT.
Ana asks about the Taiwan thing, and apparently Christian bought a shipyard over there, because it’s cheaper to do whatever businessy things he needs to do over there. I’m glad that even in Magic Christmas Land of Miracles outsourcing and the exploitation of under-paid workers by rich white assholes is still a thing. We can’t suspend our belief TOO much, now can we.
They go check on Ray. This whole section is written as several short paragraphs describing the scene, separated by Ana thinking “Daddy” in italics every few lines.
I say again: calling him “daddy” doesn’t make us give a singular shit about him.
Better idea: Why not take this time to give us some flashbacks of Ana’s time growing up with Ray? SHOW US their relationship, rather than just telling us that we’re supposed to care. MAKE US CARE. You don’t get to take shortcuts with this stuff.
Or apparently you DO get to take shortcuts, because this awful book has made TONS of money, despite it’s GLARING flaws in writing and story. So apparently there are no rules for writing! Who gives a shit! Write whatever you want, make it sexy, and you’ll make millions!
Christian leaves Ana alone with unconscious Ray, because he has to “make a phone call.” Probably to do more unexplained “business.” I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if his “business” was just selling sex slaves. To be honest, that makes 100% more sense than anything else.
Ana starts telling Ray all about her trip to Aspen, and plans an imaginary fishing trip for Ray and Christian to go on. Again, this interaction is basically meaningless, and it would be way more interesting to see Ana going “Hey, dad, remember that time…?” and telling a story about their relationship, because then at least we would see WHY she cares so much about this man who is not her biological father. But of course, this is E.L. James, not a writer who cares about telling a good story, so instead we get an empty interaction.
Christian persuades Ana to leave for the night, and they go to the suite at the hotel where Ana and Christian first got together. Ana wants to take a bath, and they head into the bedroom to get to the bathroom. Ana is, understandably, pretty numb and upset about the whole Ray-might-have-brain-damage-and-is-in-a-coma thing.
“Oh, Ana,” Christian murmurs. “I’ve not seen you like this. You’re normally so brave and strong.”
First of all, when has she been brave and strong? When she’s trying not to cry because you’re beating her and she feels like she can’t say no because she “loves” you? When she stands up to you for 2 seconds before ultimately backing down in the face of your threats of (often sexual) abuse?
Second, HER DAD IS IN A FUCKING COMA AND MIGHT HAVE BRAIN DAMAGE?! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT, CHRISTIAN?
I swear to fucking GOD, if they bone right now, while Ana is this emotionally wrecked, I am going to LOSE MY ENTIRE FUCKING MIND.
They’re taking a bath together…but surprisingly all they do is talk? They eventually get out, and find bags of clothes (recently purchased by Taylor, Christian’s other body guard) for them in the bedroom. And…they put them on! This chapter literally could not be more surprising!
Apparently tomorrow is Ana’s birthday. Ugh. I’m sure we’ll get some truly vomit-inducing birthday sex out of that one.
They go visit Ray again before visiting hours end. José is there again, and he and Christian eye each other warily, but do nothing. José says Ray is doing well, and promises to come back tomorrow, and wants to know if Ana will be there. She assures him that they will be.
José eyes Christian quickly then pulls me into a brief hug. “Mañana.”
I don’t think E.L. James has ever encountered an actual Mexican person in her entire fucking life. Why the FUCK would José, a bilingual citizen of the United States, randomly use the Spanish word for “tomorrow” when talking to his white, non-Spanish-speaking friend? OH RIGHT, IT’S ALMOST LIKE HE’S A RACIST CARICATURE OF A MEXICAN PERSON, BECAUSE E.L. JAMES CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO EVEN DO RUDIMENTARY RESEARCH ON HOW PEOPLE TALK TO EACH OTHER, SO INSTEAD SHE RELIES ON RACIST TROPES AND STEREOTYPES TO DRIVE HOME THE IDEA THAT HER CAST OF CHARACTERS IS SOoOoOoOoO DIVERSE BECAUSE IT INCLUDES A SINGULAR NON-WHITE PERSON.
These books are so awful about glorifying abuse that most people don’t see or tend to forget how blatantly racist things get.
[Fun fact: this is the place where WordPress pretended to delete this entire post without saving it. I somehow managed to get it back, and I’m not sure how, but you can thank the Technology Gods for giving you this post, because I was about to rage quit, I was so fucking mad. But now it’s ok! The post came back! If you hate-blog something hard enough, it will always come back to you. Remember that, kids.]
While José is walking away, Christian tells Ana that José is still “nuts” about her.
“No he’s not. And even if he is..” I shrug because right now I just don’t care.
Christian gives me a tight smile, and my heart melts.
“Well done,” I murmur.
“For not frothing at the mouth.”
He gapes at me, wounded, but amused, too. “I’ve never frothed.”
Ah, yes, give Christian a “well done” sticker for not literally murdering your male friend who gave you a friendly hug in a time of stress/grief/need. Good job, Christian, what a nice guy.
They go see Ray, and SURPRISE, Christian’s mom, Grace, is there. Apparently she went to school with Ray’s doctor. But she’s not helping with Ray’s treatment, so I don’t really know why she’s there??? But talking to her and Ray’s doctor makes Ana feel better, so at least that’s good.
They head back to the hotel, with Ana seeming “brighter,” according to Christian. He tells her that she should get some sleep.
He’s right. I’m so tired. It’s been an emotional day. I crane my head around and gaze at him a beat. We’re not going to make love? And I’m relieved. In fact, he’s had a totally hands-off approach with me all day. I wonder if I should be alarmed by this turn of events, but since my inner goddess has left the building and taken my libido with her, I’ll think about it in the morning.
Good job, Christian! You managed to reign in your furious libido for a good several hours! What a good husband!
But Ana, why the fuck would you be alarmed? You realize you don’t have to have sex with Christian every day for him to love you, right? You can, you know, not have sex for a day or two and he won’t dump you…or at least he shouldn’t dump you, but who fucking knows.
“Promise me something,” he says softly.
“Hmm?” It’s a question that I’m too tired to articulate.
“Promise me you’ll eat something tomorrow. I can just about tolerate you wearing another man’s jacket without frothing at the mouth, but, Ana…you must eat. Please.”
Ughhhh, AGAIN with the treating Ana like a child thing. Like, she’s a grown woman, you can’t force her to eat? You can ask her to eat but like…she’s going through a lot, maybe try to be supportive instead of saying she HAS to eat to please you? Like, I get it, he’s being concerned, and he has a weird thing about food (which I guess is supposed to count as character development…), but the way he frames this is just weird. Why is he bringing up the Jacket thing? Is he going to get pissed off at Ana and force her to eat? Like…that’s fucked up?
Ana thanks Christian for being there with her.
“Where else would I be? I want to be wherever you are, Ana. Being here makes me think of how far we’ve come. And the night I first slept with you. What a night that was. I watched you for hours. You were just…yar,” he breathes.
First of all, no one cares about his bizarre movie reference. Referencing pop culture is 99% a bad idea, unless you can do it REALLY well and make it fit the story (see Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for an excellent example of pop culture references done right). So this “yar” thing is useless, and no one really gets what it means, and honestly it cheapens what’s supposed to be a sweet moment.
Secondly…WHY DID YOU WATCH HER FOR HOURS. THAT’S FUCKING CREEPY. GTFO. If someone told me they watched me for hours I would CALL THE FUCKING POLICE AND/OR MACE THEIR FUCKING FACE. That’s creepy and stalkerish and is only ok if you’re watching the person in order to wake them up in the event of a Freddie Kruger attack. That is the ONLY ACCEPTABLE SITUATION FOR THAT BEHAVIOR.
But, we all knew Christian was a creepy fuck from the beginning, so none of this is shocking.
Christian tells Ana to go to sleep, and she does.
End of Chapter Seventeen
WHEW. We got there boys and girls. I can’t tell you how furious I was when I thought I had lost 2 hours worth of work. That setback almost cost another week of delays, because I honestly just didn’t have the mental stability to pull another 2 hours of rage-blogging out of my ass, and wouldn’t have been able to retype the post for several days, at best.
BUT, the gods of technology have smiled on us this day.
So, with chapter 17 done, we’ve got a total of 12 chapters left of this festival of nightmares (which includes 8 regular chapters, an epilogue, and 3 bonus chapters, which are relatively short mega-blasts of utter drivel, so those’ll be fun). We’re getting closer! With the end (almost) in sight, hopefully I’ll be getting these posts out more regularly, but again, no guarantees.
I can’t apologize enough for all the delays I’ve put you guys through. For those of you still here, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You guys make this shitstorm worth braving.