Monday, September 10, 2012

50 Shades Darker Chapter Ten recap or "So little conflict, so many words."

EDIT ALERT!

After I first posted this recap, I found this infographic via Twitter, and it's worth taking a look at. My favorite part is where they point out that Ana drinks 365% more alcohol per day than the recommended intake.

EDIT ALERT OVER! RETURN TO YOUR LIVES!


Good morning (or whenever the hell it is that I post this recap. I always shoot for morning and fall desperately short of the mark because the internet is full of distractions and pictures of cute animals)! I want to just say thank you for being so awesomely patient while I slowly punch through these recaps. I promise that once this book I'm working on is finished, I'll get more recaps per week on the page.

This is actually going to be a fairly short recap, because it's a fairly short chapter. So, let's do this thing.

After their boat sex, Christian tells Ana that Mac will be back soon:
"As much as I'd like to lie here with you all afternoon, he'll need a hand with the dinghy."
I know it's a legit nautical term, but every time I hear the word "dinghy," all I can think of is Tommy Boy.
You can get this on a t-shirt, so people under 30 can stare at you, bemused, and life will be just like this book.

I watch him move about the cabin as he dresses. This man who has just made such sweet love to me again. I can hardly believe my good fortune. I can't quite believe that he's mine.
Every. Fucking. Time. Seriously, how often do we have to hear about how Ana can't believe she's with Chedward?
"You are the master of my heart, Mr. Grey." And my body... and my soul.
So, that's healthy.

If you've noticed that they haven't had an alcoholic drink since they got on the boat, and you were getting antsy wondering if they were going to go a full two hours without booze in their hands, Chedward has that covered:
"I'll be on deck. There's a shower in the bathroom if you want one. Do you need anything? A drink?" he asks solicitously, and all I can do is grin at him. Is this the same man? Is this the same Fifty?
Since he's been feeding her alcohol for this entire book and the last one, I don't know why she thinks this is such a huge change in his personality. Unless she's a robot powered by alcohol and her programming is severely limited once alcohol levels take a critical dive.

Isn't Bender's last name Rodriguez? Oh my god, is this a clue that Ana is going to wind up with Jose?! This series has so many twists and frantic, heart stopping turns!

 Ana asks Chedward what happened to the real Christian, and Christian tells her:
"He's not very far away, baby," he says softly, and there's a touch of melancholy in his voice that makes me instantly regret asking the question. But he shakes it off. "You'll see him soon enough" - he smirks at me - "especially if you don't get up." Reaching over, he smacks me hard on my behind so I yelp and laugh at the same time.
Wait, does Christian have fully integrated dissociative identity disorder?

If so, I'm rooting for Buck.

Then Christian says "Laters, baby," and a handful of middle aged women squeal like teen girls. I mean, not in the text. It's just something I can hear in my head the entire time I read this book.  In a throwaway paragraph, Ana goes up on deck, Mac avoids her, and Christian talks on the phone, then they start heading back to land.
Under Christian's careful, patient instruction, I have now stowed a mainsail, a headsail, and a spinnaker, as well as learned to tie a reef knot, clove hitch, and sheepshank.
So, she learns about the boat stuff after the chapter where she describes all the boat stuff, and again, this book is written in present tense. Ah, craft. Who needs it, am I right?

Ana warns Christian that she might use her newfound knowledge to tie him up, and he says she'd have to catch him first.
His words bring to mind him chasing me around the apartment, the thrill, and then the hideous aftermath. I frown and shudder. After that, I left him.
No shit, really? Because this entire book so far hasn't been centered on the fact that you guys had a fight and broke up for five whole days. Which were, of course, the longest and most painful five days any human has ever suffered through. Forget POW camps, forget the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, no, Anastasia Rose Steele suffered through the most painful human experience possible, a five day breakup from a boyfriend of two weeks. A break up so horrible and painful, we're describing it as "leaving" someone, because that's how close they were. It was like they were practically married, guys. They are soul mates.

One must "leave" him, dramatically, for five days.

But at least Ana has some perspective on the whole, "he beat me as hard as he could with a belt and then blamed me for not using the safe word" thing:
Would I leave him now that he's admitted he loves me? I gaze up into his clear gray eyes. Could I ever leave him again - no matter what he did to me? Could I betray him like that? No. I don't think I could.
NO MATTER WHAT HE DID TO HER. In other words, she feels like she betrayed him when she left him because she wanted a boyfriend and he wanted to just beat the holy fuck out of her all the time even though she didn't like it. That's the betrayal she's talking about. And if he did the exact same thing again, she couldn't leave him. She's completely roped into the role of patient victim now, to the point that she's really enjoying her martyrdom.

Ana thinks about how Christian took her on a tour of the boat and had sex with her. Because if she's not talking directly to Christian, she should be thinking about him, and especially about sex.
He is an exceptional lover, I'm sure - though, of course, I have no comparison. But Kate would have raved more if it was always like this; it's not like her to hold back on details.
Note the subtle dig: the sex Ana is having is better than the sex Kate is having. Since we've read the first book, we already know that Ana is better than Kate in every way, or at least she must reassure herself that she is, because otherwise, how can she be happy?
But how long will this be enough for him? I just don't know, and the thought is unnerving.
And repetitive.

And then, oh dear, dear readers. And then I read a line that makes my heart almost explode into millions upon millions of little black, bat-shaped pieces of despair confetti at its inclusion in this book:
 "There is poetry of sailing as old as the world," he murmurs in my ear.
NO. No, no, no. Fuck you, E.L., no. First of all, the quote is: "There is a poetry of sailing as old as the world," and no. You are not going to use Le Petit Prince as any kind of metaphor for Christian Grey. I will not stand for it.
Although now that I'm thinking about it, Ana does remind me of a certain floral character...

They get back to the marina at around twilight (a word that is carefully avoided), and Ana has to thank Christian, of course:
"Thank you," I murmur shyly. "That was a perfect afternoon."
Enough with the shy murmurs. They've fucked a billion times. In his parent's boat house. In his parent's house. In his house. In her house. On a boat. Because there was nothing good on tv. Because a butterfly flapped its wings in Singapore. They've played sex games. They've escaped... I don't know, some kind of danger, I guess. You can say thank you without being shy about it. Shyness doesn't make you more desirable.

Christian suggests that Ana take sailing lessons, so they can take the boat out more often:
"I'd love that. We can christen the bedroom again and again."
That's not what "christen" means, Ana. Surely you, a bright, bright, brighty-bright-bright English major knows that.

Christian tells Ana that the apartment is safe, so they can go back there (that's a familiar song). He tells her that Taylor already got their stuff from the hotel, after he did a security check on the boat:
"Does that poor man ever sleep?"
"He sleeps." Christian quirks an eyebrow at me, puzzled. "He's just doing his job, Anastasia, which he's very good at. Jason is a real find."
"Jason?"
"Jason Taylor."
I thought Taylor was his first name. Jason. It suits him - solid, reliable. For some reason it makes me smile.
It makes me smile, too, Ana. Because now I have the completed mental picture of Jason Taylor, and it's this guy:

Bitches, please, this is what he does for fun on the weekends.

Christian gets a little suspicious of Ana's interest in Taylor:
"I'm not attracted to him, if that's why you're frowning. Stop."
Christian is almost pouting - sulky.
Jeez, he's such a child sometimes.
 Oh is he, Mrs. Robinson?

Christian and Ana say goodbye to Mac:
I shake his hand shyly. He must know what Christian and I were up to on the boat while he went ashore.
Because Christian has probably done it with all his subs. Yeah, he said you were the first, but how many things has he given to you or done with you that you've later found out is par for the course with all his exes? And we have a new drinking game rule. Drink every time Ana does something "shyly."

Ana asks Christian if Mac is one of his friends. Because apparently Ana believes Christian's friends would call him "sir" and "Mr. Grey" and that would be totally okay. Christian says he doesn't have any friends:
He frowns. "Not really. Doing what I do... I don't cultivate friendships. There's only-" He stops, his frown deepening, and I know he was going to mention Mrs. Robinson.
I know that when he says, "doing what I do," he's talking about his job, but I'm going to think that "doing what I do," means, "my freaky, controlling behavior." Oh, but at least he has one friend. You know. His molester.

Ana and Christian discuss the friendship issue at a restaurant called Bee's, which is described as being located right next to SP's. So... is this a code? Is there a coded message running through these books? A subliminal signal to make otherwise intelligent people really, really enjoy these books?

Obviously, they can't just have dinner. They have to have dinner with a side of angst:
"Anastasia, what's wrong? Tell me."
I glance up into his concerned face.
"Tell me," he says more forcefully, and his concern evolves into what? Fear? Anger?
I take a deep breath. "I'm just worried that this isn't enough for you. You know, to let off steam."
His jaw tenses and his eyes harden. "Have I given you any indication that this isn't enough?"
"No."
"Then why do you think that?"
Because there is no conflict in this relationship at all, so every scene must be fraught with manufactured drama.

The thing that really frustrates me about this book is, there could be conflict. If Ana had a spine or a brain, there could be conflict. After all, she's just gotten into a relationship with a guy who she is drawn to on some deep level, but who lives a lifestyle that is putting her in danger. The recipe for conflict is there. I mean, it's actually there, in the background, waiting to be addressed, and it never is. Instead of thinking, "Gosh, I wish I could be Christian's everything, and I'm falling so pathetically short," Ana could be thinking, "I love this man, but being around him puts me in danger, can I really do this to myself?" It would be a whole different (and better) book.

Of course, they resolve their difficulty in a few paragraphs, because that's how life works. Everything gets wrapped up in neat little packages. Oh, except:
"So, you don't want to take me into your playroom?"
He swallows and pales, all trace of humor gone. "No, I don't."
"Why not?" I whisper. This is not the answer I expected.
And yes, there it is - that little pinch of disappointment. My inner goddess stomps off pouting, her arms crossed like an angry toddler's.

First, Ana, make up your damned mind. Second, does anyone get the feeling that this whole, "You're exactly what I need, without BDSM" storyline smacks of, "People who are into BDSM don't really love their partners?" Because that's how it's reading, to me. Christian wanted to dominate Ana, until he fell in love with her, at which time she is exactly what he needs and he no longer wants to engage in BDSM.

So, since they settled that matter, Ana has to keep pushing, saying that it's not going to be "relaxing" for Christian to always have to worry about her feelings. Um, isn't that what a relationship is, Ana? Being considerate and loving where another person's emotions are concerned? Oh, you wouldn't know, because your idea of normal romantic relationships are from Thomas Hardy and the Bronte sisters. You have no idea what a healthy relationship should be, because you're still chasing your romantic heroes from classic literature. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she's not even interested in Chedward being a literary hero, she's more interested in Chedward making her feel like she's a literary heroine.

For those keeping word-rep score at home, in the space of about a page, the word "carefree" is used three times, and some variation of "relax" is used four. Editing is hard, yo.

After dinner, they drive back to Christian's apartment, and Ana thinks about her day:
I have had a mind-blowing day: Dr. Greene; our shower; Christian's admission; making love at the hotel and on the boat; buying the car.

There is some needless tension re: Leila and some more needless tension re: their relationship, and then once they get into the apartment, Christian says:
"You are not allowed out of here alone. You understand?" he snaps.
So, she's a prisoner. Looks like you get your wish, Ana! Chedward is the literary hero of your dreams! It's just that he's Mr. Rochester, and you're the crazy wife in the attic, so... good luck with that!

After being told that she's basically his prisoner, this is Ana's totally rational response:
"Okay." Jeez - keep your hair on. But his attitude makes me smile. I want to hug myself - this man, all domineering and short with me, I know. I marvel that I would have found it so threatening only a week or so ago when he spoke to me this way. But now I understand him so much better. This is his coping mechanism. He's stressed about Leila, he loves me, and he wants to protect me.
But not enough that he would call the police or do anything that would actually protect you.

Ana tells Christian that his pouting has the same effect on her that her biting her lip has on him.
He pouts again and leans down to give me a swift chaste kiss.
I raise my lips to meet his, and in the nanosecond when our lips touch, the nature of the kiss changes - wildfire spreading through my veins from this intimate point of contact, driving me to him.
So... it wasn't really a chaste kiss then, was it? It was just the regular kind.
"What you do to me, Ana."
How many fucking times is he going to say this? Seriously? Is he a robot or something, just repeating the last phrase he was programmed to say in this situation?

 The sad thing is, when I tried to save this picture as "Buffybot" I got a pop up that said there was already a file called "Buffybot" on my computer. And I was like, "Of course there is."

They run into Taylor, and Ana makes a little joke about their hotel aliases:
"I was Mrs. Taylor yesterday." I grin at Taylor, who flushes.
"That has a nice ring to it, Miss Steele," Taylor says matter-of-factly.
"I thought so, too."
Christian tightens his hold on my hand, scowling. "If you two have quite finished, I'd like a debriefing." He glares at Taylor, who now looks uncomfortable, and I cringe inwardly. I have overstepped the mark.
Someone, please write a fanfic where Ana ends up with Taylor. And also, she ends up a real, actualized human being, because it's not going to happen in canon. I mean, really. I agonize over these recaps, and I ask for so little in return. I just want you to write every single plot bunny I'm throwing out there, so that I can read them. I'm the Jareth of fanfic. Fear me, love me, write whatever I say, and I will be your slave.

Christian tells Ana point blank to not be "friendly" with the staff. He feels like she was flirting with Taylor, and he's super threatened.
"You know how jealous I am," he whispers.
"You have no reason to be jealous, Christian. You own me body and soul."
I have to point out here that Christian's jealousy does make a lot of sense. After all, there is literally nothing that holds this romance together, apart from the sex. But I'm sure that's not what E.L. is trying to highlight here.
Why on earth would he be jealous of Taylor? I shake my head in disbelief.
Because apparently owning another human being "body and soul" isn't enough for him.

Ana goes upstairs to her room and finds that all the clothes that she said she didn't want anymore are missing:
Why did he take me at my word? My mother's advice comes back to haunt me: "Men are so literal, darling."
Yeah, stupid men, being all literal and shit, and doing what you tell them you want them to do. How could he have not known that when you said you didn't want those clothes, you meant the exact opposite. Men are so, so dumb, and women who play coy games are clearly superior. FEMINISM YAY!

Her iPad and her laptop are also missing, so she assumes Leila snuck in and stole them, until she goes to Christian's bedroom and finds all of her stuff in there, including the clothes she wants/doesn't want. Because of the threat of Leila, Christian has had all of Ana's things moved to his room.
"Taylor thinks Leila was getting in through the emergency stairwell. She must have had a key. All the locks have been changed now. Taylor's team has done a sweep of every room in the apartment. She's not here." He stops and runs a hand through his hair. "I wish I knew where she was. She's evading all our attempts to find her when she needs help."
What attempts? The sailing? Did you think she was in the ocean? It's not like you've been working tirelessly to find her, despite your insistance that you want to help her. And it's not like Taylor has been trying to find her. He's been toting Ana's belongings from the hotel to the apartment, and checking the boat - which none of the other subs have been on, or so claims Christian- to make sure it was safe. The rest of the team appears to have been moving Ana's belongings literally from one room to the next, because it's too dangerous for her to go to her own damn room to get them, apparently. So what, exactly, have you been doing to look for her, Mr. Grey? All what attempts? When you looked around suspiciously as you drove up to the apartment building? You must be fucking exhausted from all the looking around you've been doing. Hey, off the top of my head, I was thinking, you know who can sometimes be good at finding people? The police you should have called the moment Leila tried to kill herself in your apartment. Hey, come to think of it, that would have been a great time to change the locks, too, Mr. "I'm so careful about my safety and privacy" Grey. Or hell, maybe you could take the extra, extra cautious step of not giving your girlfriends keys to your apartment, or changing the locks after you've broken up with them. This is all just crazy talk, though, because clearly this plot is just filler to make it seem like there is something interesting in this book when it's really just a lot of shitty writing and allegedly graphic sex.

Christian tells Ana he wants her to sleep in his room, because he doesn't have nightmares if she's with him. Except, didn't he have a nightmare when she was sleeping with him before, in the last book? I honestly can't remember, because I have a very finite capability for remembering stupid bullshit that glorifies abuse. Ana tells Christian that she has to get her clothes ready for work tomorrow, and then THIS happens:


"Work!" Christian exclaims as if it's a dirty word, and he releases me, glaring.
"Yes, work," I reply, confused by his reaction.
He stares at me with complete incomprehension. "But Leila - she's out there," he pauses. "I don't want you to go to work."
What? "That's ridiculous, Christian. I have to go to work." 
"No, you don't," he repeats, emphatically.
"Do you think I'm going to stay here twiddling my thumbs while you're off being Master of the Universe?"
I love it when they work the title of the fanfiction that the book used to be into the actual book.

Christian tells Ana that she doesn't have to work for a living - basically, that to fulfill his own pathological need to be safe, she should quit her job. He petulantly agrees that she can go to work, as long as she brings one of his guards with her. Not Taylor, though. Sawyer. The one she hasn't allegedly flirted with.
"Either he comes with you, or I will be really irrational and keep you here."
He wouldn't, would he? "How, exactly?"
"Oh, I'd find a way, Anastasia. Don't push me."
Seriously, he has an entire room devoted to tying, shackling, and zip-typing women up, plus a staff of beefy security guards with guns. He's also a sociopath, so kidnapping you would seem ethically cool, so long as it benefited him.

Like, the second their argument is settled, Christian says:
"Shall I give you a tour?"
A tour? Are you kidding me?
Yeah, are you kidding me? He's given you a tour of his apartment before. There's really no need for another one, especially since the next time E.L. wants to add another room, Chedward will just say that it's a big place and Ana hasn't seen it all yet.
He gives me a tour of the apartment, showing me the various rooms. Along with the playroom and three spare bedrooms upstairs, I'm intrigued to find that Taylor and Mrs. Jones have a wing to themselves - a kitchen, spacious living area, and a bedroom each.
So, wait, are you saying there are two kitchens and two living areas? Or that each person has their own bedroom? I'm beginning to think that the lack of editing on this book smacks of blatant exploitation of a poor writer who has never learned the ropes, and will now never learn them because she's being spoon fed the lie that the amount of money you make is a testament to how good a writer you are. That is going to be a monumentally hard fall, and I actually feel bad for E.L. at this point.

But let's explore the idea that Taylor and Mrs. Jones live together. Speaking of which, is she Ms. or Mrs.? Because if she's Mrs., where the fuck is her husband and why does she live at work?

He also shows her a room with a huge tv and game consoles, thus solving the case of the twenty-something millionaire who doesn't have an Xbox.

During some random chit-chat, Christian lets it drop that he doesn't have a middle name. Ana thought "Trevelyan" was his middle name, and he's like, no, that's my last name, "Trevelyan-Grey," which he doesn't use because:
"It's too long. [...]"
If there is any word that could describe a man who names his company Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., it's "succinct".

Christian also takes Ana to Taylor's office, which surprises me, since I figured he wouldn't want her to know where it was in case she accidentally showed up there and fucked him. By the way, Taylor has a conference table and CCTV in his office, so you could work those into your fic. I eagerly await a link. There is also a wine "cellar" in the apartment, which makes absolutely no fucking sense. How do you have a "cellar" in an apartment on an upper floor? You can definitely have a climate controlled room for wine storage, but not a "cellar".

The tour ends in the billiards room, where Ana challenges Christian to a game.
"You're that confident, Miss Steele?" He smirks, amused and incredulous at once. "What would you like to wager?"
"If I win, you'll take me back into the playroom."
Oh, that's probably a great idea, Ana. Since you broke up with him because you couldn't handle the BDSM aspect of your relationship, you should definitely reintroduce that element so we can hear all about how you can't love him the way he needs you to. This is going to be super. Especially since Ana turns out to be a pretty good pool player.

She also understands the time honored tradition of playing pool as a way to let a man ogle you. Remember that article about pedophilia hiding in this book? Here's another argument I make against it:
I stalk around the table, bending low at every available opportunity - giving Christian an eyeful of my behind and my cleavage whenever I can.
and later:
I tilt my head coquettishly to one side, gently fondling my cue, running my hand up and down it slowly. "Oh. I am just deciding where to take my next shot," I murmur distractedly.
So, clearly, this is not a case of a child-like heroine who has no idea what sexual power she possesses.

It's down to the eight ball, and Christian still hasn't chosen what he gets if he wins. Ana misses her shot, and then this happens:
"If I win..."
Oh yes?
"I am going to spank you, then fuck you over this billiard table."
It's like E.L. James has a list of all the lines from my James May sex fantasies, damnit. *mumbles incoherently, stalks off*
Holy shit. Every single muscle south of my navel clenches hard.
Just for fun, when I read that, I clenched every single muscle south of my navel. And you know what I found? It would be really hard to make a shot playing pool if that kind of debilitating spasm was happening to you.

Then the chapter ends on a cliffhanger, as Christian bends down to make his shot.

3 comments:

  1. super late, but:

    is this bitch kidding with all this crap about the boats?

    1) Christian Grey would never stow his own sails. He's too nouveau for that.
    2) Ana couldn't furl a mainsail. She's too frail to fold a fucking handkerchief.
    3) And in any case, in this decade Grey would have one of those fancy Oracle-inspired boats that fold their own sails away.

    i feel about this the way you feel about the audi.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Plus, sheepshank knots are useless. Just like Ana. METAPHOR.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 'Or hell, maybe you could take the extra, extra cautious step of not giving your girlfriends keys to your apartment, or changing the locks after you've broken up with them.'

    Or not be an abusive psycho who puts his 'girlfriends' through the emotional wringer so when you dump them because you no longer have any use for them, they lose it.

    ReplyDelete

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