Fifty Shades Darker Recaps: Chapter Two
Well, we’re back for chapter two. And, full disclosure, I had to go and get a bottle of wine while I was re-reading this chapter, because god fucking dammit.
The chapter opens with Christian dragging Ana out to dinner, grumbling that a restaurant will “have to do” when they walk in, because Ana is apparently actually, literally going to die if they don’t eat in the next eight seconds. Christian orders for them, and “chastens” Ana for her asking if she can pick her own food. They order wine, because these people can’t do anything without alcohol (after my own heart) and then we get to the good stuff. They talk about how they’ve missed each other and want each other back.
“”Nothing’s changed. I can’t be what you want me to be.” I squeeze the words out past the lump in my throat.
“You are what I want you to be.””
NO SHE’S FUCKING NOT. Or you wouldn’t be trying to change her behaviour by pushing her towards a kink she clearly dislikes. And you wouldn’t be criticising her for not eating, or suggesting that the clothes she wears aren’t good enough, or “rescuing” her when she’s drunk at a bar. You’ve been trying to change her since the moment you met her, douchebag. But oh wait, it gets better.
“”You’re upset because of what happened last time. I behaved stupidly, and you… So did you. Why didn’t you safe word, Anastasia?” His tone changes, becoming accusatory.
What? Whoa – change of direction. I flush, blinking at him.
“I don’t know. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to be what you wanted me to be, trying to deal with the pain, and it went out of my mind. You know… I forgot,” […]
“You forgot!” he gasps with horror, grabbing the sides of the table and glaring at me. […]
“How can I trust you?” he says, his voice low. “Ever?””
(the bits I cut out there don’t make this any better; it’s just Ana noting internally that he’s furious and telling herself it’s her fault)
But yeah, let’s just take a look at that, shall we? Christian- who knew at the time that Ana was inexperienced not just with BDSM, but with any kind of sexual relationship, who knew she was really, really put off by the idea of pain, who cried and sobbed and screamed all the way through the beating with a motherfucking belt he gave her at the end of the last book after she told him she wanted to push her limits solely to please him- Christian is saying he can never trust Ana again. Because Ana didn’t use her safeword. Not because Christian is a shitty, shitty, shitty dom/man/human and beat the everloving crap out of his weeping partner who had previously and often expressed herself dislike for this kink and didn’t think for one second that she may not like it. And it’s her fault. And she should feel guilty about it.
I swear. I swear to fucking God.
Ana apologises, and he tells her how much suffering she could have stopped if she’d just used her safeword. I honestly can’t with this shit anymore. They turn back to inane flirting, so we’re back into familiar territory as this made up about 40% of the original novel. The food arrives, and Ana tells Christian she still loves him, but she’s not eating fast enough so we get this:
“”So help me God, Anastasia, if you don’t eat, I will take you across my knee here in this restaurant, and it will have nothing to do with my sexual gratification. Eat!””
So…he’s admitting that he’d beat the crap out of Ana as a punishment? Not as a…sexy times BDSM thing? Whoops, slip of the tongue, best not dwell on that blatant threat of physical violence for too long in case people think this isn’t actually a romance!
They finish their meal and go to leave, and Christian tells Ana how much he wants her and is all smooch-smoochy with her hand. Sometimes it’s just so starkly clear what a terrible, terrible human EL James wrought, and this is one of those times. He threatened to hit her, told her she was at fault for her own abuse, and then puts on a kissy-kissy face the plot just breezes on by. They get into the car that Christian called, and Christian asks her straight out the question we’ve all been thinking:
“”Let me ask you something first. Do you want a regular vanilla relationship with no kinky fuckery at all?””
I love it. I use the term “fuckery” quite a lot-eg, “That’s some fuckery!”, etc-but to me it’s just a silly toon-town version of a swear. It’s not sexy. Certainly not when I imagine Jamie Dornan being forced to say this line in the next movie OH MY GOD THAT’S GOING TO BE FANTASTIC.
Ana tells him she loves his “kinky fuckery,” and I need to start massaging my temples to stop this headache that’s threatening right now, because she’s repeatedly told the audience how much she hates it. Am I getting through to anyone here? Am I just screaming into the void?
Ana explains that in fact she doesn’t like getting hit with canes or whips or paddles, and she doesn’t like how much he gets off on hurting her. He agrees to take away the punishments and the rules, which is pretty funny given how many of the rules Ana’s laid down for him he’s broken (Not giving her space, not buying her shit, not beating her with a belt, etc).
Ana and Christian reconcile, and snuggle in the back of the car. Christian goes off on a tangent about his mother-oops, no, “the crack whore” as he refers to her. Which, ugh. This- this precisely- is why therapy exists. He explains that his mother’s body was left him for four days after she committed suicide, which is genuinely horrible, and also not an excuse for Christian to exercise coercive control over Ana.
They drive back to Ana’s, and Christian tells Ana he could “watch her sleep forever.”
They say goodbye, he gives her a gift, it’s the dumb glider she bought him at the end of the last book, etc. He’s also put an iPad in there, and loaded it up with appropriate music because he’s a fucking fifteen-year-old me with money to burn apparently. She cries while she listens to The Scientist by Coldplay, and yeah, me too, but different reasons. They exchange emails about how Christian wants Ana to beg for him (ugh ugh ugh ugh UGH).
Then Ana goes to bed and listens to Jose Gonzalez and thinks about how lucky, lucky, lucky she is to be with the man of her dreams.