Fifty Shades Darker Recaps: Chapter Four
I’m getting this week’s recap out of the way early, as I’ll be moving later this week and who knows what kind of chaos that’s going to instill into my life. We left off with Ana and Christian shagging like bunnies who don’t really have a clear idea of what sex actually comprises of (catch up on the last recap here), and now we’re plunging straight back into chapter four. Prepare for the worst sex scene maybe of all time. Let’s get right to it!
“As sanity returns, I open my eyes and gaze up into the face of the man I love.”
OH GREAT. I don’t know why, but every time Ana says she loves Christian it pisses me off. In fact, I do know why, and it’s because she says nothing good about him other than that he’s hot and rich. And, as I’ve said many times before, if I’m banging an awful human being who also happens to be hot and rich:
” “Come cook me some food, wench. I’m fam-
ished,” he adds, sitting up suddenly and dragging me with him.[…]
“Wench. Food, now, please.””
DAMN SON. I asked my friend Ellie to get me a glass while she was up when I was visiting last week, and she told me to fuck off and die. If I’d said this to her, she would have stuffed a teatowel down my throat and yanked out my stomach lining. If Ana didn’t immediately get up and fucking do what she was told, this might be pretty funny, but considering his historic disdain for all fucking women, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t trying to be funny at all. Not that we could tell, because Christian’s “jokes” are about on the same level of funny as Seth Macfarlane’s.
Christian finds the crumpled, deflated helicopter balloon under Ana’s pillow, and she tells him she’s been sleeping with it. How the fuck would you ever get any sleep with that fucking crinkling and crackling underneath you? We jump to Ana and Christian eating dinner, and-
“He’s wearing his jeans and his shirt with his just-fucked hair and that’s all.”
Not to pick nits here, but I would consider someone wearing jeans and a shirt fully dressed. I’m also annoyed that we skipped the part where Ana fucked the living crap out of his hair. I would like to know the physics of that.
“I sit cross-legged beside him, eating greedily, beyond hungry, and admire his naked feet.”
I can’t imagine something I would rather look at less while I’m eating that someone’s gross bare feet, but okay. They talk some about Ana’s mother and her marriages, and then we get back to the fact that Christian brought the company Ana works for. She tells him she’s still mad at him.
“He smiles. “I know but you being mad, baby, wouldn’t stop me.””
FUCK. ME. SIDEWAYS. So, to be clear for anyone who’s somehow got this far into the recaps and still refers to him as Christian Bae, here is Christian, when Ana tells him that she’s uncomfortable with him doing something, literally telling her that he doesn’t give a fuck.So, to everyone who’s like, “he never does anything without her consent!”, right here, he’s telling her that it’s irrelevant to him.
““If I leave and find another job, will you buy that company, too?”
“Yes, I will buy that company, too.””
Sometimes, I feel like the abuse can be subtle and difficult to see; other times I just need to quote the text verbatim and it’s blindingly obvious.
So Ana thinks that she doesn’t want to fight, so all of that conversation is just forgotten and they go back to pounding. Seriously. That happens. None of that is ever resolved. To be fair, though, this sex scene is hilarious and almost enough to distract me from the fuckery that came before. He gets ice-cream from the freezer, and sort of stalks around the apartment for a bit.
“He looks up at me, eyes dark. “Ben & Jerry’s & Ana.” He says each word slowly, enunciating every syllable clearly.”
Try enunciating every syllable there, and tell me how sexy that sounds. Also, you can’t have dark eyes when holding ice-cream- that’s a fact and we all know it. They head to the bedroom and Christian is all-
““You have a change of sheets, don’t you?””
I did internet dating a while ago, and one guy’s opening line was “I want to soak your sheets.” I’ve thought about it a lot in the intervening years, trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to soak my sheets with and how he thought that might turn me on, but now I know- it was actually Christian Grey and I missed out on the chance to have him smear ice-cream on my fucking duvet. This is also the only sex scene in history to have “Normally, I hate energy-saving bulbs” just thrown in there. EL James is a master of the erotic craft, and we should bow down before her.
Christian ties Ana up, straddles her, and just starts munching on ice-cream straight from the tub while he’s on top of her. Does he get how food-play works? Is this meant to be sexy? If someone started chowing down on MY ice-cream right in front of me, I would consider more an affront than sexy sexy foreplay.
“Taking another spoonful, he offers me more. This time I keep my mouth shut and shake my head, and he lets it slowly melt on the spoon so that the melted ice cream drips, onto my throat, onto my chest.”
Alright, so earlier, Christian was like “ooh, this ice cream is still hard”, so it must have taken an age to melt and drip all sexy like. So they’re just sitting there, watching ice-cream melt, for what, a good three, four minutes? In silence?
I know people will defend this with “ooh, but it’s fantasy”, but for me, I assumed the fantasy in erotica (if you can even call this “erotica”) came from the fact that the sex was just mind-blowingly good, not that somehow ice-cream melts faster for fucking Christ’s sake. He puts ice-cream on to her torso, and it gets on the bed, and he licks it off her nipples. Ana keeps on thinking about how cold it is and how surprised she is by that, and somehow we’re still meant to see her as blisteringly smart and on-the-ball.
He fingers her, she “erupts”, and then he pounds her.
“This is what he does to me—takes my body and possesses it wholly so that I think of nothing but him. His magic is powerful, intoxicating. I’m a butterfly caught in his net, unable and unwilling to escape.”
That’s not really how I would want to describe my relationship with the man I supposedly love. As an insect caught in a net and unable to get out. But hey, that’s because I don’t understand romance and want something ridiculous called a “healthy” relationship, where we “communicate” and he “doesn’t repeatedly try to control my life without my knowledge of consent”. I guess I’m just old-fashioned.
Christian invites Ana to some charity event, so now we’ve got the promise of something actually happening in this book that doesn’t involve terrible sex or emotional abuse, at least in theory. Ana goes to sleep, and dreams about the girl she saw outside her work, the one who was clearly a previous victim of Christian’s horrible machinations. Look, I’m just saying, if I found out a guy I was dating- and had only been dating for a few weeks at this point, mind- had an ex who was driven to attempt suicide after dating him, I maaaaay think twice.
Christian wakes Ana up, and admits that he knows who the girl is- she’s Leila, presumably one of his ex-subs, colour me completely fucking unsurprised. Ana gets Christian out of bed, and tries to coax more of the story behind Leila out of him, but he refuses. She points out that it’s her business, since Leila found and confronted her, but Christian brushes her off, because he cares deeply about her safety and peace of mind. Eventually, he comes clean, and tells her that while he was busy stalking her in Georgia, Leila broke into his apartment and tried to slit her wrists in front of Christian’s housekeeper. In fact, he describes it as her making “a haphazard attempt to open a vein”, because nothing any women does is good enough for Christian, even attempting fucking suicide.
He explains to Ana that Leila was just making a cry for attention (according to Leila’s shrink, who sure as fuck shouldn’t have been telling Christian any of that), and that she ran off from her husband and family to pursue him again. Christian admits that she’s probably back because of Ana, and then he’s like “LOL LET’S FUCK THO” and we skip right on by it again. Look, you can’t use sex every time you want to “tease” out a plot point, alright, EL? Because if I was Ana and a potentially unstable ex of my current partner’s had broken into his apartment, attempted suicide, then stalked me, I would not be up for shagging my problems away until I knew I was safe.
They fall asleep together, and Ana wakes first, and starts fondling him and kissing his scars while he’s unconscious. Which, ew, because he repeatedly expressed how much he hated that and didn’t want Ana to do it. But boys don’t need boundaries, am I right?
They bang again (after Christian wakes up, and off-screen, thank God), and Ana chats to Christian about his workout habits. He tells her his trainer is an ex-Olympic kickboxer, except that kickboxing isn’t an Olympic sport, which is pretty funny. In my head, the guy is just bullshitting him and Christian’s too damn proud of boasting about his trainer to check his background. Nah, he only does that for women he’s met once. ZING!
Christian talks about taking Ana back to the Red Room of Pain, and Ana is hesitant-
““You know you want to,” he mouths at me.
I flush, and the undesirable thought that Leila could probably keep up slithers invidious and unwelcome into my mind.”
So, there once again we have Ana wanting to do something to keep up with Christian as opposed to for her own pleasure. In case anyone’s keeping count. Ana tells Christian that she needs to buy another car, and he tells her that he’s already brought back the Audi he gave her. She’s angry, understandably, and tries to give him back the check he gave her for the sale of the Mini (which he completed without her consent, of course):
““Oh no. That’s your money.”
“No, it isn’t. I’d like to buy the car from you.”
His expression changes completely. Fury—yes, fury—sweeps across his face.”
Oh, great, Christian getting apoplectic about Ana trying to be an adult and pay her own way. She rips up the check, so he calls his bank and deposits twenty-four thousand dollars into her bank account and tells her not to “push him”. Is this what the opposite of a gold-digger is? Someone forcibly pushing money on you when you’ve explicitly said you don’t want it or any other gifts? Oh, wait, no, that’s just called being a massive creep with no fucking boundaries or an ounce of decency. My bad.
They start making out, and Christian wonders if she’ll ever stop defying him. Which…well, I’m pretty sure that before he’s said he likes Ana defying him, and it’s what makes he different. Except that whenever she does it, he flies into a rage and forces his will on her no matter what.
They go for breakfast, where Ana picks up the bill, and Christian pouts about it like a fucking child. He takes her to a beauty salon, and Ana realizes he’s trying to get her waxed and up to his standards as per the contract:
“I glare at him. He’s introducing the Rules by stealth.”
Yup, so she acknowledges that he’s ignoring what she wants and pushing ahead with his own desires, but that’s cool because OH WAIT NO IT ISN’T THAT’S FUCKING HORRENDOUS. I don’t understand how the book can so openly note the fact that he’s manipulating her into being the woman he wants, and then be all gooey and pulsing-heart-emoticons over him. None of this shit is hidden; a lot of it is right there in Ana’s inner monologue. And still, EL and many of her readers claim this is a healthy relationship?
Ana agrees to get a haircut (Christian owns the salon, by the way, hence the quick appointment time), and notices Christian noticing an attractive older blonde who’s walked into the salon. Christian goes over to greet her, and Ana realizes what we figured out a page ago-
“It’s Mrs Robinson.”
So, with that dirge of a chapter over, I’ll see you all next week!