Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Nine
I must admit, I think recapping Fifty Shades Darker has been a damn sight harder than Fifty Shades of Grey. Not because I hate these recaps or want them to die or anything- just that the second book in the series feels like the second book in the series, and despite home invasions and the tantalising possibility of death for both Ana and Christian, it’s pretty fucking boring. When she’s not cramming abuse or horrifically unsexy sex into her novels (“novels”) EL James struggles to do anything else even half-interesting to fill the page. So, with that jolly thought in mind, on with the recap.
So, Christian just told Ana he loooved her, and Ana about jizzes herself with delight. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the first time you say “I love you” and hear it back from the person you’re dating, that’s an awesome moment. But it doesn’t feel “liberating, as if a millstone has been tossed aside.”, because I guess most normal couples aren’t hanging around pissing themselves with tension while they wait for their other half to declare their love (or, in this case, just kind of blandly agree about it). But most couples are DOING IT WRONG.
Ana dries Christian’s hair, and he mentions that his adoptive mother never did it for him because she respected his boundaries.
“I feel a swift kick in the ribs as I think of a small copper-haired child looking after himself because no one else cares. The thought is sickeningly sad.”
Yes, Ana, because the ONLY person who’s EVER cared about Christian is YOU. It wasn’t that he was traumatized and his adoptive mother didn’t want to freak him out even further (boundaries which you frequently refuse to respect yourself!). It’s that you are the only woman who’s ever truly cared for him. Fuck’s sake.
Ana dries him, and it’s super dramatic and tense as Christian tries to power through his discomfort. Then he’s all “Let me love you”,a line which for some reason I find really funny. Go to whoever else is in your house-cat, boyfriend, girlfriend, roommate, washing you haven’t taken out of the drier yet so you can get your damn Fifty Shades Darker recap done before breakfast-and say that to them, super intense like. Then come back and tell me what happens (hint: they’ll laugh in your face and leave the room. And if they don’t, you should).
We cut to Christian and Ana lying in bed, post-coital, saving me another sex scene (which has been happening a lot in this “erotic” novel, now I think of it. Seems like EL is as bored of it as I am. I guess when there’s this much plot to fit in- oh wait). Ana talks about the first time they had sex, which Christian describes as “When, I robbed you of your virtue.”
Look, is it really worth repeating that suggesting a woman is worth less because she’s had sex is ragingly misogynistic, or are we all on the same page that everything that comes out of Christian’s mouth usually has some degree of woman-hate attached to it? We are? Awesome.
Christian takes Ana out so he can buy her a new car, because Leila vandalised the last one he forced on her, and insists that she pick the colour even though he disagrees with all of her choices.
““What color do you want me to have?” I ask as if he’s a small child, which he is in many ways. The thought is unwelcome—sad and sobering at once.”
Alright, let’s sit down and form a circle and talk about this, shall we? Ana literally says Christian is very similar to a small child- presumably his inability to let her make her own choices, his attempts to control her life, and his random “mecurial” mood swings play a part in this. And somehow, this isn’t a warning sign? Even though she says it’s “sobering”, we don’t come back to this thought, we just breeze straight by it-despite the fact that this is Ana basically acknowledging that Christian isn’t ready for or good at having adult relationships. Because he’s basically a giant stunted child. How is that not a turn-off, a red flag? Who WANTS their romantic hero to act like a toddler half the time? Maybe this is some misguided feminist move to balance out the infantalisation of Ana with the infantilisation of Christian, but in both cases, it’s just causing me a major case of the boke. She literally descirbes him as “God’s gift to women” less than a page later, and if that’s so, it’s a gift I’m quietly stashing in a drawer until Christmas comes round and I can palm him off on someone else.
Alright, so they head off for lunch, and we’ve got some more stuff to dissect (I’ve only taken out a sentence here, about Christian parking the car):
“I am less nervous of his moods, confident that he won’t punish me, and he seems more comfortable with me, too […]
“We’ll eat here. I’ll open your door,” he says in such a way that I know it’s not wise to move”
So, she’s less nervous of him, but still too scared to open her god-damn car door because it’s not “wise” to do otherwise? This is a total case of telling and not showing- Ana is telling us Christian has become less of an abusive dickwad, but the text is showing us that she still fears him and that he is still exerting control over every little thing.
They go for lunch in the most boring chunk of text yet, then Christian takes her out to see his boat. It’s called The Grace, and a guy called McConnel looks after it, but he’s all ““Call me Mac” which is as good an excuse as any to squeeze in a picture of my beloved Rob McElhenny:
Christian shows Ana round the boat, including the bedroom:
““You’re the first girl in here, apart from family,” he smirks. “They don’t count.””
BECAUSE WOMEN HE CAN’T FUCK DON’T COUNT, DO YOU GET IT?!?! BUT CHRISTIAN TOOOOTALLY RESPECTS WOMEN AND SEES THEM AS MORE THAN SEX OBJECTS BECAUSE HE’S SUUUUCH A GENTLEMAN. Fuck.
They sail the boat for a bit, and Christian and Mac seem to not hate each other.
“Perhaps Mac is Fifty’s friend. He doesn’t seem to have many, as far as I can tell, but then, I don’t have many either.”
But you’re both so charming and engaging and wonderful to be around! They sail the boat a bit, and it’s dull but Ana thinks about how it’s the most exhilarating experience of her life and all that.
Christian drags her off to bone in the boat’s bedroom. He orders her to strip:
“I can see his desire—it’s evident on his face . . . and elsewhere.”
I find boners conceptually hilarious, which is on me, but whenever a guy is just described as standing there with a hard-on the image ends me, it’s so funny. And this is meant to be hot! Christian just ogling her with a visible erection pressing up against his trousers, slowly getting harder, while she sort of awkwardly glances down at it…I’m sorry, I’m a child, let’s move on.
“I am naked and unashamed, and I know it’s because he loves me. I no longer have to hide.”
Huzzah for more weird slut-shaming! Because a woman should be ashamed to be naked in front of a man she doesn’t love, because only LOVE makes you pure. Ana gropes at Christian for a bit, and thinks that “His beauty desecrated only by his scars”, which actually fuck you. Everyone has scars, and I happen to think that’s an interesting thing and not something that fucking “desecrates” otherwise perfection. Oh, Christian got beat up as a child, so sorry if the scars make your boner soft, Ana, you raging thundercunt. Wow, Ana has been particularly terrible this chapter.
Ana asks him to “love me, now”, which is even funnier the second time round, let me tell you. They bang, they come together, and this infinitely dull chapter is mercifully done.