Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Ten
I hope you’re all having a wonderful week (and, if you’re British, I hope you’re all planning to vote tomorrow and all that), and that I can ruin your wonderful week with another fucking Fifty Shades Darker recap.
We start off with Ana and Christian post-coitally snuggling and telling each other how gorgeous they both are for about a page which…yeah, whatever. Ana comments on his spritely demeanour and wonders what he’s done with the real Christian:
““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.”
So, are we just straight accepting that Christian has some kind of off-brand multiple personality disorder? Because everyone, including him, mentions his “mercurial” nature at some point, and here him and Ana are agreeing that his pleasantness is out of character. Oh, and that’s another thing- who the fuck would want to date someone for whom being kind and thoughtful (which is all he does here, offering her a drink and asking if she’s alright) is out of character? Who?
Ana goes back up to deck, where they go to return to shore. On the way, Christian teaches her how to tie ropes, and she’s reminded of the end of the last book- when he beat her with a belt while she sobbed and then she left him.
“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.”
Right. Okay. Right. Okay. So, for one thing, I have no idea how anyone could write the sentence “Could I ever leave him again no matter what he did to me” and think they were writing a sexy, non-abusive romance, because it’s so very clearly the words of someone deep into the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. Also, breaking up with someone isn’t a betrayal- it’s a risk both parties take when they enter into a consenting, adult relationship. Thirdly, this, right here, is basically saying that Ana loves him enough that his abuse no longer matters. It’s giving Christian free reign to do what he wants, because if she DID leave, she would be “betraying” him and she would be in the wrong. Fucking hell. How do you cram that much disturbing stuff in two lines? It’s almost impressive. Almost. There’s only one way to deal with this bullshit.
Christian shows her round his boat some more, because EL James has some time to kill, presumably, and using that time to do something useful like characterise or spend time getting her characters past the intense problems they obviously have is silly when she can show how richy-rich-rich Christian is instead. Ana thinks about the banging they did in the last chapter, and about how great a lover Christian is even though she has no comparison.
“But Kate would have raved more if it was always like this; it’s not like her to hold back on details.”
Ah yes, always time to bend over backwards to drag in some Kate-disapragment! Because she’s a dirty whoresluttartslag (try saying that three times fast) who didn’t wait for her ONE TRUE LOVE before she had sex, the sex she’s having isn’t as good and pure as it is between Ana and Christian.
Christian quotes The Little Prince, and not even in the original French like I expected a raging pretentious knob of his ilk to do, and then we cut to Christian pulling the boat in to the harbour. He suggests they take a weekend together in the boat, and Ana agrees, saying they can “can christen the bedroom again and again.”. Which isn’t quite what “christen” means, but who’s counting? After all, EL James is just a writer, it’s not like she has to know what EVERY word she puts into EVERY manuscript means, is it? That’d be madness.
They talk about Taylor a little, and Ana has to defend her not-hatred of him to a jealous Christian because of COURSE she does. They go for dinner, and Ana asks him why he has so few friends, and I’m like
but Christian tells her that he was focused on building the business. Ana broaches the subject of the “BDSM” he’s left behind to be with her, and Christian attempts to reassure her.
“Yes, I expect you to behave a certain way, and when you don’t it’s both challenging and refreshing. We still do what I like to do. You let me spank you after your outrageous bid yesterday.”
I find this “both challenging and refreshing” thing kind of odd. Because it seems like when he’s in a bad mood, it’s challenging, and when he’s in a good mood, it’s refreshing-rarely do the two meet except when he’s neutral, like here. Anyway, Ana asks if he wants to take her back to the playroom, and he, not unreasonably, says no, as last time they did that she left him. She feels dissapointed, and tries to parlay her way back to the Red Room of Pain (which, yes, is what the text calls it). He refuses, and they have dinner then return to Christian’s apartment. Once they get inside, he turns to Ana:
““You are not allowed out of here alone. You understand?” he snaps.”
Just when Christian was edging up to reasonable, he pulls something like this out. Hey, hey, you know where might be safer for Ana? A place Leila hadn’t alredy broken into with a gun. Hey, hey, you know who might be able to help with this? The fucking police. Hey, hey, you know what you’re doing? Using the traumatic events 0f the last few days to “prove” you need to exert control over Ana. What a hottie.
Taylor and Christian go for a debrief, and before they do Ana mentions the fact that they used his name at the hotel last night. Ana and Taylor banter back and forth, and of course, Christian is a massive knob about it.
““Don’t be friendly with the staff or flirt with them. I don’t like it.”
Oh. Good-bye, carefree Christian. “I’m sorry,” I mutter and stare down at my fingers.
He hasn’t made me feel like a child all day. Reaching down he cups my chin, pulling my head up to meet his eyes.
“You know how jealous I am,” he whispers.”
You know who’s problem it is if you’re a jealous cunt? YOUR’S. It’s like my mate Ellie eating some crisps in front of me, and then me ordering her never to do it again and grabbing her face and dramatically murmuring “You know how hungry I am”. It’s just…no-one’s problem but your own, is it? Ana didn’t exactly tackle-fuck Taylor in front of him, for fuck’s sake. This is Christian once again blaming Ana for his lack of control over his emotions.
Christian goes for a debrief, and returns to tell Ana that Leila is still on the loose and that they hope they can find her to get her the help she needs. You know who I’ve heard can be pretty good at finding people who broke into your house and pointed a gun at you? The police.
Ana mentions her new job, but Christian tells her he won’t allow her out to it. She tries to explain to him that she’ll be safe, and that she needs to work, and that she won’t sit in his apartment while he goes off and does his big, important, vague business stuff.
““Christian . . . I need to work for a living, and I’ll be fine.”
“No, you don’t need to work for a living—and how do you know you’ll be fine?” He’s almost shouting.”
It’s funny how his concern for Ana spreads far enough for him to want to trap her in his apartment with no contact with the outside world, but not far enough to call the police or solicit any outside help. Christian wants his other bodyguard, Sawyer, to go with Ana to work-
““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.”
“Okay!” I concede, holding up both my hands, placating him.”
So, Ana doesn’t want this. She’s made it clear to Christian she doesn’t want this. But yet, he’s still forcing it on her- not for her own safety, otherwise he’d have called the police as soon as Leila appeared waving a gun at the end of her bed. This is about control. If it WAS about keeping her safe, they wouldn’t be at the apartment she’d already broken into and knew the location of (and apparently had keys to, according to earlier dialogue). Just to be clear. This is all about controlling and trapping Ana, because Christian proceeds to trot about doing what he wants when he wants with no bodyguards in tow for the rest of the book, even though he claims they’re both in danger.
With the fight over, apparently, Christian takes her on a tour of the apartment, and they end up playing sexy pool in the games room. If Ana wins, Christian will take her to the playroom, and if Christian wins, it’s “his choice”. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve been lacking in this chapter, is Christian’s fucking opinion.
And with that, we’re done! My family will be visiting from the weekend onwards, so the next recap may be a while away, but there’s always the Fifty Shades of Grey recaps to catch up on if you’re looking for something to tide you over.