Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter Three
I’m on my period, so between munching everything in sight and holding back pathetic tears every time the cat doesn’t want a cuddle or my boyfriend turns a page too loudly beside me, I’ve decided to channel my furious yet miserable energy into another recap (yes, I am the very definition of a cliche when on my period. Sue me.)
We open back where we left off last chapter, as Ana stares into the mirror in horror-
“I gaze in horror at the red marks all over my breasts. Hickeys! I have hickeys! I am married to one of the most respected businessmen in the United States, and he’s given me goddamn hickeys. How did I not feel him doing this to me? I flush.”
How would she be able to tell when she’s so covered in hickeys? Also, how did she not notice that he was giving her hickeys? Seriously. No matter how turned-one I am, I fucking notice if someone’s giving me bruises all over my boobs. Has any got skin made of rhino hide or some shit?
Ana notes that she has welts around her wrists and ankles, and then talks about how hot she is now (no, seriously- she thinks about how “well-groomed” she’s become since they met). And then-
“I don’t want to think about grooming at the moment. I’m too mad. How dare he mark me like this, like some teenager. In the short time we’ve been together, he’s never given me hickeys. I look like hell. I know why he’s done this. Damn control freak. Right! My subconscious folds her arms beneath her small bosom—he’s gone too far this time.”
Ugh. Just. Ugh. She doesn’t like what he’s done to her, they never agreed to it, she calls him a control freak and her subconcious-presented as a contrast to her inner Goddess, in that the subconcious is meant to be logical and prudish- has small tits. Oh, he’s gone too far, has he? Let’s see how this unfolds.
She storms back out into the bedroom, and gets dressed, ignoring him. He’s all worried and asks if she’s okay-
“I ignore him. Am I okay? No, I am not okay. After what he’s done to me, I doubt I’ll be able to wear a swimsuit, let alone one of my ridiculously expensive bikinis, for the rest of our honeymoon. The thought is suddenly so infuriating.
How dare he? I’ll give him are you okay. I seethe as fury spikes through me. I can behave like an adolescent, too! Stepping back into the bedroom, I hurl the hairbrush at him, turn, and leave—though not before I see his shocked expression and his lightning reaction as he raises his arm to protect his head so that the brush bounces ineffectively off his forearm and onto the bed.”
I mean, it is v satisfying to imagine something getting thrown at Christian’s head, but the only way this scene would be passable was would be if it was, say, a stack of several chairs that he couldn’t avoid as they broke up in mid- air and smashed into him from all angles. Anyway, this scene…yeesh. I don’t think Ana is right to actually throw something at Christian, of course, but it pales in insignificance compared to all the shit he’s done to her- and especially this latest slice of awfulness. He’s marked her to make sure that she doesn’t go out without her top on-even a bikini top is going to show this all up. This is a punishment, a punishment she never agreed to, a punishment that has clearly upset and disturbed her. Let’s see how he defends himself.
“”Christian, you have to stop unilaterally trying to bring me to heel. You made your point on the beach. Very effectively, as I recall.”
He shrugs minutely. “Well, you won’t take your top off again,” he murmurs petulantly.
And this justifies what he’s done to me? I glare at him. “I don’t like you leaving marks on me. Well, not this many, anyway. It’s a hard limit!” I hiss at him.
“I don’t like you taking your clothes off in public. That’s a hard limit for me,” he growls.”
Oh, that’s fine then, right? Because you discuss your hard limits by inflicting punishments for them in the bedroom with no prior discussion or consent at the risk of deeply upsetting your partner, not talking them out in a non-sexual setting where both partners can be open and understanding about their issues. Christian: still the shittiest, shittiest dom who every dommed. And make no mistake: he’s far from the first utter cunt to use BDSM as an excuse for abuse.
He goes on-
“I want to shout at him, but I refrain—I don’t want to push him too far. Heaven knows what he’d do. Eventually, he sighs and holds his palms up in a resigned, conciliatory gesture.
“Okay,” he says his voice placating. “I get it.”
He runs his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me.””
He accepts responsibility for what he’s done…but Ana still doesn’t want to find out “what he’d do” if she shouted at him. Progress!(?). Ana thinks about how Christian’s therapist, Dr Flynn, told her that Christian is still an adolescent, and she concedes that she has as much to learn as he does. Which is…nope. Unless what she has to learn is the most direct route to her local women’s shelter.
They forgive each other- yes, that’s right, Ana has to be forgiven by him for Christian losing control and covering her in marks that she actively didn’t consent to-and then go for dinner and it’s all forgotten. Is this what the fans quote as romantic, as Christian changing? Because it’s not. if anything, he’s inflicting even greater methods of control over Ana and getting her to apologise to him for “causing” it. How can they not see this is abusive?! “Yeah, I hurt you, but you made me do it.” Christ.
They have dinner, and Ana asks why he won’t let her piss. He tells her it’s because it makes her orgasms more intense. I don’t know about you, but I find that if I need to pee during sex, I’m so focused on that (and not letting bladder lose control at an, um, inopportune moment) I find it hard to finish. Also, vagina’d people: pee after sex. Seriously. You want a UTI? Because not peeing after sex is how you get a UTI.
They go to dance, and Ana compliments Christian because of course he’s the greatest at everything he’s ever done. Now, a break in our regular abuse apology for some child-molestation apology:
” I wonder if it’s because he’s thinking of her . . . Mrs. Robinson, the woman who taught him how to dance—and how to fuck. She hasn’t crossed my mind for a while. Christian has not mentioned her since his birthday, and as far as I’m aware, their business relationship is over. Reluctantly though, I have to admit—she was some teacher.”
Yes, that woman who took advantage of my husband when he was a child and had sex with him as a traumatised teenager sure taught him how to dance well! All is forgiven. Jesus, maybe it’s my menstrual fury (band name, calling it), but this chapter is worse than normal.
They go to bed, and are entirely happily again tra la fucking la.
Ana gets up the next morning and watches Christian shaves and imitates him, which is kind of odd. There’s a flashback to their time in London, and apparently Ana shaves her bits now. It “beguiles” Christian. Look, the only thing that would beguile me about that would be the positions a woman has to contort herself into to get a razor into the nooks and crannies of her vaginal area. Apparently she missed a bit and she wants to get it for her. this next excerpt is wrong, but I’d like you to read it in it’s entirety so it can annoy you as much as it annoys me:
“”Christian! You are not shaving me.”
He tilts his head to one side. “Why ever not?”
I flush . . . isn’t it obvious? “Because . . . It’s just too . . .”
“Intimate?” he whispers. “Ana, I crave intimacy with you—you know that.
Besides, after some of the things we’ve done, don’t get all squeamish on me now.
And, I know this part of your body better than you do.”
I gape at him. Of all the arrogant . . . true, he does—but still. “It’s just wrong!” My voice is prissy and whiney.
“This isn’t wrong—this is hot.”
Hot? Really? “This turns you on?” I can’t keep the astonishment out of my voice.
He snorts. “Can’t you tell?” He glances down at his arousal. “I want to shave you,” he whispers.”
Okay, so: for a start, Ana says no a number of times. She doesn’t like the idea of it- it makes her uncomfortable. But as soon as she finds out it makes Christian hard, it’s…fine? The way he tells her that it’s hot, and she just goes along with it…this is not a character with even a speck of her own agency. And, of course, cherry on the cake- Christian knows Ana’s vagina better than she does. Fuck that. I don’t care how intimately acquainted with your partner you are, you still know your genitals better than they do. You should! Because it’s your fucking body. I hate that we’re in this society that teaches women that not knowing their own bodies makes them desirable, and this book just backs that up, reminding us that Ana barely knew she even had a fucking vagina before Christian rolled into town. Also, “he glances down at his arousal” should read. “he glances down at his boner”. Just so you know. Because this isn’t the nineteenth century and boner is a word that objectively improves any boner sentence.
We get to see Christian shave Ana in flashback, and then she shaves his face in the present day and doesn’t take the opportunity to slash his throat and run for it. They go into town for some
page-filling fun honeymoon activities, and look at some art and some men wearing berets and playing boules because France, I guess? Ana is jealous of some pictures of naked women in the gallery they’re at, etc.
They go for coffee, and Christian tells Ana why he likes her hair braided- because it reminds him of his mother, who we’re still referring to as the crack whore, apparently. Ana suggest that he might have loved his mother, and he clams up and tells her that part of his life is over. And then they’ve back shopping again, because character development is dull when we could be talking about jewellery!
Christian inspects the marks on Ana’s wrists, and she tells them they don’t hurt-even though she describes them as “welts” and says they’ll bruise. He buys her a bracelet to cover it up, because…fuck, does no-one else find that kind of dark?
“It’s wide and cuff-like and hides the red marks. It also cost around thirty thousand euros, I think, though I couldn’t really follow the conversation in French with the sales assistant. I have never worn anything so expensive.
“There, that’s better,” he murmurs.
“Better?” I whisper, gazing into luminous gray eyes, conscious that the stick-thin sales assistant is staring at us with a jealous and disapproving look.”
Haha, did EL forget to mention that all women are jealous Ana and also bitches? Pretty rich for Ana to call her stick-thin, too, considering everyone is permanently commenting on her weight. Also, the main point here: no, it’s no better. Christian hurt Ana against her will the night before, marked her so she couldn’t wear clothes he dissaproved of. Throwing a thirty-thousand quid bracelet at the problem doesn’t make it better. It doesn’t make him compassionate. It still makes him a piece of shit.
They get into the car and go home, and Christian looks at Ana’s ankles. He says the marks on them make her uncomfortable, and she says that it’s just the hickies she doesn’t like, and everything else was “mind-blowing”. He zooms right by that part where he did something against her will and without her consent, and starts getting a boner until he gets a call from work.
The call is about a fire taking place at the Grey offices, as someone (presumably a time-travelling, dimension jumping me with her dates just a little off) tried to burn the place down. So we’re left with the tantalising promise that someone hates this man as much as I do!
Next week is the Fifty Shades Darker premiere, and I plan to have a review for the movie up on Monday. You can catch up on my FSD recaps here if you want to hate with some book-background- otherwise, join me next week for another way-too-long edition of Fifty Shades Freed!