Carrie Recaps: Part Eighteen

by thethreepennyguignol

Spring turned to Summer. I went to Spain; I came back. UnREAL ended. My book is coming out. Riverdale is done for. I started a series dissecting television. I sat in parks, drinking kombucha and staring off through the trees, and all the while the wind whispered through the leaves, a familiar refrain: “Write a fucking Carrie recap, you loser, you fucking imbecile”.

Yeah, so, it’s been a while, but I’m back! Here’s the last recap for those of you amongst us (including me) who forgot where we left off, and without further ado, let’s barrel forward!

Carrie has finally come around to confront her mother, in one of the books cheesiest and also coolest scenes. It’s relatively quick, given that so much of Carrie has arguably been headed towards this moment, but it also has a sort of pulp-novel religious fervour that I’m very into, as Margaret attacks Carrie and Carrie finally finishes her off. Carrie does this my psychically stopping her mother’s heart as Margaret attempts to recite the Lord’s Prayer:

“She collapsed forward, hands twitching.

‘-as it is in heaven.’

Carrie whispered: ‘Full stop.'”

Is that cheesy as hell? Fuck, yes. But I always love Stephen King the most when he’s either writing high prestige examinations of difficult topics through the lens of the thoughtful horror novel (see: Pet Semetary) or just high pulp schlock (Christine, Salem’s Lot), and it’s fun when he leans full-tilt into the high camp of this scene and really gives Margaret’s death a desperate, satisfying weight as a result.

Carrie attempts to get out of the house, but Margaret’s attack on her (sticking a knife into her shoulder) has left her badly wounded and struggling to function properly. And we slide out of her POV on a high note to head over to find out what Billy and Chris are getting up to, beyond getting UTIs in cars. Oh, and of course, get an update on what Chris’ tits are up to. I’ve been on edge for weeks now.

Billy and Chris are humping on each other in a hotel room after the Carrie Gambit has been pulled off, and it’s just as rich with Stephen King’s inimitably sensual prose as we’ve come to expect: he describes Billy “… butting her in the stomach like a goat” and Chris calls him a “creepy little onenut low-cock dinkless wonder” and the whole scene is just really…fucking weird? Like, Chris is shown actively resisting his attentions, at one point telling him their relationship is over – she fights him off, they punch each other in the face, she hawks a loogy into his face, and then they fuck. I honestly have no clue what the point of this scene is meant to be, in what it tells us about Chris and Billy, but I guess King was going for a whole “they get off on their awfulness” vibe? There’s one half of me that’s like “analyse this, because King is depicting a scene with both partners actively abusing each other and one of them pointedly resisting advances and framing it as a matter of “well, she just needs convincing””, and another part of me that is so exhausted by the whole “Chris is a Bad Girl who gets off on Bad Sex” trope that I can’t be bothered to go near it.

At least we get an update on some titties this chapter, as it sees Chris “breasts swelling into her bra, flat stomach pumping” as she threatens to leave Billy behind, so there’s that. This entire section is just a big gloopy pile of mess and I’m just going to cordon it off and walk away and label it “Another Attempt by Stephen King to Write a Sex Scene, I Guess”.

They are woken several hours later by another one of the members of the group who dropped the pig’s blood on Carrie to find the town on fire and Carrie at the centre of it. Billy immediately springs into action, punching a hysterical Chris in the face and figuring out how to wipe their involvement from the crime out of the books. Honestly, I was just finishing up this section and was ready to dust my hands and walk away from this chapter and pat myself on the back for (finally) getting this job done, but then the last line of this chapter describes Chris “her lip puffed to negroid size” after Billy’s assault, and I just came to a dead WOAH halt at the spectacular awfulness of that statement. Should we take into account the time and place that the art we consume is made in, and contextualise the content as best we can? For sure. Is this one of the most eye-rollingly gross things in the entire book so far? Hell yes.

And that’s us for this week – we only have three recaps left after this one, and I’m already looking for another book to pick up. Should I go back to the Fifty Shades series? On to Harry Potter? Or is there something else you want me to get into? Let me know in the comments below.

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(header image courtesy of Indiewire)