The weather’s beautiful, I have Danger Days on full blast and am in full 2010 mode, and me and the cat are settled in for a good night. Time to ruin it!
It’s been one of those days, so I thought I’d make it one of THOSE days as well. Yup, it’s time for another chapter of Fifty Shades Freed. But before we launch into the regular cavalcade of misery, please consider sponsoring my lovely friend/long-time fellow recap sufferer Ellie on a fundraiser she’s doing over the weekend. She’s great, the causes are worthy, and she makes a cracking cocktail and told me that she would personally make every person who sponsors her one on the house. Note: one of these statements is a lie.
Somebody get the epic eighties montage music on the go, we’re back for another chapter. And we jump right into things with some delicious Hannigram action as Christian wakes up next to Ana and starts groping at her;
“”What a tempting morsel you are,” he mutters.”
They flirt a bit, and he smooches the inside of her thigh because he presumably thinks that’s where her vagina is and we thankfully cut away before we have to detail with anything too sexy. They get up and have breakfast. Well, no, Christian demands Ana eat-
“[…]Eat.” His tone is serious. No arguing with him.
“Okay! Picking up spoon, eating granola,” I mutter like a petulant teenager.”
Ah yes, romance, when you’re partner makes you revert to the days where you cared far, far too much about your fringe. Christian tells Ana she’s going to New York and that he wants her to come with him-
“Please. How can you expect me to run the business if I’m never there? I’ll be fine here. I’m assuming you’ll take Taylor with you, but Sawyer and Ryan will be here—” I stop, because Christian is grinning at me. “What?” I snap.
“Nothing. Just you,” he says.”
Oh Good, glad that’s been dealt with. Oh, wait, it hasn’t, Christian has just basically pointed at Ana’s dumb face going “hur dur pretty” and now it’s forgotten about. Ana is sad because the thought of flying has put her in mind of when my assasination attempt on Christian was nearly successful in his helicopter crash in the last book, but Christian assures her everything is fixed now-
“”Five people have been fired because of that, Ana. It won’t happen again.””
I like to think that Christian just walked into his office the next day and fired the first five people he saw, dusted his hands off, and marked it off as dealt with. That’s certainly the level of interest he’s taken in protecting his and Ana’s personal safety up until this moment.
Ana reveals that she found Christian’s gun, and Christian swiftly announces the fact that he doesn’t even know that it has a safety on it. Responsible gun ownership, woo! They go to drive to work, and Ana asks about Leila; Christian assures her that she’s in a secure facility getting the help she obviously needs. No, wait, he tells her that Leila is at an art college and that he’s keeping tabs on her through her psychiatrist. My mistake.
Ana gets to work and they immediately start exchanging some painful flirty emails. Ana has changed her name in her work email and this makes Christian happy. His staff like the haircut she gave him. Is anyone else forgetting what fun felt like? Seriously, it’s just them talking about her bum a bit and it’s a good chunk of the chapter. THE THRILLING TRILOGY CONTINUES! I can’t wait for this sequence in the film.
Christian goes on his business trip, and Ana is sad, but she gets to catch up with
that raging slut cunt bitch her best friend Kate. Of course, Christian is not happy about the fact they’re going out-
“”I thought Kate was coming to the apartment.”
“She is after a quick drink.” Please let me go out!
Christian sighs heavily. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he says quietly. Too quietly.
I mentally kick myself. “Christian, we’ll be fine. I have Ryan, Sawyer, and Prescott here. It’s only a quick drink.””
Right, so, Christian claims that Ana can’t go out because the “maniac” who arson’d his office is out there. It’s cool for Christian to fly across the country, of course, because it’s not as if the attacker came after his place of wo- oh, wait, he did. I don’t want to suggest that he’s just doing this to exert control over Ana, but oh who am I kidding of course I do because that’s what is blatantly happening here.
Kate turns up, and insists that Ana go out for a drink since she booked a table (since when did you have to book a table just to get a drink? Anyway). Ana eventually agrees after Kate “pouts prettily” at her because, repeat after me, Ana is a gay woman. They chat in the car on the way over and Kate reveals that she knows more about the Jack Hyde situation from Ana, because Christian would neeeever keep something from her when he could use the uncertainty to push his control on her.
They get to the bar and Gia Matteo the architect comes up;
“”Don’t talk to me about that bitch!” Kate splutters.
Kate’s reaction makes me laugh.
“What’s so funny, Steele?” she snaps, but not seriously.
“I feel the same way.”
“Yes. She was all over Christian.”
“She had a fling with Elliot.” Kate pouts.
What a total cunt! Not only did she, uh, have sex with Kate’s boyfriend before Kate was dating him, but she did her job and was politely courteous towards Ana husband! Her her her, woman hating women is ironically the only way women in this book bond. I hope all of them choke on a bell hooks book. Ana tells Kate that she told that bitch where to get off;
“Kate gapes at me once more, stunned. I nod proudly, and she lifts her glass to salute me, impressed and beaming.
“Mrs. Anastasia Grey! Way to go!” We clink.
“Does Elliot own a gun?”
This chapter just took a dark turn. Nah, Ana is actually using that as a way to talk to Kate about Elliot’s view on guns, but I choose to read it as the start of some kind of antifeminist Thelma and Louise situation across Seattle. Ana drinks some more and then heads home where, of course, she finds that Christian has left her a bunch of angry texts;
“Sawyer tells me that you are drinking cocktails in a bar when you said you wouldn’t.
Do you have any idea how mad I am at the moment?”
(Sawyer is one of their bodyguards) Seriously? She went out with armed security, to a public place, for four drinks. She wasn’t playing Russian roulette in a smoky Slovakian bar drinking eighty-proof moonshine.
Ana gets home, and there’s a brief scuffle as the bodyguards note that something is amiss and then OH MY GOD, JACK HYDE IS SLUMPED ON THE FLOOR!
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You walk into your living room, and there I am. I’m in your pyjamas, for some reason, and I’m holding out this recap and a bottle of wine. You nod. It’s time. It’s time.
We left off last week with Ana identifying Jack Hyde on a CCTV tape as the one who started the fire at Christian’s business.
“”You seem to have studied your ex-boss in some detail, Mrs. Grey,” he murmurs, sounding none too pleased.”
Bear in mind that Ana was sexually harassed by this boss, and kicked him in the nuts to get him away from her. But aye, deffo someone you should be worried about. It seems as though Ana is attracted to men who treat her like utter shit and consider her consent secondary, so actually…
They discuss Jack being at Grey Industries some more, and Barney, Christian’s PI, tells them that they’ve got his hard drive. Ana is smug about being useful for once in her miserable life, and Christian compliments her for being not just “decorative”. Ugh. They make out a little:
“”Hungry?” he asks.
“Well—food actually, Mrs. Grey.””
Thank fucking Christ. Ana goes to make Christian a sandwhich, and bumps into Mrs Jones.
“”Um—so what does Christian like in a, um . . . sub?” I frown, struck by what I’ve just said. Does Mrs. Jones understand the inference?”
Yes. She’s cleaned his butt-plugs, she gets the double-entendre. Ana mashes some avocado, and Christian comes in and remarks on the fact that she’s barefoot in the kitchen. Ana replies that it’s meant to be “barefoot and pregnant”, but Christian tenses up and tells her he doesn’t want to share her yet. This is relevant for later, so make a note of it in the giant Recaps Planner I assume you all have. They discuss the house that they’re going to destroy and rebuild, and Ana expresses that she likes it the way it is. Christian tells her he’d be happy wherever she is;
“He is utterly, utterly sincere. I blink at him as my heart expands. Holy cow, he really does love me.”
I should fucking hope so, considering YOU MARRIED HIM. This is not a realization you should be just coming to after the wedding, you know? They talk about the walk-in closets for several hours, apparently, and then Ana decides she wants to go watch TV.
“”Any specific drivel you want to see?”
“You don’t like TV much, do you?” I mutter sardonically.
He shakes his head. “Waste of time. But I’ll watch something with you.””
I hate people who are snobs about TV. I mean, I love TV with all my heart and soul so maybe I’m not the most impartial person here, but when I see people shitting on the medium because they think it looks smart, it makes me want to slap them. Like…have you watched any TV? Because there’s a lot of amazing storytelling on there, for my money, some of the best in any medium you’ll find at the moment. I realize that it’s pretty rich for me to dictate on what is and isn’t worthy when I’m sitting here listening to one of the bad Fall Out Boy albums, but I stand by it.
Christian is maudlin about the fact that he’s never made out with anyone, which is just…once again, I have to ask whether or not EL has read her own damn series. Ana and Christian do plenty of making out (or what I’d define as making out) over the course of this series, but why pass up an opportunity for Christian to be a miserable shit about something?
Ana tells Christian that she’s made out with people before him, and he demands to know who it is:
“”I want to know. So I can beat whoever it was to a pulp.”
I giggle. “Well, the first time . . .”
“The first time! There’s more than one fucker?” He growls.”
Oh my GOD. Should I go get my boyfriend out of the bath, wrestle the Stephen King book he’s inevitably reading out of his hands, to let him know that another man might have brushed by me in a corridor once? Christian is mad, apparently, and gets her to tell him who she made out with while he rubs up on her to show her how much better he is than some fifteen-year-olds Ana snogged in high school.
“His eyes are smoldering hot . . . angry? Turned on? It’s difficult to say which.”
Oh, that’s good. You can’t tell whether your partner is coming on to you because they’re angry or because they want you. Or if there’s a difference. They fool around on the couch, and Ana asks if Christian likes her touching him;
” “Of course I do. I love you touching me, Ana. I’m like a starving man at a banquet when it comes to your touch.””
I’ll say it once, I’ve said it a million times: if someone said this to me in the throes of passion, I would laugh in their face. I dare you to say this to your partner when you’re next getting down and dirty, and report back to me on just how dumped you are. Go on. Do it. For the recaps.
“Jeez . . . he’s in good shape,” Ana thinks as she touches him up, which, again, is something that real people who have sex think about their partners bodies when they’re getting down to it.
Christian gets mad about the fact that his security team didn’t do well enough at keeping them secured earlier in the night, and Ana tells him that she’s going back to work the next day. He doesn’t throw a little bitch tantrum about it! Progress! Barely!
Ana goes to work, and everyone loves her etc. Christian emails her in a huff that she hasn’t changed her surname to his in her email, and Ana sighs as she knows it’s going to be a fight. And there we go, back to square one again. Ana goes about her day, and then, of course, CHRISTIAN TURNS UP AT HER WORK TO CHASTISE HER FOR NOT DOING WHAT HE WANTED.
“”I’m just looking over my assets.”
“Your assets? All of them?”
“All of them. Some of them need rebranding.”
“Rebranding? In what way?”
“I think you know.” His voice is menacingly quiet.”
“Menacing”. This is not a word that I ever, ever want to use to describe a romantic partner. Certainly not when they burst into my office to throw a tantrum. He must have been saving up all his tantruming from the night before to unleash on her today. How thoughtful of him.
“”I like to make the odd impromptu visit. It keeps management on their toes, wives in their place. You know.” He shrugs, his mouth set in an arrogant line.”
I refuse to dignify that horrendous line with anything more than this picture. Ana goes on to describe him as a control freak with stalker tendencies, and continues to defend her position, pointing out that she married him and that should be enough;
“”I want your world to begin and end with me,” he says, his expression raw.”
Well, it doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Get over yourself, you ragingly arrogant piece of fuckshit. Ana, of course, is sad and moved by what he says. Christian then strongly implies to her that she only got the job because he purchased the company. I hate this character just the most absurd amount. There aren’t words. Except these ones.
Christian informs her that he’s giving her the company, and wants to know whether to use Steele or Grey in the name of it. So, he’s blackmailing her, is what he’s doing. Ana is shocked and tells him she hasn’t had enough experience for the job;
“”You’re also the most well-read person I know,” he counters earnestly. “You love a good book. You couldn’t leave your job while we were on our honeymoon. You read how many manuscripts? Four?””
In three weeks? I hate to break it to him, but this is not impressive. Ana is entirely correct, she isn’t qualified to run the company. But she likes books and since Christian has decided that’s the case…that’s the case, I guess? Whoo, agency!
Christian tries to seduce Ana in the office, which she has to say no to several times before he stops, and she finally concedes to changing her name. Christian swans off all pleased with himself and leaves her be.
“I lay my head on my desk, feeling like I’ve been run over by a freight train—the freight train that is my beloved husband. He has to be the most frustrating, annoying, contrary man on the planet.”
Sincerely, how can any woman want this? She says nothing nice about him here, aside from the fact she loves him, I guess. He steamrollered into her work, had a row about making her change her name, disparaged her acquisition of the job AND THEN told her he was getting the company for her, tried to seduce her, had to be told multiple times to stop, then swans out as soon as he got what he wanted. He is just…ugh. Repulsive.
Ana goes home, and Christian can’t figure out why she’s mad. So smart, so clever, but can’t put a pin in why his wife is pissed at him after the shit he pulled.
“”Don’t be mad. You’re so precious to me. Like a priceless asset, like a child,””
Genuine boke. He’s running his finger across her lip at this point, too. The conversation descends into nothing, and then Christian dances with Ana, and everything is forgotten. Including this grotesque chapter, as we draw (finally) to a close. Till next time!
Hey sluts! I wrote a post about the semantics of sex in erotica recently, and you might like it if you read these recaps.
We left off last week with Ana admitting that she wants to have some kinky sex. A revelation, in the last book of a trilogy about kinky sex, but whatever.
“”Kinky fuckery?” he asks, his words a soft caress.”
Yes, the return of my favourite phrase! I mean, not only has anyone every described the word “fuckery” as a “caress”, but you know, whatever.
“”Carte blanche?” He whispers the question, eyeing me speculatively as if he’s trying to read my mind.
Carte blanche? Holy fuck—what will that entail?”
OH MY GOD. Look, don’t give the guy who beat you so hard with a belt you wept and were traumatised by the encounter while ignoring all the signs that you didn’t want it to continue carte blanche. Don’t do it. Because he’s shit at consent. Also don’t marry him, but it’s a bit late for that.
They go to the red room of bleh, and he undresses her in an awkwardly written passage. Christian has apparently gotten rid of almost all of his kinky tools, and only a riding crop and a flogger remain. He takes her sandals off for her, and, euch, sandals. Just me? Sandals give me the icks.
Christian tells her to face the wall, and then undresses himself. Of course, it’s time to wedge in some plugs for the soundtrack album:
“The piano is joined by an electric guitar. What is this? A man’s voice speaks and I can just make out the words, something about not being frightened of dying […] I sense him behind me as a woman starts to sing . . . wail . . . sing?”
“”You must tell me to stop if it’s too much. If you say stop, I will stop immediately. Do you understand?”
Aha, except remember that time she asked him to stop and he carried on haha. He teases her a bit, and then trails his finger over her “anus”, a word which is both a) painfully unsexy and b) in the text. Vibrators at the ready, ladies! He puts a plug in her butt, fucks her, and of course it’s sexiest thing in the world ever etc.
“The woman is still singing. Christian always puts songs on repeat in here. Strange.”
I’m actually with Christian on this one, because sometimes you might be getting down to music and then suddenly Spotify shuffles to a Blondie song that you first heard at a concert with your mum when you were seven and it’s hard to touch a penis and have that memory at the front of you brain, you know? So I’ve heard. Maybe.
They have a brief discussion about who cleans the butt plugs (the housekeeper, which, boke), and then Ana goes for a bath with Christian. Ana talks about having to return to work soon;
“He stills. “You know you don’t have to go back to work,” he murmurs.
Oh no . . . not this again. “Christian, we’ve been through this. Please don’t resurrect that argument.””
He’s a great guy, ladies, he just doesn’t want you to have a career or a job because if you have your own income it’s going to make it that much harder for you to escape his grasp. I mean, why else would he want her to not work? He would still have to, so it’s not like they would spend a bunch more time together. It’s just another part of Ana’s life outside of him he’s trying to cut off. Once again, EL James might not have intended to write a guy who just oozes dangerously controlling tendencies, but she did.
Christian shouts at his bodyguard a bit, and Ana goes to clean to butt-plug, thoughtfully enough. There’s a lot of blatant filler in this chapter, and I have no intention of inflicting it on you. Oh, don’t worry, we’ll get back to the abusive, juicy stuff soon enough:
” Part of me dreads going back to work, but I can never tell Christian that. He’d seize on the opportunity to make me quit […]I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to tell Christian that I am not going to change my name at work. I think my reasons are solid. I need some distance from him, but I know there will be a fight when he finally realizes that.”
The fuck? I really hope I don’t have to point out why this is creepy as fuck, but I will: Christian will try to pressure Ana into quitting her job as soon as he’s given the opportunity, even though she’s told him she doesn’t want to leave. Oh, and if he can’t exert his ownership over her own goddamn fucking name at her job then he’ll start a fight with her. What do these details add to the story, except to make Christian seem like a pathetic baby man with literally zero chill? Speaking of, Ana goes through the pictures from their honeymoon:
“Picture after picture of me. Asleep, so many of me asleep, my hair over my face or fanned out across the pillow, lips parted . . . shit—sucking my thumb. I haven’t sucked my thumb for years!”
WHAT EVEN IS ANY OF THIS? Why is any of this in the text? There is no way any of this can not read as creepy. There is no physical way to photograph an adult without their knowledge while they’re unconcious and have it not be at the very least heavy unsettling. Or maybe he’s longing for the days when they first met (all those weeks ago) when she was passed out drunk in his bed and he undressed her?
Ana is, of course, charmed as hell bu this inestimably creepy bullshit, and wanders off to find Christian. Who has received some CCTV of the perpetrator of the fire that I’d almost forgotten about by now! And, if you hadn’t guessed from the laughably bad ending of the FSD movie, it’s none other than Ana’s ex-boss, Jack Hyde!
Yes, I’m back with another recrap – after the monstrous awfulness that was Fifty Shades Darker the (barely) motion picture, I had to take a break for a little bit to swoon on to my fainting couch and get over all the outrageously sexy missionary position and massage oil. We left off last time with Christian and Ana having hissy sex, and we open with Ana waking up to Christian missing from the bed. He soon appears to soothe her;
“”Were you watching me sleep?”
“Yes,” he says gazing at me steadily, studying me […]”
Ah, the end to another week; i hope your’s has been especially good, because ruining it will bring me even more twisted pleasure than normal. Also! I updated my Patreon page today with some awesome new rewards I think you’ll love, so please give that a look if you get the chance. On with the recap!