Merry Christmas, Bad Books Good Times readers! Our present to you is we coincidentally finish Fifty Shades Darker today!
As an extra Christmas gift, although arguably one that is more so a gift for Ariel and myself, sometime today the very first Bad Books, Good Times eBook will be for sale on Amazon.com.
Basically, we’ve compiled all of our posts from our Fifty Shades of Grey reading into one easy to read eBook. While the content is – and always will be – free on this blog, the eBook is a great way to read it all from start to finish, without having to jump around bonus posts or click “see older post” a billion times, or sit in front of your computer all day. There’s also some bonus content at the end after the reading, some of which is exclusive to the eBook. It’s for sale for the super affordable and super reasonable price of $2.99 and can be read on any Kindle or Kindle app or however the hell that stuff works. Leave us some awesome reviews! Maybe someone who actually likes Fifty Shades will accidentally buy it! That would be hilarious!
As an extra extra Christmas gift, my last post for Fifty Shades Darker is super duper long, which was basically just because I had to say all of that stuff about the ebook and then I just wrote a lot of words, so, uh, I’m passing it off as a bonus extra long post. Merry Christmas!
Guys, we’re on the very last chapter of Fifty Shades Darker, and I still have no idea what the hell this book was supposed to be about.
Fifty Shades Darker started with Ana and Christian no longer together, but they got back together in about twelve pages, and then, well, I honestly have no idea what the plot was. There was a problem with Christian’s mentally unstable ex Leila and Ana’s sexual predator boss, but they were both resolved about halfway through the book. After that the only thing resembling a plot was that Ana and Christian were maybe going to get engaged. And they did. And the book is still going.
Seriously, what the hell was this book about? There are no more problems.
Usually for there to be a plot, there has to be 1) a problem established at the beginning, and 2) for it to be resolved by the end. Fifty Shades of Grey, the first novel, had a plot. At the beginning of the novel, there was a problem: Ana started a relationship with Christian Grey, but knew the differences between them might be its undoing. At the end of the novel, it was resolved: just like Ana thought, the differences proved to be too great and Ana ended their relationship. Other stuff happens along the way, but it all serves to support that main story.
Fifty Shades Darker, however, is a series of problems, and not in the way that I usually mean it’s a series of problems that I make fun of it for. There is no problem introduced at the beginning of the novel that is still relevant by the end of the novel. Instead, E L James has to go reuse a problem that, from the perspective of a narrative arc, has long since been resolved: can Ana and Christian be happy together? But there’s nothing tying Fifty Shades Darker together as a narrative: it has no narrative arc and it’s a boring clusterfuck of nothing ever happening.
Once again, I’m going to explain what I mean with Harry Potter.
The entire Harry Potter series starts with one problem: Voldemort, the most evil wizard who ever lived, has apparently been defeated but isn’t truly gone. The entire Harry Potter series ends by resolving this problem: Voldemort is finally defeated for good. But there’s seven books in the series, and while each concerns itself with this overarching plot, each is tied around its own narrative that plays a part in the larger one. At the beginning of the first Harry Potter, the problem is that someone is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone. At the end of the first Harry Potter, the problem is resolved when Harry learns that Voldemort is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone, and he stops him from doing so. At the beginning of the fifth Harry Potter, the problem is that Voldemort has successfully returned, but the Ministry of Magic refuses to acknowledge that this has happened. By the end of the fifth Harry Potter, the problem is resolved when the Ministry of Magic learns, at a high cost, that Voldemort has in fact returned and that they were wrong. Basically, there’s an overarching narrative for the series, and each entry has its own narrative that fits into it.
So how does this apply to the Fifty Shades trilogy? Well, it goddamned doesn’t, that’s how. There is no specific issue that Fifty Shades Darker revolves around. Even if you’re not being a hypercritical smartass, the best you can come up with is that this book is about Ana and Christian getting engaged. Even though they’re not even together at the beginning of the novel, Christian brings up the idea of getting engaged about halfway through, and Ana agrees to marry him with maybe a fifth of the novel still remaining.
Basically, in order to solve the problem of how there are no problems (but more so to squeeze two more books out of the premise), E L James is basically telling a story where everything is resolved for our two heroes in love, but things keep happening that challenge their love! WILL THEY EVER BE HAPPY? Ana and Christian are happy WAIT OH NO his ex wants to get back together! Oh, she’s in the hospital now, phew! Ana and Christian are happy WAIT OH NO Ana’s boss tries to rape her! Oh, he got fired, phew! Ana and Christian are happy WAIT OH NO Kate found a copy of the sex contract from the first book and is demanding answers! And that is where we are now, an insignificant portion of the narrative away from an “Oh, this gets resolved before anything bad happens, phew!” rinse-lather-repeat exercise in futility until E L James writes enough pages to sell another, even more meaningless novel-length pile of shit.
Basically, instead of telling a story, E L James is telling the reader how to wash their hair.
So, with that criticism out of the way, let’s finish this shit.
ACTUALLY CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
Like I said, Kate has found a copy of the sex contract (that hasn’t been mentioned since the first book, where it was talked about for an entire book although it never came close to actually being used). She confronts Ana and Christian as they arrive at the party with a list of deviant sexual acts and wants answers.
“What’s he done to you?” Kate asks, ignoring Christian. She looks so apprehensive. I flush as a myriad of erotic images flit quickly across my mind.
Ironically, Ana’s response to Kate’s fear that she’s been turned into a sex slave is to immediately start thinking about sex.
“Where did you get this?” Christian asks […]
“It was in the pocket of a jacket—which I assume is yours—that I found on the back of Ana’s bedroom door.”
Okay, let’s see if we have this straight. Kate has a secret document that she found when she went into the pocket of a jacket that wasn’t hers in a room that wasn’t hers for… what reason?
Anyway, remember all that ranting I did before I even started talking about this chapter about how, even with a loose definition of the word “plot”, the plot of Fifty Shades Darker is that Ana and Christian realize their relationship can work despite Christian’s controlling behavior, both sexual and personality-wise? Like, to the point where they get engaged? Well, there’s this thing called “Stockholm Syndrome”, which is basically a circumstance where someone falls in love with a person keeping them prisoner. Ariel’s already outlined how Ana and Christian’s relationship hits everything on the abusive relationship checklist, but let’s take it a step further and see if Kate’s concerns about Ana being taken over by Christian are applicable.
- How dare she do this? Not now, not today. Not on Christian’s birthday.
- He holds out his hand, and I know he’s not to be argued with—his voice is cold and hard.
- If you’re happy, then I’m happy.” She looks directly at Christian and repeats her apology. He nods at her, his eyes glacial, and his expression does not change. Oh shit, he’s still mad.
Now, these are obviously spread out throughout the chapter, but don’t worry, we’ll point them out as we go. It’ll be like a safari! Except instead of seeing exotic animals, we’re reading basically the same narration again and again and again.
You know how (like I’ve probably said like twenty goddamn times in this post so far) Fifty Shades Darker started with Ana and Christian having broken up? And it ends with them engaged? Kate offers some fascinating perspective on this.
“Ana has consented to be my wife, Katherine,” he says quietly.
“Wife!” Kate squeaks, her eyes widening in disbelief.
“We’re getting married. We’re going to announce our engagement this evening,” he says.
“Oh!” Kate gapes at me. She’s stunned. “I leave you alone for sixteen days, and this happens?”
Wait, wait, wait, sixteen days?! This has all taken place in sixteen goddamn days?! They went from A) broken up and wallowing over their forbidden love never to be to B) engaged in sixteen days? Except, wait, Kate left before the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, which was when Ana broke up with Christian. In fact, when she left, they were still dating. They went from broken up and wallowing over their forbidden love never to be to engaged in less than sixteen days?
They assure Kate that their relationship is perfectly happy and healthy, I slam my head into a table, and then everybody goes into the party.
And to think our evening could have been derailed by the tenacious Miss Kavanagh. I shudder at the thought—the ramifications of Christian’s lifestyle revealed to all. Holy cow.
I know, right? Talk about lucky! Thank goodness that really, really, really bad outcome was avoided and absolutely totally not going to happen totally! And to subtly think about how terrible it would be if that did happen! Holy cow, indeed!
Anyway, half of our favorite minor characters who’ve had maybe one line of dialogue are all here at Christian’s birthday party! Yay!
all the Greys, Ethan with Mia, Dr. Flynn and his wife, I assume. There’s Mac from the boat, a tall, handsome African American—I remember seeing him in Christian’s office the first time I met Christian—Mia’s bitchy friend Lily
Hell yeah! Tall handsome African American from Christian’s office is back! I love that guy!
and . . . Oh no. My heart sinks. That woman . . . Mrs. Robinson.
Elena (Mrs. Robinson) expresses her relief to Christian that he survived the helicopter crash, then Elena and Ana briefly have an Eartha Kitt as Catwoman impression contest.
“Ana,” she purrs. “You look lovely, dear.”
“Elena,” I purr back. “Thank you.”
Christian announces that he and Ana are engaged! Everybody cheers and Christian whispers something really romantic to Ana!
“You’ll soon be mine.”
“I am already,” I whisper.
“Legally,” he mouths at me and gives me a wicked grin.
Just kidding, it was actually incredibly creepy and controlling and terrifying. Another point for Stockholm Syndrome!
A bunch of women who’ve had maybe one line of dialogue ever are really upset, as is Elena. Wait, what if Elena still wants Christian back whoaaaa that would be quite a twist for this novel whoa
We catch up with Dr. Flynn, who, in case you forgot, is from England. Don’t worry, E L James provides a subtle reminder.
“Delighted to meet the woman who has finally captured Christian’s heart.” Rhian smiles kindly at me. […] “That was one googly you bowled there, Christian,” Dr. Flynn shakes his head in amused disbelief. Christian frowns at him.
“John—you and your cricket metaphors.”
Ana meets more female characters who know Christian and the reader gets ready for Ana’s inevitable jealousy and immediate hatred of them. Except it doesn’t happen because E L James throws the biggest curveball she can at us: they’re lesbians!
She’s one of the few women I’ve met who isn’t dazzled by [Christian Grey] … well, the reason is obvious.
It’s funny because lesbians!
Mia takes Ana away from the party because she needs boy advice! Ethan doesn’t want to date Mia because Mia’s brother is already dating Ethan’s sister! Man, these love triangles are really getting complicated! It’s almost like every character is going to end up with each other! Except for Jose. Fuck Jose.
Ana tells Mia to fuck off and go talk to Kate. Well, she says the second half of that sentence, anyway.
I’m about to follow her when I am stopped in my tracks. Elena breezes into the room, her face taut, set in grim, angry determination. She closes the door quietly behind her and scowls at me.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
“I wouldn’t have thought of you as a worthy adversary, Anastasia. But you surprise me at every turn.”
“I haven’t thought of you at all,” I lie, coolly. Christian would be proud.
So it turns out that even though Christian and Elena have previously insisted that they’re only just friends and business partners, ELENA STILL WANTS CHRISTIAN BACK! TOTALLY UNEXPECTED PLOT TWIST! LE GASP!
Ana throws down some fighting words!
“You’re nothing but a sick child molester, and if it was up to me, I’d toss you into the seventh circle of hell and walk away smiling.”
Elena misses the point!
“How dare you judge our lifestyle?”
Ana throws the rest of her lemon martini in her face!
I throw the rest of my lemon martini in her face
Christian Grey shows up and is somehow surprised that Elena doesn’t just think of him as a friend.
“She’s not right for you, Christian,” she whispers. […]
“How the fuck do you know what’s right for me?”
“You have needs, Christian,” she says her voice softer.
Oh crap—Very Angry Christian has reared his not-so-ugly head.
Elena insists she was the best thing to ever happen to Christian!
“You were on the road to self-destruction, and I saved you from that, saved you from a life behind bars. Believe me, baby, that’s where you would have ended up. I taught you everything you know, everything you need.”
Christian blanches, staring at her in horror.
Christian actually delivers a pretty good insult, I have to admit.
“You taught me how to fuck, Elena. But it’s empty, like you.”
Christian Grey’s mom shows up!
Elena’s eyes widen in alarm, and Grace slaps her hard across the face, the sound of the impact resounding off the walls of the dining room.
“Take your filthy paws off my son, you whore, and get out of my house —now!” she hisses through gritted teeth.
She asks Ana to leave so she can have what I can only imagine would be the most awkward conversation that could conceivably take place between someone and their mom. Ana needs to get away from people, so she goes to Christian’s childhood bedroom, where she takes a look at the photo of Christian’s birth mother and sees that they look nothing alike, which is actually a genuine relief for me, given how fucked up this story is already.
And in true Fifty Shades style, the problem is basically resolved in two pages.
“So, how do you feel?” I ask, anxiously clutching his hand and gazing at his sad, serious face.
“I feel liberated.”
Okay, to be fair, his mom is super pissed off at him, so there are probably going to be some repercussions in the near future (read: no more than the first chapter of the next book), but it doesn’t stop them from having a happy ending, because nothing that happens in this story ever actually matters.
Christian takes Ana to the attic, where he has a surprise waiting for her.
My mouth drops to the floor. The attic is unrecognizable. The room is filled with flowers . . . there are flowers everywhere.
Just in case you weren’t sure what fucking “The room is filled with flowers” means.
From his inside jacket pocket he produces a ring and gazes up at me, his eyes bright gray and raw, full of emotion.
Amazingly enough, Ariel totally missed on this one last opportunity (for the second book, anyway) to play “Is this a penis reference”!
It’s beautiful, an oval diamond in a platinum ring. Jeez—it’s big … Big, but oh-so-simple and stunning in its simplicity.
Christian gets down on his knee and formally proposes and Ana says yes! Get your barf bags ready, everybody.
I know deep down I will always be his, and he will always be mine. We’ve come so far together, we have so far to go, but we are made for each other. We are meant to be.
And so the story would seem to end, BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
The scene suddenly shifts to a third person cliffhanger that might set up an actual goddamn story for the next Fifty Shades book!
The cigarette end glows brightly in the darkness as he takes a deep pull. He blows the smoke out in a long exhale, finishing with two smoke rings that dissolve in front of him, pale and ghostly in the moonlight. He shifts in his seat, bored, and takes a quick shot of cheap bourbon from a bottle wrapped in shabby brown paper before resting it back between his thighs.
…or it’s a preview of E L James’s next book, which is apparently the most cliched Western ever.
The helicopter had been a rash and bold move. One of the most exhilarating things he’d ever done in his life. But to no avail. He rolls his eyes ironically. Who would have thought the son-of-a-bitch could actually fly the fucker?
Wait wait wait, you mean the helicopter crash that everybody kept talking about how weird it was that it happened didn’t just happen? Whoa, plot twist, everybody. Too bad we don’t know who this mysterious man who hates Christian Grey is!
People constantly underestimating him—just a man who reads books. Fuck that! […] Not bad for the kid who worked his ass off through college and got into publishing. And now all of that’s fucked, fucked because of Grey and his little bitch.
Man, too bad we don’t know who this mysterious man who hates Christian Grey who is a character that spent a lot of time working with books in the publishing industry until very recently for something that involved Christian and especially Ana is!
Looks like it’s going to be a long night. He’ll stay, watch, and wait. He takes another toke of his Marlboro red. His chance will come. His chance will come soon.
Yeah, this is almost certainly going to be resolved in a chapter or two.
And on that note, with a blog post longer than any of the final papers I wrote last semester in college, we are finished with the second book in the Fifty Shades trilogy! Get excited to start Fifty Shades Freed next week, everybody, because the third entry in a trilogy is always the best one!