Remember that time when Bad Books, Good Times started and then we spent the next almost fourteen months reading the Fifty Shades trilogy? Yeah, we’re finally done with this thing. Grueling though it was, painful though it was, let’s all take a moment to reflect on how 1) you weren’t the ones reading it, so shush, and 2) without this literary atrocity to get the ball rolling, Bad Books, Good Times wouldn’t be the blog you know and love today. So many more people read this thing every day than we ever expected, and we should all acknowledge that, in a very ironic way, we all have E L James and her complete inability to write to thank for that.
Okay, enough fond reminiscing. Let’s finish this shit.
We go into the painfully long last chapter (Meaning this is going to be a super fun long post for you guys! Hopefully you don’t have much to do today!) with Christian Grey finally willing to tell Ana about his relationship with Elena, the woman who introduced him to BDSM when he was fifteen.
It reads like fucking porn.
“It was a hot summer day. I was working hard. … I was on my own, and Ele—Mrs. Lincoln appeared out of nowhere and brought me some lemonade.”
“We exchanged small talk, and I made some smart-ass remark … and she slapped me. She slapped me so hard. […] But then she kissed me. And when she finished, she slapped me again.”
Somehow this ends up in them fucking, but based on Christian’s explanation of the story, hell if I’ll ever know.
“Well, naturally, I was confused and angry and horny as hell. I mean, a hot older woman comes on to you like that […] She didn’t touch me when she kissed me,” he murmurs and turns his head to gaze at me. “You have to understand … my life was hell on earth. I was a walking hard-on, fifteen years old, tall for my age, hormones raging. The girls at school—” He stops, but I’ve got the picture: a scared, lonely, but attractive adolescent. My heart twists.
“I was angry, so fucking angry at everyone, at myself, my folks. I had no friends. My therapist at the time was a total asshole. My folks, they kept me on a tight leash; they didn’t understand.”
WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS MEAN? This isn’t an explanation, this is a series of non sequitors! I get that this is a confusing event and difficult for Christian to explain, and I get that he had some serious inner demons, but he’s not really painting a picture of his hell on earth as a horny social pariah as he is just sort of dipping a paintbrush in a bunch of different colors of paint and slapping them on a picture frame and demanding us to see its artistic merit. Or, rather, how he’s not dipping his paintbrush in a bunch of different colors of paint – hey ohhhhh! Also, that doesn’t make any sense. He’s tall for his age and the girls at school… what? Does he go to the only school in the world where there are no girls attracted to tall boys? How does Ana get the picture? WHAT PICTURE?
But, per usual, Christian’s storytelling is nowhere near as bad as E L James’s:
“When I left that evening, she asked me to come back the next day. […] So the next day I went back. I couldn’t wait to see her again,” he whispers as if it’s a dark confession … because frankly it is.
Well, this isn’t how figurative language works! Come on, James! You literally just wrote that x is x because it’s x. Much like Ariel predicted yesterday, yes, I absolutely highlighted this quote because it’s time to play “But what if other books were written like this?”
- “Expelliarmus!” Harry shouted as if it’s a magic spell … because frankly it is.
- Big Brother is watching you as if it’s an allegory for an omnipresent totalitarian government … because frankly it is.
- As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect … because frankly he did.
- Then he went over sat down on the unoccupied bed, looked at the girl, aimed the pistol, and fired a bullet through his right temple as if committing suicide … because frankly it is.
- Gatsby wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say, “I never loved you” as if she never loved Tom … because frankly she didn’t … as if he wanted Daisy to not love Tom … because frankly he did.
- “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Rhett told Scarlet … because frankly he didn’t.
Then Christian explains that “that’s how our relationship started.” That’s it. This great big grand reveal that E L James saved for the last chapter didn’t even take two pages. But don’t worry, there’s still another thirty-six pages left for some reason.
Christian explains that he thought his relationship with Elena was helpful for him because through her dominant role, she was “making the decisions, taking all that shit away from me, letting me breathe”. Which makes sense – lots of people’s short-term coping mechanisms are forms of escapism – except then it’s all contradicted a few pages later:
“But you like control,” I whisper.
“Yes. I do. I always will, Ana. It’s who I am. I surrendered it for a brief while. Let someone make all my decisions for me. I couldn’t do it myself— I wasn’t in a fit state. But through my submission to her, I found myself and found the strength to take charge of my life … take control and make my own decisions.”
“Become a Dom?”
Christian liked control too much so he gave up control which gave him strength to take control! YAY NOW IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE ANYMORE.
Christian goes on to explain that Ana coming into his life “with your smart mouth, your innocence, your beauty, and your quiet temerity” put his previous life into perspective as “dull, empty, mediocre”, and, well, I’d complain that this doesn’t make any goddamn sense, but love rarely does anyway.
We learn a few things from Christian’s side of the story, like how he visited Ana at the end of the first book wherever her mom lives (look, I’ve spent fourteen months reading this shit, it’s not like I committed it to memory or anything) at Elena’s suggestion, but later he learned that she suggested it because she thought Ana would freak out and leave him and Elena would get Christian back! Although he had known Ana for, like two weeks at that point, so she kind of had a lot of time to do this beforehand. This sort of stuff goes on for a while.
Christian explains that although he wanted a family in an abstract sense, actually being confronted with Ana’s pregnancy was too real for him to deal with at the moment, and he makes a good point that Ana immediately, depressingly, turns into an incredibly self-deprecating thought that just kind of goes unquestioned and is brushed aside forever.
“You are still so young, and I know you’re quietly ambitious.”
We learn that when Christian went drinking with Elena that night, she made a pass at him. This was so predictable, I honestly thought we already knew this. Christian explains that he recoiled, they realized they have no place in each others’ lives anymore, and said their final goodbyes. Christian and Ana talk about love for a while, because we haven’t read that before. Ana talks to Christian about how he loved his mother, because we haven’t read that before. They go to sleep, finally fucking ending this conversation.
ONLY TWENTY-NINE MORE PAGES TO GO, GUYS.
Ana wakes up an wants to go to work, but can’t because she got out of the hospital after being in a coma for a few days, like, yesterday. Ana’s also really horny because she’s gone maybe a week without sex. Man, guys, Ana just has the worst problems. She dresses up for work with a really short skirt to try to solve both of these problems, I guess, but all it accomplishes is a scene where Ana and Christian flirt pretty explicitly in front of the cook Mrs. Jones. Jesus, three books and I still feel bad for that woman.
They decide to go see how work on their new house is going. It’s about as exciting as you’d think. Elliot says “bro” about a thousand times in his one page appearance, which you might assume would be irritating, but honestly it was a helpful reminder for who the fuck Elliot is again. Ana and Christian go have a picnic somewhere on their grounds away from all the construction, before Christian gets a phone call, which he is very angry about.
“Ros, how much stock do we own in Lincoln Timber? […] consolidate the shares into GEH, then fire the board … except the
CEO … I don’t give a fuck … I hear you, just do it … thank you … keep me informed.” He hangs up, and gazes at me impassively for a moment.
Holy shit! Christian is mad.
“Linc,” he murmurs.
“Linc? Elena’s ex?”
“The same. He’s the one who posted Hyde’s bail.”
Okay, James. You can’t expect us to actually give a shit about this. This is another thing that’s supposed to be a twist, like “oh man, this character was a bad guy?”, except I don’t think we’ve ever had a single scene with this character. Ever. In all three books. So, yeah, kind of hard to get invested in this reveal at the eleventh hour.
Anyway, apparently nothing gets Ana in the mood like the financial ruin of a man she’s never met, because then they pounce on each other!
Here’s a fun game to play when reading Fifty Shades. Skip every sex scene where Ana says “Holy shit”. I don’t think you’ll read a single sex scene.
His fingers trace the elastic along my belly then slide inside, teasing me, before grabbing my panties tightly and pushing his thumbs through the delicate material. My panties disintegrate.
Where the fuck does she keep buying these panties? This isn’t the first time Ana’s panties have disintegrated.
They keep banging, and it’s nothing we haven’t read before. But what the hell, let’s hear Ana describe an orgasm as an explosion one last time:
Ah … I love this. And inside, I’m building … building … climbing … higher. Christian’s hands move to my thighs, and delicately his thumbs press at their apex, and I explode around him over and over and over and over
Suddenly, for no reason, Ana has an epiphany about BDSM!
Images of us together, in the playroom; the Tallis, the table, on the cross, shackled to the bed … I love his kinky fuckery— our kinky fuckery. Yes. I can do that stuff. I can do that for him, with him. I can do that for me. My skin tingles as I remember the riding crop.
he’s said he misses it. Well, so do I … especially now that he wants to explore my limits.
THAT WAS LITERALLY WHAT HE WANTED TO DO THE WHOLE TIME. This has never changed! Do you not remember where this was written in the sex contract that was copy/pasted in the first book three times? Nothing has caused this change! It’s just here because it’s like all of a sudden E L James remembered this was a book about BDSM. Although it totally wasn’t.
They end up back in the playroom, and, well, here’s the last line of Fifty Shades!
Jeez … Life is never going to be boring with Christian, and I’m in this for the long haul. I love this man: my husband, my lover, father of my child, my sometimes Dominant … my Fifty Shades.
D’awwwwww, how sweet. Anyway, it’s done! We’re out of shades of grey! It’s finally over and –
Oh god dammit, E L James! An epilogue taking place in the future? You’re gonna J K Rowling us now?
Okay, so what usually merits an epilogue? It’s gotta bring closure to the story in a way that shows how things have changed after the story ends, like a delayed denouement. So we’re looking for how things are different now, yeah?
The flogger’s sweet sting bites into my behind.
I gasp. “Please, Sir.”
[…] His hand moves south and around, and his fingers slide inside me.
“Mrs. Grey,” he breathes, and his teeth pull on my earlobe. “You’re so ready.”
NOPE. IT’S THE SAME GODDAMN SEX SCENE WE’VE BEEN READING THIS WHOLE TIME.
He eases his fingers out of me, pulls me around to face him, and removes the blindfold. I blink up into darkening gray eyes that burn into mine. His index fingers trace my bottom lip, and he pushes his index and middle fingers into my mouth, letting me taste the salty tang of my arousal.
“Suck,” he whispers. I swirl my tongue around and between his fingers.
Hmm … even I taste good on his fingers.
Ana orgasms/explodes after a sex scene that is in no way different from anything we’ve ever read before, with the exception of how Ana wins “world’s most disturbing parent” by the end of it.
Christian lies beside me, his hand caressing my belly, his long fingers splayed out wide.
“How’s my daughter?”
“She’s dancing.” I laugh. […] “I think she likes sex already.”
Because this book won’t just fucking end already, the epilogue goes to another scene where Ana and Christian are playing with their first child, Ted. Ted eats a popsicle, but drops it, and is sad, and Ana actually manages to break her record for world’s most disturbing parent already by making fellatio jokes in front of her two year old child.
I take his hand and kiss his sticky fingers.
“I can taste your popsicle here on your fingers.”
Ted stops crying and examines his hand.
“Put your fingers in your mouth.”
He does. “Pop!”
“Yes. Popsicle. […] I think Daddy wants to taste popsicle, too,” I whisper in Ted’s little ear.
Ted frowns at me, then looks at his hand and holds it out to Christian.
Christian smiles and puts Ted’s fingers in his mouth.
“Hmm … tasty.”
Dude, Ted frowns while his parents are laughing about blowjob jokes. Even he knows his parents are super fucked up.
The epilogue goes to ANOTHER scene with Christian reading Dr. Seuss to Ted, then ANOTHER scene where Ana has to get an emergency C-section while delivering Ted and almost dies, then ANOTHER GODDAMN SCENE where they look forward to Teddy’s birthday party. All of this is evidently very important information that the story would have been incomplete without.
It finally ends and here are the last lines of Fifty Shades:
He grins and kisses me again. “I love you, Mrs. Grey.”
“I love you, too, Christian. Always.”
Oh. Okay. Cool. We have never read these two characters saying they love each other before, and I was totally uncertain this would continue to be the case where the novel ended before the epilogue. Now we’re finally done with-
CHRIST ON A BICYCLE, E L JAMES.
Hey, so remember when I made fun of that one scene a few chapters ago where Ana goes to the bank and withdraws five million dollars? Well, it turns out E L James knew she was full of shit!
I am aware that today you cannot walk into an American bank and withdraw five million dollars.
…at what point in time could you do this?
The conversation Ana did not hear went like this:
And then, I shit you not, E L James writes a 111 word dialogue between Christian Grey and the owner of the bank.
“It’s Christian Grey. I’ve spoken to my wife. Give her the money. Whatever she wants.”
“Mr. Grey, I can’t . . .”
“Liquidate five million of my assets. Off the top of my head: Georges, PKC, Atlantis Corps, Ferris and Umatic. A million from each.”
“Mr. Grey, this is highly irregular. I’ll have to consult with Mr. Forlines.”
“I’m playing golf with him next week,” I hiss. “Just fucking do it, Whelan. Find a way, or I’ll close all the accounts and move GEH’s business elsewhere. Understand?”
He’s silent on the end of the phone.
“We’ll sort the fucking paperwork out later,” I add, more conciliatory.
“Yes, Mr. Grey.”
Was there really never a time E L James could have worked this information into the narrative? Really?
And with that, we are finally done with Fifty Shades.
Also we never find out more about Jose because nobody cares about Jose.