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50 Shades Darker Chapter 21 recap, or “The shorty skirt catches the worm.”

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I apologize for the lateness of this recap, but yesterday I had a truly fucking amazing day that interrupted my planned schedule. Bear with me here, this is important. Two years ago, I went to the ER for a really, really bad headache. They did a CT of my head and neck, and then the doctor came in and said, “There’s a 10mm mass on your pituitary, you’re going to need some follow up care.” The only problem is, I live in America. I had no idea how I was going to pay the ER bill (and I only went in the first place because I crossed the threshold of “fiscal responsibility” into “Oh god I think this was what Brett Michaels was talking about when his head exploded”) and I knew for sure that I couldn’t afford to see a doctor. For those of you following this blog from other countries, yes, in the United States we will happily let people wander around with untreated, potentially fatal diseases and conditions because I don’t know. Something to do with bootstraps.  Anyway, I couldn’t afford follow up care for TWO YEARS, and I walked around that entire time thinking, “Oh my God, I have a brain tumor. What is it doing in there? Is it getting bigger? Will it get to the size that it makes my head go all misshapen? Will it kill me?”

Turns out, no. Because there never was any brain tumor. It was a big misunderstanding and, in the most likely scenario, just came down to a tired doctor saying “Pituitary” instead of “Thyroid,” which is where the mass actually is.

That’s some pretty great news, right? That I don’t have a brain tumor? Well, hold onto your socks, because I’m about to blow them off. I went out to dinner with some family at a local pizza place, and suddenly there is this woman there, and she’s waving to me to come closer. And I’m thinking, “Whaaaat?” So I went over to her and she said, “I had to come back in to tell you that I’m sorry for being so mean to you in school.” Yup, on the same day I found out that I do NOT have a brain tumor, I ran into a girl who picked on me quite a lot in middle school, and she apologized for being mean.

So, of course I bought a lottery ticket. Because holy damn, guys, what an incredible day.

And that’s why the recap didn’t get finished, because I was celebrating the fact that I’m not going to die or get brain surgery or get really tall.

Well, here we are, at the second to last chapter of 50 Shades Darker. Which means the author will be wrapping up all the plot points and subplots and putting a button on the whole kit and caboodle, so that the arc of the individual book fits like a puzzle piece in the greater whole of the series.

Pfff, I’m not serious. What, are you new here?

When last we saw Christian and Ana, they were going to the playroom, because they’re at that phase of their relationship where sex as a birthday present is still a thing. There is definitely an expiration date on that whole shebang, by the way. And when you breeze past it and don’t notice. Awwwwwkward. You do not want to be standing in line at Best Buy naked under you trenchcoat, hoping you’re buying the right Call of Duty, is all I’m going to say.

Christian asks Ana if there’s anything she doesn’t want to do, which is weird, because in the last chapter she told him what she didn’t want to do. But he has to ask her now, so she can say that she doesn’t want him to take photos of her, and that can be brought up later. He doesn’t take it as a hint that she’s seen his photos, though, so we can go right into the sex scene.

Placing the gift box on the chest of drawers, he takes out the iPod, switches it on, then waves at the music center on the wall so that the smoked glass doors glide silently open.

Because he’s a Jedi. And raise your hand if your iPod has a switch to turn it on. No, not the lock at the top. I mean, a switch that makes the music go. It’s a button. It’s always been a button.

He presses some buttons, and the sound of a subway train echoes around the room. he turns it down so that the slow, hypnotic electronic beat that follows becomes ambient. A woman starts to sing, I don’t know who she is but her voice is soft yet rasping and the beat is measured, deliberate… erotic. Oh my. It’s music to make love to.

Let me tell you, nothing gets me hotter than the sound of a subway commute. Someone figure out what this song is. I couldn’t figure it out from the 50 Shades of Grey playlists on Spotify and also I lost interest and wandered away and started listening to Iggy Pop instead.

Christian turns to face me as I stand in the middle of the room, my heart pounding, my blood singing in my veins, pulsing – or so it feels – in time to the music’s seductive beat.

No… it’s really pulsing. Or should be. Otherwise you’d be dead, Ana, and if that were the case I imagined a lot more confetti and party hats would be littering my office. I like that her blood is actually singing, that part is fine, but her blood only feels like it could be pulsing. The metaphor would be fine if she’d just swapped them around. But hey, I’m talking like someone actually cared about the product here.

Christian asks if the reason they’re in the playroom is because she thinks he wants to be there. Isn’t that how birthdays work? You give someone something they want, or do something nice that would benefit them? What would the point be if he didn’t want to be in there? She specifies that she wants to be in the playroom, too, and once they have that good and settled, he tells her to strip.

My inner goddess is stripped and standing in line, ready and waiting and begging me to play catch-up.

Standing in a line? With who? The other characters Ana has rattling around in her head?

She’s only wearing her robe and a nightgown, so getting undressed is pretty easy, and then Christian takes his silver tie from the cover of the first book and ties it around her neck:

He places the tie around my neck, and slowly but dexterously ties it in what I assume is a fine Windsor knot. As he tightens the knot, his fingers brush the base of my throat and electricity shoots through me, making me gasp. He leaves the wide end of the tie long, long enough so the tip skims my pubic hair.

What she’s not telling you is that she’s wearing the tie like a goddamned Snuggie because she’s so thin.

 “You look mighty fine now, Miss Steele,” he says and bends to kiss my gently on my lips.

 Mighty fine, indeed.

Christian is all “‘What shall we do with you now?'” and there’s some kissing which is obviously super hot, and then we get the following description, which continues to perplex me:

When he pulls away, he’s panting too and gazing down at me, his eyes molten gray;

That’s all we need from that sentence. Here’s what bothers me about the descriptions of Christian’s eyes “blazing” and being “molten.” They’re gray. Gray is a cool color, not a warm one. I guess “molten gray like melted pencil lead” might work, but still, blazing, etc. just doesn’t seem like it belongs with gray. But maybe that’s the kind of thing a person who can’t even correctly describe fire does with words these days.

Christian braids Ana’s hair and reminds us how beautiful it is, and then tells her she just has to ask him to stop and he will. At this point, Ana still believes that, after every time he has failed to stop doing something she’s asked him to.

“Anastasia, these objects.” He holds up the butt plug. “This is a size too big. As an anal virgin, you don’t want to start with this. We want to start with this.” He holds up his pinkie finger, and I gasp, shocked. Fingers… there? He smirks at me, and the unpleasant thought of anal fisting mentioned in the contract comes to mind.

What a weird leap in reasoning. Did vaginal fisting come to mind when he fingered your v all those times? And why is it that a butt plug is no big whoop, but sticking a finger in your pooper is shocking?

The nipple clamps she selected are also too hardcore, so he gets some pretty ones with dangly jewels for her to wear.

I blink up at him, wide-eyed. Christian, my sexual mentor. He knows so much more about all of this than I do. I’ll never catch up. I frown. He knows more than me about most things… except cooking.

Just in case you’re wondering why that ham-fisted reference to Ana’s skill in the kitchen has been clumsily stuffed into the middle of a sex scene, I assure you, it comes up in a few pages.

Ana asks Christian if he’s going to tell her what he’s going to do to her, and he reminds her that this isn’t like before:

“I’m your lover, Anastasia, not your Dom. I love to hear your laugh and your girlish giggle. I like you relaxed and happy, like you are in Jose’s photos. That’s the girl that fell into my office. That’s the girl I fell in love with.”

There’s a lot going on here, but I think I have it sorted out:

  1. Doms don’t love their subs.
  2. Lovers like it when their partners enjoy themselves, Doms don’t.
  3. Christian wants Ana to be happy, like she is with Jose, so Ana should go fuck Jose
  4. This entire book is bullshit.

I’m so furious at that comment. He’s her lover, so he doesn’t have to tell her what he’s going to do to her? Look, my husband is my lover, but I would still get super turned on if he was like, “This is what I’m going to do to you.” It doesn’t make it kinkybadweirdpervert sex. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

And it only gets worse from there:

“But having said all that, I also like to do rude things to you, Miss Steele, and my alter ego knows a trick or two. So, do as you’re told and turn around.” His eyes glint wickedly, and the joy moves sharply south, seizing me tightly and gripping every sinew below my waist.” 

Then homegirl needs to stretch, because she doesn’t want to blow her Achilles while they’re fucking. Seriously, sinews? The connective tissue that keeps your muscles attached to your bones? How is that erotic in any way? And remember before, when we talked about Britishisms? “Rude” doesn’t mean to Americans what it means to Brits, at least in this sense. When he says, “‘I also like to do rude things to you,'” he could mean he’s just not going to hold the elevator door when he can clearly see she’s trying to catch it. Americans don’t use “rude” to mean raunchy or racy, the way it’s used there.

Ana notices that Christian has taken all the canes out of the room. So, phew, I guess that means he’s been cured by the power of love, or something. Christian asks her kneel on a table.

Oh, okay. What does he have in mind? My inner goddess can’t wait to find out – she’s already scissor-kicked onto the table and is watching him in adoration.

Your inner goddess scissor-kicked a table? What? I’m trying to get a mental picture of how one scissor-kicks onto something. Is anyone out there a martial arts expert? Seriously, we need help over here.

Christian gets out some leather cuffs:

His proximity is intoxicating. This man is going to be my husband. Can one lust after one’s husband like this? I don’t remember reading about that anywhere.

Then it must not be possible, Ana, because you’re so fucking well-read. But thanks for reinforcing the myth that sex after marriage is a chore to be endured, not a healthy, vital part of the relationship to be enjoyed. Everything about this book is just sadness and spaghetti left in a strainer in the sink to harden.

I can’t resist him, and I run my parted lips along his jaw, feeling the stubble, a heady combination of prickly and soft, under my tongue. He stills and closes his eyes. His breathing falters and he pulls back.

“Stop. Or this will be over far quicker than either of us wants,” he warns.

He seems to say this a lot. I think he might have a problem.

This one is dedicated to Christian “over before it started” Grey.

Christian cuffs Ana’s upper arms and covers her eyes.

“I don’t want to ruin my favorite tie,” he murmurs. It slowly unravels as he undoes it.

So… it’s ruined?

His hand flexes over my neck, and it’s slick with sweet-smelling oil so his hand glides smoothly down my throat, across my clavicle, and up to my shoulder, his fingers kneading gently as they go. Oh, I’m getting a massage. Not what I expected.

He places his other hand on my other shoulder and begins another slow teasing journey across my clavicle.

Clavicle is one of those “stand out” words that you can’t repeat too often in a single scene. In two consecutive paragraphs? Definitely not.

“And soon you’ll be my wife to have and to hold,” he whispers.

Oh my.

“To love and to cherish.”


“With my body, I will worship you.”

Those are going to be really touching wedding vows. I just wish she could work “Holy crap!” in there somewhere. “I, Anastasia Rose Steele, HOLY CRAP!, pledge my troth and my inner goddess, etc. nipple clamps and stuff. Jeez, I’m flushing!” I now pronounce you dumb and dumber.

“Mrs. Grey,” he whispers as his palm works against me.

So… probably no chance of keeping her own name, then?

My mouth is already open from panting. I open wider, and he slips a large cool metal object between my lips. Shaped like an oversized baby’s pacifier, it has small grooves or carvings, what feels like a chain at the end. It’s big.

You summoned me, master?
 He takes the “pacifier” out of her mouth. Why does she know what a butt plug is by sight, but not by feel? Also, thank GOD we know he buys knew toys for every sub. Because otherwise, ew.

He’s reoiled his hands. They glide around to my backside.

I gasp. What’s he going to do?

He’s going to dive into your ass, Ana.

“I’m going to put this inside you,” he murmurs. “Not here.” His fingers trail between my buttocks, spreading oil. “But here.” He moves his fingers around and around, in and out, hitting the front wall of my vagina. I moan and my restrained nipples swell.

Not here, but here. We have to be very specific.

Honestly, I couldn’t tell whose fingers were where when I first read this scene, because of the author’s stubborn refusal to use words to distinguish one anatomical part from another. And it just gets more confusing:

Christian removes his fingers and slides the object into me. He cups my face and kisses me, his mouth invading mine, and I hear a very faint click. Instantly the plug inside me starts to vibrate – down there! I gasp. The feeling is extraordinary – beyond anything I’ve felt before.

Nothing says “totally sexually naive” like a heroine who is surprised to learn that vibrators exist. By the way, the plug is in her vagina. I had to go back and reread several times to get that even though he put his hand between her buttcheeks before, he’s not diving into her ass. He put the vibrating plug in her cooch. You know, not there, but there.

“So beautiful,” he murmurs and suddenly he gently pushes an anointed finger inside me… there! Into my backside.

At least she lets us know which there there is this time. Why is it every time I read any other hero say something like, “So beautiful” in a sex scene, I think, “Oh man, that’s hot, he’s telling her she’s beautiful,” but if Chedward does it I’m like, “Now assign her a monetary value!” It always seems like he’s congratulating himself when he compliments Ana.

So, he fingers her booty and she comes like crazy and all the adjectives you’ve come to expect are in there. Then he uncuffs her and takes the mask off and she says:

“I think you’re trying to kill me,” I mutter.

She has this mind-blowing orgasm, which is, by the way, the most selfish birthday present I’ve ever heard of anyone giving – “For your birthday, you may drive me to heights of pleasure I have never before experienced, you’re welcome,” – and then she complains about it!

“Death by orgasm.” He smirks. “There are worse ways to go,” he says but then frowns ever so slightly as an unpleasant thought crosses his mind. It distresses me. I reach up and caress his face. 

“You can kill me like this anytime,” I whisper.

I will just assume the handcuffs on the cover of book three allude to the fact that he will murder Ana in a snuff video and get caught by the FBI.

“I want to make love to you,” he says, gazing down at me, his gray eyes burning with bright, loving sincerity. Softly in the background, a familiar voice starts to sing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” And his lips find mine.

Anybody else seen this one?

This is so blatantly fucking ripped off. First of all, I highly doubt that a twenty-something kinky sex pervert is going to pick Roberta Flack to fuck to. Second, that song was already used in a famous sex scene, in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty For Me. Well, she’s already ripped off the piano scene from Pretty Woman almost shot for shot, why not this, too? It’s a grand tradition, really. Before this book came out I had a theory that the meadow scenes in Twilight were “inspired” by the sex scene in Play Misty For Me, so I don’t know why I’m surprised. Go watch it, if you don’t believe me.

As I tighten around him, finding my release once more, Christian unravels in my arms, his head thrown back as he calls out my name. He clasps me tightly to his chest as we sit nose to nose in the middle of his vast bed, me astride him. And in this moment – this moment of joy with this man to this music – the intensity of my experience this morning in here with him and all that has occurred during the past week overwhelms me anew, not just physically but emotionally. I am completely overcome with all these feelings. I am so deeply in love with him. For the first time I’m offered a glimmer of understanding as to how he feels about my safety.

Aaaand there it is. There had to be a reason for her to go into the playroom again, right? Now we have it. Ana’s character arc – which is really more like a wavy line with a lot of disconnected bits at this point – had to take her back to the playroom so she could realize that Christian only wants what’s best for her, when he’s not wanting to beat the shit out of her. So, it’s okay for him to keep her in a virtual prison and isolate her from friends and family, because he really does care. Good thing he faked a helicopter accident to teach her that lesson.

So many sides of Christian – his sweet, gentle persona and his rugged, I-can-do-what-I-fucking-well-like-to-you-and-you’ll-come-like-a-train Dominant side – his fifty shades – all of him. All spectacular. All mine.

Stand back ladies, he’s taken.

Do trains orgasm? Or do trains just really get Ana off? Before, she thought the sound of a subway train was good to fuck to, and now she’s comparing her orgasms to the kinds of orgasms trains have. Maybe Christian was working the wrong angle, trying to impress her with his helicopter.

And I’m aware we don’t know each other well, and we have a mountain of issues to overcome, but I know for each other, we will – and we’ll have a lifetime to do it.

Yeah, so just start marrying guys you don’t know real well, ladies. Especially if they’re controlling and maybe one time beat the shit out of you with a belt until you broke up with them. All that stuff can get worked out later.

He kisses me gently as Roberta Flack finishes her song.

That song is only like four minutes long, guys. This is not really recommending Christian Grey as the sex god he’s supposed to be.

There is a section break, and then:

We have talked and talked and talked, sitting upright together on the bed in the playroom, me in his lap, our legs curled around each other. The red satin sheet is draped around us like a royal cocoon, and I have no idea how much time has passed. Christian is laughing at my impersonation of Kate during the photo shoot at the Heathman.

“To think it could have been her who came to interview me. Thank the Lord for the common cold,” he murmurs and kisses my nose.

“I believe she had the flu, Christian,” I scold him,

I’m glad E.L. skipped all the boring part where the two of them actually talked and maybe worked out some of the relationship problems that might have given a reader reason to pause over the whole engagement thing, and just skipped right ahead to bashing Kate again. Because who wants to listen to character development and other pointless shit like that, when we can just prove how much the hero loves the heroine by having a scene where they make fun of one of the heroine’s friends?

Chedward doesn’t, however, thank the Lord for influenza, because that’s what ended up getting him turned into a tortured vampire in the first place.

The constant reminders that Christian likes Ana better than Kate are something I would expect out of a fanfic written by a sixteen-year-old. The fact that this is the work of a grown woman makes me die inside.

They talk about how Christian got rid of the canes, and what else he can get rid of. He doesn’t need that stuff anymore because he’s been cured with the power of love. Then Ana lists off the things she loves about him, and she says he’s compassionate, and I spit my coffee directly into the book. Nothing says compassion like beating a woman with a belt and then wondering why she’s so upset with you. Then there is implied sex, and then she decides she’s going to cook for him, since it’s his birthday, and for what seems like the first time ever, they mention being hungry without tacking on, “but not for food.” I wept with joy, dear reader. Actual, salty tears of joy.

After a paragraph break, we FINALLY get a little Taylor action:

Christian is in his study on the phone. Taylor is with him, looking serious but casual in jeans and a tight black t-shirt.

I’m biting my lip, Taylor.

Ana is making poached salmon and baby potatoes, and she asks Taylor how his daughter is (because a couple chapters ago he mentioned something was wrong with her). Now, please brace yourselves, dear reader. Because your lovely image of Taylor is about to be shattered:

“Yes, thanks. My ex-wife thought she had appendicitis, but she was overreacting as usual.” Taylor rolls his eyes, surprising me. “Sophie’s fine, though she has a nasty stomach bug.”

 How could this .gif actually come in handy TWICE for the same book?

Seriously, Taylor? You’re going to complain that your ex-wife is TOO CAUTIOUS ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH. I bet it really interrupted your super important schedule of licking Christian Grey’s balls on command. Fuck you, Taylor. I trusted you. I thought you were different.
But, as with every female character, either on-stage or off, Taylor’s ex-wife needs to be denigrated. Because women (who aren’t Ana) are all universally terrible people. We’re not supposed to be thinking, “Taylor is kind of a dick here for thinking his ex-wife is too careful when it comes to the life of their child,” we’re supposed to be thinking, “Ugh, stupid Taylor’s ex-wife. Women are gross. It’s too bad they can’t all be Ana.”

I flush… will I ever get used to Taylor calling me Ma’am? It makes me feel so old, at least thirty.

I wish I had more middle fingers.

Kate texts Ana to say she’s looking forward to a long conversation when they see each other that night, and it’s a good thing she doesn’t want it right then, because Ana literally responds with two words and a couple asterisks: “*Same here*” Then she goes on to send a multi-subject email to Christian, who, as you may remember, is in the other freaking room. And not just one. Oh no, they have a an exchange via email. The word “loquacious” comes up. Kate has been gone for weeks, Ana has allegedly missed her terribly, she gets two words. Christian is in the other room, he gets a state of his union with Ana address. Then there is a section break.

I’ve made a watercress, cilantro, and sour cream dip to accompany the salmon, and I’ve set the breakfast bar.

I’ve stolen Mrs. Jone’s job.

Ana goes into Christian’s home office to tell him his lunch is ready. And Christian repays this gesture how?

“That dress is very short,” he adds.

“You like it?” I give him a quick twirl. It’s one of Caroline Acton’s purchases. A soft turquoise sundress, probably more suitable for the beach, but it’s such a lovely day on so many levels. He frowns and my face falls.

“You look fantastic in it, Ana. I just don’t want anyone else to see you like that.” 

Christian is going to make one more call before lunch. Turns out, it’s to Ana’s dad. Remember when she told him not to call and ask for her hand, because that whole thing is old fashioned? I think you know why Ray is on the phone. Cause and effect, folks. She wore a dress Christian didn’t approve of, so he’s going to call her father and tell him that she’s gone and got engaged, whether she wants him to or not.

Ana talks to her dad, who thinks it’s not so great that she’s going to marry a dude that she just met. Thank god she has a strong role model in her life who can talk some sense into her:

“Annie… I know he’s all kinds of rich and eligible, but marriage? It’s such a big step. You’re sure?”

“He’s my happily ever after,” I whisper.

“Whoa,” Ray says after a moment, his tone softer.

“He’s everything.”

“Annie, Annie, Annie. You’re such a headstrong young woman. I hope to God you know what you’re doing. Hand me back to him, will you?”

“I think you’re making a huge mistake, and as your father, I – what? Oh, you’re going to use a cliche platitude to express why this is a good idea? Then by the rules set forth by the council of rarely-seen book dads, I hereby declare this bridge open!” Way to save the fucking day, Ray. You’re as useless as Charlie. Probably more so, because at least Charlie was trying to correct that thinking while Bella was still technically a child.

Christian talks to Ray more, only after smirking at Ana because isn’t it funny how he’s dictating her life even when she doesn’t want him to?

“I have your stepfather’s begrudging blessing,” he says proudly, so proudly, in fact, that it makes me giggle, and he grins at me. He’s acting like he’s just negotiated a major new merger or acquisition, which I suppose on one level, he has.

Gosh, Ana, when you put it like that, it sounds like you’re some piece of property he just owns. I’m sure that’s not what the author meant to convey, considering how forward-thinking and female-positive this entire thing is.

Then they eat lunch, and this happens:

“Ana?” He interrupts my thoughts. “Why did you ask me not to take your photo?” His question startles me all the more because his voice is deceptively soft.

Oh… shit.  The photos. I stare down at my empty plate, twisting my fingers in my lap. What can I say? I’d promised myself not to mention that I’d found his version of Penthouse Pets.

It’s just Penthouse, Ana. The girls in the magazine are the pets. The title of the magazine isn’t Penthouse Pets.

“Ana,” he snaps. “What is it?” He makes me jump, and his voice commands me to look at him. When did I think he didn’t intimidate me?

“I found your photos,” I whisper.

His eyes widen in shock. “you’ve been in the safe?” he asks, incredulous.

Whoa, Bluebeard much, Chedward? What’s in the safe, that you’re so worried about her getting in there? Besides the severed and preserved heads of the other subs, I mean.

Christian tells Ana that the photos were supposed to be in the safe, and explains that he’s not keeping them for the reason she thinks:

“This is going to sound cold, but – they’re an insurance policy,” he whispers, steeling himself for my response.

“Insurance policy?”

“Against exposure.”

The penny drops and rattles uncomfortably around and around in my empty head.

Yes, it’s probably quite uncomfortable to have something in there if you’re not used to it.

Ana is as skeeved out by the idea of keeping pictures for blackmailing old sex partners as I am, but don’t worry, she gets over it fast:

“Do they know? The girls… the subs?”

He frowns. “Of course they know.”

Oh, well, that’s something. He reaches out, grabbing me and pulling me to him.

No, it really isn’t something, you twit. Because you were going to be a sub. There wasn’t anything about those photos in the contract. No where in the NDA did it say, “I will take pictures of you in sexual situations so that you have to do whatever I tell you to.” Ana, you stupid, stupid, stupid person, he would have done the same thing to you.

Christian believes Leila got the pictures out of his safe. How? I’m going to warn you now, do not read the following excerpt while drinking anything, eating anything, smoking, don’t do anything you could choke or spit or burn yourself with reading Christian’s following explanation:

He shrugs. “It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s a very long combination, and I use it so rarely. It’s the one number I have written down and haven’t changed.”

Emphasis mine. Okay, so Christian has these pictures of his subs in compromising, “you will never be President of the United States,” type situations. Where does he keep them? In his safe, the combination to which he has written down, clearly in a place where just anyone could find it. The guy with the security team who does “sweeps” of every location he visits like they’re the goddamned secret service, and he has not only an unlocked filing cabinet full of everyone’s personal data, but he has a safe with a combination that is too hard to remember, so he just keeps it written down where someone can easily access it.

We have been told over and over that this man is intelligent. That means this book is a fucking liar.

Christian says he’ll shred the photos, and Ana decides she’s going to back a chocolate cake for Christian for his birthday. So, if you’re having trouble following along, the chapter thus far has gone:

  • “Your dress is too short! I will punish you by calling your father and asking for your hand.”
  • “You kept sexually explicit photos of your ex-lovers as potential blackmail material! I will make you a cake!”
She also calls her mother to tell her she’s getting married, and it doesn’t go great:

“You’re not pregnant, are you, Ana?” she whispers in horror.

“No no no, nothing like that.” Disappointment slices through my heart, and I’m saddened that she would think that of me. But then I remember with an ever-sinking feeling that she was pregnant when she married my father.

You know what? Fuck you, Ana. “‘saddened that she would think that of me?'” Like it’s some horrible thing to think that a woman might get pregnant from regular sexual intercourse? Like you don’t want to be thought of as the kind of slut who gets pregnant, because only bad girls get pregnant, and good girls’ bodies have “ways to try to shut that whole thing down?”

E.L. James, you have gotten on my last fucking nerve. SEX, which your heroine has in abundance, causes PREGNANCY. It’s not something to be saddened about. It’s biology. I got pregnant with my son before I got married. What does that make me? I’m serious, E.L. James, if you are out there and you ever see this, I DEMAND you explain to me why Ana should be “saddened” that her mom thinks she got pregnant. Look me in the fucking eye and try to claim that what you wrote there doesn’t put down women who get pregnant outside of marriage, which, by the by, isn’t the prerequisite to bearing a goddamned baby. Sperm. meeting. Egg. is how babies happen and guess what? Your airhead hypocrite insecure misogyny spewing heroine has been having PLENTY of sex. Take your massive lack of writing skill, build an island with it, and take all your little slut-shaming groupies there with you. Leave the rest of the world out of it, because we don’t want your landslide of outdated notions further burying us here.

Ana gets off the phone with her mom and thinks that she doesn’t want a big wedding, so lets all look forward the huge wedding Chedward will ultimately force her to have, and which she will love and think, “I was so wrong,” about because Chedward knows best.

Christian’s kitchen is a dream to work in. For a man who knows nothing about cooking, he seems to have everything. I suspect Mrs. Jones loves to cook, too.

I suspect it’s her job.

Ana needs to go pick up some ingredients for baking the cake, and Christian asks her to change out of the short dress before leaving the house. Ana asks him if he would object to her wearing the dress at the beach, and he says no, so she tells him to pretend they’re at the beach and leaves. So, good for Ana, right? Until she gets in the elevator and decides that her skirt is too short, and he’s completely right, but at least she doesn’t go change.

I stare at my receipt from the ATM: $51,689.16. That’s $50,000 too much! Anastasia, you’re going to have to learn to be rich, too, if you say yes. And so it begins.

He did it again. Hey, E.L. here’s something you might not know. If you wire $50,000.00 into someone’s American bank account, and they usually only have about $1,000 in there, the FBI could investigate them for terrorism. Seriously. When you get a bank account in the US, you have to sign a little waiver thing saying you’re not going to use the account to take funds from terrorist organizations and drug dealers. Our government can monitor our accounts to see if that’s happening. I believe they have the authority to investigate any deposit over $10k, but I could be wrong. Suddenly, Christian Grey – who is doing a lot of stuff with technology in other countries – puts $50k in your bank account, and you’re both going to be investigated. Not to mention the tax nightmare of someone just handing you that $50k in unearned income. Guess what, you’re going to have to pay taxes on that, Anastasia Rose Steele. Hope you guys don’t break up before April.

Ana’s more worried about her dress and the fallout from disobeying Christian, though:

I head straight to the kitchen when I arrive back, and I can’t help feeling a frisson of alarm. Christian is still in his study. Jeez, that’s most of the afternoon. I decide my best option is to face him and see how much damage I’ve done.

Remember, this is the damage she’s done by wearing a dress she chose that he did not like. So we’re all on the same page as to how silly/creepy this “fight” is going to be.

“Hi,” I whisper. He says nothing, and my heart free-falls into my stomach, Gingerly I walk into his study and around his desk to where he’s sitting. He still says nothing, his eyes never leaving mine. I stand in front of him, feeling fifty shades of foolish.

I used to love it when movies/books/shows referenced the title in them. But not like this. This is like if John McClane had looked over the side of the building after Hans fell to his death and said, “Looks like he just died… hard,” and then winked directly into the camera.

“I’m back. Are you mad at me?”

He sighs, reaches out for my hand, and pulls me into his lap, wrapping his arms around me. He buries his nose in my hair.

“yes,” he says.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” I curl up in his lap, inhaling his heavenly Christian smell, feeling safe regardless of the fact that he’s mad.

I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me for wearing whatever I damn well please on the body that belongs to me and not you, honey. I won’t do it again.

It’s okay, though, because Christian isn’t super mad. He actually likes the dress, because it means he can fuck Ana in the desk chair. So, I guess she’s allowed to wear whatever she likes provided it makes her vagina easy to access.

After the sex, Ana gives Christian his birthday cake:

And I laugh with relief… he likes it.

Well, thank god, because the suspense was killing me.

Then there is a section break, and Ana and Christian have just arrived at Christian’s parents house for his birthday party.

Before we can set foot in the living room, Kate comes barreling down the hallway toward the two of us. She looks furious.

Kate forces Christian and Ana into the dining room.

“What the fuck is this?” she hisses and waves a piece of paper at me. Completely at a loss, I take it from her and scan it quickly. My mouth dries. Holy shit. It’s my e-mail response to Christian, discussing the contract.

Thank god! Someone is going to finally see how fucked up this entire relationship is and get Ana into some counseling!

Or probably not. And that’s the end of the chapter.







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Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!


  1. I've been showing select parts of these 50 Shades posts to my sons, and now they love you as much as I do. My eleven-year-old said, “Tell her your son Andre wishes he had more middle fingers, too!” I have now discharged that obligation.

    February 18, 2013
  2. I think that the song might be “Damn, I wish I was your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins. Which makes me laugh, given that it is a song about lesbian lovers.

    May 22, 2013
  3. Also, the lyrics are truly epic and apropos:

    That old dog has chained you up, alright
    Give you everything you need to live inside a twisted cage
    Sleep beside an empty rage
    I had a dream I was your hero

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    I'd rock you 'til the daylight comes
    Made sure you are smiling and warm
    I am everything, tonight, I'll be your mother
    I'll do such things to ease your pain
    Free your mind, and you won't feel ashamed

    Open up on the inside
    Gonna fill you up, gonna make you cry

    This monkey can't stand to see you black and blue
    I give you something sweet each time you come inside my jungle book
    Or is it just too good?
    Don't say you'll stay, 'cause then you go away

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    I'd rock you 'til the daylight comes
    Made sure you are smiling and warm
    I am everything, tonight, I'll be your mother
    I'll do such things to ease your pain
    Free your mind, and you won't feel ashamed
    Shucks, for me there is no other
    You're the only shoe that fits
    I can't imagine I'll grow out of it
    Damn, I wish I was your lover (oh, yeah)

    If I was your girl, believe me
    I'd turn on the Rolling Stones
    We could groove along and feel much better (guess what)
    Come, let me in, mm
    I could do it forever and ever and ever and ever
    Give me an hour to kiss you
    Walk through Heaven's door I'm sure
    We don't need no doctor to feel much better
    Let me in, oh
    Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever

    I sat on a mountainside with peace of mind
    And I lay by the ocean making love to her with visions clear
    Walked for days with no one near
    And I return as chained and bound to you

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    I'd rock you 'til the daylight comes
    Made sure you are smiling and warm
    I am everything, tonight, I'll be your mother
    I'll do such things to ease your pain
    Free your mind, and you won't feel ashamed
    Shucks, for me there is no other
    You're the only shoe that fits
    I can't imagine I'll grow out of it
    Damn, I wish I was your lover

    I wanna open up, I'm gonna come inside
    I wanna fill you up, I wanna make you cry

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    Gettin' on a subway, and I'm comin' uptown

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    Standing on the street corner, waiting for my love to change

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    And I'm feelin' like a school boy, too shy and too young, oh

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    I wanna open up, I'm gonna come inside
    I wanna fill you up, I wanna make you cry

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    I'm gettin' on my camel, and I'll ride it uptown, oo

    Damn, I wish I was your lover
    Hanging around this jungle, wishing that this love would change

    May 22, 2013
    • Ahmshere

      That is exactly what I thought when I first read it too. I also think Ana meant that she was saddened that her mother would think she is simply getting married just because she “fell pregnant”.

      September 12, 2014
  4. Anonymous

    I won't link to it, because I'm too classy for that (also, search engine history!) but there does exist Thomas the Tank Engine/Rosie slash fic. Including the sucking of steam ports.

    Rule 34, baby.

    – Kate

    June 30, 2013
    • The-Great-Dragon

      I’ve actually read that. (Unless there’s more than one, in which case…well, I wouldn’t be surprised.)

      October 6, 2013
  5. Anonymous

    I love how Christian is all “The girl I fell in love with was laughing and giggly, that's the girl who fell into my office” when in the first book, he admits that he only pursued her because he thought she was submissive, specifically “all yes sir, no sir”.
    So which is it Christian? She was either “High-School Cheerleader” and “Obedient Sex Partner”. She wasn't both.

    July 5, 2013
  6. RickR

    “Everything about this book is just sadness and spaghetti left in a strainer in the sink to harden.”

    This made me laugh so hard I became seriously light headed.

    September 7, 2013
  7. Lemony

    The “molten” eye thing is totally a palimpsest from the fanfic, because Edward’s eyes are amber gold. I think they also actually glow at times.

    November 14, 2013
    • Stagewhisper

      You are awesome, I wish I could find more opportunities to use the word palimpsest in this modern age ^_^

      January 2, 2014
  8. Anonymous

    “…my blood singing in my veins, pulsing – or so it feels – in time to the music’s seductive beat.”
    Re: “I like that her blood is actually singing, that part is fine, but her blood only feels like it could be pulsing.”

    There’s a reason she wrote Ana’s blood sings, while it just feels like it’s pulsing. In New Moon, they say Bella’s blood sings for Edward. A quick search tells me he calls it “la tua cantante” (“They have a name for someone who smells the way Bella does to me. They call her my ‘singer’ – because her blood sings for me.” – Edward Cullen.) No original thoughts ever?

    December 14, 2013
  9. Nijichan

    Heyyyy, I have another one !

    I’ve noticed that in this book, women besides Ana can’t cook. Kate isn’t good at it, and Ana’s mom’s is so bad that Ana says that she hope it got better. Mrs Jones is an exception, maybe because it’s her job ?

    But Ana is a great cook despite never eating, so good that Ethan even asks her to cook her something in exchange for taking Mia out in another chapter.

    It grates on my nerves and I don’t even know why exactly, except that it shows that Ana is better than the others, I guess.

    June 29, 2014
    • Leah

      Better than the others at traditional “feminine” housewifey arts, which (combined with her good looks, skinniness, and servility) makes her a better woman, I guess.

      July 11, 2015
  10. Sarah

    Thank you so much for ripping the living snot out of these books; words cannot describe adequately just how much I hate them, hate the author, and hate the way they’ve taken over pop culture and have made millions of idiot suburban soccer moms delirious with arousal over something that has nothing to do with kink. Domestic abuse is not sexy, but apparently that’s not yet common knowledge. Sigh.

    Anyway. I believe the song that references the train is “This City Never Sleeps,” by the Eurythmics, the vocalist is Annie Lennox, the song was a hit when I was in high school (or maybe it was middle school?), and a few years later it was used in the soundtrack to 9 1/2 Weeks. Yet another way for E L James to show how unoriginal she is.

    August 23, 2014
  11. Brian

    “and it’s slick with sweet-smelling oil so his hand glides smoothly down my throat,”

    That’s gotta be uncomfortable…

    December 25, 2014
  12. Caite

    I’m still reading my way through your recaps, and I’m so disappointed you missed the opportunity to link to this version:

    Love the recaps, and I started on the Boss the other night. It’s a very fine piece of writing so far. Thanks for doing it right 😀

    February 3, 2015
    • Adeline Raina
      Adeline Raina

      damn… that didn’t work… it’s this one:

      March 21, 2015
  13. Emily R
    Emily R

    I don’t know how I missed the martial arts bit the first time I read this. At least in my martial art (hapkido), we have a few scissor kicks, but they are all for knocking people over. And they all involve the kicker falling down. Only one of them goes high enough for a table landing–the one in which you scissor kick around the person’s neck and thereby break their neck. And then you fall down because your body is parallel to the floor. So I guess she did this very advanced neck-breaking kick without a neck to break and then landed on the table? She’d be high enough in the air but it’d be extremely awkward even for a black belt. And since we all know Ana can’t even walk around without falling over, I am pretty confident that her attempting this would result in some emergency-room-level fuckup. (But can’t her inner goddess to Olympic-level ice skating jumps?)

    April 18, 2015
    • Nessy

      I know this is like 2 months after your comment, but I was trying to think of what the scissor kick was, too. I do jiu-jitsu and the only thing I can think of is the same one you thought of (normally in jiu-jitsu we only do flying scissors – I can’t spell the Japanese name, but that’s what my dojo calls it in English lol – to the torso, which isn’t high enough, but for flashy demo stuff we’ll do it to the neck…it’s my favourite technique of all time though.)

      June 6, 2015
      • MisfireCU

        Many years later…. I also do jujitsu and I can’t think of a scissor kick working. I really really think she meant fan kick…. Like from dance not martial arts

        February 16, 2023
  14. Yvonne

    1.Doms don’t love their subs.
    2.Lovers like it when their partners enjoy themselves, Doms don’t.
    3.Christian wants Ana to be happy, like she is with Jose, so Ana should go fuck Jose
    4.This entire book is bullshit.

    ~ I would also add:

    5. “Laugh” and “giggle” are the same thing.
    6. Ana is a woman, not a girl. Girl means a female child. Once she reaches the age of majority in your region, that girl becomes a woman. Nobody calls a grown man a boy (except Christian I’m-a-man-and-you’re-not-Jose Grey). It is sexist.

    July 25, 2015
  15. Yvonne

    “To love and to cherish.”

    ~ I really hate the word “jeez,” especially here. The only time I ever hear that word is when one person is exasperated with someone else. Example: “Jeez, I was just joking! What’s the big fucking deal?” This sounds like Ana is thoroughly annoyed with these ultra rare sweet nothings from Chedward.

    July 25, 2015
  16. Yvonne

    You know what? Fuck you, Ana. “‘saddened that she would think that of me?’” Like it’s some horrible thing to think that a woman might get pregnant from regular sexual intercourse?

    ~ That is not how I read that scene at all. I thought Ana assumed her mother thought the ONLY reason she was marrying Christian was because she was pregnant and not because she loved the man. Because there are still a lot of women out there, even in America, who will marry the guy that knocked her up just to give the kid a father, and not for love. I too would be saddened by that kind of assumption. Her mother simply thinks she was trapped into marriage. That’s all.

    July 25, 2015
    • Yvonne

      So it’s not about her mother judging her for getting pregnant out of wedlock, it’s about her mother worrying that she feels that marriage is the only way to correct such a situation. You know, the whole “make an honest woman out of her” schtick.

      July 25, 2015
  17. Yvonne

    I’m serious, E.L. James, if you are out there and you ever see this, I DEMAND you explain to me why Ana should be “saddened” that her mom thinks she got pregnant.

    ~ Wow, you seriously need to calm down. Again, I am pretty sure Ana’s mom was JUST worried that her daughter felt obligated to marry her baby daddy. And if that somehow still offends you, it shouldn’t, because not every single character actually reflects an author’s feelings. I’m sure you’ve written asshole characters. Nearly every author has, but that does NOT mean they represent the author’s beliefs. I highly doubt Stephen King desires nothing more than to go around brutally murdering innocent people.

    July 25, 2015
  18. K

    The fact that this was written during E.L.’s mid life crisis, it would explain the hate towards anyone over twenty. Like seriously what the hell is wrong with her?

    July 31, 2015
  19. khan

    Just fyi – I think it’s possible that Ana was only sad because her mom thought she was only getting married cuz she was preggers rather than because she loved Christian.

    August 3, 2015
  20. khan

    you k now the train-obsessed guy from S3E1 of Sherlock?


    August 3, 2015
  21. Balthazar

    “Come like a train” would be an especially nice metaphor here, in Eastern-Europe where trains tend to be late. It immediately gave me a mental image of Ana having an orgasm some thirty minutes after they’ve finished having sex.

    August 10, 2015
  22. Asian Persuasion
    Asian Persuasion

    Christian turns to face me as I stand in the middle of the room, my heart pounding, my blood singing in my veins, pulsing – or so it feels – in time to the music’s seductive beat.

    I think what E.L. was trying to say and failed horribly due to her less than lackluster grasp of the English language is that Ana’s blood felt like it was pulsing in time to the music, not that it was just pulsing.

    A better way to word that would’ve been, “my blood singing in my veins, pulsing in time–or so it feels–to the music’s seductive beat.”

    Of course I’m a gajillion years late to commenting so I don’t think it really even matters anymore.

    August 11, 2015
  23. catnews

    “I had to come back in to tell you that I’m sorry for being so mean to you in school.”

    Wow, people really do say that? You’re lucky. I’m still waiting.

    March 14, 2016
  24. Late

    How can someone give a blessing begrudgely? It sounds like Christian threatened Ray into giving his blessing.

    September 4, 2016
  25. Lina

    I think Ana is disappointed that her mother would think Ana isn’t able to take care of birthcontrol. Wich is funny because she really isn’t and chedward does everything. One bit that is not ripped off from twilight or else there would have been bo third book.
    I thought about the song and maybe it is this one
    But I doubt E.L. would know it.
    Love your blog 🙂

    October 17, 2016
  26. Alexander the Average
    Alexander the Average

    I just find it funny in a deeply upsetting way that you mentioned sexually explicit photos ruining someone’s chances of becoming President of the United States and now there’s a president that is alleged to have sexually explicit photos of him with Russian hookers and he’s trying to pay off mistresses and talking about grabbing pussy and whatnot

    May 21, 2018
    • Corey

      The most disturbing part for me is how Republicans fucking CRUCIFIED Michelle Obama for wearing a sleeveless dress, saying she was “sullying the White House,” but now they claim Melania Trump is class personified… when there are literally pictures of her pussy and implants all over the internet, as well as lesbian-themed photos.

      I have no problem with Melania being a nude model, but I DO have a problem with the obvious hypocrisy and racism of American conservatives.

      April 26, 2020
  27. Cyrus

    I immediately thought the song was Subway by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which made me awfully sad cause I love that song and didn’t want it associated with this trash fire. Luckily, it came out a year after the book was released.

    Regardless, you should listen ( cause it’s beautiful and the subway sounds work surprisingly well.

    April 26, 2019
  28. Corey

    With all the weird pedophilic references in these books, it’s weird to me that Anastasia is written to have long pubic hair, as well as Christian. I’m completely aware that pubic hair is normal and many young women keep it natural, but it is more common for women Ana’s age, at this time period, in the U.S., to trim/shave/wax/somehow groom their pubic hair.

    I wonder if this is another Britishism from ELJ, or just a generational thing. Either way, it always feels out of place to me when she describes Ana’s and Christian’s pubes.

    April 26, 2020
  29. Corey

    Another detail that always stands out to me, and is so bad that it makes me laugh: the way Christian’s eyes are constantly described as “molten gray” or “fiery liquid gray” or a number of other versions of “lava, but gray!”

    This is just ELJ plagiarizing directly from Twilight, where Edward’s eyes are amber colored, and therefore can realistically be described in “fiery” terms. But how the fuck can GRAY be “molten” or “fiery” or “blazing”?! It’s so ridiculously stupid. That’s what happens when you “change” your fanfic by auto-replacing “amber” with “gray” (and “Edward” with “Christian,” and “vampire” with “sadist,” and…).

    April 26, 2020
    • Corey

      Since I can’t edit: I wrote this whole rant before I saw that you ranted about this same issue in this very recap! Lmao, I’ve been wanting to write this rant since the last book, and I finally chose to do so on the very recap you write the same thing. I look dumb.

      April 26, 2020

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