Previously: Ana once again demonstrated her terrible sense of priorities by choosing shit-beating over being worshiped. She and Grey attend the most nonsensically elaborate charity ball ever. After, they find that GSP slashed her tires and Grey goes into his apartment to hopefully get murdered.
Sweeney: The chapter begins with more ZOMG IS GSP GONNA KILL STALKER BOYFRIEND? Now, I know that it’s only chapter 8 and we have a long shitty road ahead of us, but E. L. James means to convince us of the hypothetical possibility of Christian Grey’s death and I consider this a moment worth savoring.
Ana’s hanging out with security guard dude while Grey goes in after Taylor to investigate the hypothetical murderer situation. (Or, in my headcanon, to get murdered by Taylor.) Of course, E. L. James manages to ruin even this for me by making it an incredibly boring waiting-to-find-out-if-my-boyfriend-is-getting-murdered scene. I’m not sure how you fuck that up, but making a scene like this so uninteresting is a skill.
It’s clear that Ana and I are not on the same team here when she tries to comfort herself: “Surely no sound is good—there are no gunshots.” On behalf of Traumaland, Ana, let me assure you that you have this backwards.
She passes the time in her usual way: by noticing random shit. This time she marvels at his religious paintings. He’s not religious, but all his paintings are religious! CHRISTIAN has paintings about CHRISTIANITY. The only thing named outright is a painting of Madonna and child and I laugh and laugh because I sense some warped analogy between Jesus/Mary and Grey/Crack Whore. Like, a crack whore is kind of like the anti-virgin, yeah? Which means she’d produce the anti-Christ.
It’s worth clarifying, though, that ALL 16 of the paintings in the foyer are of Madonna and child. More ways Ana and I are not on the same team? THAT would’ve been enough for me to be all LOL. NOPE. I would’ve left before I ever entered the Antichrist’s apartment.
Also, how did we get here? Why are we talking about baby Jesus paintings? Why is Ana thinking, “my boyfriend might get murdered! Now would be an excellent time to analyze his art choices?”
Sweeney: We wouldn’t have over 30 posts dedicated to this book if Ana made any choices that made sense.
The door opens and random bodyguard pulls out his gun, but it’s the Antichrist and random bodyguard puts it away like a fool. Grey grumbles about Taylor overreacting and the lack of murdery fun tonight, and for once I think, “Yeah, I know how you feel.”
The apartment has been/continues to be searched. Grey has to put Ana to bed, because there’s this ratio of pages-to-Grey-infantilizing-Ana that has to be maintained. She gives him Mrs. Rape’s note and his jaw clenches. It does that a lot so he should probably invest in one of those mouth guard things that they give to people who grind their teeth in their sleep.
Ana asks if he’s going to call the cops about the tire slashing, but naturally Grey’s not into all that. This being some legit Traumaland story-telling, I’m sure the cops would be useless anyway. Still, the fact that Grey doesn’t want the cops around his place just adds to his murderapist appeal!
At some point in Ana’s tossing-turning-can’t-sleep-ness she dreamagines a woman in the room and it is at this point that the little fun I found in this chapter goes away. I realize that E. L. James is being a giant fucking tease and baiting me with all these opportunities for the AND THEN SHE DIES game to end with a win for Team Sanity, but we all know nothing will come of it. It’s gone from fun to depressing because now I think, “BUT SHE STILL WON’T FUCKING DIE.”
Lor: On the bright side, this scene reads like she’s going insane. But probably my favorite part is when she’s all, “what time is it? The alarm says it’s two fifteen in the morning.” That was weird. Like maybe the alarm says it is but it could be lying to her.
Sweeney: Ana goes looking for Grey and overhears him going all murdery on the phone with Mrs. Rape. RAH RAH LEAVE HER ALONE RAH RAH MURDER MURDER. She goes in the room as soon as he’s off the phone and he snaps at her all crazypantslike before oggling her and telling her she’s pretty.
Lor: “An unexpected compliment,” too, because everything catches Ana off guard (I’m looking at you blinks!) or because sometimes she just damn well expects a compliment. Probably not at “two fifteen” in the morning though.
Sweeney: Ana spends an unreasonably long time narrating her taking Grey’s shirt off, complete with her usual he’s naked-except-for-the-part-where-he’s-not. The lipstick is still all over his skin but probably just a hot mess and not much of a useful outline. (Though, as I recall, that was a completely pointless step because it was basically just, “Don’t touch my scars, yo.”)
Grey, for his part, does understand what constitutes nakedness and suggests that Ana remove his pants too. She insists that they return to the bedroom, but I am saved by a cold draft from the balcony. Grey asks Ana why she opened the balcony door and Ana says she didn’t and remembers that it was definitely closed when she got up and left. She tells Grey about her dreamagining a woman in the room and Grey “snarls” at Ana for the milliontieth time in this chapter alone. You know who snarls? Large animals. And villains. I bet the Antichrist snarls a lot.
Sweeney: Grey orders Ana to get dressed and calls in Taylor and random bodyguards, who appear in a hot second, still wearing their uniforms. Grey wants them to find GSP because apparently she’s still lurking in the apartment? I’m not sure I can approve of continuing to call this sprawling labyrinth an “apartment.”
Lor: I am additionally confused by the logistics of this all. The open balcony doors AFTER Ana saw her in the room would suggest that she left? Or, wait, aren’t they on the milliontieth floor? Did all that B&Eing make GSP a little hot and she decided to open the balcony for nice breeze?
Sweeney: Because I’ve taken a liking to GSP, I’m going to assume she did it deliberately to fuck with Ana.
Grey alternately snarls and growls as he adds that they need Taylor to “book them a room somewhere.”
Ana thinks Grey is overreacting and I think this is going to make two times now, but, like, not really, girl. I mean, I hate you and want you dead, but realistically speaking, yeah, your would-be murderer was just watching you sleep. I’d be getting the fuck out of there. I would have done this a long time ago, though, so I guess that’s part of the problem with trying to reconcile Ana logic and actual logic.
In this exchange, Ana also informs Grey that Ray taught her to shoot and Grey is genuinely surprised. Shouldn’t she have a license? Shouldn’t this be in Grey’s creepy file on her?
It’s time for another ragey moment! More Rage Lite, really, in the grand scheme of these books. They get down to his car, which is parked next to her trashed car and Ana asks how GSP could have known it was hers. Apparently Grey gets the same kind of car for all his subs! Yup!
Ana doesn’t really have many feels about this and, I guess, at this point that’s fair. I think I’d actually put this below “He takes us all to the same salon for vagina waxing.”
Lor: Let’s at least hope he replaces the cooter-balls.
I’m going to be nit-picky here, but I hate that she says “the I-5” because people don’t do that. You’d say “the 5” or maybe “I-5” but not “the I-5.” Sometimes I like to focus on these annoyances because they don’t make me all throw-stuff-ragey.
Meanwhile, they’re having another annoying conversation about how Christian used to want her to be his submissive and now he totes wants her to be his girlfriend and Ana doesn’t really believe him, what with all the shit-beating and these needy what-is-our-relationship conversations just make me groan. I guess I should be grateful that this chapter can currently just be filed under annoying and/or boring.
Ana then surprises me by actually recognizing and acknowledging a red flag: she asks him why her talking to his therapist made him think she’d want to leave him.
“You cannot begin to understand the depths of my depravity, Anastasia. And it’s not something I want to share with you.”
Anyway, they babble about his family and reiterate things that Papa Grey told her. Confession: I am strangely bothered by the deviations from Twilight in this chronology — kids coming in weird orders and such. All they did was a find+replace to adapt this from fanfic to published book. As such, I find myself trying to judge this as the fanfic that it was meant to be, instead of this abomination of a published book. AND IT ANNOYS ME EVEN THAT WAY.
Grey also takes this time to reiterate one of the things that made me all hulksmashy in the last post: that Mrs. Rape “loving Grey in a way that was acceptable to him” was allowing him to transfer his beating-the-shit-out-of-people into SEXY beating-the-shit-out-of-people. Blah, blah, blah, E. L. James, author of the book that defines much of what many people know about BDSM, fails to see how it’s fundamentally different from things like abuse, domestic violence, and statutory rape.
They get to the hotel after the typically excessive amount of car dialogue and going undercover entails Grey calling himself “Mr. Taylor.” Really? This sounds like an excellent way to revive my favorite game, because it should be super easy for GSP to crack their stealthy code, find them AND THEN THEY DIE.
Lor: Additionally, they are staying at Seattle’s “most prestigious hotel.” REAL STEALTH GUYS. I definitely wouldn’t look for Money Bags there.
The hotel is super fancy and, like everywhere Christian Grey takes Ana that isn’t part of his Empire of Domestic Violence Emporiums, bedazzled in diamonds by fairies that piss liquid gold. The girl at the desk, like every other female character, becomes nearly incapacitated and unable to do her job because she’s so overwhelmed by Christian’s hotness.
Lor: E.L. James thinks females are all incompetent and stupid. It must make her life real interesting.
Sweeney: I was just watching Inception the other day, and the way that everyone reacts to Ana and Grey and is hyper aware of their INSANE SEXUAL MAGNETISM reminds me of the projections. Specifically, the mega-aware projections when Leonardo DiCaprio is teaching Juno. It seems like everyone they ever encounter is instantly obsessed with one or both of them. I’m a fan of this analogy because the projections try to kill the dreamer meaning either (a) this feeds into the and then she dies game -or- (b) it’s a metaphor for the way that E. L. James is killing our dreams a little more with each chapter.
Anyway, they pretend to be married and run off for more mega money magic in the hotel room, and fancy booze (as I sit here downing the cheap stuff). (L: On the bright side, your booze doesn’t cost you a side of domestic abuse.) Ana’s biting her lip again and they are within like twenty feet of a bed, so it’s about time to get to fucking again, yeah? I can’t actually fault them for this bit of contrivance because that’s kind of the point of porn.
Unfortunately, James fails at porn; the unpleasant sex is stalled by another one of those great WE CAN’T BE TOGETHER / BUT WE LOVE EACH OTHER / BUT THE BEATINGS! conversations. Then they have sex and Ana’s all proud of herself for “taking the lead” but it lasts for about 8 seconds before he’s all YOU MINE, GIRL, GET UNDER ME. When it’s over, he apparently says her name like a “benediction.” The religious allusions always give me the creeps.
Lor: Wait, let me play a sexy hymn for you and see that helps you feel better.
Sweeney: Ana wakes up in the morning to find out that Grey has made sure that Dr. Best will come to the hotel room to carry out this infringement on Ana’s rights to her own body. But, you know, he ordered her pancakes and bacon so it’s all good. She also briefly considers how annoying it is that her new car will be another from the long line of rapemobiles Grey has purchased and she kind of wishes that she could get a different car but obvs she can’t do anything about it because she doesn’t have things like free will or a backbone.
We are then treated to the most disappointing fictional doctor’s appointment I have ever read. I mean, I wasn’t actually reading this shit show when Lor got to Ana’s first encounter with Dr. Best, so maybe that was worse.
Lor: It was more hilarious, actually, seeing as how Dr. Best some how determined that Ana was super smart after a vaginal examination. You got the rage-y end of this deal.
Sweeney: Good to know. Dr. Best appears to fully support Christian Grey in his quest to tell Ana how to make long-lasting decisions about her own fucking body. The good doctor begins by chastising Ana for the fact that she stopped taking the pill and basically saying that because Ana’s so incompetent, the shot’s probably necessary. I’m half-tempted to copy and paste the entire scene because Dr. Best is so fucking condescending it’s painful. As much as I hate Ana, I can’t handle all these people treating her like she’s a fucking child. There are innumerable levels of fail here.
Dr. Best also tries to give Ana a pregnancy scare, which is mostly just terrifying for everyone else because (1) I’ve voiced my concerns about Ana/Christian procreating -and- (2) This has proved to be infinitely worse than Twilight at every possible turn and we all saw that shitshow the resulted from that.
Lor: What’s even worse is that after my initial SHUT UP DR. BEST reaction, Ana just kind of shoots herself in the foot by totally ZONING OUT while her doctor is describing possible side-effects for the birth control she is being semi-forced into. She starts thinking about how she’d rather have a murderer watching her sleep every day rather than have to tell Grey she’s pregnant.
Dating the Antichrist is hard, man.
Sweeney: Grey comes in and Ana’s all sulky due to the fact that she was thinking about how scary it would be to tell him that she were preggo. That, rather than actually being pregnant, was the cause of her anxiety. He’s grumpy because she’s keeping a secret. She tells him and at first he’s all WUTNO! and then she assures him that she’s not and he’s all OMG AWESOME. Which, since they’ve been dating for about two seconds, is fair. Ana gets all pissy about this, though, because apparently she wants this asshole to someday father her children, due to the fact that she is a moron.
They bicker and she’s still on edge about the whole thinking-about-being-pregnant thing. The pregnancy test when I first went on the pill unnerved me too, so whatever, I guess I get that. Grey says something about how he doesn’t know what to do because normally he’d just beat it out of her. Information about her feels, I think, not the hypothetical fetus. But probably that too.
Lor: A+ really falls short here. I died a giggle death. Also, just for those keeping score at home: beating information out of some one IS NOT BDSM. Just, for clarification.
Sweeney: We need to drop these knowledge bombs every so often. Keep the people informed.
Ana’s all, “No, JK, you’re totes helping me just hold me!” because she’s the worst.
They take a shower together and Grey lets Ana wash off the lipstick, meaning she can “stray to the edge of the forbidden zone!” He keeps his eyes closed and there is lots of jaw clenching because it’s super terrifying for him. I’m not sure this compares to the hell he’s put her through, but I’m sure it will be portrayed as a sacrifice of epic proportions. I’d rather not read on and find out, but I will anyway.
Eventually it gets to be too much and he’s breathing heavily and she gets major sads thinking about him being abused and so she starts crying. He tells her not to cry because HE IS NOTHING. And then she’s all, “NO OMG YOU’RE THE BEST PERSON EVER.” And then they nuh-uhn / yuh-huh back and forth for a while. Eventually, she’s all, “You love me,” and he says, “Yes, I do,” which is supposed to be dramatic and romantic. It doesn’t count if you have to say it for him, girl.
Lor: I love that part of Ana’s argument is, “The lady who statutory raped you and the girl who is trying to murder us totally love you too!” You kind of see why Grey’s all, “yeeeeeeeaaaaah. Not so much.”
Sweeney: I’m going to choose not to dwell on this delightful bit of Ana logic, because the chapter is over and I am free.
Murmur Count – 16
Whisper Count – 17
Favorite comment last post: “Serious question: does Snark Squad require that all female protagonists have magic vaginas? Between Buffy’s magical soul-destroying vagina and Ana’s magic ball-slinging cooch, I’m sensing a theme.” -Democracy Diva
Next time on Fifty Shades Darker: Grey’s promised Ana a full day of adventure and it results in the longest chapter of all time. Will the games soon change to AND THEN THE SNARK LADIES DIE? Find out in Chapter 9.