Wednesday, March 4, 2015

50 Shad3s: Chapter 5 part 1

Honeymoon ending. Jet ski. Flight back to Seattle. Sex. Breakfast in Bellevue. Car chase.

I still haven't seen the movie yet. I'm sorry. I'm going this weekend. I'll tell you all about it. I mean, if you're interested.

Where were we?

Our story thus far:

Ana Steele is married to billionaire / kink-enthusiast / child-abuse survivor Christian Grey. He is domineering and they are usually upset with each other except for when they're having sex. 


  1. Ana takes her top off on a beach while reminiscing about the wedding and Christian gets mad.
  2. They ride a jet-ski back to their honeymoon yacht and riding jet-skis cheers up Christian a bit. Then they have sex. 
  3. Ana discovers that Christian gave her a bunch of hickies and she is angry. But then she gets over it and they look at art together and CG learns that there was a fire in his server room. 
  4. Ana buys a camera.

Chapter 5 starts with Ana waking up. This is something we see quite often. Readers of long-standing will recall that EL starts most chapters with Ana waking up. Attendees of any writing-thing ever will note that having a character wake up at the beginning of a thing is an ancient cliché that we should never do. And of course, EL James does it like, fifteen times per book and she's a billionaire while we're stuck reading our rejection letters from University of Woolamaloo Quarterly, and saying to ourselves, "Well this is kind of a positive rejection, so that's something!"

What I'm saying is that no one knows anything about anything and I am now a committed nihilist.

This is kinda new tho: Ana just had a "scary" dream in which Christian, like, what? Kinda wandered off? So Ana wakes up, and flips out because, get this: Christian is not in bed, but just near the bed.

But it's ok! I know you were flipping out because you, like Ana, don't understand the difference between dreams (which are pointless everywhere) and reality (which is pointless in this book). But listen: it was just a dream. Just a cruel, cruel dream, which teased you. I'm afraid I have some bad news for you: CG is still here. We're still reading this book. They're still on the boat. And still, nothing is happening. Let's continue!

Anyway. Ana tells us that she's feeling all these feelings because she's worried about the arson back in Seattle. Which is cool, I guess, in the sense that EL is almost raising the stakes, kinda, but cmon. Are any of us worried about the arsonist? No? Didn't think so. This arson is just such a tiny, trivial, nothing that there's no way for EL to actually use it to raise the stakes. We know he doesn't matter. Leila would've been a better "villain" really. The cool thing about Leila was that she was, potentially, a version of what Ana might become. So she represented a physical threat to our heroes as well as a creepy warning, discouraging Ana from spending time with CG.

But Jack Hyde? That creepster from the publishing company? He's just nothing from nowhere so why worry? I'm not worried.

Here's a telling, sad bit of narration from Ana:

I don’t want to leave. I’ve relished being with him 24-7, and I’m not ready to share him with his company and his family. We’ve had a blissful honeymoon. With a few ups and downs, I admit, but that’s normal for a newly married couple, surely? 
We're a regular couple, right guys? This is how relationships are, right guys? Like, you know that thing where you're scared of your husband all the time? That's just typical married people stuff, right? Right? I'm right, right? That's normal?

Next? Ok so you remember where we had that boring jet ski part, like, last chapter? Now Ana and CG are going on a jet ski again. Won't even pretend to read this part. So that's two pages I'm skipping.

Next? Ok. One page of them in London, waiting for their flight to Seattle.

Then yet another section where Ana is waking up. Here's a fun part:

“Hmm,” I mumble, reluctant to leave my tantalizing dream of Christian and me on a picnic blanket at Kew Gardens. I am so tired. Traveling is exhausting, even in first class. We’ve been up for more than eighteen hours straight, I think—in my fatigue I’ve lost track. 
Oh shit they've been up more than eighteen hours straight? They've been up for slightly more than the usual amount of time you'd expect them to be awake? Whatever. Also Ana is, in this moment, waking up. So I guess it's like she's been up for 18 hours minus the various naps she napped. Meh. Anyway they're back in Seattle.

Then they grab some champagne from the fridge and have sex. Because that's what people want to do after a long-ass international travel situation. Everybody who's just been on several different planes and for nearly 24 hours is feeling totally confident and sexy. No question!

Then there's a scene break and Ana wakes up again. Oh wait never mind. She's already awake. CG is the one who's still asleep so it's like totally different. Oh and then they have sex even though they just woke up and are probably all gross.

Next they're going to brunch at CG's parents' house and why is this even in a book? Why were any of these words put into this order like this and also why am I reading it?

Here's an annoying part:

“Would you let me drive this?” I ask, surprised that I say the words out loud. 
“Of course,” Christian replies, smiling. “What’s mine is yours. If you dent it, though, I will take you into the Red Room of Pain.” He glances swiftly at me with a malicious grin. 
Shit! I gape at him. Is this a joke? 
“You’re kidding. You’d punish me for denting your car? You love your car more than you love me?” I tease. 
“It’s close,” he says and reaches across to squeeze my knee. “But she doesn’t keep me warm at night.” 
“I’m sure it could be arranged. You could sleep in her,” I snap. 
Okayyyy. So. CG is obviously playing. I mean it's not that cool a joke. It's kinda gross, but I mean, in the context of their relationship? Where they're into the stuff that they're into? "If you dent my car, I will have sex with you in a manner that we are accustomed to" is a joke threat and not an actual threat. And you know this because you know how to mutterflushing read.

And then Ana is all, "Is this a joke?" I mean, it's not a funny joke, if that's what you're asking. But then Ana's next statement ends with the verb "tease" so it's like, oh, she gets the joke yay. But then at the end, she "snaps" and it's like, oh she doesn't get the joke.

EL is just incapable of managing tone. This should be a cute little conversation, but our heroes are too dumb to understand each other's jests, and so it gets a little awkward. And also, we feel like Ana is just an idiot. Ana is basically Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. Just never gets the joke.

Next everybody is over at CG's parents' place. Somebody mentions Gia and I don't remember who that is. She's like, a real estate agent, or something? Anyway she's a woman who isn't Kate or a member of CG's family, and thus her panties combust whenever she's near CG and so Ana gets all jealous. Yawn. Ana gets into a bad mood and CG threatens to spank her if she doesn't stop being in a mood, which is a great strategy. If you see anybody in a bad mood, be sure to point it out to them because they'll love it. #BadAdvice

So. Why is any of this happening?

We blow through 13 full pages of Chapter 5, and what've we got? Just bullshit. Just the usual, total bullshit. Like always always. So they wrap up their honeymoon. They go on a jet ski. They wait in an airport lounge. They get home. They go to eat breakfast at CG's parents' house and it's just all this nothing. It's just this fanfic bullshit. Just this aimless dicking around for no reason. . . .

. . . other than to get CG and Ana into a car so they can be in a mutterflushing car chase. 

Because that's what happens next! Remember when Ana and CG were talking about whether or not he'd let her drive his car? Well that pays off in a huge way because after breakfast, Ana drives CG's car! That is huge, right? Just absolutely huge. It seemed like maybe he wouldn't want her to drive but she totally drives! And then some car is following them and no one knows who it is or why they're doing it.

So far, the villainous stuff has all been sabotage. Property damage. Whoever is out to get CG (Editor's note: Jack Hyde) knows where CG lives and knows how to get to key possessions. So why the car chase? I mean, the car following CG must be driven by somebody who knows where he lives. So why follow? Why not just race ahead, and get to the house, and attack CG there? I mean if that is the goal their mysterious pursuer.

So basically, this action sequence happens and it's completely dumb and pointless and doesn't make any sense. And yeah, a high-speed chase? That sounds like it would be some exciting shit but of course it isn't. Not in this book. It's completely inconsequential. And it's laced with the usual sexism. Ana does a shitty job driving CG's car of course because you know how ladies are! Something something something bad at driving something something. Fortunately, CG is there to talk her through the chase because she is too dumb on her own.

Also? You know shit is pretty intense because whenever we hear a report as to their actual speed, we're told they're doing--get this--75! MPH. Miles. Per. Hectare. Wait, what? I forget. But it doesn't matter. What I'm saying is that this is slow for a high speed chase featuring a sports car that EL won't stop telling us about.

That's about the halfway point for this chapter and I'm not going to lie to you: my heart isn't in this. Maybe I'll get excited about it again at some point but right now? It's like I can't even really make fun of it because why bother? I've already said everything I think. EL never introduces anything new, or at least rarely does. So what's the point? What more is there for me to say other than to summarize the chapter again?

Honeymoon ending. Jet ski. Flight back to Seattle. Sex. Breakfast in Bellevue. Car chase.

That's that's all there is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally catching up! I love reading your recaps, especially after I watch Mark Oshiro read the original text (and skewer it, obviously). This blog is a delight.