Dec 222012
 

We’re back with the Goon Squad having captured Jack Hyde, who’s proved to be a most unimpressive villain.

This is one of those moments when I feel sorry for whoever has to adapt these books into movie scripts, because it’s going to look weird if the big villain is so easily dispatched by secondary characters, and it will throw the plot of the entire movie off. You can tell that EL James wrote this serially without plotting ahead, or trying to make it conform to a novel or film three-act structure. If there is a film adaptation, it will either be altered so much that fans will hate it, or it will be faithful and alternate between nonsense and reactionary gender politics.

Ana brings out the cable ties from book 1 so the Goon Squad can restrain Jack, and then has to tell them to call the police. I imagine that the Expander secretly ordered the Goon Squad that, should they ever capture Jack Hyde, they would put him in cement overshoes and drop him into Puget Sound. But Ana has that pesky, plebian attachment to the rule of law and all that.

After that, Ana’s primary concern is that Christian will be mad at her. She calls and tells him, then goes to bed. (She wakes up wondering if she has a hangover, which supports my Ana-is-a-lush theory.) Christian has flown back from NYC in the middle of the night, and is, as Ana predicted, mad.

He gazes at me, as if considering his response. “Mad,” he says as if testing the word, weighing up its nuances, its meaning. “No, Ana. I am way, way  beyond mad.”

Ana goes into little-girl mode to appease him, crawling into his lap.

“I want to punish you,” he whispers. “Really beat the shit out of you,” he adds.
My heart leaps into my mouth. Fuck. “I know,” I whisper as my scalp prickles.
“Maybe I will.”
“I hope not.”
He hugs me tighter. “Ana, Ana, Ana. You’d try the patience of a saint.”

Even as Christian says he’s mad at her, they’re still exchanging EL James’ idea of witty banter. To repeat: real anger or cruelty has no place in a BDSM scene. EL James seems to think that’s what being a dominant or sadist means, that all those 15 former subs were people Christian vented his anger on so he could manage his emotions and cope with the real world. That’s not BDSM, that’s just venting rage, like the way he chews out his subordinates.

No wonder Christian’s had so many subs at a young age; they probably wouldn’t bother to stick around more than a few months. And even though Leila and Christian supposedly parted on good terms, I can’t help thinking that living with Christian would unhinge anybody. Ana’s already starting to crack, and she hasn’t even been married a month.

Ana, oddly, seems aware that Christian’s attitude to sex is seriously warped.

“Good.” He pulls the duvet over me and kisses my forehead once more.
“Sleep.”
And because I’m so groggy from the night before, relieved that he’s back, and emotionally fatigued by our early-morning encounter, I do exactly as I’m told. As I drift off, I’m curious though grateful, given the nasty taste in my mouth, to know why he hasn’t deployed his usual coping mechanism and leapt on me to have his wicked way.

We get another one of EL James’ bathing/shower scenes, which usually coincide with emotional intimacy. Ana joins Christian in the shower, but he shuts her down cold and leaves.

“Don’t be mad at me, please. I think you’re overreacting,” I whisper.
He straightens, blanching. My hand falls free to my side.
“Overreacting?” he snarls. “Some fucking lunatic gets into my apartment to kidnap my wife, and you think I’m overreacting!” The restrained menace in his voice is frightening, and his eyes blaze as he stares at me as if I’m  the fucking lunatic.

I can understand being mad in such a situation. I like to think that any person who is legally an adult should be able to manage that anger and especially not direct it at a loved one. (Christian’s also on flimsy ground because, when Jack made his move, Ana was out of the apartment and therefore safer than she would have been had she been at home.) He persists in being mad at Ana, and sulks, though that’s probably better than exploding.

So, this is the great romantic lead of our time,the ideal male: a man with millions of dollars at his disposal, the looks of a supermodel, and the emotions of an adolescent, whose wife fears him. This goes beyond the “brilliant yet flawed” archetype of so much romantic fiction; this is a person who in real life would be seriously dysfunctional.

Even though Jack Hyde is now behind bars, Christian still insists on Ana taking a security escort to work, and Ana basically knuckles under to avoid a fight.

More personal emails at work. Ana tries figure out if Christian came back from NYC because of Jack or because she dared to defy Christian. (The later suggests a level of impulsiveness and paranoia that’s frightening.) Again, Ana says in emails what she can’t say to Christian in person because she is too frightened or infatuated: that she does value her autonomy and that he never tells her anything. Christian cools down a bit and says they’ll talk that evening.

Instead of talk, Christian greets her at home dressed for play (he’s kind of like a bonobo: resolve conflicts with sex). At least I’m back on this blog’s mandate again instead of having to play relationship counsellor to fictional people.

  One Response to “The Curious Kinky Person’s Guide to Fifty Shades Freed, Chapter 10”

  1. A lot of us are hoping in vain that seeing these two on a screen with finally show people how abusive he is. I was also wondering how they were going to pretend to have a plot after the first one, too. On the bright side, they’ve been having production problems and the actor that plays Christian is best known for playing a murderer. Oh, the irony!

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