Last time on Fifty Shades Freed Ana found out she was pregnant and Christian went predictably insane. After referring to his unborn child as ‘shit’ he then screamed at his pregnant wife until she began to cry and then stormed out of the house. Then he came home at one thirty in the morning and passed out drunk. Because he’s dreamy.
However, it’s not all domestic bliss – oh no. It turns out he’d been to see her – Mrs. Robinson, the glamorous child-molester.
I gape at the text, then look up at the sleeping form of my husband. He’s been out until one thirty in the morning drinking – with her!
Naturally this revelation puts Ana back in touch with her inner drama queen, a character who never appears along with her usual imaginary friends, but who we knew was there all along.
Raw, bitter, humiliating betrayal lances through me. How could he? How could he go to her? Scalding, angry tears ooze down my cheeks. His wrath and his fear, his need to lash out at me I can understand, and forgive – just. But this…this treachery is too much.
Nice to see Ana has her priorities in order. Just so we’re clear…
Calling your unborn child ‘shit’ – fine.
Screaming at your wife – also fine.
Storming out, getting fantastically drunk and rolling in at 1.30am reeking of booze – fine and fucking dandy.
Seeing your ex – WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
No, no, no – I can’t believe that it will always be this way, two steps forward and three steps back. But that’s how it’s always been with him. After each setback, we move forward, inch by inch.
Like a drunk, narcoleptic snail with an inner ear problem. You don’t have ‘setbacks’, idiot. The reason your relationship doesn’t work is because you are two people who should never, ever be together.
Ana whines for a few more pages then reads some of Christian’s emails. She has a qualm of conscience about this, when she really shouldn’t, since he’s been systematically invading her privacy from the first moment she faceplanted at his feet.
There’s a soggy mention of Jack Hyde and a hint that he might have a female accomplice, but nobody’s really interested and we’ll get back to what the chapter is really about – Ana acting out a stupid soap opera for the benefit of the readers.
She leaves him in bed alone and locks herself in the sex dungeon for the night. No, don’t get excited – she’s not about to learn to use a vibrator. She’s just going to doss down in there for the night and indulge in a spot of passive-aggressive texting.
“WOULD YOU LIKE MRS. LINCOLN TO JOIN US WHEN WE EVENTUALLY DISCUSS THIS TEXT SHE SENT TO YOU? IT WILL SAVE YOU RUNNING TO HER AFTERWARD. YOUR WIFE.”
There are times when I feel really sorry for Ana. Unfortunately she comes across as one of those incredibly dramatic idiots who will strain your sympathy to breaking point time and time again until you finally have to admit that while their situation is not always of their own making, they don’t exactly help themselves.
She wakes up the next morning to find Christian rattling the doorhandle. At this point even Ana admits she’s being ‘a bit melodramatic’, which can only mean we’re about to have a full scale episode of Dynasty on our hands.
Sure enough, she goes to the kitchen to find all the staff there and her husband hissing like a pressure cooker about to blow because she wasn’t there for him when he woke up. Just think, he might have had a ‘nightmare’. Or choked to death on his own vomit.
Hold that beautiful thought close to your heart, gentle readers, because this was the moment my heart broke.
“Where were you?” Christian asks, his voice low and husky. Suddenly Sawyer, Taylor, Ryan and Mrs. Jones scatter, scurrying into Taylor’s office, into the foyer, and into the kitchen like terrified rats from a sinking ship.
Taylor, how could you? How could you leave a vulnerable woman alone with an emotionally unstable man? I thought you knew better Taylor? I thought you had class. Fuck you, man. Fuck you. We are done.
Luckily Ana storms off again and locks herself in the ensuite this time. However once she gets there she once again wears on everyone’s nerves by describing her beauty regime in tedious detail and then going out to flaunt her loveliness in front of her mean old unfaithful husband. Because that’s what adults do when faced with serious problems like unexpected pregnancies.
She’s still wearing that ‘plum dress’ from Fifty Shades of Grey, by the way. And she’s still acting like she didn’t steal it from Kate.
I peek at him in the mirror, standing motionless in the doorway, watching me. In an act worthy of an Oscar winner, I let my towel fall to the floor and pretend that I am oblivious to my naked body.
Honey, I don’t think they give out Oscars for that. Adult Oscars, maybe. Do they have a Best Dropped Towel Category? I feel like they should, don’t you?
This goes on for several more pages and it’s tiresome. Then he thinks she’s trying to distract him with sex (like he does with her) and tries it on.
“Don’t even think about it, Grey,” I whisper menacingly.
“You’re my wife,” he says softly, threateningly.
“I’m the pregnant woman you abandoned yesterday, and if you touch me I will scream the place down.”
His eyebrows rise in disbelief. “You’d scream?”
“Bloody murder.” I narrow my eyes.
“No one would hear you,” he murmurs, his gaze intense…
So. Yeah. That happened.
Dear Ms. James, with regard to your bestselling ‘erotic’ trilogy, do you have anything to say to the hundred and thousands of readers who were somewhat freaked out by the lovely scene in chapter twenty one of book three where Christian Grey threatens his pregnant wife with rape?
Okay. Deep breath. That was fucking horrible, wasn’t it? Thankfully she’s decided to lighten the mood by giving us another gazillion pages of utter, pointless boredom, in which Christian and Ana argue back and forth and forth and back which goes a little something like this.
Him: “I was angry with you for forgetting to take your birth control so I went out and got drunk.”
Her: “You went out and got drunk with the glamorous child molester who touched you up when you were fifteen.”
Him: “Yes, because I was angry with you for forgetting to take your birth control.”
Her: “But you went out with her and you know how I feel about her.”
Him: BECAUSE I WAS ANGRY WITH YOU…
And so on and so on forever and ever. And don’t you just love it? Her birth control. The whole reason she was on hormonal birth control in the first place is because he bitched the air blue about having to use condoms.
I stagger to the bed and flop down on it. I did not resort to tears, shouting or murder, nor did I succumb to his sexpertise. I deserve a Congressional Medal of Honor…
You both deserve a slap with a wet herring. Actually he deserves a lengthy prison sentence and has done since book one, but we’ll deal with that in its proper place.
She fucks off to work and Kate calls her. Apparently she was subjected to some delightful drunken phone calls when Christian woke up in the night and couldn’t find Ana, and Ana complains once again about ‘the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition’ in that facetious tone that makes me want to drop her down a well.
Then she has a salmon and cream cheese bagel for lunch. You needed to know that, I’m sure. Then she goes to visit Ray and he says some corny shit about grandchildren, then Christian gets the housekeeper to tell her he’s working late.
Why couldn’t he tell me? Jeez, he really is taking his sulk to a whole new level. I am briefly reminded of the fight over our wedding vows and the major tantrum he had then.
The wedding vows fight, incidentally, was because he wanted her to promise to ‘obey’ him and she didn’t, even though ‘to love, honour and obey’ hasn’t been part of the standard vows since the late 1920’s.
Yes, he’s mad, fair enough. I’m mad. But we are where we are. I haven’t run off loose-lipped to my ex-pedo lover. I want him to acknowledge that that is not an acceptable way to behave.
I know, Ana; it is disappointing. Doubly so since the rest of his behaviour has been impeccable, hasn’t it?
He avoids her all night and so time passes rapidly and almost pleasantly. The next day she’s at work she has another smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel (exciting!) and then she gets call on her BlackBerry from the deeply annoying Mia, only to pick it up and find that Jack Hyde is on the line! Gasp! Thrill! Plot!
“Jack?” My voice has disappeared, choked by fear. How is he out of jail?
Since you ask, Ana, I don’t know either. Kidnapping and attempted murder are class A felonies in Washington State. That means anyone charged is automatically ineligible for bail. Kind of puts an even worse complexion on Christian and Ana’s first dreamy night back at the Heathman, doesn’t it?
Jack has kidnapped Mia. I don’t know why. I don’t know why anyone would want to – she’s incredibly annoying. He tells Ana that he wants five million dollars. Today. That’s the kind of cash money that leads your average Albuquerque meth-lord to invest in fried chicken or carwashes. However, if you want to draw attention to your criminal activities, walking around with five million in unlaundered cash is a really good way to go about it.
It’s safe to say Jack hasn’t thought this through. And neither has the author. Brace yourself as we plunge into a kidnap plot so full of holes that you could use it to strain pasta.
Jack gives Ana two hours to come up with the cash or he’ll kill Mia. He tells Ana to tell no-one or he’ll ‘fuck her up before I kill her’.
Ana’s response is to tell Jack that she needs longer and tries to haggle him up to three hours. She asks for proof that he has Mia but he hangs up.
So, let’s get this clear.
She has no idea if he’s even out of prison. She just assumes he is.
She has no idea if he really has her sister-in-law.
She has two hours to come up with a ludicrous sum of money and no idea where to even make the drop.
On the basis of this information Ana decides to rush home, dress up to make herself look as suspicious as humanly possible, walk into a bank carrying a gun and ask to withdraw five million dollars. In cash.
I’m not even kidding. That happens.
She changes into jeans and a black hoodie and stuffs
Chekhov’s Leila’s gun down the waistband of her jeans. Given that Ana is a mere twiglet of a girl and not exactly the kind of fulsomely endowed lady who could smuggle a .38 snub between her tits, you can see how well this attempt at a concealed carry would work out in the real world. And would have extremely far reaching consequences when you walked into a bank.
However, we’ll get to that in its place, because first Ana must escape from Casa del Cretins because her husband keeps her locked up and under the watchful eye of his security detail at all times. After a couple of pages of dicking about she manages to give Sawyer the slip.
I squirm uncomfortably in my seat, knowing in my heart of hears that Sawyer’s probably lost his job. Don’t dwell. I have to save Mia. I have to get to the bank and collect five million dollars.
I’m serious – this is Ana’s plan. Go to bank. Collect five million dollars. It’s not like the police have people who are highly trained in handling ransom scenarios like this.
Ana gets to the bank. Somehow she gets past the metal detectors and security guards despite the fact that she’s wearing a hooded sweatshirt and has a gun stuffed down the back of her jeans.
Then she heads to the information desk.
“I’d like to withdraw a large sum of money.”
Ms. Insincere Smile arches an even more insincere eyebrow.
“You have an account with us?” She fails to hide her sarcasm.
Yeah. Nice to know that even in a crisis Ana still takes time out to be disparaging to every other woman who crosses her drooling, braindead path. Of course she’s suspicious, you idiot – you just dressed up as a cartoon pauper and wandered into a fucking fancy-ass bank. Bear in mind that this is also snob-king Christian’s bank, so this isn’t going to be any old bank, darling. This is going to be the Pacific North-West version of Coutts. Would she even be allowed through the door in jeans?
“Yes,” I snap. “My husband and I have several accounts here. His name is Christian Grey.”
Her eyes widen fractionally and insincerity gives way to shock. Her eyes sweep up and down me once more, this time with a combination of disbelief and awe.
There aren’t many phrases more cringeworthy than ‘Do you know who I am?’, but ‘Do you know who my husband is?’ has got to be up there with the worst of them.
Anyway, turns out Christian Grey’s name opens bank doors faster than it opens a gold-digger’s legs, and Ana is shown to a private office where she is immediately cooed over and addressed as Mrs. Grey. Nobody asks her for ID until she asks to withdraw five million dollars.
When asked for ID Ana doesn’t volunteer any and asks to speak with the manager, after which she is asked again for ID. When she refuses a second time she is asked to leave and then when she refuses to leave she is escorted to the door by security. At which point the gun falls out of her jeans, there’s a major security alert and her silly ass is hauled off by the police.
I’m joking, of course. That would never happen.
The manager comes in. His name is Troy Whelan. Got that? Yes. Good. He needs a full name because he’s going to be in the book for about five whole pages.
Then he says this.
“We normally ask for some notice for large amounts of money.” He pauses and flashes me a reassuring but supercilious smile. “Fortunately, however, we hold the cash reserve for the entire Pacific Northwest.”
Several things here. Banks do not carry millions in their vaults. Doesn’t happen. Why? Because if they did they’d be absolute honeypots for anyone planning a bank heist. I know E.L. is trying to get around this by claiming ‘cash reserve for the entire Pacific Northwest’, but that’s bullshit. Especially since Troy here is telling Ana, a scruffily dressed young woman who claims to be Mrs. Christian Grey (and he still has no ID on her at this point) that his bank is full of money.
If this bank was real it would be remarkable, not as the one that holds the cash reserve for the entire Pacific Northwest, but as the one that gets robbed all the fucking time.
Finally he asks for ID and Ana hands over her driving license, which still has her maiden name on it. God knows why – I thought official stuff like this is essential, should you take your spouse’s name when you marry.
Ana digs out her black Amex. Which is the most exclusive of all exclusive credit cards ever. This has her married name on it and Troy Whelan says it will do.
So she writes a cheque for five million dollars and is then appalled to discover that Whelan has called her husband. Look, Ana, I know this book is taking place in Stupidland, but do you seriously expect a guy to take your word and a could-be-forged fancy credit-card as proof that you are Mrs. Christian Grey?
She gets on the phone with Christian and he’s heartbroken and thinks she’s leaving him.
Good. Maybe he’ll kill himself.
Oh no – how can he think that? The money? He thinks I’m going because of the money? And in a moment of horrific clarity, I realise the only way I’m going to keep Christian at arm’s length, out of harm’s way, and to save his sister…is to lie.
“Yes,” I whisper. And searing pain lances through me, tears springing to my eyes.
He gasps, almost a sob. “Ana, I…” He chokes.
Oh dear, Christian. Do you remember all those ‘nightmares’ you had? About how desolate and broken you said you’d be if she didn’t come running every time you started twitching and turned on the mommy issues? And do you remember how you said your life would not actually be worth living if she left you?
Just a friendly reminder. How do you want to play this? Gas? Shotgun? Rope? Midnight swim with your collection of pet rocks? And holding your breath until you turn blue doesn’t count, sorry to say. Unless you want to go the bizarre wanking accident route? That would have a strange, twisted poetry to it. After all, you’ve got all those clamps and ball-gags and gimp masks – seems a shame not to use them to go out with a darkly hilarious bang.
He gives her the money, tells her he’ll always love her and hopefully wanders off to put an end to his horrid self.
Ana waits in the bank while they count out five million in cash – because that would totally happen – (Only in Stupidland) and is left alone with the strange contents of her weird little head.
I will fix things with Christian somehow…if it’s not too late. At least he’s out of the picture. Right now I have to concentrate on Mia. Suppose Jack is lying? Suppose he doesn’t have her? Surely I should call the police?
Now the other shoe drops. Yes, dumbass. These are all things you should have thought in the first place. Now you’ve convinced your husband that you’re a heartless gold-digger and he’s probably right this moment trying to work out how to operate a shotgun trigger with his toes. (One hopes, anyway.)
I sit back in the chair, feeling the reassuring presence of Leila’s pistol at my waist, digging into my back.
Just a friendly reminder that she is sitting in a bank with a fucking gun tucked into her jeans. It’s like the author had some kind of bet with herself as to how many King Kong sized cock-ups she could stuff into one chapter.
“Mrs. Grey.” It’s Whelan. “The money is ready.”
“Thank you.” I stand up and the room spins momentarily. I clutch the chair.
“Mrs. Grey, are you feeling okay?”
I nod and give him a back-off-now-mister stare. I take another deep, calming breath. I have to do this. I have to do this. I must save Mia. I pull the hem of my hooded sweatshirt down, concealing the butt of the pistol in the back of my jeans.
Oh for fuck’s sake. She’s not even concealing it well. Ana, you are useless. It’s a good thing everyone else in this book is nearly as stupid as you are or this plot would be dead in the water.
What the hell am I talking about? It’s already dead in the water. The only thing that remains is figuring out how smelly it’s going to get as it lies there rotting and reeking.
Sawyer has followed Ana to the bank. Ana freaks out, runs back into the bank and calls Jack on Mia’s phone. He says she’ll have to lose her security and that he has a car waiting at the back of the bank. A Dodge, funnily enough. But you’ve known that since Chapter Five, right? Of course you have.
Ana has a plan, however. If it’s anything like her last one it’s bound to be quite special.
To avoid Sawyer she asks Whelan if she can use the rear exit of the bank. Four members of staff are going to accompany her in taking the bags to Jack’s van. I’m not sure what part of ‘don’t tell anyone’ she didn’t understand but it’s nice of her to bring along four witnesses who may very well get killed when Jack realised they’re there. She asks ‘one more favour of Whelan’, which cannot be good news for anyone.
Two minutes later my entourage and I are out on the street, heading over to the Dodge. Its windows are blacked out, and I can’t tell who’s at the wheel.
Jesus, she did do that. Well done, Ana. Tell nobody! Bring witnesses! Dumbass.
Thankfully for the four people who may very well be about to get killed, Jack and his lady accomplice are every bit as fucking stupid as everyone else in this chapter.
…as we approach, the driver’s door swings open, and a woman clad in black with a black cap pulled down low over her face climbs gracefully out of the car. Elizabeth from the office! What the hell.
Yes, Elizabeth was the female accomplice. The bank staff load the bags into the car. Nobody at this point is thinking “Hang on – that nervous lady withdrew a huge amount of money and now it’s being loaded into a car with blacked out windows by suspicious looking people all dressed in black.”
In fact Whelan shakes Ana’s hand and the bank staff all go back into the bank, like everything is fine.
For some fathomless reason Ana then gets into the car with Elizabeth, who drops her phone in a trashcan drives her to drop the money off to Jack.
Jack smacks her about a bit and calls her a bitch and a whore and the usual bad guy business, although funnily enough he doesn’t threaten to rape her, unlike her awfully wedded husband. Ana rolls around on the concrete thinking about her precious little unborn baby, although she’d do better to think about THE FUCKING GUN THAT’S BEEN IN HER JEANS THE WHOLE DAMN TIME.
Yep. That’s right. Elizabeth went to the trouble of smashing Ana’s phone and dropping it in a trashcan, but didn’t bother to frisk her captive. The briefest of pat-downs would have revealed that Ana was packing, but everyone in this book is so dumb it’s not even funny any more.
Ana shoots Jack in the leg and then breaks out in a rash of ellipses.
…darkness closes in. Shit…She’s at the end of a tunnel. Darkness consuming her. Consuming me. From far away, all hell breaks lose. Cars screeching…brakes…doors…shouting…running…footsteps. The gun drops from my hand.
“Ana!” Christian’s voice…Christian’s voice…Christian’s agonised voice. Mia…save Mia.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the plot. Yep. It was pointless, it made no sense and it was astoundingly, eyewateringly fucking stupid. And it all happened in one chapter. One chapter out of twenty five. I am so tired. You have no idea.