The Story Manages to Become Even More Implausible Somehow: Fifty Shades Darker Chapter Seventeen

Posted on November 20, 2012 by


It’s been pointed out to me that there’s been a lot of pictures of me on this blog lately of me wearing women’s clothing. While I don’t have an issue with this (they were put up on the blog in the first place, after all), I would like to put forth that I do also wear men’s clothing and take it super seriously.

An accurate depiction of my lifestyle.

Chapter Seventeen

Generally I explain why something in one of these books is stupid, but sometimes I’m at a complete loss how I could possibly do that. Such as how this chapter starts.


I just don’t want to read this at all.

I stretch out beside him, relishing his touch, and feel his erection against my behind. Oh my. A Christian Grey wake-up call.

We move on past the obnoxiousness of Ana and Christian sex time. Except that’s a lie because we don’t.

His intrepid fingers move down, and slowly he eases one inside me, hissing quietly in awe.
“Oh, Ana,” he murmurs reverentially against my throat. “You’re always ready.”

Let’s see how well you know this book/how often E L James copy/pastes dialogue.

At breakfast, Ana wonders out loud what will happen at work today, since her boss just got fired. And this brings me back to a very important point, actually: what the fuck is this story even about? Back at the beginning of Fifty Shades Darker, when Ana and Christian got back together and thus resolved the first novel’s final conflict in about twelve pages, I guessed that there were only three ways E L James could get more plot out of this series:

  1. Christian Grey’s Ex Fucks Things Up!
  2. Anastasia Steele’s Boss Fucks Things Up!
  3. Christian Gray and Anastasia Steel Fuck

As of the last chapter, the first two plot points (or whatever) have been resolved: Christian’s crazy ex Leila is back in the psychiatric hospital and Ana’s sexual predator boss has been fired/arrested/something I guess E L James didn’t even bother telling us, really. And so far the novel really hasn’t expanded outside of these three subplots. So now the rest of the novel looks like this:

  1. Christian Grey’s Ex Fucks Things Up!
  2. Anastasia Steele’s Boss Fucks Things Up!
  3. Christian Gray and Anastasia Steel Fuck

And there’s still one hundred pages. And all we have left is sex…

Well, sort of, because we have gotten a new plot point since then: Christian’s proposal to Ana. And here’s how promising that is:

“Hey, Miss Smart Mouth. Come back.” Christian drags me into the here and now as I pull up at the next stoplight.
“You’re very distracted. Concentrate, Ana,” he scolds. “Accidents happen when you don’t concentrate.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake—and suddenly I’m catapulted back in time to when Ray was teaching me to drive. I don’t need another father. A husband maybe, a kinky husband. Hmm.

I don’t know either, man.

Ana goes to work, and the single least realistic thing to ever happen in the Fifty Shades series happens:

“I’ve called you in to inform you that Jack has left the company rather suddenly. […] His rather hasty departure has left a vacancy, and we’d like you to fill it for now, until we find a replacement.”

No shit, Ana just became the acquisitions editor at the company where she’s worked as a personal assistant for a week. The utmost stupidity of this doesn’t escape Ana, although it does escape E L James.

“But, I’ve only been here for a week or so.”
“Yes, Anastasia, I understand but Jack was always a champion of your abilities. He had high hopes for you.”
I stop breathing. He had high hopes of getting me on my back, sure.
“Here’s a detailed job description. Have a good look through it, and we can discuss it later today.”
“Please, I know this is sudden, but you’ve already made contact with Jack’s key authors. Your chapter notes haven’t gone unnoticed by the other commissioning editors. You have a shrewd mind, Anastasia. We all think you can do it.”

Even Christian fucking Grey thinks this plot twist is stupid.

“You’re kidding,” he whispers, shocked.
“Did you have anything to do with this?” My voice is sharper than I mean it to be.
“No—no, not at all. I mean, with all due respect, Anastasia, you’ve only been there for a week or so—and I don’t mean that unkindly.”

Then E L James can’t even remember what she said Jack’s job was back in Fifty Shades of Grey.

I hang up and glance at Jack’s office. My office. Holy cow—Anastasia Steele, Acting Commissioning Editor.

Hint: it was Acquisitions Editor. Not Commissioning Editor. He said so on page 379 of Fifty Shades of Grey. It took me like two minutes to look that up. Speaking of editors, E L James could really use one.

Ana has to have a meeting with the rest of the office, which means she can’t do lunch with Christian’s sister Mia! Oh no! Making things worse, Kate’s (remember Kate?) brother Ethan shows up out of the blue to ask if Ana can do lunch! Oh no! But wait, Ana can ask Ethan to take Mia out to lunch!

“Aw, Ana! I don’t want to babysit some brat.”
We both turn, and there she is—all curvaceous and tall with her sleek black bob—wearing a short mint-green minidress and matching highheeled pumps with straps around her slim ankles. She looks stunning.
“The brat?” he whispers, gaping at her.

Man, wouldn’t it be funny if Ethan started dating Christian’s sister, especially since his sister is already dating Christian’s brother? How convenient! And mildly incestuous.

Since this chapter won’t just end already, Ana meets Christian’s therapist to ask him literally anything she wants to about Christian to determine if she should marry him or not. Emotionally stable!

Dr. Flynn smiles kindly at me. “So, Christian, what would you like to discuss?”
Christian shrugs like a surly teen. “Anastasia wanted to see you. Perhaps you should ask her.”

Dr. Flynn asks Ana if she’d be more comfortable if Christian leaves. Christin gives her a hurt look and leaves. Ana says she doesn’t think she’s enough to satisfy Christian. Dr. Flynn says that she’s really been helping him a lot. They talk about Christian’s sexual sadism and Ana’s uncomfortable of his reasons why he does it. Dr. Flynn says that since he’s met Ana, this hasn’t been something that’s worked for Christian, especially in light of how Christian’s emotional maturity is at an adolescent level. Then Ana says that she feels that Christian wouldn’t want her at all if he wasn’t like this. Dr. Flynn asks her why she doesn’t think she’s attractive and also uses lots of technical sciencey terms like Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and haphephobia and parasomnia and paraphilia and modus operandi, because therapists generally try to confuse their patients as much as possible in real life. The appointment ends and Christian and Ana fight for four pages about who’s going to drive. Ana calls Christian a control freak and Christian calls Ana the most frustrating female on the planet. Christian demands multiple times to know what Ana talked to his therapist about, even though she tells him everything again and again.

In other words, a fraction of the emotional depth that could have been conveyed in five words.