Hospitals Are Hilarious: Fifty Shades Freed Chapter Seventeen

Posted on May 14, 2013 by

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Yesterday I finished my last project for college, which was preparing plant specimens for my plant systematics course. Which meant gluing pressed flowers to pieces of paper, like the arts and crafts of the kindergarten days of yore. So, yeah, I guess my seventeen years of formal education were bookended with glue.

Quick reminder that today is the last day to ask us any question you want to ask us to help us make a video interview for Bad Books, Good Times‘s first birthday! We’ve gotten a lot of great questions so far and we’re pretty excited to do this. If you want to ask us anything ridiculous or inappropriate or ridiculously inappropriate, this is your last chance!

Chapter Seventeen

So the last chapter ended with Ana getting a phone call that her dad is in the hospital after an accident, so I can’t wait to figure out how to make jokes about this chapter somehow.

Nobody has ever made hospitals funny.

Nobody has ever made jokes about hospitals before. I’m fucked.

Jose’s father – who is the person who calls Ana for some inexplicable reason – does the worst possible job explaining to Ana that her father is in the hospital:

“Mr. Rodriguez, what’s happened?” […]
“He’s been in a car accident.”
“Okay, I’ll come … I’ll come now.”

So without trying to get any other information – like whether her father is conscious, lost a limb, whatever – Ana immediately goes to the hospital in Portland. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a pretty logical response, but you’d maybe want to know a little more first?

Ana calls someone named Roach to explain where she’s going and, Jesus, even I don’t remember who Roach is. Who the fuck is Roach? Ana gets Sawyer to start driving them to Portland and she calls Christian. It’s difficult to tell what the weirdest part of the conversation is.

“I have a meeting with some guys over from Taiwan. I can’t blow them off. It’s a deal we’ve been hammering out for months.”
Why do I know nothing about this?
“I’ll leave as soon as I can.”
[…] I know nothing about Christian’s business. What the hell is he doing with the Taiwanese?

First, Ariel made a good point yesterday about how as soon as Ana is within ten feet of a penis that isn’t his, Christian drops everything to be there. Apparently her dad’s penis doesn’t count. Second, Ana makes a good point about how she (and us) know jack shit about what Christian Grey actually does. Third, Ana… seems a little racist here? Sorry, Taiwan.

They get to the hospital and now we learn that they were in a car accident with a drunk driver, and Ray is in an induced coma and in critical condition, but alive. I can’t wait for this to all be resolved by the end of the chapter. I’ll get into why this is shitty writing later, but for now, Ana really wants to criticize the quality of the tea she got at the hospital.

“What’s taking them so long?” I mutter to no one in particular as I take a sip. […] It’s not Twinings, but some cheap nasty brand, and it tastes disgusting.

She’s not even done yet.

I remember the last time I waited for news. […] My tea is cold … Ugh!

Ana turns her attention away from her unsatisfactory tea and back to her possibly-dying dad as a doctor comes in, before turning her attention back to reminding the reader that they’re reading erotic fiction, because that’s what’s important right now.

“You’re his next of kin?” the doctor asks. His bright blue eyes almost match his scrubs, and under any other circumstances I would have found him attractive.

Hopefully you're enjoying "lots of vaguely thematically appropriate Scrubs pictures" day

Hopefully you’re enjoying “lots of vaguely thematically appropriate Scrubs pictures” day

Speaking of Ana constantly observing how attractive people are or how people observe how attractive people are, this follows a little later when we get a GIRL DOCTOR.

“Oh, Daddy. Please get better,” I whisper. “Please.”
Christian puts his hand on my shoulder and gives it a reassuring squeeze.
“All Mr. Steele’s vitals are good,” Nurse Kellie says quietly.
“Thank you,” Christian murmurs. I glance up in time to see her gape. She’s finally gotten a good look at my husband. I don’t care. She can gape at Christian all she likes as long as she makes my father well again.

Throughout all three of these goddamn books, we’ve had to deal with Ana has had to deal with every woman in the world looking at her man (Christian Gray) and being unable to control their immediate lust for him. It originally was supposed to reflect Ana’s insecurity with… something or other. Men? Whatever. As of late, it hasn’t been a thing that’s been bothering her, which was probably supposed to be like a “hey, look how much Ana is growing! She’s more confident now! Just don’t think about why!”. And it’s kind of sickening that one of the catalysts for her not getting upset over people checking out her husband is the fact that she’s more focused on her dad being in a coma.

Christian’s also apparently supposed to be growing right now, because he isn’t growing right – oh god, that was actually the best joke I could come up with. I’m so sorry, internet.

“Do you want a shower? A bath? What do you need, Ana?” Christian gazes at me, and I know he’s rudderless—my lost boy dealing with events beyond his control. He’s been withdrawn and contemplative all afternoon. This is a situation he cannot manipulate and predict. This is real life in the raw, and he’s kept himself from that for so long, he’s exposed and helpless now.

Translated into not stupid: Christian isn’t trying to make Ana feel better by using sex for the first time ever. And to think it’s only taken us about 1200 pages to get to this point.

Anyway, apparently it’s Ana’s birthday?

“You look so young,” Christian says softly, glancing up, his eyes glowing. “And to think you’ll be a whole year older tomorrow.” His voice is wistful. I give him a sad smile.

Sometimes something happens in this book and I have to stop to think if I’m actually not paying so much attention that I’m completely surprised that I missed that it’s the narrator’s birthday, or if the book is so badly written that it’s a complete surprise that it’s the narrator’s birthday.

Much like we expected, the chapter ends with the reassurance that Ray is going to be totally okay!

“Mrs. Grey,” Dr. Sluder greets me very formally. She’s short-haired and elfin with a shy smile and a soft southern accent. “As the lead physician for your father, I’m pleased to tell you that all is on track. His vital signs are stable and strong. We have every faith that he’ll make a complete recovery. The brain swelling has stopped, and shows signs of decreasing.”

Remember how earlier I was writing about how this is actually really shitty writing how plot points are introduced and then immediately resolved? It isn’t just because there’s no tension or conflict to anything that happens, but because the reader stops expecting these things to happen. The reader keeps reading along, never actually expecting problems of any importance to arise. Nothing has to hold the reader’s attention for long, and the reader gets bored. Worse, the writer gets bored.

“This is very encouraging after such a short time.”

That’s pretty telling.

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