22. Christian again arrives to save the day. He commands the stalker to kneel, and when she obeys, he puts his hand on her head as one might on a disobedient dog’s. He orders Ana to go to his apartment.
23. Ana goes to his apartment, but not for a couple of hours. “Where the fuck were you?” Christian demands, expressing his tender concern for her well-being.
24. Christian explains to Ana, “I’m not a dominant. The correct word is a sadist. I get off on punishing women that look like you, that look like—” Ana interrupts him: “Your mother.” Later, Christian asks Ana to marry him. There is no sign that she considers the former admission any serious obstacle to the latter proposition.
25. When Christian repeats his proposal a second time, Ana replies “Why me?” This is in fact an excellent question. In the books, it essentially answers itself: She is the first-person narrator, and as such implicitly rooted for. (We are all our own first-person narrators, and for the most part imagine we have due whatever might come to us.) Onscreen it’s harder to say, except that she seems to have the precise ratio of momentary defiance followed by total capitulation that Christian requires.
26. Christian has to take a business trip to Portland with a female subordinate (I know: redundant). While he’s flying his own helicopter back, the engine explodes and the chopper begins falling out of the sky. Back in Seattle, his friends and family are horrified by TV news reports that Christian is missing and presumed dead. Oh no! This isn’t going to be like season three of Downton Abbey, where the happy ending is spoiled in the final minutes by the leading man’s sudden, completely accidental demise?
27. Of course it’s not. Christian walks in the front door unscathed. Everyone is so happy that nobody even thinks to ask why he didn’t phone ahead to say he was safe, or alert the authorities who, according to the television, are still searching for his remains in the woods of Washington state. This may be the single feeblest late-act bid for suspense I’ve ever seen.
28. Ana accepts Christian’s proposal by giving him a keychain that says “yes” on the back. She asks him to take her back to the Red Room of Pain. There, with great ceremony, he subjects her to … massage oil? Really? Is that the naughtiest concluding kink this franchise can come up with? Ana may need to find herself a more committed pervert.
29. At his birthday party, Christian tells everyone they’re getting married. All are overjoyed, except for the wicked Elena, who confronts Ana. Christian again comes to the rescue, declaring, “You taught me how to fuck, Elena. She taught me how to love.” I can see the Hallmark card already. Christian takes Ana to a greenhouse filled with flowers to offer a proper proposal, including a ring with a diamond the size of a nickel. There are fireworks. Literally.
30. But danger still looms for next year’s upcoming sequel, Fifty Shades Freed. Watching the fireworks from a nearby hill is Ana’s old boss, Jack. Now you might think that an unemployed former book editor does not really make for the most terrifying of villains. But he’s smoking a cigarette. And it looks like he hasn’t shaved for days …