Fifty Shades Freed: movie highlights and insights

Fifty Shades Freed opens with the wedding of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. The life of luxury that lies ahead for the couple makes itself evident as they head off to their honeymoon in a private chopper. The life of kinky and erotic sex that has graced their relationship from the first part of the trilogy also continues to the honeymoon as Christian once again let’s his dominant nature take control, and Anastasia plays the submissive object of his desire.

If there is anything realistic about this movie, it is the power struggle between a newly married couple as they find a balance between allowing another person to be a part of one’s life and maintaining one’s sense of identity.

Anastasia relents to Christian’s insistence that she use his last name at work, at the same time defies his demand to stay home when she has plans to hang out with an old friend. Christian, upon learning that he has been defied, takes his erring wife to the kinky ‘play room’ where he once again uses sex as a means to inflict pain to punish her. Christian has also unintentionally reignited ties with Elena Lincoln, the woman who introduced him to kinky sex and whose intervention in his life has helped him cope with the dark memories of his mother – ties which his wife evidently resents as she gives him the silent treatment for a couple of days.

Unknown to Anastasia, Christian was trying to get in touch with his former psychiatrist Dr. Flynn and, only when he could not reach him, contacted Elena Lincoln. They ended up having a few drinks at a bar, but Christian insists their relationship has long since been over.

Anastasia announces her pregnancy which was not well received by her new husband. He was not willing to share her with another person so soon in their marriage, and accuses her of choosing the baby over him.

Jack Hyde, Anastasia’s former boss who was fired for attempting to assault her, resurfaces for pay back. He kidnaps Anastasia’s sister in law, Mia Grey, and​ demands a 5 million dollar ransom. Anastasia comes up with the money but does not tell Christian the real reason she needs it. Instead she makes him believe she​ is leaving to raise their baby alone. Sensing something wasn’t right, Christian contacts the authorities and follows his wife to where she will deliver the ransom to Jack Hyde and rescue Christian’s kid sister.

Christian comes to accept Anastasia’s pregnancy and​ chooses to raise the baby with her. In the latter part of the movie, Christian reveals more of his past, particularly the new found knowledge that he and Jack Hyde came from the same foster family. He also reveals the extent of Elena Lincoln’s significance in his life and why she continued to be a steady anchor he runs to when his life goes berserk.

As with the first two parts of the trilogy, Fifty Shades Freed may serve as great entertainment for the sexually deprived and perverted. However, it is too unrealistic for one to derive any real value that can be carried over to daily life.


Related Article:

A Tribute to Fifty Shades of Grey


The Last Victim, a novel by Kevin O’Brien

The Last Victim was a psycho political thriller which reflects the depth of human perversity, and the length some people will go to achieve their goals.

Twins Brad and Bridget Corrigan, Cheryl Blume, Olivia Rankin and Fuller Sterns are about to graduate from high school. As a means of memorializing the occasion, they decide to commit vandalism. Unfortunately, they are caught by the authorities, thanks to high school outcast Mallory Meehan ratting on them. To seek revenge they lure her to Gorman’s Creek and throw her down a well where they leave her for dead. The high school friends then make a vow to never speak of their crime, severe ties with each other to seal the deal and go their separate ways.

Fast forward twenty years later, Brad Corrigan is running for senator of Oregon. Olivia Rankin, Fuller Sterns and Cheryl Blume all die due to mysterious accidents. It turns out Brad hired people to eliminate anyone aware of his crime, including his sister’s husband turned X, to whom Bridget made a full disclosure to before their wedding.  Brad eventually wins his seat in the senate, but not without his twin sister Bridget severing ties with him and their family. Bridget pulls away upon learning what Brad did to cover his crime. To make matters worse, Bridget also learns this was with the full backing of their father whose dying wish was to see his son win a senate seat.

Blood is (not always) thicker than water, as the character of Bridget Corrigan suggests. As humans, we all have flaws. But there is only so much we can tolerate. What happened in high school was a prank that went too far and immaturity may have been an acceptable excuse. But what Brad Corrigan pulled as an adult reflects a total lack of moral fiber which may justify his role in politics, but does not justify murder. Bridget had no reservations on severing tie with her twin brother because of what he did, and the rest of the family for supporting him.

Ambition corrupts, and the corruption can invade at full speed when it is driven by popular support. Brad Corrigan insured his senate seat by making sure no one could speak about his past crime. He had a father and a wife who made sure the cover up was a success, even if it came to be at the expense of other family members.

Birds of the same feather, flock together – bluntly put, rotten people deserve rotten company. Unknown to Brad, his pregnant wife is not carrying his kid – she’s carrying his brother…go figure!




The death penalty dies a natural death

The long time attempts to revive the death penalty in the country was given a glimmer of hope in the lower house as the House of Representatives managed to get a bare majority through on the second reading of the bill. However, the said bill died a natural death in the upper house as the Senate failed to unite with a single voice for its revival.

There is no need to reiterate the long debated issues on the morality (or the lack of it) of the death penalty, human rights, the right to life, and the list goes on of the repeated arguments to trample the most brutal form of capital punishment. Nor is there a need to dwell on the emotionally charged arguments raised by human rights victims and their advocates, the main theme pointing to the ease of fighting for the rights of criminals until you, or someone close to you, become one of their victims.

What is seriously wrong with the Philippine version of the death penalty is its focus on drug related crimes, at the neglect of all other heinous crimes plaguing the nation. The drafted bill that made it past the lower house was clearly an attempt to validate the controversial extrajudicial killings which have made the current administration notoriously popular with the international community.

Laws should be based on reason and they should be made to address long term problems of the whole nation – and not just to satisfy the whims of a current administration. Laws should not single out a certain category of crimes when there are other crimes equally deserving of the same penalty.

The death penalty is not wrong per se – there is just something wrong with the Philippine version.



The possible rebirth of the death penalty

Reciprocal death penalty

Justice, Davao Death Squad style

The Never Ending Story of the Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice Debate

(an article inspired by the book titled Unplanned by Abby Johnson)

This was a book that chronicled the journey of activist Abby Johnson from being a volunteer for a pro-choice establishment called Planned Parenthood, to crossing over to the pro-lifers under an establishment known as Coalition for Life. The book had a spiritual aspect as Abby Johnson highlighted the events reflecting the hand of God in aid of her transformation. This article aims to focus on the more disturbing implications of her journey that pushed her from one side to the other.

At the beginning, Planned Parenthood’s pro-choice stand was simply to decrease the number of abortions through education on contraceptives and the choice of adoption. The establishment stood on the premise that, if women wanted the option to abort, it would be better to give them the means to do so safely. The establishment clung to the argument that providing safe abortions was a better alternative to condemning women from wanting an abortion and compelling them to resort to underground, unsafe, and maybe even illegal, means to get an abortion anyway. But as Planned Parenthood was a charitable institution, it relied on the funding of supporters and the government. It only charged women what they could afford to pay.

Eventually, the birth control and abortion demands outweighed the public support the establishment could elicit, and funds started to run dry. As the establishment was profiting from the few abortions performed, it geared towards a new goal of not only increasing the number of abortions to be performed, but directing women towards the option. Abby Johnson’s journey towards the Coalition for Life started when her assistance was needed in an actual abortion, and she saw first hand how a fetus was, body part by body part, sucked out of a womb.

The book leads to a realization of how complicated the pro-life versus pro-choice debate really is. Apparently, there is no easy compromise, such as the pro-choice stand is acceptable so long as abortion is not one of the choices. To make issues more complicated, the book points out that the pro-life group not only opposes abortion but also birth control. The pro-life group argues that birth control should also be banned as it prevents life from being created. The pro-life group ignores the argument that prevention is a lesser evil to destroying a life already created. Being against both abortion and birth control justifies the stand of the pro-choice group – somebody has to defend women of their right to have options when faced with an unexpected (unwanted) pregnancy.

The pro-choice versus pro-life debate will never come to an end so long as both sides fail to recognize the need to set their own boundaries. The pro-choice group needs to understand that abortion is the taking of human life, and resorting to technical questions like when does life really begin doesn’t change that fact. The pro-life group needs to understand that there is no life that needs to be destroyed if measures are taken to prevent it from being created. Imposing the need to abstain from sex or resort to natural methods of birth control is not only a limitation on human liberty, it also ignores the natural weakness of the human flesh.


Additional reading:

The truth behind Lights Out, the movie

Lights Out is a horror movie about a mental patient, Diana, who haunts the family of Sophie, another mental patient she befriended when they were in confinement. Diana had a rare skin disorder wherein her skin was oversensitive to light. She died when a doctor, in an attempt to cure her, performed an experiment and over exposed her to light.

Sophie, previously confined for depression, got out of the institution. But her depression recurs as Diana’s spirit continues to follow her and gets in the way of her getting any medication. As Sophie’s depression progresses, so does Diana’s presence in her life as her only ‘friend.’ Sophie is lured into surroundings of near total darkness – Diana’s refuge from even the slightest ray of light which can burn her skin.

Unfortunately, Diana is a friend who doesn’t want to share Sophie with anyone else – including her two former husbands who, Sophie was made to believe abandoned her and her children, but it turns out Diana killed.

Diana’s obsessive grip on Sophie goes too far when she goes after Sophie’s children, Rebecca and Martin. Rebecca, having grown into adulthood, moved out of the house where she grew up feeling Diana’s presence. Martin, her younger brother who still lives with his mother, experiences the same presence she did. Rebecca moves back in and, upon learning about Diana’s sensitivity to light, keeps the entire house lighted to keep Diana away. Diana, refusing to be kept away, sabotages the main power source in the basement. She succeeds in luring Rebecca and Martin to the basement, where they remained trapped until the police came to let them out.

In the end, Sophie came out of the dark holding a pistol to her head. Knowing that she was Diana’s only link to the human world, she shoots herself as the only way to stop Diana from killing her children.

This was an apparently fictional movie which has some touch of reality. Depression is definitely real, and it can create a feeling of such intense loneliness that a victim would rather create an imaginary friend than be alone. No matter how sick anyone is in the head, a mother will come to her senses when her children are under attack and need her protection – nothing fictional about that.



One of the many issues reignited by the rise of the new administration in the Philippines is the need to address crimes committed by the youth. The law currently sets the age of criminal responsibility at fifteen. Any child younger who commits a crime is not penalized but subject to rehabilitation. Consequently, drug syndicates are using children as couriers knowing that, even if such children were caught, no penalty will be imposed.

On a similar note, youths below fifteen have been caught in crimes like rape, snatching and public fights. Laughably, there was an incident when one of them was caught and presented a birth certificate as evidence of minority and a basis to claim exemption from criminal liability.

The spirit of the law exempting the youth from criminal liability hinges on the presumption that the youth are not mature enough to have developed a sense of discretion, or the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and the ability to comprehend the consequences of their actions. But who would believe that a youth lacks discretion when, upon being caught in the act, has the nerve to present evidence and an argument to defend themselves?

Criminal responsibility should not be based on age but the ability to understand that one’s actions are wrong, and with such understanding, commits the act anyway.

Criminal responsibility should also be based on the freedom to commit the crime knowing it is wrong. Anyone reading this article was a child once, and armed with the knowledge that it is not always easy to disobey what an adult instructs. How do you make a child understand that stealing is wrong, if they go home to parents who nurture the belief that they have to steal if they want to eat? How do you make a child understand that drugs destroy the future, if they are compelled to deliver the same by an adult who has a gun pointed to their head?

Bottom line: there can be no hard and fast rules to determine criminal responsibility. Some people are intelligent criminals at the age of fourteen, some forty year old imbeciles don’t know exposing themselves to passers by qualifies as a lascivious act punishable by law.


Private schools back lowering age of criminal responsibility


The Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, FL frequently visited by the gay community, was subject to a bombing by a New york born radicalist named Omar Matteen. The attack has been branded as an act of terrorism, but the authorities are still unclear on why the attacker chose a gay nightclub in particular. Reports say the attack was motivated by revenge after a series of U.S. attacks on Afghanistan, the attackers supposed homeland. Absent evidence of ties to any terrorist group, the authorities stand by the assumption that the attackers radicalism is homegrown and ignited by extremist information and propaganda gracing the internet. Reports say the weapons used in the attack were all legally obtained and licensed. The incident brought to light the issues of gun control and possible LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) discrimination.

More importantly, the incident brings to the forefront the divide between Democratic and Republican presidential aspirants the issue of unbridled migration and its connection to terrorism.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump wants a ban on Muslim migration. He stands on the premise that Muslims hate everyone from Jews to Christians, and everyone else in between – an attitude that cannot survive an open and tolerant society.

U.S. President Barrack Obama, however, apparently disagrees with such a proposal since it will discriminate against Muslims who, though of a different faith, are still Americans. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prefers to articulate measures to combat terrorism and gun violence in American soil.

Donald Trump is coming from a point of generalization that all Muslims are incapable of tolerating anyone different from them. This is blatantly wrong since not all Muslims, just like not all human beings, are the same. A total ban on Muslim migration would be discriminatory because it will prejudice even those Muslims who have no connection to terrorism.

At the same time, prevention is better than cure, and no amount of policies to combat terrorism and illegal use of firearms will bring back the lives of people sacrificed each time the government fails in their drive to abort such acts at their conception.

Perhaps the best compromise is not a total ban on Muslim migration, but an increase in monitoring all migrants who arouse suspicion of terrorist tendencies, regardless of religion. It is not discrimination if all migrants in the same circumstances will be treated the same. It is not discrimination if there is a clear distinction that justifies a different treatment.

Not all Muslim migrants should be subject to the magnifying glass of the government – just those who appear suspicious of intending to disturb the peace and order of society.