The Da Vinci Code 68-70: An Underwhelming Sixty Nine

Last time on The Da Vinci Code, the promised chaos at the Chateau Villette proved disappointing when our heroes easily escaped in a Range Rover with Silas duct-taped in the back. And it also transpires that Teabag owns a fucking plane, ostensibly for the purposes of plot furtherance. Also they’re still fiddling with that cryptex thing and Bob has just had an ‘incredible notion’.

And you know by now what Bob’s incredible notions are like. This is probably going to be five more three page chapters full of weedlord meditations on hidden symbolism in Disney movies.

Chapter Sixty-Eight…

…provides a small payoff to Dan’s earlier madness when he decided – instead of keeping Sophie abreast of the plot – to skip to a New York flashback and introduce Bob’s editor, Jonas Faukman, who wasn’t even in the book at the time.

Apparently Bob has just now realised that Faukman might have sent out advance copies of his latest book – you know, the one called Symbololology and Semantics of The Sacred Feminine or something equally catchy – to critics/academics for the sacred publishing purposes of knob-slobbing.

And that one of the people on the knob-slobbing list might have been reknowned mcguffin manufacturer, Jacques Sauniere.

Inside the Range Rover, Leigh Teabing let out a guffaw. “Robert, you’re saying you wrote a manuscript that delves into a secret society, and your editor sent a copy to that secret society?”

And that, children, is just one of the many funny reasons why the secret societies in this book are rubbish.

Langdon slumped. “Evidently.”

“A cruel coincidence, my friend.”

Coincidence has nothing to do with it, Langdon knew. Asking Jacques Sauniere to endorse a manuscript on goddess worship was as obvious as asking Tiger Woods to endorse a book on golf.

And yet it has taken Bob until chapter sixty-eight to figure this out. It also explains why Bob is a murder suspect, because Fache may very well have found Bob’s manuscript in Sauniere’s study and concluded that Bob was lying when he said he had never corresponded with Sauniere. At least, I think it slightly explains why Bob is a murder suspect. This book stopped making sense way back when Bob was still explaining novelty condoms and the Mona Lisa to convicts.

So, yeah. They arrive at the private airfield and get on Teabag’s private plane, because Teabag – in case you weren’t aware he was British – says “Beats the bloody Chunnel.”

I don’t know anyone who calls the Channel Tunnel the Chunnel, by the way. It was a thing they tried to make happen, but like ‘fetch’ it just didn’t.

Teabag’s pilot says he can’t take Sophie, Bob and the trussed up monk, on account of it being the kind of thing that probably constitutes an international incident. Teabag then whips out a gun. Like you do.

“Richard,” Teabing said, smiling warmly. “Two thousand pounds sterling and that loaded gun say you can take my guests.” He motioned to the Range Rover. “And the unfortunate fellow in the back.”

Two grand? Seriously? Two fucking grand? Even fifteen years ago that’s still comically cheap. If I were Richard I would hold out for at least ten times that, but because everyone in this book seems to turn into a servile prick at the sound of a British accent, Pilot Richard loads our idiots aboard and they all fly off into…

…Chapter Sixty-Nine. (Nice)

Following a few drooling, but thankfully brief, descriptions of Teabag’s private plane, Sophie has a moment where she realises she is fleeing the country. And that she’s probably in very, very deep, career-ruining, potentially life-ruining doo-doo right about.

But never mind. Teabag is going to talk at us some more.

“Before we turn our attention to the keystone,” Teabing said. “I was wondering if you would permit me a few words.”

No. But you’re going to do it anyway, you absolute gasbag.

He sounded apprehensive, like a father about to give the birds-and-the-bees lecture to his children. “My friends, I realise I am but a guest on this journey…”

“…which is why I’m making it all about me. Again…”

“…and I am honoured as such. And yet, as someone who has spent his life in search of the Grail, I feel it is my duty to warn you that you are about to step onto a path from which there is no return, regardless of the dangers involved…”

Sophie literally just had this epiphany. In this book even your private epiphanies get mansplained to you.

Ugh. God, this goes on forever. Teabag guffs on about the shocking responsibility of the Grail and that Sophie must either accept it or pass it on to someone else (hint hint, pick me).

Sophie says her grandfather gave her the cryptex because he obviously thought she could handle the responsibility, but Teabag is still not done.

Teabing looked encouraged but unconvinced. “Good. A strong will is necessary. And yet, I am curious if you understand that successfully unlocking the keystone will bring with it a far greater trial.”

“How so?”

“My dear, imagine that you are suddenly holding a map that reveals the location of the Holy Grail…”

Okay. I’m imagining that. Now I’m imagining walking across town to the hospital and checking in at A&E and saying “Hello, I have a map of the Holy Grail.” And now I’m imagining all of the interesting pills they’re going to give me when they’ve determined I’m probably not an immediate danger to myself, but best to be sure.

“In that moment, you will be in possession of a truth capable of altering history forever.”

Or a thing that people will probably dismiss according to their whims. Seriously, Teabag. There are people who write off the entire fossil record and the stone-obvious ‘Yep, we’re definitely primates who evolved from primates’ findings of the Human Genome Project. Belief is a hell of a thing, and reality has traditionally had very little to do with it.

“You will be the keeper of a truth that man has sought for centuries. You will be faced with the responsibility of revealing that truth to the world. The individual who does so will be revered by many and despised by many. The question is whether you will have the necessary strength to carry out that task.”

“In other words, give me the cryptex, lady.”

Can you spot the twist ahead? I can. Dude’s only slightly less obvious than Gollum.

Robert and Teabag then have a brief back and forth to establish that they believe the date has arrived. Remember there was a date assigned to revealing the identity of the Holy Grail, because of the Age of Aquarius or because a badger urinated on the steps of St. Peter’s on a Tuesday or some such random nonsense? Well, they think that’s happening now, and no, I know. It’s some of the weakest plotting I’ve seen in a while, and I have a horrible feeling this this weaksauce shit is also the huge unspecified bombshell that Bish Bling has been having flashbacks about as we narrate his torpid ramblings around southern Europe.

If it is I’m going to be very, very annoyed.

Sophie argues that ‘the monk has not yet revealed his purpose’ and nobody thinks to wander into the next room and ask him. Meanwhile Silas can hear all of this, what with planes not being that well known for their soundproof properties.

“The monk’s purpose is the church’s purpose,” Teabing replied. “To destroy the documents that reveal the great deception. The Church came closer tonight than they have ever come, and the Priory has put its trust in you, Miss Neveu. The task of saving the Holy Grail clearly includes carrying out the Priory’s final wishes of sharing the truth with the world.”

Langdon intervened. “Leigh, asking Sophie to make that decision is quite a load to drop on someone who only an hour ago learned the Sangreal documents exist.”

An hour ago. Did you get that? I’m not buying it. It took at least two hours for these two droning nitwits to bang on about The Last Supper. You know you’re in the presence of someone really boring when they appear to have the power to warp time.

Aaaanyway. Sophie says that Teabag said that you don’t find the Grail: the Grail finds you. And that the Grail has clearly found her, so there. The men look ‘startled’ at this but I’m sure even though she’s now the official keeper of the Holy Grail they will find plenty of time to condescend to her/ignore her/subject her to inappropriate grubby metaphors. Because they’re nice like that.

So that was chapter sixty-nine. It was the most underwhelming sixty-nine of my life.

Chapter Seventy…

…is one of those short chapters in which we get a brief reminder that the powers that be are still chasing our heroes. Apparently Vernet has just changed his story and told the French police that Sophie and Bob stole something from Sauniere’s account, while Fache discovers that a private plane has just taken off from a nearby airfield, bound for this green, pleasant and soon-to-be long-suffering land.

Fache then delegates the investigation at Chateau Villette to Clusterfuck Collet and scurries off in the direction of whatever it is the plot requires of him next.

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