Skins Pure part one review

Review Caroline Preece
15 Jul 2013 - 23:00

Cassie's story is stylishly shot, and could easily slot into the original series. Here's Caroline's review of Skins Pure part one...

This review contains spoilers.

I really thought that, out of the three new Skins adventures I had imagined in my head, Skins Fire was the strangest to start with. It was so adult and alien to fans of the original series, bearing little resemblance to what we’d come to know the show as being. But now, having seen the first half of Skins Pure, I realise that none of the new episodes are going to be like the old series – and they’re not intended to be. This is an entirely different entity, and the fact that we already know the characters is just a bonus.

Cassie, out of the three characters we’ll be revisiting, might also be the most-loved. She’s the oldest character coming from a time when the show was at a peak in popularity and, for me at least, Skins Pure was the one I was most concerned about. We find Cassie working at a cafe in London and living in a scummy shared house. Her life isn’t nearly as glamorous or together as Effy’s and, if anything, she’s in the same position she was when we left her five years ago.

Cassie’s ending was the least ambiguous in that we knew she was in New York, and love interest Sid had gone to find her. Whether he found her or not will be up for debate for a long time, but there are hints in this episode that Cassie and Sid’s relationship had reignited and fizzled out – because if it hadn’t, then it was forever. As a person, she seems less dreamy and more serious, indulging in the side of herself that we saw in series two’s penultimate episodes.

Once a hardcore party girl who never met a drug she didn’t like, now she frets about smoking, shuns company and would rather sit in her bedroom alone than head out with work friends. But her self-isolation is ruined when she discovers a website with countless pictures of her in the street and in her room. Yep, Cassie has gotten herself a stalker, and before long she discovers that the chef in the cafe is the one with the camera. At first, she reacts as most people would and kicks the crap out of him, but then she starts to enjoy the attention.

Many of Cassie’s actions have always been about escaping from herself, with an eating disorder, drug abuse and a suicide attempt all plaguing her throughout the first two series. Now, with those reckless teenage days behind her and, no doubt still reeling from the deaths of two people close to her, she has fewer ways to do this and has retreated into herself instead. When Jacob offers her a way to take control of her image and her body, she begins to realise the benefits of getting some of that power back.

Cassie’s episodes were always the most aesthetically beautiful and this is no exception. We can expect all six instalments to be stylishly shot, of course, but here the sweeping shots of London really set it apart. Skins Pure is much more and much less like a traditional episode of Skins than Fire simply because, while it’s still set away from Bristol and with no known supporting characters, you can imagine it fitting back into the original series quite easily. This is a different kind of young adulthood than the one encountered by girls like Effy Stonem, and that doesn’t make it any less real or worth exploring.

I’ll be honest and admit that my expectations for this farewell series have been lowered by the second half of Skins Fire, but this episode did set up some interesting things to explore next week. It’s surreal and ridiculous, and a world-weary Cassie is hard to take at first, but it’s strikingly different from what the show has done before. Crucially, it stays true to the character, and hopefully we’ll see her get her happy ending at last.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Skins Fire Part Two, here.

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