In last week’s edition of Skins, a girl jumped to an untimely end at Thomas’ club night. Thomas then somehow managed to resist running away with the beautiful Andrea after a brief fling and stayed with his simpleton girlfriend Pandora, who, in a rare act of good judgement, told him to do one. Finally, he got kicked out of college for being vaguely implicated in the jumping girl’s death for good measure, too.
By this point, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the hand of God himself came down from the heavens in order to give Thomas a dead arm that lasted for eternity.
This week, we see that Naomi and Emily are fully loved up these days, despite the slightly predatory nature of Emily’s seduction technique, which was to hang around Naomi like a lioness stalking prey until Naomi realised she liked girls too. People have gone to prison for less!
Emily’s home life has taken a slight turn for the worse since last series, too. Her nouveau riche dad, ably played by Liverpudlian comic Jon Bishop, has lost his prized gym and is bankrupt. Consequently, he now spends his days crying onto his shoes and showing his kids uncomfortable amounts of fatherly love. Emily’s mum, who does a superb impression of Ronni Ancona, still can’t quite accept that her little girl likes other girls either, even going so far as to bribe her little girl to go to uni and not go hopping around Mexico with her Sapphic lover. In the tradition of all good rebellious teens, Emily chooses to stand by her lady in the name of love!
But their idyllic love bubble is under pressure. Not only because Naomi reveals to Emily that it was she who sold a bag of MDMA to the jumping girl. Jumping girl gains a name and a back-story here It seems she’s an artsy army cadet, Sophia ,who enjoys creating creepy shrines dedicated to Naomi. Yet, somehow Emily doesn’t seem to mind all of this and reassures Naomi that she’s ‘very stalkable’. Well, she should know after, all.
However, Emily hangs onto a small locked box which contains the truth behind Naomi and Sophia – something that Naomi is very eager to see left behind. With Sophia’s brother’s help, Emily opens the box and finds Sophia’s super secret sketchbook.
Through the medium of an indie-styled comic strip, Emily learns that Naomi did, in fact, do the dirty on her with Sophia. And for a while it seems that the path of true love may well have come to a full stop for them both. But rather than sitting in front of an EastEnders omnibus with a tub of ice cream and box of tissues, one chat with her own dad convinces her to give it another try.
Huh?! Wait a sec, didn’t Thomas do more or less the same thing? Apart from indirectly causing someone’s death, that is.
In stark contrast to last week’s opener, there’s no big lessons for anyone to learn here. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with no long lasting effects, aside from a dead girl, of course. And what ever happened to Naomi? Last series she wrestled with her own sexuality and now she seems determined to win the medal for ‘most enthusiastic lesbian’ in spite of still not being able to show affection towards Emily without a metric ton of awkwardness.
Oh, and there’s also a reunion between the barely-functioning Freddy and the vacuous Effy, both so utterly lacking in any kind of actual personality, yet so pretty, they were practically manufactured for each other ala Barbie and Ken. In fact, I imagine that, like Barbie dolls, they have smooth formless bumps where their genitalia should be. All the better for wearing those skinny jeans.
After such a strong opening episode, Skins is back to its worst. Lily Loveless is to acting what a water pistol is to fire fighting. She seems to be constantly looking in the middle distance for an autocue and never seems comfortable in her role.
Again, Jack O’Connell comes to the rescue as Cook. Cook is the very ideal of a Daily Mail vision of a modern Britain thug. Yet, O’Connell injects the right amount of sympathy into his performance and his scenes are the only real highlight here.
But the real shame here is the unsatisfying conclusion of the Sophia storyline. After promising so much, they deliver so little. If the writing team can’t sustain their interest, then, really, why should we?
Check out our review of the fourth series opener here.