Skins series 5 episode 7 review

Skins goes a bit more back to basics with its latest episode, and Jake really wishes it hadn't...

Has there ever been a character as appropriately named as Grace? Always the absolute picture of respectability and poise, as long as you don’t count her occasional bouts of shoplifting and her metalhead boyfriend. But then, it’s no wonder why Grace acts the perfect daughter when it’s revealed her father is none other than uptight principle, David Blood.

True to form, Blood demands no less than perfection from his offspring. giving her an ultimatum that she must achieve top marks or face being sent to a private college away from the friends she loves, after he sees Rich trying to make a quick getaway out of his house. That’ll teach his daughter to have a sex life.

The pressure is now on for Grace to excel at directing the gang in a Shakespeare play, unwittingly casting the triad of Matty, Franky and Liv, who have their own drama to work through. There’s been more lingering looks between enigmatic Matty and androgynous Franky, yet still not much of a conversation between them. However, Liv’s suspicions have been aroused, and not without good reason.

But they’re not the only ones acting. Grace herself has to keep up the good daughter pretence, hoping for a fairytale happy ending. But it’s Rich who sees through her act.

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This series has managed to raise Skins from the mire that was the second generation. Thematically, this episode is as strong as the rest of the series. If only the storyline wasn’t so much of a rewrite from last week. What is it that makes Roundview such an amazing place to study, anyway?

It’s depressing to see Skins fall back to its outlandishly stereotypical parent characters. After the subdued performances from the adults throughout this series, it’s jarring to see Chris Addison camping it up as David Blood.  And for a series that has so much going on underneath the surface, there’s some gigantic plot holes. It takes a massive leap of faith to assume that Mini and Liv, Grace’s oldest BFFs, wouldn’t know who her father is for all these years.

Really, though, all these small quibbles are only noticeable because the first five episodes were so tightly structured. After such a successful reboot as a surprisingly adult teenage drama, it’s a shame to see the same lapses of cohesion that blighted the second generation.

Thankfully, the dips in quality are counterbalanced by some strong scenes, including Franky talking about her pansexuality, a refreshing depiction that’s a first for TV, and when Grace realises that fairytale endings don’t happen in real life, which is undermined when Rich makes his grand gesture and proposes to her, giving her the fairytale ending that she wants.

Skins series 5 has worked best when it’s taking itself seriously, suffering only when it takes a turn for the juvenile. We’re still a long way from the depths of generation 2, but those promising first few episodes are seeming further and further away.

Read our review of episode 6 here.

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