This review contains spoilers.
Last year’s Mini-centric episode was considered one of the moments that could stand side-by-side with the show’s best. This year, it easily surpasses that. The reason the episode works, for me, is not because Mini is a great character (although she is), or because of the teenage drama that unfolds around her, but because it tells a story from beginning to end(ish), and Skins has a habit elsewhere of just selectively having things happen.
It’s the same reason I like this year’s Rich episode so much, and the heartbreak here is just as abundant. Last year, Mini’s dilemma was about keeping up appearances with her friends, losing her virginity, and winning the respect of a guy she didn’t actually love, but we can see how far she’s come. Now, sleeping with Alo on some sort of power trip, her world is turned upside down when he not only tells her that he’s in love, but she finds out that she’s pregnant.
Now, it’s not unusual for a teen drama to have ‘the pregnancy episode,’ but Skins never does take the obvious path. The word pregnant isn’t actually spoken until around three quarters into the episode, and the issue does not occupy the episode’s action. It just sort of hangs there, unaddressed, mirroring the shrine to positive pregnancy tests Mini has created in her bedroom drawer. Anyway, who would she tell? Liv should really consider handing in her best friend role.
No, it’s left to Franky to be observant and care for her friend in need, and the two girls reignite their special connection from last series. Many fans were confused as to where the unrequited attraction between them had disappeared to, but the close friendship shown here is certainly a good consolation prize. The two actresses shine on screen together, the two strongest performers lifting the scenes to new heights.
But most of the episode takes place in the real world, away from Roundview college and the rest of the teenagers. Mini has always been a more mature figure than we’re used to on Skins, and it’s refreshing to spend time with a character who isn’t constantly hooked on sex, drink and drugs all of the time. Mini lives in her own little world of teenage melodrama, and this makes her episodes look and feel different from the gritty adventures of some of her friends.
And as with many a TV teen, the former mean girl is after the approval of her absentee father. We’re never told what made him leave his wife and daughter in the first place, but we’re sure that nothing good can come of their reconciliation. Blinded by fancy office parties and the promise of protection at such a tumultuous time, Mini seeks his love nonetheless, before everything inevitably comes crashing down around her.
The character is one of those brilliant creations that we love, but deserves everything that’s coming to her. This conflicting trait thus allows her storylines to truly engage the audience; her imperfection providing no end of self-inflicted drama for the ongoing series. She’s one of the stand-outs of the series, and this episode, like all the best ones, allows us to get to know her on the deepest levels.