18 February, 2012

Skins Again & The Problem With Violence

Chilling on a pool table.

Skins continued this week, with a Frankie-centric episode which centred on the Luke character from the series opener and dealt with her feelings of responsibility over Grace's death. Apart from the implausible 'oh yes Frankie, we met in Morocco but I also happen to live in Bristol' plot device, the episode was at least fairly fast-paced and watchable.

Frankie remains an interesting character, and she is played well by Dakota Blue Richards, but continues to behave in ridiculous ways. During the episode, in which Luke was violent and aggressive towards her, the character sensed no danger despite it being obvious from Luke himself, and from people speaking to her, that he is not a nice guy. Any character who says 'You make my brain cum' is probably not somebody you should get to know.

The rest of the characters, bar Nick, were hardly in the episode at all, and whether or not this is a good thing, it is something that Skins does often, when focusing on one character for a week. However, Alex from last week was not featured in the episode at all, and it seems that audiences will duly forget about him if you introduce a character and then forget about him.

Much has been made this week of the amount of violence featured in the episode. But what I had a problem with was the way it fitted into the script. The violence was not gratuitous within the context of the plot, but served little purpose. Gratuitous violence is always needless and headline-grabbing, and damages the integrity of a programme.

The violence in this episode was not demonstrated to be the exciting draw it was meant to be - it seemed childish, dangerous (due to the baseball bats) and something that would turn most people off their new friend. But not for Frankie. The programme showed a lot of violence and damage, but then allowed Luke and Frankie to kiss in the middle of a pub brawl in complete safety, without worry. It would have been better to be consistent with the violence you are showing, and not give your protagonist immunity from any danger.

In all, the episode was carried by the Nick/Frankie (Frick?) love plot and the idea of Frankie's grief and responsibility, which really should have been touched on in an earlier episode. To be honest, Grace works well as a ghost, rather than a living person, and Nick/Frankie is one of the couplings I can actually see happening. Another steady improvement in Skins-world, but I'm not even sure if, after decling popularity of the last two series, E4 will commision a seventh.

Written for: Great and Gold

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