08 February, 2012

Skins - the next two eps

The most recent two episodes of Skins have dealt with death, friendship, endings and beginnings, but have differed significantly. The first episode was a predictable, boring and drawn-out hour of hedonistic grief, and the second was a more clever, slow and heart-warming look at the universe of a teenager.

Episode two centred on the death of a central character, and followed the characters as they tried to deal with their friend's coma, squatted in a teachers' house and ultimately learnt about their friend's death. Whereas the programme used to have intelligent and innovative ways of storytelling, we sat through an infinitely long, average, drudge through a mediocre narrative which again, had implausible character motivations, and failed to bring to life the situation at hand. There was an increased amount of violence and destruction in the episode - rather than showing grief and confusion, it showed a Rich as a weak character acting like the child he pertains not to be. He is a character who fails to draw any empathy, or emotion, from the audience - a fault which falls at the feet of both the actor and the writers.

The writers continued to fail in the episode, by overdoing their points and over-exaggerating the story - not in a way that is a hyperbole of real life, something Skins has done excellently in the past, but as a consolation for them failing to provide exposition naturally. Some examples:

'Your milk is no longer required here.'
Yes, we get it, they've left the country.

'Everything's mental since fucking Morocco.'
Yes, obviously, because YOU fucked up and now your friend's in a coma.

The third episode of the current run, however, was a strong comeback and pushed the series in an upward direction. The new boy, Alex, played by a charismatic Sam Jackson, had an interesting, believable and surreal back-story. The episode's strengths rested on his performance, which almost managed to carry off the ridiculous, and implausible dice idea. What the episode showed excellently was the group of friends who sit, speechless, together, as it remains the only way they can think of to overcome their grief. After their friend's death, their social circle has been shaken to its core, and the episode managed to convey their confusion over how they should behave, only that they should be together. Alex's twist - his being gay - was predictable, and I had initial sighs when they entered the gambling 'den', but ultimately, this was a step back towards the fun, surreal and odd happenings of first-generation Skins.

Although the message of destroying the memorial service was ruined by Liv's flashing, the episode ended on a high - the idea of friendship pervaded, and the ridiculous dice shenanigans were thrown into the ocean with Alex's gran. Now let's just keep our fingers crossed and hope the writers keep up this standard... but judging by the return of Morocco-boy in the trailer for next week, my hopes are not high... 

Written for: Great and Gold

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