I just finished watching the series 6 premiere of Skins and I’m left with very mixed feelings. The story in and of itself and what it might lead to later in the series was an exciting change of pace from what has happened in earlier series. What bothered me was that the writers seem to have forgotten who their characters are over the break and I don’t understand why they decided to do it like this.
In the first episode back we see the gang meet up for a vacation in Morocco. Here we meet one of Nick’s friends, whose name escapes me, in a vacation home that leaves a lot to be desired. The group of friends have fun in true Skins style, with drugs and partying, sex and nudity. We learn that Franky and Matty have been on their own private trip and that Franky is getting bored with the monotony of the relationship. When they all go to crash a party nearby we are introduced to Luke and his friends, who we later find out are drug dealers. Franky, who is feeling the need to break away from Matty, soon gets involved with Luke. Luke sends his lackey to persuade Matty into driving a drug run in order to be allowed to ‘keep’ Franky, but it all goes wrong when Luke drives off with her during a beach party. Liv, who has been warned about Luke and his involvement in drugs, forces Matty to drive after them and stop Franky from getting hurt. A car chase ensues, and ends in tragedy as the two of them, along with Grace, drive off the road. We see Matty run away from the wreck, and later learn that Grace is in a coma and that Matty ran to get away before the police showed up. Also, we see Mini and Alo start a physical relationship.
My biggest disappointment in terms of character development was Franky. While I think it could have been interesting to explore her struggles and doubts about her relationship with Matty, her first ever relationship, I don’t get why they had to make her so unlikable and bitchy. It was as if someone had body snatched the former shy and insecure version of her and replaced it with an angry and completely out of line version of herself. It’s ok to have issues with your boyfriend, but talking about an artist you don’t like in the car does not justify the tantrum she started in her first scene. Neither does it make it ok to go off with some other guy right in front of Matty. What makes it even more frustrating is that although the plot needed Franky to show interest in Luke, there was never a necessity for her to be so rude to Matty. I would have much preferred that Franky was feeling a little unsure about her relationship and therefore developed a crush on Luke. It would have led to the same outcome.
As for Matty, I felt so sorry for him throughout the episode. He was clearly showing that he cared about Franky while at the same time being unable to confront her about her actions. Seeing him in the background as Franky openly flirts with Luke was hard, and it was admirable that he still felt like doing a drug delivery in order to ‘keep’ her. When the car chase started I was certain that something would go wrong, and after seeing that wreck it’s hard to believe anyone survived. I’m not sure how to feel about Matty running away from the situation. I guess he saw what staying would mean when there were drugs all around the car, but it’s still not what I thought he would do. Also, I might have heard wrong, but didn’t Mini tell Nick at the end that Matty hadn’t called because ‘he loves her’? Is that meant to mean that Matty ran in order to protect Franky? And if so, why?
It was nice to see Grace and Rich together being happy and having a good time. That made it extremely sad when we learned that Grace was in a coma when school started, and that Rich is not allowed to see her. I may have said so before on this blog, but while I really like Grace as a character, I don’t find the acting believable at all. I hope that she will get better in the future, and in many ways I think her situation will provide Rich with some interesting storylines, and also create some tension as guilt and blame splits the group.
On the lighter side, I enjoyed Mini and Alo together. It was a bit out of left field, but as far as I remember they shared a moment or two in the series 5 finale to make it just believable enough. It will be interesting to see how they interact in the future, but for now I find them to be a lighter and fun part of the series. The only thing I find odd is that Mini seems to have forgotten every feeling they hinted that she had for Franky in the series 5 finale.
The ending showed Nick dealing with his brother’s disappearance. I have liked Nick ever since his episode last series, and I think the actor who plays him does a great job. It will be interesting to see how he deals with his brother’s implication in both the accident and the drug possession. It bothered me that he didn’t just answer the phone at the end, especially after having just spoken to Mini about not being contacted. The looks shared between him and Franky at the end seem to indicate that the two might grow closer in the future. I look forward to seeing what happens and cross my fingers that Matty will be back in not too long.
While I appreciate the series starting by turning the group dynamic on its head, much like the suicide in the series 4 premiere, I wish it would have stayed more true to the characters we got to know last series. I watch this show for the characters, not for the plot.