In my first two reviews of the sixth series of Skins I was fairly negative. In the third and fourth instalment of the new series, I have almost nothing bad to say. Aside from sometimes wishing there were some lighter moments in an otherwise very dark story I think the writers are handling the grieving process really well in true Skins fashion, and I enjoy watching it.
– Whenever a new character is introduces into such an established group of friends I am initially unsure if I like them or not. Alex I liked from the minute I saw his numbered notes. I enjoyed how he carried around a dice in order to keep life interesting and unpredictable, and it was fun to see him randomly punch Alo only to apologize and run out.
– That Alex was gay actually came as a shock to me. In most of the shows I watch I can tell when twists like those are coming, but this time I was not expecting it. I liked that they managed to play it ambiguously to begin with, and how they developed his and Liv’s relationship in the limited amount of time they had. Liv is not my favourite character, but her friendship with Alex was a great way to make me feel invested in her again.
– While not the most important thing I took away from the episode, it was incredibly nice to have a show not make a big deal about someone revealing their gay. I’m so used to shows treating the coming out type stories with such care and respect that it ends up coming off as a public service announcement. Don’t get me wrong, those are necessary too considering how there are so many small-minded people in the world, but every now and then it’s nice to see a show where one’s sexual orientation is matter-of-fact and not particularly integral to who that person is.
– The plot of Alex and his grandmother was touching. It was nice to see how much he cared for her, even enough to take her to the sea and throw her overboard. I’m not sure how he is going to explain that away to his father, but I thought it showed a lot of his character.
– I only had one minor issue with this episode, so I’ll get that out of the way first. While almost everything Franky did in this episode made sense given her situation, one thing felt off, and that was her going back to Luke. Fighting, distancing herself from her friends, yelling at Matty on the phone and slacking off from school were all things I felt fit the plot, but since a lot of it came from her getting together with Luke I was having some issues with it. However, as the episode went on I got the strong feeling that the reason she was staying with him was that by doing that she was more or less excusing his implications in Grace’s death, thereby diminishing her own. For me it was her way of distancing herself from her guilt.
– As much as I want to hate Luke, and believe me I do, I did at times during the episode feel a strange sense of sympathy for him. I don’t mean that in the sense that I want him to be let off the hook for getting Franky into the situations he did, or for beating up Nick or for forcing himself on Franky, but I wonder what screwed him up so much. I believe he was experiencing some sort of attachment to her and that there’s no chance we’ve seen the last of him. I rarely get scared by characters on TV, but Luke really does frighten me when I think of what he might pull later this series.
– I think Franky’s dads are the first examples in Skins history of good parents. It’s been a long time since I watched the earlier series, but from what I can remember there have been mostly bad examples of parenting one this show. Franky’s dads aren’t even her biological parents, but adoptive parents who chose an older child because they felt she was the right one for them. Every scene between Franky and her parents in this episode was amazing, both the funny ones and the sad ones.
– Nick was the sweetest in this episode! I’ve liked and enjoyed his character ever since his episode in series five, and come to love him as one of the more comedic characters on the show. In some weird way I knew he was going to develop feelings for Franky this series and I was surprised to discover I like the prospect of them being more than mates. However, there seems to be an unrealistic amount of people in this show longing for Franky at the moment. You have Luke, Matty and now Nick, and there have been some hinting that Mini at one point had similar feelings. I will admit that Franky is possibly the most interesting of the girls, but that’s still a little weird.
– In Skins I try not to get too hung up on the acting. One of the joys of this show is that most of the cast consists of new and fresh faces. However, I think this episode showcased some of Dakota Blue Richard’s best work to date. I prefer her when she’s doing her subtle acting rather than her screaming tantrums. Also, Sean Teale is proving to be one of Skins’ best actors of all time in my opinion, at least as far as men go. The only one I can see surpassing him is Jack O’Connell from series 3 and 4. The best moment between the two of them was at the end when they reconcile. The entire scene was so touching and beautifully awkward.