Skins Recap Episode 407: Effy’s Spotless Mind

by riese & crystal

Wow so, Skins! What fun! Crystal & Riese both really enjoyed this episode, especially the twist at the end! It was so twisty, like a wedge of lemon/lime in your Diet Coke, you know? JK, I hate Diet Coke. There’s other things I hate too but we’ll get to that.

First Riese wants to tell you a story: I had a pair of jeans that were too short on me after being slaughtered by the evil laundry people of East 115th Street in New York, New York. So I had an idea — what if I cut off the bottoms of the pants and turned them into shorts? So I did. These trousers had a great run as pants, and they were equally adept to their new role as “shorts.” Shorts and pants are both great things (though admittedly, we prefer girls in shorts).  That’s just an example of how to reuse something in a positive, proactive way. I just wanted to share. Are you ready for the recap?

[again; feature graphic and all multi-photo graphics snatched from skinsftw, a fantastic tumblr you should follow.]

Skins Episode 407 Recap: Effy’s Vicious Cycle


One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest

A seemingly lucid Effy is living at the psych institution, the kind of place that’s built out of mahogany and the residents do art therapy and hit each other with foam paddles as “healthy anger expression.” Is this how it really is in Britain? Because the mental hospitals in the US available to commonfolk with regular health insurance have linoleum floors, one television, a ping-pong table, a stack of James Patterson books, terrible food, hideous lighting, and no real activities besides fighting with your doctor about when you can get the hell out of the place ’cause it’s making you crazy.

Effy’s new psychiatrist, John T. Foster, is trying to get her to open up about her older brother Tony (from series 1 & 2), who almost died when he got hit by a bus. Effy would rather talk about poetry competitions, unicorns and rainbows, but John isn’t interested in the happy stuff. It’s hard to manipulate someone when they’re happy, duh

Sooo… this is awkward

I actually think I’m going to have a hard time getting over how nice this place is, she’s even allowed to go outside whenever she wants! I wanna go crazy in Bristol! Things at the psych ward are uneventful, Effy just wanders the halls in a dressing gown and reads the Demon Headmaster. Mrs. Stonem sort of sits there quietly as well.

I Wish My Man Wore Old Spice

Mrs Stomen brings Effy one of Freddie’s cardigans by mistake, kid’s fashion is so unisex these days. Effy wants to keep it though, she can huff the MDMA vapour right outta that cotton.


Let Me Make You an Offer You Aren’t Legally Entitled to Refuse

After three weeks, Effy has decided to open up to John T Foster about her brother, she probably realises it’s the only way to blow that crazy pop stand. She recounts the moment that Tony got hit and how he lay in the gutter bleeding and she thought he was dead.

So many painful memories rising to the surface like a dolphin in the ocean but don’t fear, John T. Foster knows exactly to cure them.

John: I want us to try something now. I want you to close your eyes again and imagine that the bus never hit Tony. Can you do that for me?
Effy: It did hit him -
John: It’s just an exercise. Try to imagine it never happened.

I tried to do that with the baby shower episode of The L Word Season Six but so far no dice, I am haunted by Max in the Willy Wonka suit.

But uh, isn’t that a few steps backwards? Like back into “denial” rather than “acceptance”? What’s this guy trying to do? Make her vulnerable and split-open and terrible miserable sad?

Oh who cares THE LESBIAN IS HERE!


This Reminds me of a Cialis Commercial for Some Reason

Naomi visits Effy at the hospital and she’s all like “Hi Effy! How are you!? How’s that sanity thing going?” JK, she starts unloading about her & Emily, thank the lord, as we’ve been whet with curiosity.

Naomi: I just don’t know what we’re doing, if we’re okay or if we’re going to break up. Sometimes I think she can read my mind, I seriously do. I mean is that normal… Eff?
Effy: You mean, are you going mad? So you came to see me to see what a mad person looks like?
Naomi: No! No. No. … Yes.

Effy starts telling her to pass on a message to the Dog Lord. I’d like her to pass on a message to the writers that I’m not buying this scene, I mean Naomi genuinely thinks she could be mad because it’s like Emily can read her mind? Really?

Imagine There’s No Sophia, It Isn’t Hard to Do

But the one thing Naomi is good for in this scene is telling Effy that denial is a bad idea.

Effy: This whole thing with this girl, Sophia. Why don’t you just imagine it never happened?
Naomi: But it did.
Effy: Yeah. But if you tried to pretend like you didn’t…
Naomi: Am I missing something? You can’t change what’s already happened. I wish you could, but you just can’t.

Thank you Naomi.


And This is the Part Where You Give me Reese’s Pieces

Now instead of using her counseling sessions to talk about real problems, Effy just recounts scenes from ET. If you haven’t seen the episode and just read our recaps, you should know that this isn’t one of our jokes, this is really what’s happening here.

John T. Foster in his infinite wisdom tells Effy that she’s ready to go home. Effy doesn’t think so, but he assures her that if she sticks to a routine, continues to see him and lays off drinks and drugs then everything’s going to be hunky-fucking-dory. Unfortunately with her group of friends, that’s like just depositing her right into the pub.

Just Get Those Old Medical Records Off the Shelf

As soon as Effy leaves, John T Foster starts air-drumming and dancing to “Easy Lover.” Last time it was MJ, now Phil Collins… what’s with the comic relief via 80s pop references, Skins? It’s weird and ineffective, besides to show that all doctors are secretly Top 40 private dancers.


A Clean, Well-Lit Room

Effy’s home now, that was quick! Mrs Stonem has removed all signs of her delinquent & manic past such as the vodka bottles, wall of pain, crack pipes and Doc Martens. She also found Effy’s stuffed giraffe, Patto, which must’ve been thrown aside when she discovered underage sex & drugs. But sometimes a stuffed animal is all you’ve got!

She Forgot to Schedule a Little Time to Stop and Smell the Roses

Funny this used to be my daily schedule too.

Mrs Stonem has installed a white board so Effy can prepare a weekly timetable for her sleep and the suitcase of pills she bought home from the psych ward. If you paused the episode obsessively to see what they’re giving her, it looks like the middle bottle is Haloperidol, an anti-psychotic for severe schizophrenia, mania or other psychiatric disorders.


You Went Away? ‘Cause You Said That You Can’t Love Me?

The first thing Effy schedules in is some quality time with Freddie, who she probably hasn’t seen since he visited her in hospital and told him to go away. He’s speechless for a bit and then he’s excited ’cause she’s back! And sane! And still hot!

Freddie wants to know why she refused to see him and Effy explains that it was part of the treatment, under the guidance of her counsellor John.

Freddie: What did he do that was so special?
Effy:
He took all of my bad memories and made them good.
Freddie:
And some of those memories are about me right?
Effy:
Only a few.

Well I Don’t Think We Have to Be Like This Forever

Freddie’s annoyed, he doesn’t like that he gave her bad memories or that she gave him the cold shoulder at the request of another dude. C’mon Freddie, stop being all mememe. I’d tell him to cut his fringe and grow a pair, but it’s not nice to speak ill of the dead.

Effy: I’m sorry.
Freddie: So those bad memories of me that you don’t like, you don’t feel them anymore?
Effy: No, they’re gone, he took them away. But you know what’s left? Love. All I feel for you now is love. Nothing else.

Not fair! Because guess who still has those bad memories? FREDDIE.  Anyhoo…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Effy tells Freddie that they’ll be okay; she says it over and over and you can’t really tell if she’s saying it to him or to herself.  This is probably the first time that these kids have had said “I love you” and had sex when they’ve both been stone cold sober, which I think is a really big deal.


Pandora’s Outfit is Also in the Mood for Time Travel

Pandora phones Effy for a field trip to collect final exam results. They’re holding hands in the hallway and talking about how hopeless they are. It’s cute. Not Naomi-and-Emily cute, but cute. Remember Naomi & Emily? Good times.

There’s only one more episode left for them to make those kids live happily ever after, I’m starting to get anxious.


I Feel Like the Writers of Skins Had Really Messed Up Teachers

Effy’s psychotic break stopped her from taking the exams, so she’d like to retake. Professor Blood isn’t into that. See, thanks to Media Studies, every kid except Effy passed with at least a C, and rather than having to spend time watching her re-take when he could be listening to Elton John, Mr Blood dramatically destroys Effy’s failed grades in the shredder and give her a new, forged transcript that’s full of As. It’s good for funding, you know.

Effy: You want me to tell people that I got three As!?
Prof. Blood: In my experience, Ms Stonem, we are all living lies. Reality, as the sophists so elegantly informed us, is relative.


What I’m Saying Here is Monday, Tuesday – Happy Day. Wednesday, Thursday– Happy Day! You follow?

Effy takes her problem to John T. Foster, explaining that accepting these straight-A grades is like cheating at life. He reminds her that success and achievement is nothing compared to being happy and healthy. I guess that’s fine, unless you’re one of those weirdos who find happiness in success and achievement. I wonder if Mrs Stonem knows she’s paying for a “grades don’t matter” speech. Sidenote I thought it was just Americans who took happiness that seriously and so far it has been a total disaster.

Also a disaster? This doctor! He has broken like 50 rules of doctordom.


Yet No One Seems Much Smarter

The kids are having an exam results party at the pub, and they all stand up and read their grades out loud real quickly. Naomi gets straight As ’cause whatcha gonna do when your girlfriend won’t talk to you THAT’S RIGHT HOMEWORK and Thomas gets nothing because he got expelled.

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Avatar of Riese

Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1732 articles for us.

45 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    This episode was ridiculous, and yes, very Ilene Chaikenesque. I thought that the writers of Skins were smarter than this. To randomly kill Freddie just seems so uncharacteristic of them–I can’t help but feel that there’s something more to that. Like, that it was all in Effy’s head or something.

    Also, what’s going on with the Sophia storyline? Her death was hyped as something that was going to bind the cast together and affect them all throughout the season. We’re only really seeing its effects on Naomily, right now. I wonder if there’s a connection between Sophia and John?

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      OMG. It WAS very Chaikenesque. I hated it and I probably won;t watch Skins again. Besides the fact that I liked seeing Freddie on my screen, this was SO pointless. It was shocking just for fuck’s sake, no reason. Hopefully it is in Effy’s mind but i doubt it.

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    I felt like I needed a support group after watching this episode. Only 1 more with this cast. It’s amazing how they chucked away 2 whole seasons in one, second to last episode.
    ridiculous!

    -But damn that was a creepy, unexpected scene…well done on that note ha

    (*this time the music/doctor dance was an ineffective reused gag, which is too bad since it takes away from the odd/awesomeness of the earlier MJ scenes)

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    Wow. Way to stick with it and not do what I would have done: Posted a recap that simply said “Skins Episode 7 did not exist. Sorry for any confusion. Do not mention any other alternative theories about this on our site. Thanks.” and then gone on to live in denial land.

    I noticed a Tegan and Sara reference and feel like I’m finally a proper lesbian (I can not explain why I only started listening to them a month ago… but it was an epic failure on my part).

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      Hah, I was tempted to suggest to Riese that we do something similar and pretend that the ending didn’t really happen, or maybe re-write it ourselves. But Riese hates hates hates spoilers and so there was no way of discussing it without giving away the ending or delaying the publishing.

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    This was awful and when I watched it I shouted at the TV. Mostly because I couldn’t believe they were doing this again. I don’t know if you guys have watched the first two seasons, but near the end of the second season they killed off Chris, one of the main characters. No lead up beyond the last quarter of the episode. However, we got at least 10 minutes then of learning about his surprise brain tumour thingy, his death and then his funeral.
    This was so absurd. Do they think that 1 in 9 English teenagers die at the end of sixth form? We don’t.

  5. Thumb up 0

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    Yep, you’re not the first person to think of Ilene Chaiken.

    My responses to Freddie getting his head smashed in were:
    1) WTF
    2) No!
    3) Lazy storytelling
    4) LOL
    5) A baseball bat? Really? I’m sorry, I thought Bristol was in England. Not that many English people have BASEBALL bats lying around so they can kill people. If it were me, I’d demand a cricket bat at least, out of national pride or whatever. (And yes, that would absolutely be the first thing on my mind if a psycho came at me with a bat.)

    Just, really.

    What I think is sad is that the ending basically overshadows the entire episode about Effy trying to recover and will forever overshadow it. Because other than the creepy counsellor (I must admit, I thought he was sexually molesting her initially) I thought they handled it really well. (Except the three A’s bit; for God’s sake, that never happens either.)

  6. Thumb up 0

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    w.t.f….

    So, of course I was shocked when I watched this. Kinda freaked out a little bit.

    BUT think about it. This has happened in season 1 and 2 also, with Tony and Chris. Here’s hoping this turns out to be more of a Tony situation, although it’s the end of this cast so it will probably be more of a Chris.. sad.

    I hope this doesn’t become a running thing though: the end of 2 years, someone randomly dies.

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      The only thing different was that they hinted and danced around the Chris issue all season. His parents were split up, his brother dead, no one wanted him. They kept building on that story all season, but this crap happened in 20 minutes. Like WTH?

  7. Thumb up 0

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    I feel the demise of Freddie (with the baseball bat in the doctors peaceful office-yeah you wouldn’t guess that one in a game of cluedo!)symbolizes the hopes and dreams we had for this season (well, mine anyway).

    In that in the pre-season trailors Naomily were hyped up, making us think “YAY, can’t wait to their relationship bloom” and then…Whack-Sophia saga, then another blow-Emily cheating with that girl in the pub?

    Pretty much every episode has been fairly depressing.
    So yeah, can’t wait for next weeks, let me guess..blow everyone up,send them all off to Sh*tter Island?? Thank god they repeat Glee straight after these eps!

    P.s Worse still though is that after next week they’ll be no more of these utterly brilliant recaps, which I have to say are sooo much more entertaining than the actual show itself-so huge thanks to you both!

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      a huge you’re welcome!

      i think with how bad the naomi-emily clips are in the preview, i promise they have a happy ending, you know? it’s called The Rule of Tyra, invented on ANTM, that the more they try and convince you someone is going bad, the more good they will actually end up being.

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      I guess that could have happened, like you and Riese I also have my doubts about whether Freddie actually died. Maybe series 4 will end with Freddie and Cook going to jail and becoming cell buddies, together forevs.

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          except i just watched the preview for next week and dr. evil was looking mighty alive and healthy.

          gaaaah stupid shows thinking that killing off characters for no reason except shock value are the bane of my TV experience.

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    I’m ambivalent about it all.

    On one side I don’t entirely agree with the statements that imply that every event should be foreshadowed and/or built upon (either within the episode or along the series) because then it could become predictable and “unrealistic”.

    On the other side I do feel it’s the show’s structure itself that sometimes makes it feel very fragmented and condensed at the same time. Each week it focuses mainly on one character (occasionally two) and you see him/her/them go through major, life altering situations… a lot of times with characters, and in places, you have never seen and/or won’t ever see again. That formula added to the fact that the writers are “fast-and-loose with the space-time continuum” (as Heather Hogan said on AE) makes it for an often disjointed,“incidential and arbitrary” experience of a show.

    An experience that I mostly appreciate because as you can see ^, I enjoy inorganic writing.

    Some things I’m not ambivalent about:

    1. I agree with Fiona: “What I think is sad is that the ending basically overshadows the entire episode about Effy trying to recover and will forever overshadow it”

    2. I also agree that, foreshadowing or no foreshadowing, the ending did feel like shock value for the sake of it…especially with the whole “in loving memory” shit slap they did (It’s hard to think of something more offensive than the murderer(s) publishing the obituary…I almost makes it funny)

    3. I enjoyed this recap

    4. I don’t know how: (a) to link to other websites or to comments (h) to be concise (n) the alphabet works

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    When I watched this episode, I guessed that it, specifically the ending, would be polarising. However, I didn’t anticipate that it would be 99% of the viewing population on one side, and me on the other.

    Admittedly I was only half concentrating on this episode, so maybe I missed some cues. After the psychiatrist started prancing round to Phil Collins, I wrote him off as another eccentric caricature that’s ultimately harmless, like all the other adults on Skins.

    So when the blood splatter hit the window, I was genuinely surprised. There’s so little on film or TV that’s surprising these days that I enjoyed the fact that something was capable of making me swear aloud in mild astonishment.

    Anyway, people are ignoring the most shocking thing about the whole series which was highlighted by the tacky memorial thing on the e4 website: there are people that were born in the 90s that are now ADULTS. This might have been the case for a couple of years now, but I was in denial.

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      “Anyway, people are ignoring the most shocking thing about the whole series which was highlighted by the tacky memorial thing on the e4 website: there are people that were born in the 90s that are now ADULTS. This might have been the case for a couple of years now, but I was in denial.”

      hilarious! i’ve been having that swirling thought in the back of my head for the entire series and frequently while out enjoying real life.

      i try to ignore it though, lest i feel even more like an old pervy grandpa.

      :)

  10. Pingback: Eight Tips For Buying A Guitar Online | Adult-Guitar-Lessons.com

  11. Thumb up 0

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    I didn’t realise till I read the recap that the next episode is the finale.. It’s really weird – this season is two episodes shorter than the last two seasons, and Naomi didn’t get her own episode… the Emily one is JUST called ‘Emily’. I don’t get how they’re going to resolve everything next week.

    And with the Chris death comparisons – at least Chris’s death was partly realistic – illnesses happen, sudden deaths affect groups of friends all the time. This thing with Freddie is just… kinda stupid.

    Oh and Riese and Crystal – I’m right there with you on the denial-front. I actually took it for granted that he could still be alive, but now that whole memorial thing on the website is ruining it.

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    my thoughts and feelings during the episode:

    when they started playing the evil music for the evil psychiatrist, “this is like when Lois’s psychiatrist tried to steal her from Clark, only Lois was an amnesiac, not a manic depressive.” (i catalogue life/tv events based on how they relate to Lois and Clark: the new adventures of Superman). this was weird for me though, because even in her vulnerable state, if there is anything Effy is a genious about it’s manipulating people when it comes to sex, so it seemed silly that we were to believe that she’d fall victim to it without actually being in on the plan.

    then it turned out E.P. was giving her amnesia, via hypnosis. “yep, douch on L&C hypnotized Lois, too. apparantly this is how it’s done.”

    E.P. approaches Freddie on the stairs with a baseball bat, “Freddie’s going to push that man down the stairs, call Cook crying, they’re going to hide his body and spend the next episode dealing with the cops searching for E.P./Cook…
    *gasp*
    going to my happy place, lois gets all cheeky and says “who’s asking, Clark or Superman?” and runs off, trying to get out of the rain, and the world thinks “you go get her Clarkie”.
    oh, next time on skins, that doesn’t look good. nope, that either. why do i feel ill? what did i eat today? oh right, they showed blood splatter. they showed blood splatter?! shit like this didn’t happen on L&C, worst case scenario Lois spilt something on her new blouse.”

    and scene.

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      “when they started playing the evil music for the evil psychiatrist, “this is like when Lois’s psychiatrist tried to steal her from Clark, only Lois was an amnesiac, not a manic depressive”

      wow hahaha, totally forgot until now that I used to watch Lois & Clark religiously and I remember that episode

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    The recall to Tony’s accident was scary but the end was horrifying. Makes S2 look like a fairy tale.

    Side note: Effy goes into the hospital twice and Tony can’t come visit her?

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    I don’t think I will be watching skins again after the upcoming finale.

    This episode just didn’t flow well and as much as I love Phil Collins, his musical prowess just thrown into a scene randomly did nothing for me. And now whenever I hear ‘Easy Lover’ I have visions of baseball bat murders. Cheers skins writers.

    This series has been depressing, there should have been a lot more hugs, stroking and happiness with all that MDMA knocking about.

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    well, the finale of the first cast ended with all their lives in a not-so-happy state, so it’s not like i ever expected this cast to end on a good note either. i have been pretty pissed off with this season though, it has really sucked. i swear, before naomi & emily were really even together they became this fucked up couple-thing. what are they gonna do next week “oh wait yeah i forgot, i love you yay all is well~”. i can’t really see that happening, when the main focus is going to be on Freddie being dead/missing? also, he is definitely dead & not coming back, Kaya (Effy) confirmed it on her twitter account. in fact, the whole storyline with Effy and her depression seemed totally out of the blue to me :| ehhh i just hope that, if they make another season after this, the new cast is better and the writing is better.

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    All I can really say is:
    a) EXCELLENT recap, wish I’d found this earlier
    b) I concur with basically everything already said – murder was disgusting/sounds sickening, storylines/writing = lazy, etc etc.

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    AAAAH computer submitted before I finished…
    and…

    c) How the fuck did Foster get Freddie’s mobile number? Did Freddie not even stop to think about that???

    On the whole, this ep, and the series as a whole – WEAK. Except perhaps JJs ep, that was just pure feel-good!
    (Did anyone else think the first time we saw Cook appear outside jail that maybe it was going to be a sort-of ‘he died in jail’ ghost thing?)

  18. Thumb up 0

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    finally watched it &

    WHATT THEE FUCKCKKCKCKCKKKKKK SKINS!

    Freddie :_(

    everyone dies! ahhh! (RIP Chris!) & if Freddie comes back won’t it be too idk Tony-ish?? TOO MANY FEELINGS >:O looking forward to next season already though…need some fresh characters!

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    p.s. quick story- so on youtube when i clicked to watch me some skins part 6/6 came up and couldn’t find 1/6 and went to comments to see if anyone had same issue…anyways bad idea cuz peeps were all like “omg skins why someone die” and i was all like fuck goodbye effy and spent the whole time thinking about effy’s last moments but omgwtfthatsnotatallwhathappened!

  20. Thumb up 0

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    So, I think it was a good call to recap the whole episodes. I was just thinking that if you had gone for just the Naomily bits, you might have won an award for world’s shortest recaps.

    Also, I had to do it. I watched the spoiler someone linked to up there. I’ll keep my mouth shut, but I do have to say that I love this cast. I wish the writers hadn’t gone all Chalken on this season, because I do think some of the actors are really great.

  21. Thumb up 0

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    WTF. WTF. WTF.
    This was absolutely ridiculous. You can’t kill a teenager in a absurdly unnecessary turn of events with an ironic touch of humor in the form of blood splatter at the end.
    WTF. WTF. WTF.

    (Cassie went to the same place, back in the days when the people in charge only had severe OCD.)

  22. Thumb up 0

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    I thought the ending of this episode was a joke. At first I was horrified, but it became more ridiculous the more I thought about it. I mean, c’mon.

    1. Why would Freddie agree to come to the Creepy Therapist’s house despite disliking and not trusting the man? Why couldn’t they have just spoken on the phone? In fact, why didn’t he just hang up on him? He plainly told him to fuck off, I don’t see why he’d give the CT the time of the day.

    2. Why would he ENTER the guy’s house? Why not speak outside the front door?

    3. WHY go down into the guy’s goddamn BASEMENT!?

    4. Freddie’s been in several fights (alongside Cook, I’m sure). He’s a streetwise, sarcastic teenager. To think that he would not have put up a fight is ridiculous. He could’ve kicked John T Foster down his creepy ass stairs and tried to kick the door open. Or turn the bat on the man himself. Whatever. But he just huddled there meekly, begging the man to open the door.

    I’ve never been a fan of Freddie, but it was just wholly uncharacteristic of him. Seriously. You’re right — it was purely for shock value. Fuck consistency and logic, let’s just pop in a COMPLETELY RANDOM MURDER.

    I was also greatly displeased with another Random Man Falls In Love With Effy storyline. She’s beautiful and a little bit crazy, but really? Really now? And to introduce a character in the second last episode to kill off a main character?! I, too, wrote him off early on as yet ANOTHER eccentric character of authority (how many have we had in Skins now?).

    A few people compared this to Tony & Chris in the first two series. But I think they’re incomparable. While Tony’s accident happened out of nowhere, it served the purpose of rebuiling his character, and making him realise his sociopathic ways. And with Chris — it was also built up over time with stories of his family, his brother’s illness, etc. And his death was just… heartbreaking.

    But what is this fuckery?! Ridiculous!

    (BTW – Great, great recap. You girls make me laugh.)

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