by riese & crystal
[thanks to skinsftw for many of these graphics]
Episode 408: In which Riese & Crystal wished we’d just stuck to recapping the Naomi & Emily parts, b/c then this episode would’ve been a hands-down winner!
If you haven’t seen the episode, you might want to skip this opening bit and come back to it after reading the recap. SPOILER ALERT! I just want to get this out before the recap because I really like almost everything about this show, enjoyed a great deal of this episode & adore its loyalty to homos. But first must scream.
Skins, Episode 407/408: Let’s get this out of the way straight off — what an oddly unsatisfying, amateurish & irresponsible ending! Like 2009’s L Word finale and the “Who Killed Jenny” plotline that dominated their final season, Skins ended on a haphazard bang, wasting its last minutes on a purposeless undiscovered-murder plot. Furthermore, said murder didn’t do anything to serve the rest of the story either; with the majority of the gang not even aware that Freddie’s dead, we didn’t even get flashbacks or a “brought together by common tragedy to realize what’s truly important, like rainbows and love and education” moment.
This is particularly disappointing because we’ve always trusted Skins. Why? ‘Cause Skins has always dared to portray a misunderstood demographic (teenagers) (just as TLW did for lesbians) as teenagers truly are, not as moralistic teen-soap-writers want them to be. This means Skins can be harsh about adults whereas other shows prefer adults to be well-meaning role models (excessively at times); Skins’ parents & leaders never have the answers. They’re obscenely clumsy, solipistic, hypocritical, one-dimensional and morally ambiguous. That’s rare in a show and these unsparing portraits quickly earned the trust of its young viewers –– Skins understands that parents & teachers just don’t understand sometimes.
Yes, Skins has created one of television’s most authentic adolescent worlds. Its characters can get so ugly while remaining honest and redemptive. The consequences of reckless living are relate-able; because unlike traditional Badass Kids Clichès and their corresponding Very Special Episodes from Dawson’s Creek or 90210, every fuck didn’t lead to pregnancy and every joint didn’t lead to heroin addiction. Naomi & Emily’s lesbian relationship completely eschewed traditional Lesbian Relationship Clichès. That’s never been done before. More like an indie film than a TV drama, we relate to Skins’s portrayal of the more typical repurcusions of teenage drugging, drinking, sexing, class-skipping and fist-fighting — the parts where we fall in love, make new friends, lose friends, fight, cry, and face terrifying moments of self-reckoning.
Did Freddie’s murder betray those established no-life-threatening-consequences rules of Skins-ville? No, it didn’t. But what the authors neglected to consider is that we appreciate Skins‘ matter-of-fact depiction of adolescence because it is true, not just because it’s different, fun, titilating or enables us to rationalize our own bad behavior. It is different, titilating and edgy, but ultimately it’s the honesty that hooks us; it’s the honesty that makes the difference work. Freddie’s murder wasn’t honest and so it feels like a lie from a friend we always trusted.
There were plenty of ways for Skins kids to die: first-fights, drug overdoses, a giant rock to the head. And perhaps because Skins specifically wanted to avoid a Message show but apparently really wanted to kill someone, they invented John T. Foster. But really Skins? Of all the drug-pushers on this show, it’s the two-episode licensed psychiatrist who turns out motivated by evil?
Not only did Skins‘ final episodes, like The L Word‘s, deny us a plethora of unexplored but juicy stories not yet told, but both dealt with mental illness in a surprisingly reckless fashion. In The L Word, Jenny Schecter, a bipolar rape victim who’d delt with coming out, being estranged from her family and self-mutilation, loses nuance in favor of a one-dimensional murder-ready cliche and suddenly all of her friends become potential killers? [More on that here] Effy, also bipolar, self-medicates with drugs and alcohol, completely loses her mind, and is finally seeking professional help for her illness. Mixing MDMA, cocaine, weed, alcohol and mushrooms doesn’t kill anyone (which is fine), but taking prescribed medication while on a path to permanent wellness leads to the death of your true love (which is not)?
What an irresponsible message to send, ultimately, about a very serious issue, and one lots of druggie kids can relate to as self-medicating is so prevalent among mentally ill undiagnosed teenagers. And fine, fine, fine, Skins doesn’t have to be responsible. But we know that it can be — it usually is!
So why do this? What was the point? How irresponsible of the writers, much like Ilene, to make mental illness the impetus for murder and so unnecessarily so. How disappointing. By seeking treatment and health, Effy caused the death of her boyfriend, and Jenny’s “craziness” eventually became a punchline.
That being said, this might be the first time in human history that at the story’s end, everyone’s life is shit except for the lesbians’ and the black guy’s.
The final episode starts off uplifting: the sun’s shining, birds are singing and Thomas is feeling the leaves of the trees and feeling grateful that unlike some of his peers, he’s alive.
Then he starts running! Like the wind! Probs to escape his troubles with endorphins, or perhaps to run off the set of this show like we’d do. I didn’t think kids in Bristol ran unless it was after someone who’d stolen their MDMA or because their girlfriend cheated on them with Cook and everyone was hallucinating in the forest.
Hello Irrelevant New Finale Character #1! My, you’re Flexible!
Like Thomas, Cook’s found a way to get fit and get rid of his emotional pain.
Don’t Get In Over Your Head
Emily is woken up by Cook’s screwing and OMG IS THAT MANDY? There’s liquor bottles everywhere and it would be easier for us to all blame the booze but let’s face it, Emily all but admitted she wanted to jump Mandy’s bones. Where are they? Is that Naomi’s place?
Smells Like Teen Spirit
She smells her fingers to see what she did last night, which is the second-best moment of this episode. Although with the level of unlucky circumstances swirling about this episode, I wouldn’t be surprised here if she was sniffing bacterial vaginosis.
Eye of the Tiger
Thomas is jogging his broken heart out and ends up at the athletics track. Seeing as nightclub promoting and academia didn’t exactly work for Tom-Tom, he’s gonna win Pandora back like Forrest Gump meets Let’s Get Fitched. His speed catches the attention of a coach who’s trying to train a white man who can’t jump or run.
Freddie’s sister Karen receives a postcard in the mail but she’s skeptical, his rucksack is in the corner of the room empty and we all know he’d never leave home without his hair straightener and overnight lip conditioner. Is that even Freddie’s handwriting? She puts on Freddie’s favourite tshirt which is a shame and starts talking to Ghost Freddie.
Girl’s Relationship, Rudely Interrupted
Katie’s spent the night at the psych ward, Effy’s room’s massive by anyone’s standard so it’s probs better than the caravan park. I really do enjoy Katie’s post-bankruptcy personality, showing such support and concern for a girl who once tried to kill her and is now dating her dead ex-boyfriend really does encapsulate the true meaning of ‘bigger person’. Effy’s waiting for someone who will likely never show.
Effy: Only in my head. Talking in my head.
Katie: What’s old Freds saying?
Effy: He’s saying they’re all fucking mad.
I wish I had a dead guy in my head and every time someone pissed me off I’d be like “Hey, old Freds says you need to stop stealing my tampons.”
This is What Would Happen if Gay Marriage Was Legalized, People Would Marry Bouncy Balls
Pandora, who we know is attracted to balls and things that bounce, has joined the group for undetermined reasons. She’s just as barmy as the other mad people really, but not in that certified way.
Panda breaks from the group and bounds through Effy’s window like an enthusiastic little pup. Remember these good times ’cause they’ll need to get you through the next 30 minutes.
I can’t untangle, I can’t untangle
What I feel and what would matter most
Yup, it is Naomi’s place! Naomi bounds into the bedroom with eggs and Red Bull (home-cooked breakfast of champions) and suddenly sees that she should’ve prepared for three.
She doesn’t notice Mandy at first which makes my stomach hurt, but then a fearful Emily nods Mandy’s way.
Naomi: Has she been like that all night?
Naomi: You were both so fucking trashed, so I slept on the couch with Panda. [about Mandy] She’s quite cute… for a straight girl.
Whoa Naomi is doing normal gay-talk thing! They haven’t done much gayspeak on this show; which has worked to make it seem just like any relationship, but it’s cute to hear it.
Built a Wall of Human Being Between Us in Your Bed
Since it’s Naomi’s bed and Naomi’s rules, she has the right to check out the naked girl sleeping in it. Naomi in this episode really amps up the personality; even in her depression we see more of her edge and bitter sense of humor than we have previously this season.
Naomi: Wow, in the scud? When did that happen?
Emily: I didn’t notice.
Naomi: Good thing, you might have been tempted.
Emily: I was wrecked.
Naomi: Yeah, you were both pissing gone. Like I said, cute. Is this bad?
Okay Skins, Crystal has two things:
2. Isn’t it too soon to be joking about temptation? Or having a total perv at your girlfriend’s friend’s naked body and then joking about that too?
Naomi changes the subject back to eggs and jokes about doing Emily and really every second of this scene is like a fork getting slowly poked into my eyeball.
IF You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out
Back at the hospital, Pandora is about to sing Effy a song she wrote for her and unfortunately it is not “Where Did the Good (Freds) Go.” Effy pulls out the maracas from the imaginary musical instrument bank they keep in hospital rooms (??) and some sort of electronic music device that’s probably all the rage with the kids but sounds worse than a Casio. Pandora gets off to a rough start, shouting “fuck me up the ass three ways” and other vulgarities until Katie reprimands her.
The song, “Don’t Be Down,” needs to be seen (you can read the lyrics here).
As this scene played out, we all checked to see if we were on MDMA or if this is really happening. Pretty sure it’s what the people call, “terrible/awesome.”
John T. Foster watches from the sidelines, looking like a psycho killer. Hahaha that’s perfect ’cause he totally IS a psycho killer! HAHAHAHA! Psycho killers. Oh boy. Har.
Thank You For Spending One Minute Of These Precious Remaining Minutes of Skins Cycle 2 on Farting
Oh hey, let’s pretend like the gross toilet sounds aren’t happening as Naomi gives Cook a hard time about his new lady-friend. Cook tells Naomi it’s a sign he’s moved on from Effy and SPEAK OF THE ANGEL; the door opens and out comes Effy!
Oh wait JK.
The Poor Man’s Effy
Nope, that’s just a girl who looks exactly like Effy minus the mystery, complication, and dead boyfriend. For Effy’s sake, I hope there’s a boy in Bristol who looks just like Freddie. I suppose if Naomi & Emily break up, Katie will be right there in the wings, waiting to be forcibly converted to the lesbian side.
Effy’s doppleganger’s name is Arcia which is funny ’cause it has the sound “arse” in it when said out loud. Naomi repeats it several times, which is probs the same reaction she had when she got this page of the script, minus the “Really? This is what we’re spending time on?”
We’re only eight minutes in and I think this episode has made me LOL twice so far, which is a 200% improvement on previous eps. I’m not sure if Skins trying to redeem themselves, or if they’re just lulling us into a false sense of security and light-heartedness before the Massacre of the Unicorns.
Arcia sits on Cook’s lap and calls him “lover” and “studman” and “my little criminal” and ew. Just ew. So are they all living at Naomi’s house now? Why isn’t anyone trying to call Freddie?
I’ll Get You, My Pretty
When John T. Foster finds Effy mourning a photo of Freddie’s pretty face (there’s a lot of photo-love in this show), he gives her a talk about how hard moving on can be, clearly he knows, he’s stuck with those cardigans since the mid-1800s.
John tells Effy he’ll be moving on from the hospital. He was going to leave sooner but that was before he realized that the alleged friends & lovers of the boy he murdered with a baseball bat weren’t going to actually do anything about their missing friend. So he had a little more time than anticipated. John’s gotta get a head start across the border, yannow.
So basically John killed Freddie, and now he’s leaving? Why? Didn’t he kill Freddie to get closer to Effy? That’s so senseless! I HATE YOU SHOW. FUCK YOU SHOW!
Also um… suddenly Effy is warmed to John again?
Does anyone remember how seconds before John killed Freddie, he revealed that Effy and Mrs Stonem banned him from treating Effy? What happened there? Did Freddie send Mrs Stonem a postcard too? Having different writers for different episodes is a great idea but it’s really only effective if they talk to each other.
I Want a Little More For Me
Emily walks into Naomi’s bedroom wearing nothing but a towel. Emily’s faced with a tough decision, do you go for the girl passed out in your bed or the girl in the kitchen making you eggs.
Oh wait, Mandy’s been awake this whole time. She’s upset because Emily led her to believe that she was no longer sleeping with Naomi. Emily’s in denial.
Emily: Mandy we haven’t done anything, so I don’t know why… we didn’t do anything last night. Didn’t we?
Mandy: You wanted to… if you hadn’t been totally fucking AWOL.
Emily: No.. I didn’t —
Mandy: Yeah? Otherwise, what have we been doing? What have you been doing? She thinks I’m straight!
Mandy: She said it while she was looking at my tits, didn’t she? It’s a bit fucked up, that. I don’t want to be fucked around Emily, just because she won’t take you to Goa.
Sidenote Her Tits Are At Emily’s Eye Level
Mandy leans in to kiss Emily, and when Emily doesn’t kiss back she protests that she’d take Emily to Goa.
Mandy: “We’d go dancing, sleep in a hut, I’d make love to you on the beach. Isn’t that you want?”
I think she’s confusing “what Emily wants” with “what ladies want in romance novels want.” Basically what’s happening here is that Mandy is Fabio.
Emily is saved by the breakfast bell, the eggs are ready. I have so many questions! When did Naomi decide to go to Goa? And why isn’t she taking Emily? This episode has more holes in it than Freddie’s skull.
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I had so many concerns during this episode:
When did Tommo become racist (running for whitey, really?)
At the beginning of the school year last year Pandora wanted to study Philosophy, had one A-level, was in the Cosmetology portion of the college, and didn’t understand words with more than two syllables. Now she’s going to Harvard with a history scholarship and she speaks French? I guess when she wasn’t eating MDMA brownies with her mom and getting f*cked stupid by Cook she was hitting the books. Hard.
Maybe Karen was being primed to be in the next gen like they did with Effy, but I always thought she was older than Freddie? The last episode would have been his 18th birthday, so if Karen is supposed to be younger, wouldn’t that entire Sexxx Bomb last year thing just have been illegal and perverted? Plus, she was drinking at a club with her engaged best friend, the gangsters daughter, that one time. And she f*cked Cook at some point in the past. She’s been a busy girl.
Naomi and her mom lived in a totally different house full of hippies last series, and now she’s in a flat full of chemically altered teenagers with no explanation. I thought she and Emily had gotten their own place and the writers neglected to tell us, but then Naomi’s mom called to say she was coming home? From where? Did she go potato farming in Ireland with the Politics teacher?
I hope this Skins movie with both generations actually pans out, unlike The L Word fiasco. But at least either way we know who killed Freddie…
for the Thomas thing, I honestly wouldn’t call that a racist thing. Coming from a family in which both of my parents are from Africa, I understand the sentiment meant there. It’s difficult to explain, but I don’t think it was meant to be racist, honestly
Pandora – the girl who couldn’t last year couldn’t tell the difference between Hamlet and Harry Potter – is going to Harvard. Along with Thomas, who is going on an athletics scholarship to a college that doesn’t do athletics scholarships. There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start. Maybe they’ll both get thrown out for being prats and move to Baltimore to make a future appearance in Skins USA or something.
The finale has totally convinced me that it was originally two episodes that they shoe-horned together into one at the last minute (almost certainly to make space for JJ’s, which is a lovely episode but sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb).
I am utterly gobsmacked that there are still people out there who think Cook’s ending is ambiguous. John Foster (what a stupid character) could have had a flamethrower in that last scene and it wouldn’t have stopped Cook tearing him limb from limb with his bare hands at that moment; while Naomi’s love for Emily is the deepest and most intense of Gen 2, Cook’s for Freddie is a strong second place.
And talking of Naomi… holy crap, Lily Loveless was astonishing this episode.
Re: Lily Loveless I AGREE! Aside from “Um, hello? Guys, Freddie is DEAD” the thing I kept thinking this whole episode was “PLEASE somebody give Lily Loveless lots and lots of work after this!”
Everyone seems to get this line wrong somehow, but when Naomi spots Mandy she actually says “She’d been snoring like that all night” (or something like that).
Also, the T-shirt Naomi’s hugging is Emily’s.
I hated how they dragged out Mandy/Emily, especially since this was the last episode and it was chock-full with new characters and unnecessary developments (Thomas running, Harvard, whatever). Mandy was supposed to be this big catalyst, but she just irritated me every time she was on screen. However, I thought it was made quite clear that while Emily may have liked her as a friend and certainly revelled in the attention, she was never romantically interested in Mandy or even did something with her.
Karen also won’t be part of the third generation, seeing as she’s older than the gang.
Last but not least, I’m going to miss these recaps so much, you did a great job guys!
I love all the *pink writings*…cause a lot of them are Tegan and Sara lyrics :D
-Great recap although there was too many Freddie jokes/references, its still an open wound.
-panadora<<<<<KATIE F-ING FITCH! Come on Thomas!
-There were a lot of things that just didn;t make sense in the story but whatever.
-I love Kylie Minogue so that song, dance and Cook;s hip wiggle made the season for me.
“What an irresponsible message to send, ultimately, about a very serious issue”
I feel like these kinds of messages, though, are the reason why TV is so bland here sometimes, or that Skins is so edgy to us, they don’t have (or they don’t pay attention to) all the parents emailing and nagging and protesting. They just let it rock.
Emily sniffs her fingers? I didn’t notice, that’s so cute! I’ll have to watch again.
Naomi: Has she been like that all night?
Omg, I love how the UK kids pronounce what, it’s so cute.
It’s Arcia? I THOUGHT IT WAS ASSIA. Still sucks. And why ISN’T anyone calling Freddie?
Dear Karen, those ARE all the wrong things. P.S. I never liked you, you’re a twat of a sister and I hope you remember that at Freddie’s candle light vigil.
“it’s just EZ Girl” lmao. I wonder how many people got that one.
UGH. DHGRWGREDFF. THIS WHOLE EPISODE I WAS LIKE “How is the bloody shaves bollocks is everyone talking to Freddie like he’s dead if they don’t know yet?!” They never talked to absent Freddie before and this, this just doesn’t make any sense. GRR.
While I was pretty disappointed that there seemed to be so many plot holes throughout S4, I thought this was a pretty good explanation of Pandora’s existence:
“i think she accommodated her [effy] by choosing to be useless. she was never dumb or worthless, but by playing that angle she gave effy a sort of purpose. she saw how effy overcompensated for her loneliness by being closed off, and sacrificed any opportunity to break out in order to give effy the support she needed but was too proud to ask for. she recognized what a broken and incomplete person she was and how she needed a crutch, and panda chose to be that, even though effy never truly realized or appreciated it.”
1. This was a very handsome recap. You were on fuego with the scene titles! I think “It Seems Repetitive At First But Gets Better, Promise” and “Oh in that case I WANT TO SLAP YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE” were my favorites… “Like A, like C on your transcript” was also great… all of them, really.
2.The thought of a 12-year-old Naomi falling in love at first sight with a 12-year-old Emily was/is too adorable for me to take in (I would say “process” but I don’t exactly identify myself as a lesbian and it just doesn’t feel right ;) ). The writers were probably counting on that image to make (gay) viewers look past the very convenient 2-minute-long tearful resolution of the 8-episode-long extremely tearful string of conflicts. It completely worked on me, again.
3.At various moments (e.g.Pandora’s Song Moment, which I actually felt leaned more towards awesome than terrible, interrupted by a close-up of Dr. Swing-a-lot) I desperately felt the need to get out of this series-/cast-terminating episode but, deep down, I knew it was too late, I had watched all the episodes since the first series and the door was locked… unfortunately nobody came to mercy kill me with a baseball bat.
4.And still, overall I’m very fond of Skins (I even have an “I’m fond of it”-filled notebook to prove it!) and I hope that the movie happens and is able to achieve something similar to what I felt the Christmas Specials for Extras and The Office(UK) did, were everything was beautifully resolved without coming off as gratuitous or forced. I guess my therapist Sr. Foster is right: I’m a long-winded, wishful thinking masochist and it would do everybody some good if I just close my eyes and imagine that I’m not.
5.This is the only gay and/or Skins related outlet I have/use, ^ that’s a wiped down version of my mental diarrhea. I apologize to all of you in every language I know: ¡Perdón! I’m sorry! (Hmm, that gesture requires its own apology; maybe in a couple of years when it gets exciting…I just started taking basic French!)
Re: scene titles, thank you! I felt like I was getting a lot of love for the scene titles this season so I really built up the fire inside so I’m glad I made you laugh. Also I laughed about your ‘I’m fond of it’ notebook.
It worked on me too, what you describe in “2” about Naomi/Emily. Even better was that I actually watched Season Three all the way through over the past two weeks (knowing I was going to rant about the finale, I felt I needed to do my homework as I’d only seen the Naomily parts isolated form the rest of the story before a few weeks ago), so I was able to project Naomi’s monologue from the finale onto my comprehension of their developing relationship (I’d seen a spoiler clip of Naomi/Emily from the finale before seeing the whole ep), so like, it really worked on me. A LOT.
It didn’t work on me! Seriously, we’re supposed to believe that persistent Emily would have moved back into Naomi’s house and then not initiated the “what is going on here, how can we work on it” conversation for MONTHS??? Or that Naomi wouldn’t have called Emily out on her passive aggression and made her listen to that speech ages ago? I’m sorry, I just can’t.
Also ARGHHH Emily needed to apologize to Naomi for being an asshole all year long after she heard Naomi’s spiel. Or at least validate her verbally somehow. The makeout just did not cut it in terms of reciprocation for a giant heart-spill like that.
I understand where you’re coming from and I agree that there were a lot of unanswered questions in terms of how their living-together-for-“MONTHS”-without-talking-about-what’s-going-on dynamic could’ve realistically played out. Mandy’s “I thought you didn’t sleep with her anymore” comment (like other similar moments throughout the series), I think, sort of implied that they had been living together in the apartment but not really sharing the same space(s) and/or interacting much. I do consider, like I said before, that it was a very convenient (and fast) resolution, especially taking into account that the sequence of conflicts lasted a whole school year… which is easy to forget sometimes with Skins’ temporal tomfoolery.
Then again: AWWWW!
I had a viewing pattern similar to Riese’s so their storyline was fresh on my mind from having watched the complete third series earlier this year but at the same time my thoughts/feelings on it had developed over time because I saw their scenes isolated from the rest of the story last year. So when Naomi’s monologue finally came, I was also projecting my (obviously very personal) “comprehension of their developing relationship” all over the place… and coming to the conclusion that, regardless of the plot holes and other writing/logic issues, theirs was a (dys)functional relationship I hadn’t realized I REALLY wanted to see.
In conclusion, I understand what you’re saying, but: AWWWW!
(Wow, you hear that Internet pseudonyms make people release their Innermost Bastards but my anonymity actually seems to: 1. suppress my usually Outermost One and 2. make me come off cornier than I would ever care to admit that I am… interesting)
Dana; yeah I defo see what you’re saying but like Dr. H I definitely sensed the “living under the same roof but not really” thing was happening, especially with the drugs Emily was doing there as probably just a lot of senseless fighting and yelling that never got at the issue.
There were holes in everyone’s story — which I think I didn’t realize ’til watching season three as I’d assumed some stories had been told in S3 that I’d missed, only to realize that no, not really they hadn’t. With only focusing on one character per episode not everyone really had a chance to have their whole stories told.
But then I remembered that this is how it is on tv shows; I can’t think of any relationship that truly developed over time, especially between teenagers, on a show of this (small) scale (as a kid I thought this was real, like that you really would meet someone and then be boyfriend-girlfriend the next day like we saw on TV) — I mean Pandora and Thomas is the most glaring example of this. I think that’s just the nature of an ensemble drama with two seasons and 8-10 episodes per season… relationships rarely progress or develop how they do in real life outside of situations like Joey & Pacey over the course of six years on Dawson’s Creek, or Ross & Rachel on Friends. On The L Word obviously Bette & Tina developed well, but even Shane & Carmen only had a few scenes together in s2 before allegedly being in love, we had to fill in a lot of the blanks ourselves. AND OH WE DID. I guess we usually chock it up as a viewer to love at first sight, but of course relationships and connections are generally much more complicated than that. Though I give TLW that, there were a handful of well-developed believable relationships happening there… they had the time to do it. Skins didn’t.
Based on what Naomi said it seemed like she hadn’t much discussed her sexuality or feelings about it at all — and I’ve definitely known people like that where it does take them months to come out with it. Especially when it’s something you’ve waited nearly six years to even consider saying out loud; but seeing Emily maybe date another girl was what pushed her over the edge into finally being honest. And so I believed, I guess, that that story could’ve been absolutely everything she’d never said before, and it filled in all the holes for Emily just as it did for us.
I have more to say, but I’m tired so this is just what I have to get off my chest so I can sleep:
Even with good A-Level grades, are we supposed to believe Panda got a history scholarship from Harvard? Seriously? Is the reason we saw so little of her this season that she was secretly studying and starting her own historical preservation charity?
This episode does not help my fear that if I vanished it would take an awkward long time for someone to figure out shit had gone wrong.
I know right, it’s actually impossible. I wondered if maybe the writers didn’t know about other schools. But to get into Harvard she would’ve had to invent something, save a country, start an international charity, or give birth to three kids in an alley and raise them on piecemeal under the London Bridge while fighting off a heroin addiction. Maybe she wrote a history book.
To be fair though, if she had gone to a more reasonable American school the British audience might not have been impressed. Like if an American show were to send a character to the UK and they went somewhere that wasn’t Cambridge or Oxford or the London School of Economics, most of us would be all “is that good?”
There are other schools in the US? You mean the American population isn’t 1% Harvard grads and 99% trailer trash?
I hate it when my tv-fueled delusions get interrupted by truth.
Well, President Bartlet went to Notre Dame so that already throws your numbers off. :P
Woah! I was actually going to say except Bartlet going to Notre Dame (or mention UC Sunnydale) but left it out so it didn’t alter the purity of the comment’s dumbness.
Bartlet also went to the London School of Economics!
I always assume that everyone in Britain goes to Cambridge or Oxford, or I am NO BETTER.
Or Cardiff University, but I have an amiga that goes there.
Funny how the media distorts things…
I’ve been looking forward to this recap, which (as always) is bloody brilliant!!
This series of Skins partly redeemed itself with the Naomi-Emily scene (made me tear up!)-trust me, my usual ‘glass half full’ outlook on life would of been half drunk,if those two hadn’t of had a happy ending – Riese, you and Tyra were right!!
Nice to see some vintage Panda-pops for the last time too, it was kinda like Panda meets La Roux!!
All in all, this series was rather disjointed. Maybe if they had more episodes they could of played them all out coherently, instead of trying to cram them all into the last 20 minutes or so!
Oh well, atleast Naomily live on, albeit in teevee heaven, so that makes the Skins film worth taking a gander at! Hopefully it will feature lil’ James Fitch too, they missed a trick with him, he had so much potential for the series, but was overlooked somewhat.
Gonna miss these recaps, so thankyou both again! Oh and nice nod to The Princess Bride, love that film!
I am relieved.
Trust those pesky Skins writers to leave it to the final episode to shine the spotlight on what every right-minded person knows has been the true heart of this series.
We already knew that she had the best dance moves and the best lines: now Panda has been revealed as the space-hopper rustling, multilingual covert genius she was always destined to be. When she whipped out her tenori-on in Effy’s room and started serenading her with the best paeon to keeping your wrists intact since Teen Suicide Don’t Do It from Heathers, I knew I was glimpsing a moment of pure televisual awesomeness.
(Also seriously, how did you people not know she was using a tenori-on, like Little Boots does?)
It came as no surprise when it was revealed that she’d been aceing her exams while all the others’ brains were impeded by emotional turmoil and strange floppy haircuts. Panda rocks, ’nuff said.
I am vaguely aware that there were some marginal storylines about some missing boy and these two girls.
I knew that’s what she was using! And I was very excited! Because I love Little Boots! Panda should tour with Little Boots! EXCLAMATION POINT!
OMG… thank you for sharing that link! I love MGMT… and now I love Little Boots.
I really, really want to hate this finale, but in the end I think I came off mostly liking it. It was because: Emily sniffed her fingers (hi i had to watch that like four times before i stopped laughing), Panda bouncing to Eff and Katie, Cook dancing and Naomi’s confessions. Those were kind of the best moments of this entire series and I’m glad we had them.. I just wish we could’ve gone without the clusterfuck of poor Freds.
The truth is, I really liked this cast (i especially fell for cook this series) way more than the first generation. And I’m going to miss them. I think Skins has a very clever formula and if they play it right they should be able to keep it going a long time. But playing it right is essentially NOT what they did this time around. Maybe if we’d had ten episodes it could have been redeemed, but since we didn’t it feels a little like being robbed of a nice, full circle.
However, that scene with Naomi at the end really made up for damn near everything for me. It was brilliantly acted, beautiful and the first time this season that I didn’t cry because it was so sad.
i’m super excited that naomily i back =]
i’m super weirded out thanx to john t foster
i’m super confused about the plot/writing
i’m super confident/convinced that skins writers have been brainwashed by Ilene Chaiken (perhaps from watching too many l word episodes)
and now on a Super unrelated note,
how have i missed you, autostraddle, how do i <3 you. =]
This episode was terrible…
-Karen: What the fuck are you doing?
-JJ: Having a party. Freds would like it, don’t you think? (Isn’t that what we say of a dead?)
-Karen: Yeah, he would.
(Then she immediately starts dancing. AWKWARD!)
I know! I couldn’t enjoy all the fun bits that reminded me of last season (Panda’s bouncing/singing, the dancing in the shed) because I was just shouting “FREDDIE IS DEAD YOU GUYS!”
And their lack of awareness about the death just made it so much more unnecessary. He could have just run away for a bit genuinely or something and all it would’ve changed is the last 5 seconds.
I realize that the inconsistency I’m about to point out is just one of many. FAR TOO MANY. Most of these ridiculous, Advanced-level School of Ilene Chaiken “twists” (i.e. poor writing) have already been pointed out in the recap/comments. It is almost as if this recap was better planned out than Series 4. Probs because it was.
There is no such thing as an athletic scholarship at Harvard (or any Ivy League school… it’s against the rules). Also, doesn’t Harvard usually like to accept high school grads?
I’ll just say this. This generation had a great set of characters and the talent of the actors and strengths of the characters were just all wasted in this absolutely depressing series that made absolutely no sense. I think I’ll just go back to season 3 to wash my memory of this horrible ending.
To understand the Pandora History studies connection, you should probably watch the following:
If you want to, you can cram A-Levels into one year, although normally you have to be fairly bright to be considered for this approach. I think it was meant to be a bit of an apology for not really covering her character this season because she was too busy studying. An individual who got 2 A stars and an A at A-Level would probably by accepted into any university in the world, particularly if your father is a History Professor. Getting a Visa to go may be more problematic though, and to be honest I don’t think Thomas would have been able to get a Visa to get into the UK in the first place, let alone one that would allow him residence/scholarship in the US. Thomas wouldn’t be eligible for a Scholarship in the UK without qualifications so they wouldn’t be able to go away together at a University over here….
Karen is meant to be about 21 (the actresses actual age), although I would agree that she does look/seem younger than the rest of the cast. Most kids in Britain probably start drinking in pubs at 16 (I certainly did), the legal age being 18. It won’t be the nice trendy bar that you want to drink in though, but more than likely a spit and sawdust local pretty much as depicted in this last series. The age of consent is 16 in the UK too.
I agree though, the whole Freddie ending ruined what had been a highly enjoyable series until that point.
I cannot tell you how many times this made me laugh out loud. Like, scare the puppy LOL. (Seriously, though, I don’t know why she kept trying to go back to sleep. Dumb dog.)
Anyway, Crystal, high five! An excellent season of excellent recaps. If this Skins movie happens, it’s not coming to America, so maybe we can both go to Britain and recap it together!
This was my favorite thing today: Oh in that case I WANT TO SLAP YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE!
Come to Britain. I will be the one throwing popcorn from the back row, alone in a dirty mac because I can’t find anyone to go see a film about teenagers with me.
i run fast. like dog.
funny recap, ladies! i feel like the ending was pointless and didn’t resolve anything at all except naomily’s storyline. john t foster/freddie plot was just stuuuupid.
Also, how did Panda not only learn mad history skillz and French, but dirty French? I mean, we all looked up those books like “Hide This French Book” when I was in school, but even the lines we rehearsed a million times in class took a while to be recognizable when people actually said them to me here.
Effy playing the maracas was adorable. She’s legal now so I feel like 100% less of a perv.
This ending was so frustrating, but I did love love love the Naomi and Emily storyline. I’m glad they were given real difficulties like any other couple. I’m glad they didn’t make it all about a coming out story, but did work that in very poignantly with Naomi’s speech. I just loved it. And while Naomi never felt one dimensional by any means, she became so much more complex there at the end and I completely read her differently going back and re-watching her season 3 scenes. And both actresses really sold it and made the characters so real and likable.
And Cook actually grew on me this season.
Is that stamp a monkey wearing a crown?
And that graphic of Riese and also the commentary with it=brilliant. You sum up exactly why the John Foster story line was shit so well. Don’t be afraid of therapists people! Sometimes you need help. And who knows, maybe you will be bouncing around on a ball and see Effy looking out a window. I just can’t get over how unnecessary the whole thing was.
I share your feelings about Effy and Cook. Cook in particular grew on me this season, something I didn’t expect because I didn’t like his character in season 3 at all. His idea of loyalty confuses me though, it’s not overly consistent.
OH he’s just at Chuckie Cheese’s!
Never heard of Skins before reading the recaps on this site and have since reading them spent every free moment watching the damn show. It is so addicting. Thx Autostraddle.
Saw the episode, ran here, and sure enough there was a bomb-ass review reaffirming what I was thinking and telling me what I should be thinking right here. Thank you Autostraddle :)
My manymanymanymany conflicting thoughts are far too dull and long to write out, so for dear Autostraddle I will only say this:
1) Skins this year has been terrible/awesome.
2) The link between this generation and the next one is obvious. GhostFreddie will haunt the next gang; they will constantly be looking around for a whispering voice that says their names in times of quiet solitude/drug-fuelled hallucinations, saying, “Freds?” for reasons unknown to them. :)
If the next generation Skins really did feature the ghost of Freds talking to the cast, I would find that really funny.
I’d watch it. (Well, I’ll watch S5 anyway, but you know what I mean.)
Jeez. This whole season has been one giant downer of an acid-trip. Seriously. The killer psychiatrist? I feel like Naomily was the only thing keeping me going this season. And Katie-fucking-Fitch.
I think the Naomily stuff has really been like the best les storyline ever. Too bad everything else went to shit.
I languished as I watched the eps, because I didn’t want them to end up all screwed up and broken because Emily was acting out and Naomi could never seem to bleed enough to fix anything. And then all they were doing was boozing and fighting and crying and never making sweet love and MAN… dyke drama. :P <3
Yeah, I might've cried a tiny bit when Naomi was filling in all the gaps and throwing herself at Emily's mercy in front of everyone. Love is always messy and sometimes there's your guts laying out on the floor. But when it's good? It's SO good.
I was all… :o "12?! She's been always gay! Naomi's gay and SHE LOVED EMMY FIRST!" Huzzah! <3
But. There were things I didn't get about this ep.
1) What the heck with talking to Freddo as if he's dead? I've never done that when my friends have taken vacations… should I?
2) Nobody worrying that he's gone off, in the state he's in, really? And nobody really saying, "Hey guys, let's call his cell, because even Fred's being too emo for Fred."
Because that's what Skins is about, right? How these kids LOVE each other, and say it? And LOVE each other, and prove it? (And how they occasionally bash you in the head and leave your body in the creepy woods and drive off, but, still love you?)
Skins is about how they make a family together, the kind that's stronger than blood, and all the roughness of growing up is all inconsequential when it's really about all the greatness of knowing where you belong.
3) Second, Tommo's "run for whitey" comment. Seriously. Why's he even bothering with Panda? Or does he not know she's so white she glows in the dark? I don't know why he's bothering with Panda if living his life outside the grasp of whitey is his goal. Be a man, Tommo, and also, I'm sorry the script made you say that.
D) Last, did not like the ending ONE. BIT. Although, I liked that Cook is going all bloody effing vengeance on this psycho without any regard for his own future (which is well and truly flushed by now anyway, so I guess there's nothing to lose). Cook started in Skins as a douche. By the end, though, he's the guy that shows up when one of his buddies is feeling lost, or needs some perspective. Cook is like the old wise man on the mountaintop, plus weed and hookers and dancing.
Overall… Skins is now one of my fave shows. And really, I never thought I'd say a show about teenagers would be one of my favorite shows. But I've got Buffy… and now I've got Skins. WOO!
Lilly Loveless has the potential to become a Cate Blanchett, dare i say Hellen Mirren of her generation! Amazing actress!!
Kathryn Prescott also kicked ass throughout the 2 seasons!
This is the best lesbian storyline i have ever watched!! Thank you Skins!!!!!!!
All of a sudden, I realized that Emily looks a LOT like Whitney Mixter. Am I hallucinating?
Effy has psychotic depression (which is one of the most rare mental illnesses a person can have).