by riese & crystal
Skins is back! Sorta. The season four premiere aired in the UK a few days ago, however if you live elsewhere then you’re gonna have to wait a little longer til it plays on your teevee. BBC America needs time to censor out all the good lesbian scenes. But I know you’re an internet-savvy bunch that doesn’t let geography get in the way of a good lesbian storyline, and so you’ve probably already seen the episode (viewable here).
If you’re yet to jump on the Skins bandwagon then you should know that it follows the lives of a group of kids in Bristol, England, who have a fondness for underage drinking and sex and MDMA. Two of the girls – Naomi and Emily, aka “Naomily” – had a lovely yet dramatic romance in season three and we’re all dying to see what becomes of it in season four. Catch up by reading part one and part two of our Naomily recaps.
So I’m going to take a little break from the Good Ship Audiostraddle and bring you the Skins recaps each week (with Riese, because teamwork makes a dream work). Last year I only recapped the Naomi and Emily storyline however this time we’re considering recapping the entire thing, straight parts and all, ’cause this is a really good show you guys. What do you think? Do you care about the other characters’ story lines? We won’t recap it if you won’t read it, so let me know!
Episode 401: Thomas
Every Skins episode is focussed on one or two of the characters, and this week it’s Thomas, the African immigrant who arrived in Bristol in season three.
Hey ho we have a new theme song! It’s actually just a progression from the original theme song, I like it. The theme song is not the only thing that’s grown up, notably all of the Skins kids look a few years older (but probably not wiser) since we last saw them in season three. That’s a very good thing, I now feel less like a creep for having adult thoughts about Effy.
I mean Naomi and Emily are cute and all, but Effy is why I am here.
At the Discotheque
The show opens to a black screen and the sweet, sweet sounds of someone snorting cocaine and sauntering, all lost and druggie, into a buzzing nightclub. Thomas is probably there to shift the few pounds of weed remaining from season three, remember how he had like ten pounds of weed? As the Bolivian Marching Powdered Mysterious Girl navigates the club she passes some of our favorite people from the neighborhood, like Cook; fucking a girl in the stairwell while some dude looks on. Kids these days.
Silly Girl, Gummies are For Kids!
But where are Naomi and Emily? Did their romance last the season break? Are they doing blowbacks? Are they at home with their cats, murmuring sweet nothings into the cat-ears?
OH HEY LOOK! They’re inside the club! Sucking face! On the stairwell! This is how every episode should start, continue, and end.
The Planet After Dark Meets Capricia meets Skins
They’re really going at it, too, they look happy and it’s a lovely few seconds. Teenagers of Bristol, I applaud you for letting these young lovers have a bit of a pash with no staring or interruption.
Well at least until the anonymous girl from the opening scene Jenny Schecters it off the balcony railing and dies with her head split open bleeding all over the floor!
It’s a Long Way Down
Then the Bobby shows up with a fey assistant, prepared to crack down on the club-owner and DJ Tommy Thomas, who organised the party but doesn’t know that dead girl or where she got the drugs or the idea that she could fly.
After the lady-cop & her assistant leave, the club owner throws Thomas a big envelope of cash – profits from that night’s party – and threatens to “snap his spine” if he mentions the club’s many illegal activities to the police, it’s all very dicey.
It’s late and so Thomas brings his girlfriend Pandora home to his overcrowded apartment and gets busted by his mother, who does not believe in neutral colours but does have very strict beliefs regarding sleepovers.
Pandora bumbles about, promising Thomas’s Mom that they won’t have sex and that while they have done “stuff,” that “stuff” has yet to include sexual intercourse. The mother wants to know where she can find a virgin in this country. Probs in middle school, or Lezzie Town (according to what we presume is Thomas’s mother’s definition of “sex.”)
I feel like the real issue here is that mum is worried because Thomas’ brother is sick. Not common-cold sick, but oddly-immobile-like-a-mannequin-except-when-imbibing-strange-liquids sick.
Thomas should have shared some of his weed with the twenty-one year olds in the Skins writer’s room, so far this episode is super depressing. I’d prefer something more like the poppy fields in Wizard of Oz.
Pandora was exiled to the couch but she can’t sleep, she keeps seeing the dead girl’s face. And the best cure for Dead Girl Face is, obviously, sex, so she goes to her man in the night and so they do it.
We transition from serious actual f*cking to a giant musical number the next morning at apparently the Funnest Church of All Time. Thomas has been dragged there for some spiritual healing.
Last night’s sex with Pandora becomes merely a distant memory when Thomas spots a hot girl in the choir and they make sexy eyes at each other for the entire worship session. Well, “solemn eyes” is Thomas’s default facial expression, although he does smile for about three seconds in this scene, which makes me believe in God. ALMOST.
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord
Thomas’ mum dobbs Thomas in to the Rev for spending too much time “fooling and fornicating” with undesirable types. This heavy episode becomes momentarily light-hearted when Thomas’ sister tells the Reverend his lecture is a plagarisism of Star Wars and “Obi Wan is like God but with better weapons.” [Riese sidenote: true story my Rabbi often used Star Trek The Next Generation storylines as a jumping off point for his sermons]
Next: No Sex in the Laundry Room at the hospital… OR IS THERE?
High School is a Battleground for Your Soul
It’s the first day back at school, which means other Skins cast members are around the corner. In fact, some of them are literally around the corner making out. Life is not a nightclub, children.
The kids are lounging on couches, working on their laptops, playing foosball and generally engaging in what the adults call “tomfoolery.” North America should pay attention, clearly the UK has its education funding sorted out.
Despite these fancy toys, the entire Skins gang is chilling in the homeroom, looking miserable, probs because Effy isn’t there.
My Life Does Indeed Suck Without You
We meet Professor Blood, the new campus director who welcomes the kids by telling them that “this place is rubbish and so are you” and that this year will be all about CHANGE, like Obama’s presidency and the David Bowie song “Changes” and the Tupac song “Changes.” If you fuck up, ProfBlood will “expunge” you. ProBlo says this all in a sort of fancy tone of voice that makes it hard to take him seriously. The kids, who are props on drugs, give him the Episode 401 Blank Stare of Death.
Speaking of death! Everyone’s then dragged to the gym ’cause it’s time to interrogate all the kids about how Last Night a DJ Did Not Save That Girl’s Life.
They begin with Katie who will probably shop a bro and blame Naomi. Or will she? Will they be friends this season? Who knows! Why answer these questions when we could just continue down the Road of Depression.
Naomi has grown her hair out, it looks pretty. I guess having an alternative lifestyle on top of having that alternative lifestyle haircut she rocked during Season Three’s Great Indecision would be a bit intense.
Emily, who’s hair also looks lovely today, is ranting and raving about the unnecessary police interrogation. Naomi must’ve taken Lesbian Relationship 101 over the break because when she gets caught out not paying attention to her girlfriend’s rant, she’s real quick to offer a “yeah that’s fucked” even though she probs has no idea what she’s agreeing with and it’s cute. This’s the only verbal interaction they’ve had yet since the tonsil hockey, so I’m clutching at straws here.
You Know What Let’s Bust this Popstand and Go Make Out on Camera
I’m glad to see that neither of these girls are wearing flannelette, plaid, tartan or any material that is typically found at an upholstery.
Although the question of the hour is “Who Killed That Girl?” I’m pleased that the gang quickly addresses my aforementioned question — WHERE’S EFFY?
Emily: Hey, Freds, have you heard from her?
Emily: The Empress of Cleopatra, who do you think.
Emily: I thought she might just show up, you know first day back.
Freddie: Yeah, well, she didn’t.
Freddie is so shaken by that interrogation he can’t possibly handle another, and so he leaves just like Cook did. Where’s the expunger? I thought kids were gonna get punished and stuff this year.
JJ: Guys you’ve got to not talk about Effy.
Emily: Why? She really f*cked Freddy over.
JJ: No, we’re just not going there. I mean, me, Cook and Freds, we’re getting through it.
Emily: She dumped you all?
JJ: Well kind of. Effy’s gone and we’re happy. The status of the tribe is protected. We’re happy, right?
Then that song starts playing — “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons (buy it here) the same one that was in the BBC Winter Season extended trailer. Maybe The Cave will be to 2010 as The Blower’s Daughter was to 2004 (Closer, The L Word (at 7:13))?
+Speaking of disappearing, Cook is in the bathroom dumping drugs that look suspiciously like the same drugs that the disco girl took before jumping off the railing and suspiciously like the drugs that stole six months of my otherwise perfect life and about 60,000 unnecessary heartbeats HEY-O JUST KIDDING oh what he’s doing this with the door open, but I’m trying not to nitpick.
Thomas suspects as much, but Cook denies it and they exchange harsh words about each other’s current & former girlfriends and then start brawling because that’s what Thomas and Cook do.
The Second Rule of Fight Club is Not in the Bathroom Boys
Freddie breaks it up because the cops just called Cook’s name. Maybe they’re just hungry. Hahahahaha!
Pandora finds Thomas in a classroom. It looks like she got pregnant last night otherwise I see no reasonable explanation for this denim skortall jumpsuit thing she’s wearing out in public.
There’s Only One Condition in Which I Will Remove this Outfit, and it Involves Your Penis
Pandora tells him that heat is getting the kids down and so they’re skipping school to go to the pub even though they’re underage and should be doing trigonometry not tequila shots.
Thomas: Is that the answer for everything? To go and get pissed?
Pandora: No, Häagen-Dazs is the answer for everything.
Pandora goes for the makeout, and Thomas is into it until Pandora sticks her little hand down his pants and then he’s confused. She ends up leaving offended that he has his priorities straight and is going to do his homework instead of the pub.
Thomas is trying to study but is distracted by EZ Girlish phantom music… so Thomas walks the halls of his high school to discover that the girl he’d been making bedroom eyes with at church is actually enrolled, and is singing a lovely song, just like in High School Musical! Right now a dance-off or some basketball-themed choreography would really lighten this episode up a bit.
Killing Me Softly With Her Song
Thomas is so inspired by this girl’s singing that not only does he smile, but he drags his siblings to “prayer group” the next day. Turns out that she’s the Preacher’s Daughter, and Prayer Group involves a bunch of kids and maracas.
All the kids are being noisy while Andrea’s trying to have her John Mayer moment, so Andrea yells at them, “Jesus says shut up!” Eh, Jesus says a lot of things.
“What do you want to sing? Andrea asks. The children answer:
These kids are ten kinds of awesome. Andrea says no, because “those are all people who can’t really sing, don’t wear very many clothes and get married far too young.”
Um, wrong on all counts? Lady Gaga sometimes wears a lot of clothes, like all that S&M stuff and the BK King crown and etc. None of them are married and they’re all amazing singers. I hate her, I was ready for a new YouTube viral sensation of the Prayer Group Children doing Single Ladies.
“What do we call those people?” she asks, and the kids respond “Americans!” I thought they were gonna yell “Trashwhores!” Same diff.
Then Thomas & The Daughter of the Preacher Man share a duet, it’s sweet, kinda; except the fuck-me eyes they’re giving each other while singing “Hey brothers, let’s go down, down to the river to pray,” really make me think that “the river” isn’t exactly what they’d like to go down on.
How pure, look how Jesus brings people together to celebrate life in His name!
The Preacher Man finds Thomas in the kitchen. He asks Thomas why he never noticed Andrea until this week when they’ve been going to school together for a year. Thomas doesn’t know. The Preacher Man says it’s ’cause the Preacher’s speech inspired Thomas to see things that have always been there that Thomas has never noticed before.
Thomas could be like, “No I just got new contacts,” but instead he does that blank stare thing again.
Thomas: She’s beautiful — she’s a beautiful singer.
Preacher Man: She is, she serves the Lord. If you put your trust in him, and obey his rules, you see the world in a new way, it’s wonderful. Just open up your heart, Thomas, and give me your soul. Give it to me.
But before Thomas can hand over his soul, his brother starts coughing up his own soul and the whole fam ends up back in the hospital, where the doctor wonders why this is Thomas’s brother’s third lung infection of the month — perhaps there is mold or dust in the home? Thomas says there is, Mom yells at him, Thomas runs into the hospital hallway…
But Andrea sees Thomas running away and chases after him, then starts making out with him…
It’s like Grey’s Anatomy. Where’s the Lesbian Couple? Exactly!
Andrea & Thomas work their way into the laundry room and bada-bing bada-boom, SERIOUS SEX SCENE. Is this how you serve the Lord, kids? IS IT?
[Song: Ida Maria – Keep Me Warm]
Thomas lies in his bed with his money for a little while. Then Pandora & JJ show up at Thomas’s moldy home with Reese Witherspoon movies and donuts. Thomas doesn’t want any donuts because he’s not hungry. No wait actually it’s ’cause he slept with someone else. He tells Pandora she did it first. It would be awkward that JJ is there, but he’s too invested in Sweet Home Alabama to pay much attention.
Panda’s upset and so is everyone else, giving Thomas the cold shoulder and calling him adorable British insults like “tit”.
[song: “Near Town” by the Amazing Broken Man]
Angry classmates won’t be a long-term issue though, ’cause Professor Blood decides to make an example out of Thomas over his involvement in that whole death at the disco thing by expelling him. Thomas decides to make a bad example of himself by going to the bar and drinking ten bajillion shots of vodka.
At the pub he spots Cook and Naomi at a corner table and accuses Cook once again of supplying the dead girl with the drugs that he’s now taking the fall for. Cook says that Thomas has a “congo cock.” They get into another scuffle and then!
I Guess Like I Should’ve Told You Then
Naomi breaks the fight up by fessing up that it was actually her who supplied the dead girl with Cook’s drugs ‘because whatcha gonna do when your mum’s at home, crying on the phone ’cause no-ones home and she’s hungry, and the only thing to do is to sell some drugs for a little bit of money..’. Thomas points out that the girl is dead now. Thanks Captain Obvi.
Naomi pleads with Thomas to not tell Emily, but as we know the truth always comes out when you’re a teenager on the TV. She’s likely just planted the seed for a world of Naomily relationship drama in this season. I wish the drama was more like, “oh we did it with a strap-on yesterday, how about today you just go down on me, naked.”
Also, I Burned Down Wax
Honesty seems to be Thomas’ only policy today (perhaps we can thank the vodka for that) and so he visits his latest squeeze, choir girl Andrea, and confesses to having a girlfriend. He tells Andrea that he loves his girlfriend but that Andrea “feels like home.” Eek. She peaces out, and considering who her Daddy is, Thomas is maybe dodging a bullet. Though he’s gonna have a lot of spare time on his hands: No school, no girlfriend, no drugs, no nightclub, no other girlfriend.
The next day, Thomas’ mother questions whether their life in the UK is really a better life than what they’d left behind. Thomas is gonna make sure that it is — he takes the profits from the disco and rents his family a bigger, cleaner apartment with furniture and a washing machine. I hope he has a few more kilos of weed to keep up on that place.
With his heart set on a fresh start, he goes to Pandora’s house to ask for forgiveness for sleeping with Andrea.
Kneel to Condition all the Feelings That You Feel
She isn’t having a bar of it because, “you just don’t trust me with your thoughts and that fucks it” and Thomas tells her he loves her and then walks away defeated.
When Pandora walks back into her house, what follows is the most beautiful 15 seconds of television I’ve seen in a long time, featuring two of my all-time favourite things in the one scene:
Yes, Effy told Pandora to reject Thomas to give him some time to think about what he’s done. Which he does. At his new apartment with his siblings and his Mom. Despite the joy and coloring happening around him, he cannot smile because he’s just lost everything. Well you know what Janis Joplin says, when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. And you know what Tyler Durden says, It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. So let’s all be winners.
More than that, I feel sorry for myself because now I’m depressed. I came here seeking lesbian makeouts!
What did you think? I was surprised that they opened with such a heavy episode, a far cry from the hilarity we saw in first episode of season three. And if you were looking for funny, next week’s episode – 402: Naomi & Emily – won’t deliver any lols either. Check out the 402 trailer and get ready for DRAMS
Individual Songs You Probs Want:
[Song: Ida Maria – Keep Me Warm]
[Song: Mumford & Sons – The Cave)