Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Skins - I'm a person. I’m not you.

Skins: 3x09 Katie and Emily.


Emily’s path in this season isn’t about realizing that she is gay, it is about realizing that she can and has to be her own person. She isn’t boring, she isn’t awkward – she has just always stood in the shadow of her overpowering sister.
Now Katie has one redeeming thing about her, and that is her protectiveness of her twin sister. She likes the idea that they are, in a way, the same – as long as she is the more powerful one who defines what THEY are.
At the beginning of the episode we see a twin dressed like Katie entering school. It’s Katie as long as there’s leopard print and ridiculous shoes, right? We follow her as she walks in, shows her Katie Fitch ID, and walks to the exam. JJ sees her and realizes that it’s not Katie, it’s Emily, taking the history exam for her sister.
When Naomi enters the scene, we realize quite suddenly that we don’t have a lot of insight into how she has felt about the events of past episodes, because while Emily is becoming herself, Naomi is changing, and probably too quickly to still be comfortable. She tells Emily that she intends to spend the summer in Cyprus or something, and that they should “just be friends” (I think it’s too late for that, Naomi? Emily answers, “we say that, don’t we?”)
But in the end, Naomi has to admit to herself that she wants Emily – she comes back for her, kissing her (“I can’t stand this”) and they go back to her place.
Emily: “Naomi. I wanna tell people.”
Naomi: “That you’re gay.”
Emily. “I wanna tell people about us. Come to the college ball with me. Like we’re together.”
Naomi: “I don’t want to do that.”
Emily: “Why not.”
Naomi: “Em, it’s nobody’s business.”
Emily: “Why. Who cares what other people..”
Naomi: “Emily. I’m not like you. I’m not sure like you are.”
Emily: “What aren’t you sure of?”
Naomi: “Aren’t things ever complicated?”
Emily: “Fine. You like boys too.”
Naomi: “Maybe. Maybe I only like boys apart from you.”
Emily: “Well that’s fucking great. You’re so in touch with yourself, aren’t you. Come to the ball with me.”
She shakes her head, and realizes how much she is upsetting Emily.
Naomi: “Don’t do that.”
Emily: “No, you don’t do that. I’m not your fucking experiment. I’m tired. So sick and tired of it. Still holding hands through a cat-flap, aren’t we? Have fun in Cyprus.”
This exchange isn’t as much about whether or not Naomi is gay, it’s about whether she is willing to make herself vulnerable to another person, and not back off the second she’s out of her comfort zone. Emily is still trying to figure out how to be herself and not her sister, and in her mind an important part of this is being able to be herself in college, around strangers, by being out, and by being able to say who she loves.

“I’m rubbish at history anyway. I’m rubbish at everything. Not like Emily”
Katie’s mom tries to pry her daughter from her room and comforts her, saying that her marks will cover up – but Katie’s issues go deeper than just the obvious marks Effy left on her face. She has an identity conflict, and part of that is the fact that her sister isn’t with her anymore. Emily tries to explain this concept to Naomi – the idea of having shared everything for such a long time, and almost being the same person, having an identity that extends to her sister. She doesn’t just see her sister in trouble when Emily comes home, after having this beautiful conversation with Thomas, who has just lost Pandora (“What do you do when someone you love lets you down. Really fucks you over.” / “You must try to stop loving them.” / “And is that possible?” / “No. I don’t think so.”) – when Emily is trying to come out to her parents, in a horrible state of mind (“I’ve been making love to a girl” […] “Her name is Naomi, she’s rather beautiful. So I was nailing her…”), she is manipulating her effort because she is still trying to figure out what it means for her to have a gay sister, and she sees this as protecting her, in a way, from herself.
Katie: “You’ve just conjured up this thing with Naomi because you’re jealous of me.”
Emily: “Right. I’m stupid because I don’t let anyone fuck me when they’re in love with somebody else. You let Freddie use you and look what’s it got you. That’s a normal relationship, isn’t it. She fucked you up good, didn’t she. Nobody hits me over the head with a rock, loser.”
Instead of fighting Emily, Katie cries herself to sleep, and Emily is actually shocked that she was able to hurt her so badly (“Katie, look at me. I’m still Emily.”).


It’s interesting to watch how Naomi is actually the one trying to talk to Emily in the scenes following their upsetting fight, but she ends up talking to Emily’s mom, who explains that Emily is impressionable, more like her sister than Naomi realizes (“Are you sure about that?”), and tells Naomi to leave Emily alone (“I want you to disappear now, Naomi. Don’t screw her up”) – it’s probably only then that Naomi realizes how brave it is of Emily to be with her at all, and how all the protective people around her are actually smothering her every attempt to become herself. When Katie finds out from Freddie (JJ can’t keep a secret) that Emily has slept with JJ, she is even more upset than when she found out about Naomi (“That’s not a rumble. That’s insanity spelled “GEEK”. Not gay, stupid.” – and tells Emily that she has to ask Katie who she can sleep with, because Katie still considers Emily’s as a part of herself.
It’s why Katie decides to tell Naomi about JJ, Naomi, who by this point is upset enough about the whole thing that she walks out of an important exam and actually lights up when she sees who she believes to be Emily through the window pane of a café.
Katie: “Leave her alone. She’s mine.”
Naomi: “She can’t help who she is, Katie. Neither can I.”
Katie: “Yeah. Seems like she could help it when she was fucking JJ.”
Naomi: “Why are you so horrible?”
Katie: “Because I love her more than you ever can.”
The Love Ball

The showdown at the love ball that features two fights (first, Katie tries to beat up Naomi for turning up there at all, then Naomi seems to be at least a little bit in awe when Emily beats up her own sister because of her - “She deserved it!” / “What did I deserve, Katie?”) , one cute make-up scene (Pandora: “Please. Can we start again? I promise. I promise I’ll never…” /  Thomas: “Hello. I’m Thomas. So glad to meet you. “), and a really great speech in which Emily finally asserted her independence, both by articulating herself in front of the entire school and by “shedding her own skin” and getting out of the twin dress Katie got for her.
Emily: “Katie. I can’t stand this. ‘Im a person. I’m not you.”
Naomi: “I know.”
Emily: “You have to understand, Katie. I love you, and I’ll never really leave you. But I can’t fix this. I like girls. No, I like a girl. No, I love her. OK? I love her (pointing at Naomi). OK?”


Naomi: “Some party”
Emily: “Eventful!”
Naomi: “Yeah. I love you too.”
Emily: “I know.”
Naturally, Emily and Naomi walking out of there with the clapping of the entire school in the background should have been the season finale, but sadly it’s not.

Random things:

JJ first figures out that it’s Emily, not Katie. By looking at her boobs. Oh, JJ.

I’d kinda like to meet the legendary Gordon McPherson, but something tells me we won’t see him next season, but he will be alluded to precisely twice.

Katie literally putting Emily’s box of fannies INTO THE CLOSET. Symbolic jokes, always great.

The awesome Mr Fitch, telling JJ (who is already freaking out anyways) and Freddie: “When they are not still virgins tomorrow, I’ll hunt you down like dogs” – minutes before JJ starts spilling about the “terribly safe sex” he’s had with Emily.

Pandora is a wicked dancer. We already saw this last season, but the thing with Doug was made of awesome.

I want to meet JJ’s dad: “It’s dad’s potato moonshine. He went on a distil anything course. We use it for weed killing mostly.”

1 comment:

ohwowlovely said...

Let's just pretend the next episode never happened (or mattered anyway) and Naomily leaving the love ball to applause was the finale! I like that much better! I generally do tend to actually think that anyway...