Thursday 11 November 2010

Skins - We had so much, it’s all fucked up forever.

Skins: 2x04 Michelle.

In the beginning of the episode, Michelle is still looking for the one magic trick that is going to reverse everything that’s happened and make things exactly they were before, but it can’t happen (“Why can’t you get better for me? We had so much, it’s all fucked up forever.”). The scene between Tony and her in his bedroom hints that their relationship has always primarily been a physical one, and now that exactly this part does not work, Michelle has no idea how to approach their relationship anymore. Tony still remembers that he used to call her Nips, but he doesn’t remember what he told her on the day he got hit by a bus.

The rest of the episode continues to put Michelle in situations that make her feel isolated and alienated. Her mum has married once again and forces her daughter to move out of the city, into the terrifying nowhere that has tested the souls of oh-so-many teenagers before (where she can’t go and see Jal, because there is no way out). The place itself is ridiculous enough: over-designed, the shag pad her mum designed for the man she ended up marrying, where not even the blinds follow her commands.
Even worse, it turns out that her new stepfather has a daughter named Scarlet that starts to take away things from Michelle the moment she enters her life – she takes her room (Michelle moves into a closet instead), charms her friends, and turns out to be the only one to be enthused about Michelle’s idea to spend her birthday camping, although Michelle doesn’t exactly want her to come.

The episode is light on dialogue for the most part – it’s fun and fulfils the same function Effy’s episode had in the third season (escalating some of the plots, advancing some of the others, but mostly just showcasing that these people still, despite of all the drama, are friends). There is the undercurrent of isolation that connects Michelle and Sid, who connect over the fact that both kind of feel like they let down a friend.

Michelle: “Alright?”
Sid: “Jal said you went to see Tony?”
Michelle: “It’s OVER, Sid. I tried... I can’t. It just doesn’t work anymore. I’m not a good enough person.”
Sid: “Hey. You’re good enough.
Michelle: “She [Scarlet] does my head in.”
Sid: “You just get to get to know her bit. She’s fun.”
Michelle: “And I’m not?”
Sid: “Always.”
Michelle: “You’re okay Sid?”
Sid: “Sometimes. Keep getting dad’s….anyways.”
Michelle feels like things are being taken away from her: the home she used to know, Tony, her friends, and now, possibly, Sid, although she only realizes how much she cares about him, about his devotion she always could rely on, when she sees Scarlet flirt with him.
Scarlet: “He was telling me about his dad. He is so cute.”
Michelle: “His dad is dead. He’s probably a bit vulnerable.”
Scarlet: “I know. Shit. He says you’re the only one who knows how to talk to him.”
Michelle: “He said that?”
Scarlet: “Because you’ve known each other forever and sometimes he thinks that he knows you better than you do. And that’s when I decided to show him my tits. I’m a bitch. Go on, you can probably catch him. Even I see that he needs a hug and I’m the insensitive cow.
Michelle: “Okay. Thanks. You’re not a bitch, are you?”
Scarlet: “Just pretending.”
Which is, of course, kind of exactly what Michelle is: just pretending, to mask her insecurities. Now that Sid has been hurt so badly, and now that they have their guilt over Tony in common, they cling to each other because it is easier than to explain their pain to other people who probably would not understand.
Sid: “Chelle. I’m so lonely.”
Michelle: “I know. I know.”
The next morning, after sleeping with Sid, she opens Tony’s birthday present and finds out that she broke the watch while she carried it around. And in the end of the episode, just as we think that maybe, for a bit, it might work out between the two, Cassie enters the scene like the ghost she’s been in this season so far: Hi Sid. Hello Michelle.

Random notes:

There are so many small details in this episode that I love: Like when Tony sees Michelle from his window and texts “sexy red top”, and of course he is also wearing a red shirt, which reminds us of all their ridiculous “wearing the same clothes” history. Also, the scene in the beginning when Anthea answers the door, I actually kind of like her for her protectiveness. “He’s starting to get better and I don’t want anyone to screw him up because they can’t make their mind up.”

I kind of love that Michelle gets all the Electrelane in this episode. I never give April Pearson enough credit for her performance, because Michelle could so easily be a cliché and she just isn’t because her acting is so amazing and subtle.

Chris: “BUBBLES. They go up and up and up and then disappear. Poof. “

I know exactly how you feel, Chris.

Also, “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire? I love the music in her episode.

I love the obvious parallel between Michelle with all her friends in the car, but at the same time completely alone, and Effy feeling exactly the same in her season three episode.

Chris: “Fuck It, I’m inadequate, what can you do”.

Sometimes, there are these small moments when I think that Michelle is a bit like Naomi (for example, her “pull yourself together girl, for fuck’s sake” was very “what are you doing? For fuck’s sake”), and because I am still me, I like all the more for it. Jal reminds me of her more, but Michelle has her moments too.

“Hang on. Does the sea sound louder?”

As absurd as it is, I kind of like that Sketch turns up there out of nowhere. She is, after all, a really good stalker, so why would she not turn up to freak out Maxxie and Michelle.

There should be a band that has Scarlet, Sketch, Sophia and Mandy.

1 comment:

ohwowlovely said...

(3)S&M - (for the band name lol) Happy holidays btw!!