Tuesday 26 January 2010

Skins - I don't want you to say anything, hit me.

Skins: 3x08 Effy.

Effy’s mom is on a downwards spiral of pills and alcohol. Effy herself has fallen back on Cook, but doesn’t seem to enjoy herself, but when she goes to Freddie’s place to talk to him (Literally going through the wilderness to get to the shed), she finds him kissing Katie. Katie, who is so desperate to make them seem like a happy couple, calling each other cute names, finishing each other’s sentences, being so obviously possessive of Freddie (we see clearly how insecure she is when Effy’s around). Then Katie invites Effy to a party the two of them are throwing in the middle of the woods, where Cook isn’t invited (“Cause we don’t like him”). Once again the show decides to show Effy vulnerable by leaving off the make-up, and we only see how hard it is for her to keep her cool composure in front of Katie when, seconds after walking out, she throws up violently (to “Machine Gun” by Portishead – Effy always gets the greatest music).

It’s a surprise that she does decide to drive the group minus Cook to “Gobbler’s End”, and the scene in the car violently makes it clear that this generation of “Skins” is very much unlike the previous one: There is no sense of friendship or companionship here, there are some very strong relationships between separate characters, but as a whole, they aren’t exactly a group of friends. I wonder whether this is intentional or whether the writers failed to show us scenes to establish an over-all group feeling. Interestingly enough it’s Katie who is desperate to make this work, who wants a nice, drug-free holiday with friendly bonding, when it’s already clear in the car that this will go horribly wrong when we see all the simmering conflicts (Thomas and Pandora! Effy and Freddie! Katie and Naomi!).

It’s interesting to see Effy feeling left out by Pandora: For the first time ever in their friendship, Pandora is not telling Effy what’s wrong (she feels that something is wrong between Thomas and her), although Effy honestly wants to know (“You can tell me. If there’s something up, I can help you.”). Effy is making an effort, but it’s probably already too late for that, so instead she shares the mushrooms she found in the woods. The ensuing trip goes well for about a couple of scenes, then the catastrophe begins (when Cook decides to freak them out)
Katie: You weren’t invited, so you can just fuck off.
Cook (to Freddie): “You’ve taken everything else, you’ve taken fucking JJ, and now you’re taken her off of me as well. She hasn’t told you, has she. Fuck me. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this.”Katie: “What’s going on?”
Cook: “Effy doesn’t want me anymore, do you princess.”
Effy: "No."
Katie:” So. Why should we care, Freddie’s with me now, right Freddie? Freddie?”
Freddie: “Right” (unconvinced)
JJ: “Just go away. Noone wants you here, noone likes you. Fucking go”
Then Cook decides to tell everybody that he has been sleeping with Pandora, which isn’t just a horrible moment for Pandora (although this is finally when Thomas tells her he knew), but also for Effy, who thought that this was a one-time-only thing. I wonder whether she is shocked that she’s been sleeping with the same guy as her best friend, or that she didn’t know this about Panda, or that Cook would do this to Thomas. Thomas decides not to hit Cook, he feels even too much contempt for that after Cook pleas with him to do just that, and instead walks away (“I fell in love with this girl, she was good as honest, and loved donuts, and now she’s gone and this new one, I don’t like her, she makes my heart hurt.”). Panda ends up punching him.
Effy, on a very bad trip, and Katie meet again in the woods, and it becomes difficult to decide whether we see Effy’s skewed perception or what Katie is actually doing. However, Effy feels threatened as Katie hits her, spits on her and finally strangles her (“If you’re ever trying to touch anything that belongs to me ever again I will fuck you up.”), and hits her over the head with a rock.
“Skins” is always at its strongest when the camp and hyperbole usually employed to drive forward the plot suddenly disappear and give way to painful, realistic scenes. It’s how the show manages to reconcile this weird sense of humour with stories about homophobia, eating disorders, violence, drugs, sex.
When Effy wakes up later, Katie hasn’t moved. She stumbles back to the camp, finds Freddie, and tells him “hit me. Just once. I wanna feel something. HIT ME.”, and instead of hitting her, or saying anything at all (remember: Freddie isn’t good with words), he kisses her, and then they have sex.
The next morning, when Katie doesn’t turn up, the kids search the woods but don’t find her, and Effy remains silent, until she finally breaks down on their way home, placing an anonymous phone call to the police. She thinks that Katie is dead, and only finds out that she’s alive when Freddie calls her: Katie’s at the hospital with nine stitches (he doesn’t yet know what happened, as she’s been unconscious).
When all her friends finally do find out, Effy is left completely alone, so she calls the only person left: and takes off with Cook, somewhere, anywhere. “It’s you and me, Babe. Whatever happens. It’s always you and me.”

Random thoughts:

Freddie’s AM message: “This is Freddie’s dyslexia helpline: please leave a messilage”. Probably the first and only time Freddie’s ever made me laugh. Well.

The scene when Cook, left behind in Bristol with no words from anyone, shows up at Effy’s doorstep with a cake and Anthea bluntly tells him that Effy and he broke up, which is news to him: “but I brought a gateau! Black Forest”.

It’s funny that Naomi tells Emily not to listen to her sister and try the mushrooms. “Everything once”, remember.

JJ, after spending the night in a tent with Naomi and Emily: “You ladies like to wriggle, don’t you?”. Heh (but how exactly does JJ always end up in the middle of whatever they’re up to? Weird)

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