Friday, 29 January 2010
TV: SKINS, SERIES 4.1
It's back, after nearly a year of waiting and watching Series 3 several times on DVD, my favourite tv drama of last year is finally back and it started last night. I mentioned it to my doctor while she was hacking off the lump of unsightly flesh on my leg yesterday (see previous post) as she has a 16 year old daughter who, she told me, watches it but not with her mother around.
I expected a hey gang what's happening get together for the first episode. No chance. This was grim and uncompromising and focussed on the group's visibly outsider figure of Thomas. Although excellent at speaking English, albeit with an accent, Thomas is a native French-speaker from the Congo who earns cash by hosting club nights and has only been in the country about a year. Since the last series, his mother and younger brother and sister have moved in with him into his damp flat and the brother has caught a chest infection. His mother doesn't like Pandora his girlfriend who sleeps with him.
But that is to come. It opens at a nightclub where a girl about 16 is taking drugs in the toilet. The sounds are muted to a background thump. High as a kite, she leave the toilet, swaying past Cook who has a girl's legs wrapped round his waist. Pushing open a door we're hit by a tidal wave of music and flashing lights as she moves into the main area where we get glimpses of some of the main characters. Climbing the stairs to a mezzanine level the girl briefly glances at Emily and Naomi who are lip-locked together. Then she climbs up onto a rail and launches herself into space.
And at this point, Ian decides he is not going to do a full-on recap as he did with the previous series. Besides, back then he had the perspective of having watched the series at least three times.
In the chaos that follows and while the police arrives, Thomas suspects Cook of selling drugs and is prevented from assaulting him by Freddie. Thomas is later bribed by the club owner not to inform the police that he lets anyone into the club. Back at college next day for the first day of the new college year there is a new principal who calls the college and kids rubbish and the he's going to change it. He's utterly ruthless and later expels Thomas because of his association with the nightclub and the dead girl. We also learn that Effie has been missing for some time and no-one, least of all Freddie, knows why.
Thomas becomes reluctantly involved with his mother's church, the charismatic pastor, and the pastor's beautiful singer daughter also a student at Roundview and with whom he has sex. He also learns that it was Naomi who sold the drugs, which she'd got from Cook, to the girl. Guilt-ridden and confused about lots of things, including his younger brother's unremitting chest infection, he goes to see Pandora who refuses to forgive him on the instruction of -drum roll- Effie who has just arrived.
What this episode has been is Thomas's long dark night of the soul and one that has far from ended. If this is the start of the series, I shudder to think what's going to happen next especially as, it appears, the fallout from the girl's death continues in the next episode.