Saturday, 20 February 2010
TV: SKINS SERIES 4.4 KATIE
Pandora and Katie
With all the attention on the trials and tribulations of the the Naomi-Emily romance, Katie tended to get overlooked or viewed from an Emily-centred perspective. She came over, and indeed was, vain, pushy, selfish, possessive (of Emily), and a bitch. Yet under the hard mask was someone more sensitive. In this episode, while she looks inward at herself, her actions are directed outward. Physically, she now looks quite different from Emily with darker styled hair and different clothes.
Previously we learned that her father was bankrupt and his prized gymn now owned by the bank just as Jenna, Katie's mother, had taken out a loan to establish herself as a wedding arranger. The early focus is on their dealings with a new lucrative client (Jenny Eclair, see previous post) and her pregnant by a footballer daughter. Their demands are outrageous and they treat Jenna and Katie like shit. While Katie has organised the hen night, the bride to be changes the theme without telling her. It ends when Katie, not unjustifiably punches out a friend of the bride and loses the contract. Effy and Freddy with whom Katie has a painful history have gatecrashed and it's Effy who follows Katie out and makes an effort to befriend her.
Having problems with her periods and suspecting she's pregnant, she's gone for tests only to be told that she's suffering from premature menopause and can never have children, which is a real kick in the head and she dumps her moron of a boyfriend. She phones Emily who's unavailable and goes home to try to tell her mother but Jenna is in a rage as she's just discovered the house is being repossessed. Katie looks after her brother when Jenna declares war on their father. Homeless after having grabbed what few possessions they can carry, Katie more or less takes charge and tells everyone that they're going to stay with Naomi and Emily. Emily isn't around but Naomi takes them in.
This isn't a good time for them to be there are things are about as bad as they can get between the formerly happy couple. When Emily arrives back the following morning, she's furious with Naomi for letting them in, still resentful of her mother not accepting her girlfriend. At the barbecue party they hold that same day, Emily, on drink and drugs, is completely obnoxious to Naomi and her own family, culminating in her openly snogging another girl then pushing Naomi into a small plastic paddling pool. Naomi tells everyone why she's like this and what she, Naomi, has done. The party breaks up, Katie spends some time having a heart to heart with Thomas, before going in search of Emily whom she finds on a bed, sobbing her heart out. Katie pulls her twin to her.
The next day she manages to get all the family together in their empty former home where she tells her mother what has happened to her and how upset she'd been that she couldn't get her mother to listen when she really needed her. Her parents reconcile ("Urgh, they're using tongues!") and seat down to eat pizza.
This episode is a very strong contrast to be previous series where Emily was the sympathetic character. Katie has come to an understanding of herself which partly involves her awareness that she shares a volatile and unwanted temperament with her mother but also an awareness that she is changing and her actions demonstrate the maturing of her character. In response to challenges, she copes, unlike Emily who, faced with the problems a serious relationship can bring, is falling apart. While still recognisably Katie in manner there is now a depth and maturity previously unhinted at. She defends Naomi to her mother implying her full acceptance of Emily's lesbian relationship, overcomes her initial urge for physical contact to become friends with Thomas, accepts Effy whom she has every reason to hate, talks to her mother as an equal, and becomes a peacemaker in her own family. All this is done without making her any the less Katie than she was before. It's a very positive episode, even more than the previous one. And the actor portraying also gets out of the shadow of her twin who has until now had all the good bits.
Next week it's Freddie, the character I consider the least interesting of the bunch. Expect a lot of Effy.