Friday, 18 March 2011
TV: SKINS 5.8: ALL
The last episode of this series and here be spoilers. Sorry, but I can't really discuss it without them.
It's the final preparations for the wedding. The girls are taking it seriously, the boys... well, what did you expect? Rich, on Alo's insistence that Grace will love it, gets his hair seriously cut but not so short as to be unsuitable for the Beatle suits the four of them wear. There's still the tension between Frankie, Liv and Matty and Liv has also noticed the girl crush Mini has for Frankie but makes light of it.
The day of the wedding is also the day that Grace's parents are taking her off to the posh school in the middle of nowhere and, just before Grace pops into town, Professor Blood gives her a pendant which, unknown to her but will come as no surprise to everyone watching, contains a tracking chip. The gang set off in Alo's van which he promptly wrecks having got lost. The happy couple get a lift with an older new age married couple who are so sickly (and funny) even I wanted to vomit. Frankie, Liv and Matty wander off on their own. Mini eventually follows them leaving Alo and Nick to bumble through. We get an insight into why Frankie feels so much of an outsider and the tensions between her, Liv and Matty explode and result in Frankie nearly getting killed. Somehow they all manage to arrive at the church where Rich and Grace haven't been having an easy time of it.
Naturally the parents arrive before the wedding can take place but what happens next is surprising. When Grace won't back down and Blood blames it all on her friends, Nick tells him why their friendship is good for all of them. Blood doesn't axactly back down but he walks out draggin his more sympathetic wife with him. Grace and Rich decide they don't need to get married because they are happy the way the are. But it is their free choice which is important and it all ends in a party at a village fayre where Liv gives up Matty and he and Frankie hug. Cue loud music and dancing to a band.
A nice episode to end on. I'm not going to go into any analysis here as it's all tied up with my overview which follows here-
The troubled but fascinating Frankie portrayed superbly by Dakota Blue Richards
In a way, expectations were unfairly raised by the first episode which focussed on newcomer and ambi-sexual Frankie who has two gay dads. Her boyish looks immediately set her apart as an outsider and the focus of venom from Mini whose own spite alienated her two friends Grace and Liv. That viciousness we realised later was a result of her own deep-rooted and well hidden sense of inadequacy. The high drama, the cruelty displayed to Frankie, tended to overshadow everything which was to come. It certainly got the viewer's attention.
It took a while to realise this was a very different Skins to the previous two groups. By comparison, this was almost down to earth realistic kitchen sink drama. There were no comedy gangsters (instead a creepy molester who owned a fancy dress shop), no millionaire artist for a mother (though I suppose the revelation of David Blood for a dad was bad enough), no over the top performances by a gallery of comedy and character actors (well, mostly), and the characters themselves were toned down.
What we got was a slightly hyper-real version of reality, of typical teenage problems -jealousy (Liv), the imposition of unrealistically high expectations (Nick), the search for identity (Frankie), losing their virginity (Mini), the first serious boy/girlfriend (Rich and Grace) and so on.
The character development works well and convincingly throughout the series and it's entirely believable that Mini has become almost overprotective of Frankie by the final episode (where she even calls Frankie her 'best friend') in contrast to the venomous bitch in Episode 1. Grace, always sweet and loveable, has developed enough inner strength to defy her father. Even Nick (and I always have trouble with alpha males) has developed a certain sense and compassion. Alo, however, remains a well-meaning idiot. With that exception they've all grown up to one degree or another which sets the scene nicely for the next series.
What I felt this missed out was more scenes of the group together or at least in subgroups. There's a good vibe (excuse me for that) in the group scenes even when the scenes themselves involve negative emotions (the Twelfth Night sequences for example). While I've enjoyed the series, it hasn't gripped me in the way the others have done. Then prior to writing about an episode I would watch it more than once on DVD, stopping and starting it as I did write to make sure I had my facts correct and dialogue quoted properly. This time it's been after one viewing so I have made a few errors but I never felt engaged enough to want to watch it a second time shortly after the first.
It's been a likeable show but next time there had better be more or I doubt if we'll see a series 7.