Rophy says: Okay, let’s get something out of the way right off Foster’s bat. Special category, coming through:
Rophy says NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Why, why, why, Mr Thorne???
Sophy says: Well, I was floored. I guess because Jay was captured and rescued in the last episode, it was harder to see this coming – you sort of expect a cooling off period after a character’s life has been threatened once, but no. Not on this show. On this show it’s sudden and brutal, even when you’re the main guy’s love interest. There was no moment in this episode for Paul and Jay – there wasn’t even a moment for Jay, period. But I guess that would have given the game away, wouldn’t it? This is a lesson we learned from Naomily: whenever a beloved TV couple gets too adorable, there’s vomitty rootfop bawling of some kind to come.
I’m sad that Jay is gone, but also understanding. It had to be done. Up until this point Paul hasn’t really suffered – I mean, sure, he’s had some nasty visions and some close encounters with being eaten. And he was hit by a bus. And stuff. But there was no permanent damage from any of that, and that meant that the whole time Paul was going on about how important it was to be a saint, I kept thinking Okay, but it’s easy for you, you pompous little twit. Because he hadn’t suffered. Not in the way Neil has suffered, or John has suffered. So it wasn’t apples/apples, you know? And it still isn’t. But Jay’s death did make it that much more meaningful that Paul ultimately rose up and refused to compromise, that he laid everything – his own life, the lives of the people he loves the most – on the line for the sake of the world.
And you know what, okay, I don’t hate Neil. Because this action was vile, but I honestly believe that he believed it was necessary. Jury’s still out as to whether he was right. But the way he said “I love you Alice, but get out of my way” absolutely broke my heart, because this is what pain has done to him, you know? This is what constant pain and constant fear can do to good people. And there’s very little in that to hate, for me, and everything in it to feel sad about.
Also, let’s take your predictions right now, you guys. Did Jay’s fade make it to the church on time or will we be seeing more of her next series?
Because there will be a next series. Do you hear me, BBC?
Rin says: This was one of those moments where you NEVER EVER saw it coming. ‘Cause we’ve seen it all before. No matter how close the gun is to a persons head, she’s an innocent little girl, and pretty much a main character, so surely not Impossible And then it happened. And I honestly couldn’t believe it, and STILL can’t. When I think about it I literally laugh because it’s so SHOCKING that I don’t know how to stomach it.
I love that JT went there because even with all the death that has happened up until this point, none of it has really hit too close to home. I was sad about Snapey, but even then it was like, well we only really saw her briefly for a bit and it was more of a — I wish we had a bit more time with her character but oh well. Jay on the other hand is a huge, well… fuck. She’s just a kid, and it wasn’t by choice that she was caught up in all of this.
And I don’t hate Neil either. I mean, by all rights we should. He basically slaughtered Jay point blank. But these are circumstances that none of us can comprehend because no matter how much this is based in our reality, it’s also really not. Obviously killing innocent people is wrong. Duh. But Neil really didn’t see any other way. AND I’M LIKE, MAYBE JUST AN ARM? NOT THE HEAD?? WHY THE HEAD??
Sophy says: BECAUSE. Paul is way too strong-willed. There was no way he was going to bow to a threat. It had to be a reality for him, and well, even then it still didn’t work.
Maybe he should have just started with his mum. Poor Neil. This is what you get for trying to be nice!
Which, by the way. Rin, if you’re ever in a situation where I’m going to be murdered unless you do something morally questionable, just so we’re clear, I wouldn’t want you to do it. The right thing, that is. I’d want you to do the thing where I didn’t die. Okay? Okay.
Rin says: Don’t worry Sophy. I never do the right thing when it comes to you.
Moment that makes you most concerned for JT’s mental health
People are not dogfood.
Sophy says: WHY WHY WHY?
I think what makes this so very upsetting is that Rin and I are both major dog people. And just… the innocent nonchalance with which the poor abandoned creature is lapping at its human drumstick. Can’t.
Rin says: lol this was so revolting. Why did you have to get the dogs involved?! They didn’t do anything wrong
We’re more and more concerned, you guys.
Sophy says: It used to be my dream to work for this man. Not so much anymore.
Rin says: Oh my god. Best trophy wall ever.
Sophy says: You people make me sick.
Moment that makes you most in awe of JT’s mental awesome
“I told him… you don’t fuck with ascension.”
Sophy says: THIS ENDING. RELIEF WAS FLOODING INTO MY BODY AT ABOUT THE SAME RATE AS PAUL’S WAS FILLING WITH GRIEF, HORROR AND FOREBODING.
Because I have been slightly on edge with this show over the past couple of episodes, hoping and praying that it was going to let me continue to love it as I should. And it has let me, you guys, with this perfect, glorious, completely grey ending to series 1.
Because Paul was right, you know? No matter how necessary murder is it is still murder and it will never be okay. The ends do not justify the means. Compassion is key. Check.
But then Neil was right too, you know? Good and evil go together like a horse and carriage. There is no easy way out. You don’t fuck with ascension. Check.
Also full marks to Iain for his face in this scene. Absolutely gutting. You could really feel how it was all coming back around to his quote in the last episode: I’m afraid of letting my friends down, I’m afraid of not being good enough, I’m afraid of not doing the right thing.
Rin says: I was very glad for the open-ended-ness of the ending. Because there was closure from the big bad of the series, but also a tonne of development, which wasn’t out of nowhere, for something new to tackle next series. BECAUSE THERE HAS TO BE A NEXT SERIES AND I WON’T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY?
The shot of the three of them sitting on a shopping trolley was a perfect image to end on. As Paul is physically unable to tell them the horror of what happened to Jay. And yes, Iain gets full marks for everything. It’s got to be hard to be the one who wasn’t from Skins, when you know a big portion of the people watching will be from the Skins audience. But he never let up and pretty much won us over in the first episode, because for this show to be a success it really needed a strong lead that could stand his own, with yes, the other kids, but more importantly the ‘adults’. I’m always thankful when young actors are truly actors, because I always think, ‘It could have been a Jonas Brother.’
“Every nation has its bloody beginning. And now it’s time for a new nation. Our nation. And I won’t even have to fuck my own daughters to make it happen.”
Sophy says: This whole scene was nothing short of hideous and magnificent. Joe Dempsie really played it to the hilt; he managed to be hilarious, nauseating, weirdly sympathetic, and overall just generally unnerving in the extreme.
Let us fuck them, let us fuck them.
Honestly. My eyes were dinner-plates.
Natalie, too, pulled out all the stops. You could really feel Sarah’s absolute torment, the creeping acknowledgment of herself as a ruined thing – a ruined thing and a finished thing. Because the knife may as well be a sippy cup for all the good it will do anybody, and the visions seem just as hopeless and twice as cruel. Because she has them all wrong. She thinks she’s being haunted, when the truth is that she’s being warned – “What’s the point of seeing the future if you can’t change it,” all that. She’s not there yet. Or rather, she’s not there anymore. Sarah’s losing faith, fast, and why wouldn’t she? All this – the inevitable ashen waste of the world, John’s little story about the hardness at the heart of everything she has stood for, the loss of her body, the loss of her love, the loss of her dignity… it’s all too much. That’s why she winds up in the hallway with the knife and the bad attitude.
And that’s what makes Sarah’s ultimate salvation so moving – we get to see just how close she came to the brink.
We get to see just how close she came to being where Neil is now.
And you know, on that note, my inner Neil stan needs to get back on her dusty, battered soapbox. Because although Neil is as much as a Fade as Sarah is, to me that doesn’t so much mean that he’s evil incarnate, as that Fades are not evil incarnate. Yes, he killed Jay. Yes, it was wrong beyond the telling of it. But were Paul’s choices really all that right either? I mean, even if he hadn’t made the sky go black and doomy, he was still making choices that led directly to innocent people’s deaths. He didn’t hold a gun to their heads, but really, in not pulling the his glowy-hand trigger when he could, he took the decision to let them be eaten in the meantime. There are no good choices in war, only bad ones and worse ones.
And I love how resonant this show is, because it put me in mind of a lot of the big political and moral struggles of our time. I mean, you know a show is thought-provoking when it’s giving you angels and demons and you’re stroking your chin and musing about the complexities of asylum seeker policy in Australia.
Rin says: You’d think we reached the tipping point (Ha!) for terribly disgusting and disturbing stories with, insides of a man, but no! Of course not! How silly of me!
Joe Dempsie in this role is a complete Ruth Wilson. Chris is his Jane Eyre, and John is his Alice. Because as BEAUTIFUL and HE LEFT A PRINT ON MY HEART YOU GUYS he was as Chris.. it’s not one of those roles where you just sit back and go ‘holy fuck ACTINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!’ Joe as John? Had us repeatedly screaming at the top of our lungs at how fucking insanely good he was. So now he’s earned one of those coveted ‘I’ll watch anything you’re in for an eternity’ spots. A big part of me looking forward to the return of GoT is getting to see Joe again. (AND HANNAH DEAR LORD!)
Sophy says: DON’T EVEN. HANNAH. CAN’T. WILL NOT.
Oh, that Mac
“Actually, when I was 12, when I first read a Bible, I thought it was more than possible that I was the second coming. Jesus – lonely, very complicated relationship with my dad, big love of carpentry.”
Sophy says: Just… the way he said “It’s an odd one, Jesus Christ, hear me out.” Priceless.
I also loved the way this set up that amazing moment when Neil turns around and decides to join in, with absolutely no lols whatsoever: “I was an orphan. No-one liked me very much. I could see dead people. So yeah, I thought it was quite possible that I was Jesus Christ.”
Meanwhile, is it weird that I never wondered whether I was Jesus as a kid? Maybe because I’m a girl…
Rin says: I never thought I was Jesus either.
I did go through a brief stint where I wanted to be a carpenter when I was younger though.
Reasons Lily should be in the opening credits.
“If you could be any character in any film what would it be?”
“The character Living Person in the film I Don’t Want to Die Here!”
Sophy says: I SNORTED. SERIOUSLY IT WAS LIKE. THIS WEIRD GRUNTING SOUND OF SHEER PIGLETY DELIGHT.
Rin says: Amazing. But also, NEIL DIDN’T LET HER PUT ON SHOES BEFORE HE ABDUCTED THEM?
“The last thing I said to him… “You scare me.” I told my son he scared me.”
“He is scary. And the world is scary. And unless we leave now, it’s going to get scarier.”
Sophy says: I think this might have been the moment I really fell in love with Anna. Because she’s so damn delightfully matter of fact, but at the same time the delivery of “He is scary” is so gentle and fond. And I just… I love that she knows what’s what. She’s smart, you know? And she’s not going to let her mum brood them all to death? But at the same time you can tell by the tone of her voice that she gets it – and she cares. And I love how “I’m supposed to be looking after you” took us back to the sweet little “That I will try to do” moment with Mac in the last episode.
And that’s the sort of thing that makes this show similar to a really awesome, prize-winning broth of some kind. One writer – all the continuity and layering you can eat. As a crazed fangirl you kind of expect that the writers of your favourite show will be just as overanalytical and obsessive as you are, and it’s disappointing when you get those little moments of disjunction that you show you that no, not all writers are fangirls. Not all writers watch their colleagues’ episodes 60 bajillion times and learn the frames by heart. But when there’s just one writer, well… it all came from them, so it’s all in there. Every line is etched in their brain already the way we fans feverishly etch them into ours. The little things we cherish? The show cherishes them too. ♥
Meanwhile we snuck a cap in of Mama Twins because she’s the best. And we don’t show her enough love.
Rin says: I think my favourite thing about this scene is we get to see the similarities between Anna and Paul. She does have the ability to lead, albeit a little more aggressively, just like Paul. She can take control, and it’s this scene that makes me think Anna could have a really cool more active role next series. And I still say she has some untapped superpowers hidden away somewhere!
And idk. I’m a sucker for kids looking after their parents. IT’S JUST ALWAYS ADORABLE AND LOVELY OKAY?!
“Paul can look after himself. And, just a reminder, I’m your other child!”
Sophy says: HAHAHAAH JUST THE WAY SHE GOT ALL UP IN HER FACE ABOUT IT. MAGIC.
And I love that despite the fact that Anna always dresses her insecurities up with sarcasm, they’re very real for her. In fact, they’re actually defining.
Because at the end of the day she simply feels less loved. Less important. Less scary, for all her grr, argh, and less special too. We got that loud and clear in the last episode when she told Jay she believes her mother would choose Paul if someone had a gun to both their heads. And I love that in this episode we saw how untrue that really is. Because when Meg sees Jay lying in a pool of blood, the first panicked thought that escapes her lips is “Where’s my daughter?!” Yes, she thinks of Paul too, because of course she does, how could she possibly not… but the fact is that Anna is the first thing out of her mouth and the third thing too, as she repeats, “Where’s my daughter?!”
The bottom line is there is no choosing for Meg, and I’d love to see Anna start to gradually understand that next series. And I’d like to get a closer look at her relationship with Paul, too, because it doesn’t matter how different they are, okay, or how much bickering they engage in. They’re twins. Their bond is never going to not be something to head-in-hands home about.
Rin says: Lol, I’ve never really suffered from sibling jealousy, and I have 3 of them! Or maybe it’s because I’m the youngest…. Idk. Let’s not get into it! But it honestly must be the worst to feel like you’re the unloved child, or even worse, the unloved twin. So you can definitely see where the whole persona of Anna has sprouted from. If she’s not going to win at home, then she’s damn well going to rule the school.
Misc scared, pretty Lily Loveless.
Sophy says: Gazing. Gazing and adoring. Gah. Gadoring.
Rin says: I LOVE THESE CAPS SFM. Apart from the lily (BUT NEVER REALLY APART FROM THE LILY :(((( ), I love how they all kind of melt together with their black background. <333
Oh Loveless. I’m going to once again miss you visiting us weekly on our screens. I’ll still leave cookies and milk for you by the fireplace.
Sophy says: AWWW, just like Father Christmas, when you leave the port and cake out for him.
Rin says: LILY CLAUS :((((( I believe :((((
No, Neil and Mac have not hijacked this category.
Sophy says: I love that even though Mac and Paul were apart for basically the whole episode, we still had to double up in this category.
And I love that Mac knows Paul so well. Because he’s right, ultimately. No matter what Neil or anyone else throws at him, Paul will not be put off. He’ll break before he bends. And that makes him super-hero material, even if he looks “like a Hereford cream sponge”.
Also their little backstory re: Scout camp and coming in “a very bitter last” is amazing.
AND “HE’S NOT MY BOYFRIEND”. Best.
Rin says: Would this show have worked without Paul/Mac? Maybe. But would it have been half as good? No.
They are the absolute heart of the show. They beat out Jay, Anna and Meg. And I ADORE that because it’s not too often that the male best friends take precedence over their romance. BROS BEFORE HOS! ..or something less degrading.
“I hated him for having you.”
“And I hated him for having the opportunity to walk in at any moment and see you in your underwear.”
Sophy says: I love how they both shared their first clear memories of each other and we got confirmation of what I always suspected to be the case – these two know each other a whole lot better than they like to let on. And why wouldn’t they? I mean, Paul and Mac have the kind of relationship that is built, in 99.9% of cases, on a shared childhood. And as mentioned above, however different Paul and Anna may be… she’s still his sister. His twin sister. Whatever he was running around doing as a kid, chances always were that Anna was running around doing it too. And that includes bonding, despite herself, with his very best friend.
This relationship has been really well constructed. Basically Anna and Mac’s epic animosity was a house of cards, and all the story had to do was blow on it for it to come tumbling down.
And then what’s left?
CHALK AND CHALK THAT’S WHAT.
I’m going to quote this whole section because it’s just that magnificent:
“I don’t believe in chalk and cheese. I believe in chalk and chalk and you and me? Chalky heaven. Low self-confidence. Chalk that. Low self-confidence from feeling overwhelmed by the exact same person, Paul. Chalk that. He’s getting in! Over exuberance conversationally… yours with aggression, mine with interesting anecdotes to mask the fact that we see the world quite cynically. Chalk that. We’re both funny, chalk that. We both like the same people. Paul, Jay, your Mum. Chalk that.”
It’s rapid-fire romance, you guys, and I am swooning.
Anna, on the other hand, just wants to do mean things to his penis with the chalk.
Meanwhile I laughed SO HARD when they heard noises outside and decided to yell out, because, you know, the whole town is populated by flesh-eating zombies so the best way to introduce yourself is “There’s two of us!!!! We’ve been tied up!!!!! We’re so pleased you’re here!!!!!!!”
Rin says: There’s really nothing like impending death to get everything out in the open. Works like a charm. That or lots and lots of alcohol.
Chalk and chalk is such a great thing. (AND ANYWAY, IT’S NOT CHALK AND CHEESE, IT’S LOBSTER AND CHEESE.) Chalk and chalk creates things like RophyDoes.
Also I love that Mac still has the time to call his own anecdotes ‘interesting.’ I love a person who never gives up on their own false modesty. Even when staring death in the face.
AND DEAR GOD. NEVER YELL OUT. Never. You’d think Mac of all people would know better.
HOLD THE NAOMILY PHONE.
Sophy says: Okay, so we know some Naomily fans were unhappy about Mac telling Anna he’s been in love with her since he was 10, and, well, all we really have to say to that is GET OVER IT.
Alright that was way harsh. Let me explain. Rin and I are huge Naomily fans, just in case any of you weren’t already aware of that. But you know what, they don’t have a monopoly on cliches. “I’ve loved you since *insert low number here*” isn’t exactly a wildly original line, you know? As in I very much doubt that Jack Thorne even had that scene on his radar when writing this.
And I’m going to be honest. As much as I adore Naomily I’m not all that fond of the big ‘true love’ speech, and I actually feel the sentiment works better here than it did there. With Naomily since I was 12 was a plot-twist used to paper over the cracks in a very damaged relationship just in time for a happy ending. With Anna and Mac it’s not exactly a twist, so much as a ‘Well, duh, of course he’s always been in love her, because what kind of a brother’s best friend wouldn’t.’ Really. It’s almost hard to imagine a scenario in which 10 year old Mac managed not to fall in love with this beautiful, little blonde girl who beat up the knights when they came to save her.
Since I was 10 is not papering over anything. It’s not rushing us into kisses or hand-waving dead Sophias. So Thorne wins the ‘since I was’ battle. Sorry Elsley.
(You win our undying love and a set of steak knives.)
Rin says: Ha. Yes. Even though the both of us screamed, ‘LOL NAOMILY’ at each other during this scene, we didn’t think anything of it. I was honestly surprised to read that people genuinely got angry over it. I mean… these two have no similarities to Naomily, even though one of them bears a slight resemblance to Naomi (I think it’s his eyes), there’s really no use in getting upset over it. And to me the ‘since I was 12’ isn’t even the BIG ONE with Naomily. It’s lakes and cat flaps and be brave. Which JT brought you in the first place. SO YOU WILL EAT YOUR HATS, AND YOU WILL ENJOY IT.
And Sophy? I refuse to pit JT and BE against each other. I feel a bit Tegan and Sara-y with them, okay?
Sophy says: OKAY FINE JT CAN HAVE SOME STEAK KNIVES TOO.
Most traumatising/frightening/why am I watching this again?
This is not what food/sex is supposed to be about.
Sophy says: I suppose we should just be grateful she didn’t actually eat him. Because, you know, whilst I think it would have been a better end for him as a character than ‘And then he decided to leave town with the brunette after all’, it would have ruined Sarah’s happy ending, and we can’t have that. I do wonder how he’s going to fit into the show next series though – and I think he needs to, to avoid being The Character Who Didn’t Really Matter. Because really, he was a plot device for Sarah this series, and it was a fantastic story, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely felt lop-sided.
I do think the show needs to give us more Mark. But he trouble is that Sarah is his only major emotional tie to the story – and that tie appears to have been cut. But who knows, with the way things ultimately ended maybe she’ll be back? And hey, maybe there was more to his relationship with Neil than met the eye.
Meanwhile it’s a testament to how prettily this show does gross that there are more caps for this category than there are for the pants-dropper.
Rin says: I honestly thought she was going to take a bite.
I do hope Mark comes back. I wasn’t all that happy with his departure either, it seemed a little, ‘After all that??’ So I want to see more of him — and I’m thinking in the same capacity that the Mark (what a nice coincidence) in Luther was used. He can come back and be the unlikely sidekick to Neil. It’d be laughs.
Head In Hands
Sophy says: LOOK AT HER LITTLE FACE. LOOK AT IT. AND SHE HAS SHINY GOLDEN BIRDS BECAUSE SHE IS SHINY AND GOLDEN. SUCK IT, DEMPSIE.
Rin says: BEST ASCENSION EVER.
Wait. Scratch that. The best ascension was Graduation Part 2.
Maybe you should have gotten some giant snakes all up in there.
All roads lead back to Chinatown.
Sophy says: Who knew Chinatown was the gateway to heaven?
Rin says: This is why we always seek out Chinatown in any city we’re in. You need to know these things. Sure, visit the Opera House, but you damn well better be going to Chinatown afterwards.
Our pants came off.
Rin says: I kind of feel like if you edited the series just right, it could also be a very compelling bird documentary.
I’ll look into it.
Sophy says: It would be the best fanvid ever…
Rophy’s Final Thought: This is absolutely our favourite new show of 2011, and really, it has been a bumper year for great new shows.
But we can’t leave it at that. It’s going to go on that list of ‘FAVOURITE SHOWS OF ALL TIME’ too, because it was a breath of freshest air, and basically a work of art. In all the ways. Because the writing, oh the writing! And the direction with the and the and the no-pants. And the acting, you guys. Nobody is the weakest link? Goodbye, nobody?
As far as we’re concerned this show is one of those rare things about which fangirls can use the word ‘flawless’ without being silly. It’s one of those few shows that doesn’t leave us rolling our eyes or ranting or wishing things had been done differently.
We just gratefully accept, don’t ask questions, and stroke it fondly.
Let us touch you, The Fades. It’s okay. It’s just face-braille.