Sophy says: They hop into the van which is totally like a mobile and significantly cleaner version of Freddie’s shed.
“Explain yourself,” Alo says, and I just love the way he says it.
Rin says: HEHE, his van doesn’t even fit in a standard parking spot <3 I know they were making a big deal of the van before the series aired and I was so, ‘pffft, it’s just a van,’ but now I totally get it.
Sophy says: IT’S NEVER JUST A VAN.
Sophy says: Rich tells Alo that he asked out the Angel of Death and she said no – “You win. Now you’ve got something to wank over when your broadband fails. What’s the problem?”
It’s hilarious because something to wank over when your broadband fails, I can’t even. But it’s also really quite sad that Rich’s head is so far up his lotioned arse that he thinks Alo really just wants to “win”. That he thinks his humiliation gives his best friend a stiffy. It’s tragic and entirely untrue. Those of us who are actually looking can see what a good friend Alo is. Open your fucking eyes, Rich.
Rin says: He can’t see clearly from behind all that hair.
Sophy says: Oh please. It’s not like he’s Stanley or something.
(I have this intense desire for Skins US to do a running gag where Stanley’s hair-impaired vision causes him to walk into things. Like, a door or a table or a large statue of some kind. Or a bus.
There would be a laugh track.)
Sophy says: Alo is pretty damn frustrated by this shit. “The problem,” he says, “is that I just saw you reject a date with one of the hottest girls in college.”
Rich interrupts with an incredulous little “She’s not hot,” and right, okay Rich, your smitten little face when she was Subrosa begs to differ but whatever. Hotness is directly proportionate to dog collar wearing for you, I get it.
And actually, shouldn’t that mean he’s attracted to Alo right now? I mean, his even has a bone. Although perhaps that’s the problem.
Rin says: Oh Rich. He’s battling himself and Alo, to a ridiculous degree over Grace. STOP BEING SUCH A BOY AND SUCH A TEENAGER. WHICH, YOU ARE BOTH. BUT I’D LIKE IT TO STOP NOW?
Sophy says: Alo every other mans him, and that really gets his silly teenage back up. He’s all “I’m not every other man.” Alo asks what makes him so fucking special – why is he so ~different to everyone, and yes there’s an actual tilde going on there in his voice and it’s completely amazing and cathartic and wonderful.
Rin says: This is about time that we can talk about Will’s acting? Yes? And all agree that he’s wonderful in the role of Alo and is a complete winner. As in, when he holds out his hands, you’d find my heart in them!!!!!!
Sophy says: That could have been gross, but cartoon hearts aren’t sticky, so it’s okay
Sophy says: “Because I don’t compromise – ever – I’m metal,” says Rich and oh my god Alex’s delivery is such a lolarious bout of perfection I can’t even.
Also ALO’S. FACE. WHEN. HE. SAYS. IT.
Rich carries on, telling Alo how if he went out with Grace she’d change him and he’d be “body popping to Lil Wayne” which… I don’t know what body popping is but I’m sure it’s very lame. He pulls out his Napalm Death flier and tells Alo that Barney “never let anyone tell him what to do, he never compromised, and his music is beautiful.” Again, the line and the delivery are so perfectly endearingly cringe-worthy that I can’t.
Rin says: BODY POPPING ISN’T LAME. YOU’RE SUCH A RICH/BALLET RN. It’s a style of hip hop dancing.
The way he says ‘beautiful’ with full conviction. Oh RICH.
Sophy says: “What the fuck does he know?” Alo asks, and Rich storms out. Alo, because he is amazing, opens the door and yells after him that he is full of shit. That he’s just scared. “Man the fuck up!” he shouts, and Rich punctuates the scene with a metal-accompanied naughty finger.
Rin says: It’s ‘rude finger’ !!!!
At this point Alo has weaseled his way into my favourite characters list. Like, along with almost everybody, but still. IT’S JUST THAT. I loved this. I love that he wasn’t just another clueless guy, despite him having the label as ‘the funny one.’ He’s definitely not just there for laughs, he gives actual proper advice and there was absolutely no beating about the bush. It was exactly what Rich needed to hear, but he doesn’t exactly think so right now.
Hence the rude finger.
Sophy says: CROTCH!!!!!!!!!
Sophy says: Rich goes straight to the metal-shop to refuel; his me-tank is suddenly perilously close to empty.
Toxic Bob – omg did I say he’s amazing already? – is sitting at the counter with his feet up, reading a copy of Heat and buying into the rumours that “Rpattz” has a sex life.
Rin says: Skins/Heat. Seriously.
BTW, Toxic Bob’s is totally another location we’re going to have to find on our whirlwind tour of Bristol. As soon as that giant bastard Hagrid sets us down. FFS.
Rin says: Toxic Bob’s faces are so terrific and fitting.
Sophy says: LIKE FACE-GLOVES.
Sophy says: Rich storms in and says “I want it, Bob.” And he means it, as in the Misplaced Abortion record that sounds like silence. He shells out the 500 pounds for it and Toxic Bob is all “That’s a lotta money… I mean, it’s just a record isn’t it.”
And this. THIS. I CAN’T.
Rich does not take that attitude well. “Is it?” he asks, the sound of his voice like a cat’s cradle. “Is it just a record?”
Bob doesn’t say anything, because he’s one of those people who can just say nothing when there’s nothing to say, because he’s awesome.
Rin says: I know right, his reaction is perfect. He just ignores the Richitude, cleans the record and packs it up for him. And then ends it with a ‘IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN HELP YOU WITH :)’ face.
Sophy says: Before Rich storms back out of the shop, he delivers the most HILARIOUS AND AMAZING LINE IN THE MOST HILARIOUS AND AMAZING WAY. “And I saw your copy of heat, you fucking sellout!”
I love this so much. It really just shows you how fucking seriously Rich is taking himself and every little thing around him. It shows you without doubt that Rich is the poser – he’s the one trying things on – he’s the one playing dress-ups. Toxic Bob however is the real deal.
Sure he reads Heat. What of it? If Rich thinks he’s going to shame him or make him feel like some kind of lesser metal fan, he’s way off base.
Toxic Bob aint ashamed. And I love that we saw that at the start of the scene, even if Rich didn’t. Because when Rich came in, Bob looked up and put the magazine down, but not with any kind of embarrassed frenzy. Rich saw the copy of Heat, sure – because Bob wasn’t bothering to hide it. And now he picks it up again without a second thought, and with a perfectly nonchalant “Some people’s children.”
Rin says: Yes forever. Toxic Bob isn’t just that cool guy in the store who is here to be Rich’s buddy. You can only imagine how many other kids-with-tude he’d have to deal with on a daily basis working in a store like that.
Sophy says: lmao, totally. Bob is such a perfect foil for Rich. And his character is really important in that he prevents this episode from being your standard mock-the-metalhead/punk/emo type thing. Because yes, Rich is ridiculous and embarrassing. But that’s because he’s a ridiculous and embarrassing teenage boy, not because enjoys a particular kind of music. Toxic Bob, being a chilled out, awesome, grown up metalhead, shows us the error of Rich’s ways and reassures us they’re ~not all like that.
Sophy says: Omg the colours and lighting I can’t even.
Rin says: It tore me up inside to have to pick and choose caps in this scene. MY INSIDES WERE TORN. I NEEDED STITCHES.
Rin says: I absolutely love that first cap with the shadow of his hand doing the rock sign. Awesome.
Sophy says: Oh my gosh, I hadn’t even noticed that till you capped it/pointed it out. Amazing.
Sophy says: So yeah, Rich takes just-a-record home and has a bit of a listen. He appears to be having a seizure of some kind, and decides the best thing to do would be to turn the volume up as high as it can go, and as absurd as that seems, it’s a pretty real thing for someone in his position to do, I think. He’s pushing for something – he’s trying to fill up the me-tank again, and it’s just not working the way it used to, so his solution is to just push harder, because, you know, he’s a teenage boy.
Rin says: This is totally what my mum warns me about every single time she sees my ipod. But come on, some songs just need to be BLASTED because they’re better this way.
Oh and I think I read that this song was by Fat Segal? Which…so glad he’s still providing music for Skins.
Sophy says: omfg!!! Seriously? Amazing. But needs moar ding ding ding, ding, ding
Sophy says: Bam. Deaf.
This scene is incredibly well-shot. You can really feel his rising panic as he sees the empty headphone jack, as he claps his hands and snaps his fingers uselessly.
Rin says: I can’t with this scene. And this is when the freaking sound design causes my inner designer’s pants to drops. It’s so FREAKING glorious and brilliant.. which it ALREADY WAS with all the cuts of metal in the earlier parts of the episode, but..I just. The muffled sound and the ringing is just perfect. We’re right there with him and I started to feel just as panicked as Rich was.
The way he clicks and claps.. there was just something about the largeness of his hands and how it was framed…I don’t know. But I LOVED THE DIRECTION so much.
Sophy says: Cut to the doctor’s office, and gosh Alex’s face is wonderful. Look at that face? It’s WONDERFUL.
Rin says: It really is. Oh and, I had to include that first cap because I found the transition from his room to the clinic gorgeous. The tracking from behind the curtain just completely tied in to the, ‘what the fuck now??’ feeling that I had.
Sophy says: Omg lol this doctor I can’t. He’s hilariously callous with his joking demeanour, but just within the realms of believability which is why it works. Loved him, loved his moustache. Come to think of it, I love Mr Rich’s moustache too. Skins UK really seems to understand how I feel about moustaches.
Rin says: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAAH. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAAHAHHA.
I can’t breathe
Sophy says: Omg twinsies.
Sophy says: I love that Rich rips up his Napalm Death ticket instead of like, selling it or giving it away. Such a petulant little bugger he is. But honestly, I get how he’s feeling right now. I know what it’s like to pin all of your hopes on something – just a record, just a gig. I know what it feels like when that gets taken away, and the worst part, the very worst part of all the parts, is you’re not even sure it if really matters anymore.
Rin says: He looks completely lost and who can blame him. If something like that happened to me….like.. I would be scared as fuck. No question about it. He’s handling it better than I ever would.
Sophy says: I would totally be in the fetal position.
Sophy says: He pulls out his smokes and lo! The flier for the ballet recital is there.
Rin says: HEHE. Yes do it Rich. You know you want tooooooo.
Sophy says: I adore the shot of him walking up the stairs to the auditorium. And omg I love that Grace’s photo is on the door. It’s just… little touches/giant caress, you know?
Rin says: YES I KNOW. And, there was just something about her being on the poster that made me all omfg. Because, she must be a big enough deal that she’s on the poster. I’VE NEVER BEEN ON A POSTER.
Sophy. Why aren’t there Rophy posters.
Sophy says: Someday, Rin. Someday.
Sophy says: And here we have it, one of the most stunningly beautiful scenes in Skins. And I got my ballerina whingeing out of the way earlier, so now I can just bask. And anyway, the thing is that Jessica does such a lovely job with her face that I really don’t care what her body is doing. And the camera does such a breathtaking job with everything else that I’m just… staring. And adoring. I am pretty much just in bewildered awe.
Rin says: Um, yeah. I still don’t think I’ve recovered. We all saw the clips of Grace in her ballet get up with Rich watching but I never would have expected this. In the context of everything that’s happened, this was truly something wonderful.
Rin says: And just another giant slow clap for the sound design in this episode. I think the sound of the muffled ballet shoes as she walked along was one of my favourite parts.
Sophy says: Like. I think. You have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by this. Or no ears and eyes.
Rin says: THE UPSIDE DOWN SILHOUETTE. I CAN’T. WHOEVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL IDEA, PHILLIPA? I JUST. A MILLION GOLD STARS. Cause honestly, that was just plain beautiful.
Then again, what else can we expect from the genius who directed S4 Emily and Cook? It seems she directed Mini too, which omfg, even more excited now.
Sophy says: Omfg, this woman. I want to make her some kind of trophy. Possibly out of toothpaste boxes.
Sophy says: Um okay. So. You know how I mentioned Grace’s face doing all the work for her? Alex’s face is doing all the work for everything ever. The changes in his expression throughout this scene are so subtle but so very much absolutely there. It’s like he’s waking up. He’s waking up, and I believe it. I feel it.
Rin says: YES. He does such a wonderful job at subtelty and how we can see everything slowly sink in.
And really, Alex does such an amazing job, because the way this scene is edited — which is BEAUTIFULLY DONE BY THE WAY, BECAUSE OF THE PAIRING OF THE QUICK CUTS AND THE VIOLINS AND AND..TANGENT — his face gets shown a lot. Like more times than you see included here, but every single time there is a slight change in his expression. The camera just adores his face.
AND THE WAY THE LIGHT FALLS ON GRACE IN THAT SECOND CAP, AND THE WAY HER HANDS ARE POSITIONED. OH GLORY.
Sophy says: dlfkgjd;lfkjg. See this is so lovely. Because it’s only when he can’t hear a thing that he can see. It’s only when he’s cut off from his quick fix obsession that he can really take in the world around him.
And oh my god, the way the music seeps back in – the real world seeps back in in fits and starts and then the beautiful baroque music is just swirling and oh oh oh. Rich. Grace. Skins. I love you.
Oh GOD. When Grace puts her head on the guy’s shoulder at the end and looks up at Rich in the distorted silence? I can’t even. I just can’t.
The whole thing is just… almost spooky and that’s sort of what makes it all the more moving?
Rin says: Eeee yes. This feels like the first time Rich has ever maybe stopped and taken a moment. When he wasn’t busy being all ‘I’M METAL!!!!!!!!!!1111’ and just being.
“Because it’s only when he can’t hear a thing that he can see.”
Awards. Awards should be given.
Sophy says: TOOTHPASTE TROPHIES.
Sophy says: Honestly this scene is like… it’s like he’s swimming without floaties for the first time. I can feel his own heart thumping in my chest. I understand why he’s crying.
Because it’s Grace. Because it’s beautiful.
And also because he’s fucking pissed off about his ears and stuff.
Rin says: His singletear/creamycheek may be one of the best ones we’ve seen.
BRB, BUSY BEING PROUDER THAN A MRS THOMAS AT THE SIGHT OF BARE BREASTS.
Rin says: It’s curtains for you Skins US. Lacey gently wafting curtains.
Sophy says: I can’t. Worth every mb.
Sophy says: We cut to Rich outside, who has wiped his epiphanic tears away and is shuffling his feet whilst waiting for The Girl.
She appears, again in the distorted silence, a surreal vision in pink, her arms full of flowers and a fluffy hood over her head.
And oh my god, I’m serious when I use the word vision okay? Vision. I just. I can’t. 100 million points to the Skins costume department and another 100 million to Jessica for the way she is standing.
Rin says: Oh god, when she came out with all of that PINK and FLUFFINESS.
Sophy says: What???? What is this???? Rin would never fuck a horse!
Sophy says: Look at him waving. Look at the way his whole self has opened.
Rin says: I love how her hood kind of mirrors his hair
Rin says: HEHEHE He totally would. He totally totally would. He cares that much.
Sophy says: HE LOVES HER TO THE AMOUNT OF CLOWN!!!!!!!!!
Sophy says: Grace gives her flowers to her friends, and as she approaches Rich she takes her hood off, and there is just something about the way she does it coupled with the ringing in Rich’s ears – in ours – that is so piercing and glorious.
Also she’s not just a vision. She’s a vision of a real life Disney fucking Princess. And I am just staring.
Rin says: BUT SO MUCH FUCKING BETTER. Cause she’s god damn strong you guys.
Sophy says: SHE’S ONE OF THOSE MODERN PC DISNEY PRINCESSES WHO HAS COFFEE-COLOURED SKIN AND CAN KICK ASS.
Sophy says: Rich explains that he can’t hear her – he’s gone deaf, and again, we hear it as he hears it – we hear it from inside his body. Which is why when Grace speaks it’s pure silence – because we’re not inside of her right now. It’s genius.
Rin says: It’s so funny that he’s like, I’ve gone deaf and she doesn’t even skip a beat. I LOVE GRACE AND HER NON-SKIP-BEATING! She takes everything as it comes.
Sophy says: So there they are, sitting side by side, and he’s starting – he’s starting to try to say something he very much means but can’t quite intellectualize yet.
He stutters under the enormity of what he’s about to do – put himself out there – open himself up to her and to the world… he can’t quite get the words out, and Grace reaches out, pulls his chin up with her finger.
IT’S SO CUTE. I CAN’T EVEN. And it’s such a wonderful role-reversal moment. Because I’m so used to seeing males use that move on females on TV and there’s something so endearing about the gesture here, and the way it implies an absolute reversal of traditional gender roles. In this moment, big, tough, metal Rich is small and vulnerable, and little Grace, who supposedly let’s everyone walk all over her, is the one directing his emotional traffic.
So she directs his eyes to hers.
And then she smiles.
And then he says, in the most perfectly matter of fact way, with the most perfectly sincere and slightly sheepish light in his eyes “I thought your dancing was really beautiful.”
And oh gosh, how simple yet immense this is. How perfect to have him use the same word he used about Barney from Napalm Death – it shows that he’s finally getting it. He really is.
Different is a lot of things; true passion is true passion, and it is always beautiful.
Rin says: YES. I also had to get his exact face after he says ‘beautiful,’ cause there was just something about it. Something so real and honest, and how it was such a big leap for him. And I love him for not being afraid to admit he was completely wrong about ballet…and about Grace.
Sophy says: He reads her lips when she says “Wicked!” and he nods quickly, because it is wicked – she’s wicked. He thinks she’s the bee’s fucking knees and it’s all over his face.
The chemistry is so palpable in this scene. It’s just divine.
Rin says: I CAN’T.
Look at him. He’s falling in love.
Sophy says: Grace types on her phone to talk to him, which is exactly what should happen.
He tells her he tore up the ticket and I love and adore that he resorts to sign language alongside even though she can hear just fine.
And he looks so sad and adorable and sheepish after he says it. I can’t even.
Rin says: THERE SHOULD NEVER BE AN EPISODE WHERE WE DON’T SEE GRACE AND HER SHORTHAND TEXT. She shortened WASNT by taking out THE A.
I loved that he mimed ripping up the tickets too. Something about the way he tilted his head whilst doing so just added to the whole thing. ALEX YOU ARE SO WONDERFUL.
Sophy says: AWWWW GRACIE HAS TWO TICKETS OF HER OWN WHICH SHE IS WILLING TO SHARE. WHICH. WHY DOES SHE? BUT. ALSO. WHO CARES.
I love her little smile with the raised eyebrows. So adorable.
Rin says: BECAUSE. SHE BOUGHT THESE. THESE TICKETS TO NAPALM DEATH.
You guys, look at Rich’s face right now. And then go back to the start of the episode. You’ll never see another face like it. HE’S CHANGED.
Sophy says: So off they go, the two of them together, and of course she stays in her ballet outfit and omg it’s ridiculous and wonderful.
Rin says: HAHAH it was the best choice to have her stay in her outfit. She seriously doesn’t care.
Sophy says: HE TELLS HER TO BE CAREFUL. IT’S SO CUTE.
But she’s all ‘Fuck careful Time to get noticed!’
Rin says: FUCK CAREFUL!!!!!! <3
And look at her in that last cap, SHE’S BEING SUCH A BABY SEAL KATIE RIGHT NOW!
Sophy says: Smart move on her part actually, to stay in the ballet outfit. Because of course she’s going to get noticed like that! And sure enough, they pull her up onto the stage. And Rich is watching as she dances around to the music he can’t hear, and his heart is bursting and it’s all over his face.
Um. If taken literally… incredibly gross.
BUT REALLY. THAT CAP. POSSIBLY THE MOST HEAD IN HANDS CAP EVER IN SKINS HISTORY. HE’S PRACTICALLY GROWING HIS OWN BIG WHITE HANDS, RIGHT OUT OF HIS JAW. LIKE AN EAR ON A MOUSE’S BACK.
Rin says: “Um. If taken literally… incredibly gross.” I was just thinking that.
GRACIE GETS UP ON THE STAGE! And like, of course she does. And OF COURSE they’ll let her because as I said before. YOU CAN’T SAY NO TO HER!
And omg, the giant hands. I can’t.
Rin says: Look at her! And the crowd loving her, as they should.
AND STICKING HER TONGUE OUT!!! <3333
Sophy says: IT’S JUST SO. LIKE. WHEN SHE SPAT WATER AT FRANKY IN THE POOL. IT’S JUST. THIS IS GRACE. THIS IS WHO SHE IS, THIS MOMENT, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.
Sophy says: She crowd-surfs. Of course.
And and and… Fur Elise. A reprise. And it makes perfect sense that we go back to the start. It makes sense that this is what Rich hears when he can’t listen to anything else and it doesn’t matter anyway, because everything inside him is all about her.
Rin says: The way Fur Elise plays again…I still don’t quite know how to even put it into words, almost a week later. To put it simply I was moved. All I know is that I felt compelled to cry, perhaps from the sheer beauty of the sequence and maybe because this felt like some kind of victory.
And the thing with Fur Elise, when it first played it was no big surprise. It’s a completely overused piece of music that the brilliance of it no longer turns a head, especially to those who have studied piano. You almost can’t escape it. And then it played for a second time and it was like I was hearing the piece for the first time. It was completely unexpected and the way it worked with the scene was perfection.
Honestly, the production of this episode was so tight and on point, it really is an achievement. I absolutely had no complaints.
Sophy says: Oh my gosh, you are absolutely right. I was struggling to figure out why the use of something as gorgeous-but-done-to-death as Fur Elise didn’t bother me, and I think you’ve done it for me.
Rin says: I always go nuts for dust particles in the light, I just. It looks gorgeous every time, and it’s no different in that second cap. GUH.
I absolutely adored how it became blurry and replicated the start of the episode with Rich and his music.
Sophy says: Rin/Dust/Light threesome. So much better than Dan/Vanessa/Hillary Duff.
Sophy says: Next day, Rich’s hearing is back, and he has a phone message from Grace. I don’t know which one of those I’d be more excited about, I honestly don’t.
Just own up to it, if you were faced with a flowchart of those two options, you’d take the Grace path.
Seriously, never let there be an episode without her texts.
If I was Rich I’d never close that message. And I’d like, find some way to transfer it to my computer and then keep it open in a tab at all times.
Sophy says: He looks up at Barney, for help, and seems pleased with whatever silent communication he receives. But it doesn’t work – he starts texting and can’t go through with it.
Rin says: Oh? The way I saw it was that he wanted to do it in person, not over text. But I guess your way makes more sense cause then he goes to consult Kevin.
Sophy says: So he decides to shower on it. Most of my best ideas come to me in the shower, so I’m thinking he’s on the right track.
Rin says: SAME. Showers are so inspirational. Like…maybe someone should create some kind of thinking room and it would just be showering in there 24/7.
……that was clearly not an idea that came from a shower.
Rin says: I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs because if I did I’d never sleep again, but Sophy was telling me about this macro and I wanted to cry. It was so upsetting.
IT’S NOT FUNNY. IT’S JUST UPSETTING. UPSETTING!!!!!! *runs away like Homer ala sock puppets*
Sophy says: YOU WANTED TO CRY? I’m the one who had to watch the damn scene again to get the caps.
Sophy says: LOL OMG HE’S OUT OF LOTION AND HE IS NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.
He storms out of his room yelling for “Kevin” and omg he’s such a child even as he’s refusing to acknowledge he even has a father – especially as he’s doing that.
Kevin is in the Wendy house which is kind of adorable and also makes me think how this episode is all about Rich growing up – about him manning the fuck up.
Rin says: Yes, I love that he doesn’t just wake up the next day and is all, ‘I’M A CHANGED MAN :D” Cause that would have been too much. He’s still mr crank-pants, especially when he’s out of his lotion.
Sophy says: He tells him he’s out of moisturizer and like, before he can even get the sentence out, Kevin throws him a bottle of the stuff. It’s ridiculous and hilarious and I can’t even.
I don’t want to know what Mr Rich does in the Wendy house okay? Ever? Okay?
Rin says: Me neither. *rocks back and forth*
Sophy says: Rich is about to sulk off when he thinks better of it, turns around with an exasperated “Kevin… can I ask you something?”
And of course he can.
His dad tells him that if there’s a girl he likes, all he has to do is ask – and if she says no, he either asks again, or moves on. It’s simple, but to the point, and I’m thinking Rich appreciates that as much as I do, because he gives old Kev a reward as he’s walking away.
“Seeya… dad…” he says, and dad smiles.
Oh moment. You are so perfectly understated and sweet.
And hey look, Rich is compromising. Rich is learning to negotiate with the world. This whole episode he’s been telling us Never compromise! Well see, he’s quite wrong – compromise isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be sort of magic and can lead to things like Grace in a ballet dress at Napalm Death. Other times it can just make life a little easier – for yourself, and for the people you really do love deep down – see Grace/Mini and Rich/his dad.
Rin says: The simplicity of their exchange was exactly what was needed. It wasn’t flowery or over-the-top, it was just a dad being a dad.
Sophy says: Totally. I was so worried this scene would either be too comical or too single tear, but it was neither. It just right. SO KELLOGGS.
Also, I’d like to point out a little bit of gorgeous in the structure of this script. There are three scenes with Rich’s dad in them. In the first, he is washing the car as Rich walks past him and off to college. He is barely visible. In the second, he’s mowing the lawn, and moves towards Rich when he hears him talking, sitting down beside him. In the third, he’s just sitting in the shed, and Rich comes to him. The emotional progression between the two of them is entirely mirrored by the physical set-up of the scenes. And my head? It is in my hands.
Rin says: I don’t even want to know.
Sophy says: Wow. Up to her old tricks, I see.
Sophy says: Rich shows up at school with a bunch of flowers, and makes an adorable attempt at apologising to Alo. Alo says it’s not necessary, he loves him no matter what, doesn’t he get that already? Well okay, he doesn’t say those words. He more stutters uselessly, much as Rich does. But they’re okay. They’re best friends. It’s lovely.
Rin says: THESE TWO! They’re so freaking SWEET.
Sophy says: I mean, I swear to god, look at their faces and tell me you don’t love them. Did you do it? Did you? YOU LIAR. TELL THE TRUTH. OMG. STOP LYING.
Rin says: I COULD NEVER EVEN PRETEND TO NOT LOVE THEM. I mean, I liked them in episode one, a lot a lot a lot. BUT NOW I JUST…BALLS-TO-THE-WALL LOVE THEM.
Sophy says: Franky wanders into this “conversation” and says it’s “like an outtake from Rainman.” And OH GOSH, THEY’RE SO CUTE. Look at the bonding that’s happening? The entirely mundane high-school corridor I-make-a-joke, then-you-make-a-joke bonding that is going on? It’s a beautiful thing.
Rin says: THEY MAKE SUCH A CUTE TRIO. They’re up there with SCRAPEY SHAKEY.
Sophy says: Rich asks if they’ve seen Grace and Franky is all adorable and “Why…?” but let’s him off the hook with just ‘Cos’ as an answer.
“She’s on college green,” she says, and that’s where Rich is going to go.
Rin says: ALO’S KNOWING FACE. And he’s proud and beaming and AWWWWWW. BEST FRIENDS ARE THE BEST.
Sophy says: Alo and Franks look at each other and giggle before parting ways and it’s so cute and exactly the kind of tiny touch that makes you feel like these friendships-in-progress are real.
Rin says: They’re real life There’s nothing more real
Sophy says: Rich finds Grace and has an awkward conversation with her whilst holding the bunch of flowers, which omg. Also, Grace is wearing pearls, which could not be any more perfect.
Rin says: I like how Grace doesn’t immediately turn around, just talks over the shoulder for a bit. And there’s no Grace right now, she was just all, ‘Oh hi Rich ‘
Sophy says: He eventually manages to cut to the chase like his dad told him to. “I had a good time last night,” he says.
And Grace replies with “Me too, it was perfect, I loved it.”
And just… the way she says that, so openly and absolutely with her eyes right on his? It’s just.. omg.
And his face after she says it is omg too. These two. Such chemistry. I can’t even.
And and AND the way she says “I would have told you afterwards… but you were deaf.” I don’t know what it is. But there’s something about her voice and her face and the line itself… it just cleaves at my heart with its sweet funny sad sweet SWEETNESS.
Rin says: BUT YOU WERE DEAF. I just. She’s so LITERAL.
Always so literal.
Sophy says: And then things get awkward again. Things get close, just like last night. And their acting is nothing short of exactly what I would want it to be. And their chemistry is being insane again, just as Grace says it’s probably best nothing happened between them right? Just Rich says the most miserable “I guess so” in the history of man.
Rin says: HIS FACE. Everything that’s he’s been feeling, every single bit of this new and wonderful thing that Grace has brought into his world, is gone in a single moment.
Sophy says: Grace asks who the flowers are for, and Rich says they’re for his mum. “Really?” Grace asks in the most perfectly knowing way, and we’re right there with her, aren’t we? Because it was funny when Alo suggested they might be for him, but we all know they’re really for Grace, and that’s the point. Because it’s so ridiculously over the top and adorable and it just rubs the humiliation in for him that little bit more and it’s such a monumental cliche isn’t it and oh, just as I’m about to roll my eyes…
They are for his mum. He shows Grace the card to prove it. And I remember, suddenly, the scene where his dad said it was her birthday tomorrow and asked him to buy something for her, and oh this script! So cleverly constructed and so much funnier for it.
Rin says: His little smile as he holds up the card. OH ALEX. <333
And I loved loved loved this. Because only Rich would be this freaking clueless, carrying flowers for his mother to go ask a girl out. EVEN IF SHE HAD SAID YES, he still wouldn’t have even noticed that maybe he should give her the flowers? Oh Rich. Stay the same forever.
Sophy says: “Right,” Grace says, and she does seem a little disappointed as she stares the flowers with a barely disguised longing.
Rin says: The fact that the flowers weren’t even for her probably hammers it home for Grace. That Rich still isn’t quite there yet, he’s not even putting up a fight! So she moves on cause she’s not going to be catflappy forever about it.
Sophy says: Then Mini calls out to her and she bolts, off for mochas with the cool kids. Off to be ~everything Rich despises in the world.
And yet Rich is looking at her with undisguised longing right back.
Rin says: Oh look, NICK! I think we’re finally going to see more of him next episode, eeeee-eeee I am excited.
Sophy says: Omg me too. I want to know him, and also Liv. CAN’T WAIT.
Sophy says: And just as we’re thinking aw and feeling kind of down in the dumps, because they’re so cute and we all want them together, don’t we? DON’T WE???
Gracie’s little hand goes up and Fear of the Dark kicks in.
Rin says: AHHHHHH! This was such a perfect ending. HOPE! There is hope! Because I have a feeling this is going to be the ship we’re all going to be falling over time and time again and they’re going to be epic.
Sophy says: Rich smiles. He makes the sign right back. He walks away, but it’s not over.
It is far from over.
Rin says: IT’S NEVER OVER!
Sophy says: Okay so. Way to follow up an episode I’d want to put in my top ten with another episode I’d want to put in my top ten.
Again… basically perfect? I mean, I could worry about the convenience of Grace having two more tickets to Napalm Death. I could turn my angry ballerina back on. But a) I don’t want to, and b) that’s literally it. Those are the only ways in which I could even make an argument for not loving this episode.
Let me tell you, in point form, why this episode worked so well for me:
1) It was funny. Funny like gen 1 was funny. With seriously due respect to Pandora Moon and James Fitch, I have to say that a lot of the comedy in gen 2 didn’t really work for me for whatever reason. But in this episode? I was actually laughing out loud. ELLING OH ELL.
2) The acting is wonderful. From Alex’s glorious closed-to-open, to Will’s silly steadfast sweetness, to Jessica’s I’m an actor flourishes. And Freya, and Dakota, and Laya. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
3) Rich, because I can shake my head at him and love him at the same time. Grace, because she’s a lot of things JJ, and I love every one of them. Rich/Grace, because it’s simple and complicated at once, and I am shipping it so hard.
4) The whiteboard is with us. I can’t tell you how excited it made me to find that there was indeed a strong thematic connection between Rich’s episode and Franky’s.
5) The ballet scene. The use of the metal music generally and the use of sounded silence. The way the visual and musical elements wrapped themselves completely around the script to create the kind of multi-layered heart-punch that Skins can be so good at delivering.
6) The script. The dialogue, and the structure, oh my gawd. Some might complain that the plot is here too simple, too much of a cliche… just as I heard some people did about 501. I agree and I disagree. Yes, we’ve seen this kind of story before, yes we’d seen that kind of story before. But personally I love it when Skins doesn’t try to hard to be clever or random with its plot, but instead takes something usual and makes it unusual. It’s the way that counts, not the what.
In conclusion, bravo Jamie Brittain. Bravo, Philippa Langdale. Bravo everyone who had a hand in this triumph, however small their hands might be. A way better second episode than gen 2’s, and, well… Cassie still wins for Rophy. But Rich? You put up a damn fine fight.
Rin says: I have to be honest here because I didn’t expect such a lovely episode from JB. We’ve been some of the first ones to call him out on some of the choices he’s made, and I still feel that way, this can’t change that. BUT THIS? This is something else. I mean, you’ve read our recap and we didn’t have a single bad thing to say about it. It really was an amazingly constructed episode which felt utterly effortless. I really couldn’t have asked for more. Even in some of my most favourite episodes there are still things that don’t sit quite right with me, but guh, I never got that feeling once with Rich.
It just reiterates what’s been said all along, when Skins is good, it’s easily one of the best TV shows around. It’s not just a teen show and anyone who writes it off as one is seriously missing out. (AND I WOULDN’T EVEN WANT THEM TO LIKE IT ANYWAY ) This series has gotten off to such an amazing start and I am so grateful for it. I was just discussing it with Sophy how if S5 had turned out to be less than stellar, our relationship with Skins might have been on the rocks and we would have been forced to live in the past. But no.
I also want to say that if there isn’t a nomination for this series this year for a BAFTA or any of the important awards, then I just don’t know which way is up or which way is down.
Our future together burns so brightly, that may just be the faint sound of wedding bells in the distance.
Sophy says: Are you kidding me? UK Skins and Rophy aren’t even married yet?
But… we did things… D:
Sophy says: IT’S MINI! AND CEREAL!
OR IS IT?
Rin says: They way she shoves her covers off and SLEEPS WITH A MASK is so ridiculous. Oh Mini. I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!
Sophy says: It’s Franky!!!!!!!!!!! And Mini has a megaphone!!!!!!!!! Or does she!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rin says: I DON’T KNOW!!! IT’S TOO HARD TO TELL!!!!!!!!
Sophy says: Oops. And also ew. Although, the vomit-on-the-boy-you-like approach has worked for me in the past, so…
Rin says: Oh god, so gross.
I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and um. um. um. I made this. Really late at night. And. Yeah. I’m really sorry for it…but also not really?
Rin says: I’m just really sorry for how bad the manips are. Jamie, why does your profile cease to exist!
Sophy says: Jamie? You are officially NOT JAME LAMIE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!