Sophy says: Looking at these images I am torn. On the one hand, my pants are falling off all over the place. On the other hand, I’m pulling them up with fierce indignation, because this boy is not Rich Hardbeck.
Call me shallow if you like. I’ll call you shallow right back. There’s no room for anyone to tell me that it shouldn’t matter to me what Rich looks like – not when it’s so very clear that the show decided it does. Rich is dressing like a thoughtful hipster precisely for shallow reasons. The whole rationale for the change was ‘If he’s the right kind of pretty maybe more people will like our show.’
No, I don’t have a quote. Yes, I am making an assumption. I am very comfortable making that assumption.
Rin says: The change is so ridiculous, I’m pretty certain Rich’s episode in s5 was amongst one of the most popular ones… certainly of the entire series, and possibly of the entire show. That episode was something else and a lot of it had to do with his identity and his look. It doesn’t make much sense to me to pretty much take away his very distinctive look and dress him up as some run of the mill hipster boy. Especially when it was everything he was against last series. HE’S METAL, HE DOESN’T COMPROMISE.
Anyway. I guess it doesn’t matter that much seeing as after this episode he has like 10 minutes of screen time and goes delusional anyway. So. Seeya Rich!
Sophy says: So Alo and Rich have started a band and it’s literally the worst thing that has ever happened.
Don’t even speak to me. I WILL NOT EVEN BE SPOKEN TO.
Okay, I went away and sat in a corner for ten minutes and now feel able to proceed.
Why is it the worst thing that has ever happened? Because it’s fucking insult plus injury, that’s why. If you’re going to strip Rich of his series 5 identity at least have the guts to reinvent him. Dragging ‘Likes Loud Music’ along from series 5 as though that was what Rich being metal was essentially about is just kind of embarrassing.
And don’t even get me started on Alo the Rockstar. I get what they’re doing with it – he’s the “leader of the pack” now and all, so he’s naturally going to be a frontman, isnt’ he? The trouble is that it just doesn’t fit with Alo’s personality. Or it doesn’t fit with the personality of the Alo I knew. I don’t know they got him so subtly, yet so viscerally wrong this series, but I think a lot of it comes down to that word – ‘leader’. Honestly, it’s like they took the notion of him sniffing their way to the party in the series 5 finale literally. You know, he’s leading the pack, so he’s, like, leader of the pack.
But to me Alo – S5 Alo – was very much an in the middle sort of person – and he was comfortable with that – and that was what made him so attractive. This guy is vastly more self-possessed than that guy was, and vastly less loveable because of it.
And really, since when did Alo have ambition? In his S5 episode he did learn how to care more carefully, how to embrace the right thing as a way of life – or at least hold the right thing’s hand. But shifting rocks on his parents’ farm and getting Nick out of a rabbit-trap like a boss doesn’t fall naturally into big rockstar dreams. And this Alo is far less in touch with the right thing than S5 Alo ever was – the stolen phones were the tip of the iceberg – more than that later.
It’s as though the writers decided that since Alo was going to be the romantic lead this series he would need to be significantly cooler. And then they just asked themselves ‘What do cool kids like to do?’ and came up with ‘Start bands’. Nevermind that Alo never showed any interest in music last season, and seemed very much like the kind of fellow who would pat his friend’s passion for it on the head and suggest they go for a pint.
Sigh. The band. Cliched dreck, beneath both the Rich and the Alo I knew and loved.
Rich wants to leave and Alo is terribly concerned that he stay and work on their song. He muses that “Filthy Woman” is almost there and that when it is they’ll get a contract and “start the revolution.”
What “revolution” exactly? The American Apparel revolution? Because that’s the only one Rich has been part of lately.
Now I have to put the brakes on here, because I think, having watched this episode several times, that we’re supposed to see this whole band thing as Alo searching for a way to distract Rich from worrying about Grace – that we’re supposed to see his insistence that they finish the song as him trying to stop Rich pining uselessly outside Grace’s window. If it is though, it’s not well delivered. At worst Alo comes across like he doesn’t care about Grace or what Rich is going through as long as he gets to make bad music. At best he comes off as emotionally immature. And that’s one thing I firmly believe Alo never was. He could be insensitive and thoughtless in the moment, but he was actually a pretty great guy to go to for down to earth advice on matters of the heart. I can’t see the Alo who gave Rich that talking to in his van in 502 or the Alo who bonded with Nick in 508 having absolutely no idea how to handle this situation like a decent human being.
That Alo would have talked to Rich. That Alo would have pined under windows with him.
Rin says: Exactly! Argh. And also the Alo in his episode last series who was in a lot of strife and went to Rich for help, but then didn’t bother Rich with his problems because he didn’t want to spoil Rich’s moment. That’s the Alo I wanted to see, the one who put his friends first. Not the one who puts in some half-assed effort to perhaps distract them from the problem at hand, while still being kind of selfish at the same time.
It also seems a bit unclear to me about what is so wrong about Rich wanting to be there for Grace. It’s only been what, a month since the accident? And he’s still attending college and looks like he’s been eating. He’s not exactly letting his life fall apart over it. It seems perfectly normal to be visiting your girlfriend who’s life is seriously in danger, in the hospital. OKAY? Maybe if it was a year on from now and Rich had let himself go, yes, maybe it would be time for his friends to jump in and try to get him back on track. But seriously. Grace’s health is obviously not that great, coma and all, and well, she dies in an hour or so. SO. LET HIM HAVE HIS SPACE AND SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE REVOLUTION.
OKAY?! WE’RE NOT ASKING FOR MUCH.
Sophy says: Rich stands outside the hospital and calls Grace. It goes to message bank and he leaves a message saying he loves her, hangs up dejectedly. But soft! Grace calls back. She’s woken up!
The first thing she does is ask Rich rather bluntly why he isn’t with her. He says he tried – they all did – Blood wouldn’t let them in to see her.
“Then try harder,” she says. And there’s our first clue that she’s not real. The real Grace was playful with Rich, but she was never this outright minxy. And she certainly wouldn’t be when she’d just come out of a coma and was speaking to her distraught boyfriend for the first time in a month.
Still, Rich buys it, probably because he is severely mentally ill enough to be hallucinating the whole conversation in the first place.
Rin says: I know everyone pretty much had a character transplant this series, but did they have to get the imaginary/ghost Grace too?! I guess they couldn’t care less because they needed some way to get this HILARIOUS RICH AND HIS CRAZY ANTICS scene to play out.
Sophy says: Rich does the whole comical stealth attack on the hospital thing that people in stupid movies do, and promptly runs into Dobby, who’s puts up a brief fight. “Seriously, Richard?” she says, hand on hip. He replies from the floor “Oh come on, Pauline, give me a break. She’s the love of my life!” And that smile on his face and a few repeats of “Love of my life” are enough to get past his first adversary.
I have to say this is unbearably sweet – or it would be if it wasn’t a hallucination brought on by Rich’s crippling mental illness. I’m a little sketchy on things because this episode is a little sketchy on things, but this is all a hallucination right? I can’t imagine that the real Dobby would be such a jerk as to play along like Grace was just down the hall having a cuppa when she was really comatose/dead/in Switzerland.
Rin says: I’m pretty sure all of this is supposed to be a hallucination because ~grace never woke up. But I have no idea like.. how much of it is supposed to be a hallucination.
LIKE SERIOUSLY… okay more on that later when the time comes.
Rin says: THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS TO THE ENTIRE CAST. JUST CHOP OFF THEIR BITS AND PUT THEM IN CAGES.
Sophy says: Especially Alo. WHAT??? IF HE CAN’T BRING SUPPLIES????????
Sophy says: Blood shows up and orders Rich out the building, and Rich pretends to comply, instead sneaking around a corner and crawling into a vent. Like people in stupid movies do. This is where it starts to seem like we’re in reality here, not in Rich’s head, because he overhears Blood talking about getting Grace ready to go to Zurich – and that part’s real, right? So Dobby’s disproportionate good cheer earlier was real?
THE NEXT PART IS REAL?
I really don’t want any of the next part to be real.
Also, Blood continues to be amazing, with his clenched fist walk and his “This is exactly the kind of blatant emotionalism we shan’t have to deal with in Switzerland.” For a second it feels like I’m back in 507.
Rin says: DON’T. DON’T GO THERE SOPHY.
What bothers me about the way Rich hides from Blood, like people in stupid movies do, is the way they’re trying so hard to make parallels between this episode and 502/507. It gets worse later on, but this is the start of it. Skins have done clichés in the past, they’ve done them really well actually and it’s one of the things we admire.. that they can take clichés and rework them to make them feel new. Last time Rich was hiding from Blood, there was freaking jiving to Walking On Sunshine while he rolled around on their kitchen floor, and Grace feigning sickness adorably — and in the end Rich got caught anyway.
This just pales in comparison. And well, pales with nausea as we see what’s about to follow…
Sophy says: Rich crawls around in the hospital air vents, finds Grace’s room, peers down at her, and falls through the ceiling into the empty bed next to hers in a way that is so profoundly implausible and idiotic that I’m going to have to assume his ‘It happened but it never happened’ resumed when he in fact walked out the door earlier. Because Rich climbing into the air vents at all is just levels of fucking ridiculous that make Tony/Sid/Coffin look like a trip to the supermarket and I just can’t believe that it’s supposed to have happened. In which case… he never heard Blood talking about Switzerland? And if that was in his head maybe none of the hospital sequence was real?
THIS IS DOING MY HEAD IN AND NOT IN A WAY THAT IS WORTH IT.
Rin says: STILL REAL TO ME.
YES. SKINS REALLY JUST GOT THAT BAD.
Sophy says: Grace quips cutely that “there’s a door over there,” and minxily that he would have found a way to her sooner if he was “worth [his] salt”. She tells Rich this is his moment to show her what he is made of – he needs to find a way to stop Blood taking her to Switzerland. And again, this is very clearly not Grace because Grace is not this much of a pushy twit, but again, Rich thinks it rings true… because he made it up in the first place.
Rin says: In Rich’s head, Grace really just wants to have sex with him.
Sophy says: Rich promises he’ll sort it out and Grace promptly suggests they promptly have sex. As in right now. In the hospital bed. With Grace’s recently comatose vagina.
Rich thinks this sounds like a good idea, because when he’s hallucinating he is a) gross and b) a moron. Good to know.
“Mind my catheter,” Grace says. And I just. I just don’t know what else to say about this scene except that it is laughable and horrifying and wrong on all possible levels.
Rin says: Yep! The first thing Grace would want to do when waking up from a month long coma, according to Rich, is have sex with him! RIGHT THERE IN THE HOSPITAL BED!
CATHETER AND ALL!
Sophy says: If we make them a turkey sandwich will they sit down and eat it
Rin says: THEY DON’T DESERVE OUR TURKEY SANDWICHES.
Sophy says: Blood walks in and has Rich hauled out with his pants down. It’s not funny.
Rin says: Seriously though, did Blood just walk in on Rich trying to have sex with his comatose daughter?
His pants are down. Shouldn’t everyone be way more disturbed and perhaps, reporting him to the police? No?
Sophy says: Rich gets his feelings out via alphabet spaghetti. It’s edgy. We meet his mother. It’s pointless.
Rin says: All this does is make me want to eat some alphabet spaghetti.
Sophy says: It’s a testament to how good the actress playing Rich’s mum was that I felt the need to include this many caps of her despite the fact that she was there for no good reason and we are never going to see her again. Her face pressed up against the taxi window is just, as fandom would say, flawless. I’m sad she was wasted – even sadder that Rich’s dad was wasted. Their relationship was so beautifully sketched last season, I would have loved to have seen it fleshed out. But alas, Skins kids seem to go through all the big stuff without their family. Remember that time Effy tried to kill herself and never saw Tony again?
Seriously though, I don’t see the point of bringing the parents in simply to establish their absence. A throwaway line about how Rich had refused to go with them on holiday would have done the job and it wouldn’t have left the episode feeling incomplete, like this scene’s twin died at birth or something.
The reason Mrs Rich is here, I think, is to deliver a particular line that is clever… or would be clever if it wasn’t so obviously shoe-horned in to be clever. See Rich doesn’t want to go on holiday because he doesn’t want to leave Grace in case she needs him. “It’s just young love,” his mum tells him, “It’s not real.”
It’s not real.
Honestly, if the rest of the episode worked for me I’d probably be raving over that line. As it is it’s just kind of underlining things that don’t work. And meanwhile, whose parent is really that ridiculous and/or that much of an asshole? Skins parents are often over the top, but I feel like that kind of line in this kind of context is over the top of Everest. And sure, Mrs Panda was over the top of Everest too, but it sort of worked because so was Panda. Rich never struck me as a kid who’d had someone out of Alice in Wonderland for a parent.
Rin says: I honestly laughed when I read, ‘Remember that time Effy tried to kill herself and never saw Tony again?’ I will never. Tony must have been a bigger bastard that we all originally thought. EFFY DIDN’T EVEN GET AN ‘R U OK?’ EMAIL.
It’s weird how like, there’s that pattern of parents having these really touching, wonderful moments with their kids.. in the first series of the gen, and then in the second series when shit really starts to hit the fan, the parents have conveniently fucked off.
And you were right to put in the cap of her face pressed up against the window. It’s probably the best part of the episode. Not even that much of a stretch.
Sophy says: Rich rides to Grace’s house on a tiny bicycle. It’s the fucking worst.
Seriously, this is the kind of thing I side-eyed with Sid and Cassie – you know that time he ran to the treatment centre that was a manor in his novelty dog shirt and ended up in the padded cell? Whimsy doesn’t always work for me. It definitely doesn’t work when it feels stale.
(Disclaimer: I love Sid and Cassie.)
Also it probably doesn’t help that he’s peddling furiously to the lyric “I’ll never make it in time.” Seriously, when did Skins get so literal?
Rin says: AND NOT LITERAL IN THE REALLY CUTE WAY I.E. DR CAMERON.
In the worst way where there’s a sad scene and the music playing is someone crying about being sad.
At least they got the same house. CAUSE THEY WERE SO DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT CONTINUATION.
You know in the past they have randomly changed houses, but at least the CHARACTERS ALWAYS STAYED THE SAME. They got it the wrong way around this time.
Sophy says: Rich runs up to the front door and speaks an impassioned monologue through the mail slot along the lines of I’ll do anything. He finds a note to the milkman that is just classic Blood, and surmises that everybody is out forever. He climbs through a window, and it would be a perfect throwback to that time he climbed up and proposed except that this isn’t Grace’s room, but her parents’. I’d say I was disappointed, but I’m really not. My perspective on this series of Skins is that pretty much everything in it needs to stay as far away as possible from pretty much everything in all other series of Skins.
Rin says: Again, another time where they shouldn’t have tried to mirror what Rich has already done. I get the sense that they kept thinking they were being really clever with all of this repetition, except that it really is just a sad, pointless echo.
OR MAYBE THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO SAY.
Cause, cause, Grace is dead! And now everything Rich does in trying to get her back!
Just a sad, pointless echo.
Sophy says: I have a tear in my eye too.
Rin says: Part of me wishes the whole episode was just that last frame.
Sophy says: Rich turns on Mr Blood’s PC and finds a folder entitled ‘Grace Vids’. No wait, sorry, he finds some old reels and a projector, because Grace was born in the fucking twenties. And my favourite part is that some of the footage is from, like, last year. LAST YEAR THE BLOODS WERE IN THE TWENTIES.
Look, okay, A VHS I might have bought. But this shit is just pretentious and pathetic.
Nevertheless I have included many caps because both Baby Grace and Grown Up Grace are unspeakably adorable. And because Alex Arnold gives good sad. He actually acts the hell out this scene, I have to give him credit. He really gets across the edge of crazy to Rich’s miserable and this is one of those points at which I think how I actually might have bought this – the whole episode – if it had been Grace instead of Rich who was selling it. Not Jess instead of Alex, because as I just mentioned Alex does a terrific job. It’s just that he shouldn’t be playing Rich.
This kid in the fierce grip of imagination – this kid living a fairytale – this is not Rich. It’s Grace. This episode would make sense as Grace’s response to Rich dying. Because she would make it a story – she would try to “make a happy ending”. It was beautifully established in series 5 that this episode is who Grace is, just as it was beautifully established that it was who Rich is not. But he’ll try – for her, he’ll try not to be so damn real. And I suppose this is the point at which I could make a case for saying that Rich loved Grace so much – that he tried so much – that he became her. But I needed to see how and why that would happen. I needed to be able to look back and point to all the ways Rich became crushingly, abjectly dependent on Grace. I’d need to be able to look back and witness him losing himself in her. And no, cutting his hair for the wedding is not good enough – especially since Grace repeatedly said she didn’t like the new look. (In fact, given how much Grace kept telling Rich not to change, his S6 look is kind of a slap in the face, just saying.)
It’s a shame, because it could have been a good story – a story of a kid who fell so deeply in love slash so dangerously in co-dependence that he could not cope with the loss of his loved slash depended upon one and recreated her in himself, the two of them together in figments of his – her – imagination. That could have been fascinating. But we needed to be shown why it happened and how it was resolved. We got neither. Rich doesn’t have an arc in series 6. These hallucinations? They’re just emotional window-dressing.
Really. Based on results I’d say they weren’t trying to tell an actual story with Rich and Grace. I’d say Rich’s lack-of-arc was based on the following thought bubbles:
– Couples in stable, loving relationships are boring, because teenagers are only interested in stories about falling in and out of love.
– Rich and Grace love each other too much to cheat or break up. We’ve already resolved the issue of her father coming between them. One of them will have to die in order to create interest.
– We’ll keep Rich alive because we’ve already killed two guys. And also some people on the internet think Grace sucks and is too much like Cassie.
– He’ll hallucinate her which will a) be romantic and b) make for a genius plot twist no one has ever done before when she’s actually dead all along.
– Misc other people will hallucinate her in the interests of cheap poignancy and giving Jess something to do.
– To be clear, she is not a ghost, it’s just that misc people really, really care about her.
All of these thought bubbles are stupid. I’ll explain some of their stupidnesses in future recaps, but for now will just deal with the ones that are relevant to this episode.
Dear Skins, if you think couples in stable loving relationships are boring, you’re just not trying hard enough. If you think kids today are only interested in romance, don’t pander to that, show them what they’re missing! Rich and Grace had so much story left in them, both individually and together and with the other people in their lives. Off the top of my head I can think of 6 or 7 plotlines that would have been better than ‘Grace dies in a car crash and Rich hallucinates her’. Plotlines that have light and shade and purpose and logic. Plotlines that are about who Rich and Grace are, not about random things happening to them.
Lightening bolts are not the solution. Did we learn nothing from Jamie’s mistakes you guys???
Grace is not the same as Cassie. Cassie was not just whimsical and sweet. Neither was Grace. She was awesome and by far and away a more interesting character than Rich – even than Rich before he was stripped of his personality. I loved Rich, okay, don’t get me wrong. Rich was one of the best things the show had ever done, and Alex Arnold nailed the role. Along with Freya he was my S5 pick for ‘Most likely to get BAFTAs some day’ and I stand by that. But Grace is more interesting. In fact, Grace is the most interesting character of the gen in my opinion. (Matty might have stolen her crown if he’d ever been allowed to graduate from intriguing, but alas, that’s a rant for another day.)
What made Grace the most interesting? In a season that was all about identity she refused to have one. And not in the same way as Franky, who simply refused to be labeled. Not in the same as Emily Fitch, either, who simply insisted on being a lot of things. Grace’s identity consisted of a refusal to have an identity. Being a person, for her, was being a story that wrote itself, and that made her the living embodiment of what it means to tell stories at all. That made her one of the most exciting commentaries on what art means to existence and vice versa since Madame Bovary.
She was pure fucking gold. And I’m sad to see that Skins didn’t realise what it had.
Bottom line, if one of them had to go, it should have been Rich. In her series 5 episode Grace was confronted with a reality she could not bend to her unreality. She was let off the hook at the eleventh hour when Rich bent his reality instead. That was appropriate and poignant. That was magic. But series 6 should have been an exploration of what would happen when love wasn’t enough – when nobody else could swoop in and save her from compromise with the world. It would have been fascinating to see how Grace responded to Rich’s death – to his indelible absence, blotting her story forever. And even in that context I’m not sure I would have gone with hallucinatory episodes… but I probably would have swallowed them a little easier.
But you know, as I mentioned above, nobody needed to die. Grace could have been confronted with reality in a more subtle and more twisted way. For example, what if she fell out of love with Rich? What if, instead of the writers deeming her a stagnant character in his story, he became a stagnant character in her story – the one she was living. Yes, Grace loved Rich, with full sincerity. But what is sincerity for a person who doesn’t believe in being. I firmly believe that the Rich I knew in series 5 would not have been able to contain the Grace I knew in series 5. If she had been allowed to live at all she would have lived too big for him, and ultimately she would have left him behind.
Wouldn’t that just have been the ultimate mind-fuck? Grace refuses to be tamed by reality. Grace refuses to be tamed by fantasy too.
I can hear the cries of Hardlet shippers everywhere. BUT THEY ARE OTP?? HOW CAN YOU???
I get it, I do. I actually love them a lot. I promise. It’s just that I read them differently from many people. And I read ‘OTP’ differently from many people too.
A love story can be perfect and finite. In the real world, so many love stories are. And I’m not sure that’s a concept Skins has ever really grappled with before. It would have been something new.
Emily and Naomi were the be all and end all, cheating to the left. Panda and Thomas were the be all and end all, next stop Harvard. Freddie and Effy were the be all and end all, bats be damned. And yes, I know a lot of people didn’t want them to be the be all and end all, but that is the story we were told. As things stand, Freddie and Effy were it for one another. They connected, uniquely and fundamentally, and were separated only by death. Chris and Jal, again, separately only by death (though I do feel the writers toyed with the idea of one person loving another more there even if they never saw it through). We left Sid and Cassie eternally searching for one another, iconically, always. Mini and Alo, baby makes three. I’m not even going to touch Franky and the boys, because that’s just a hot fucking mess. Minky happened but it never happened.
The only relationships Skins has ever ended by anything approaching choice are Cook and Effy, Matty and Liv, Mini and Nick, Sid and Michelle, none of which ever reached the dizzying heights of OTP-dom, and were in fact there to provide obstacles to the designated OTP ships. And Tony and Michelle, who were something else entirely (and entirely brilliant).
Girl meets boy. Girl falls perfectly in love with boy. Girl falls imperfectly – perfectly – out of love.
That would have been new. And it would have been really fucking brave and honest.
Too bad we got lightening bolts and ghost-sex instead.
Rin says: Oh Sophy, I think you’re giving them too much credit by even hinting they had any intention to show that Rich was trying to deal with Grace’s IMMINENT (SHE’S NOT EVEN DEAD YET) death by doing what Grace would do. I honestly think it is what it is, and we should just take it as face value. They wanted to replicate that GORGGEEOOUUSSS scene from 502 of Rich watching Grace dance. They even blocked it the same with the close-up of Rich’s eyes! The problem I have, is that it feels cheap and like someone actually went, ‘OMG THEY ALL TOTALLY DIED OVER THAT BALLET SCENE, LET’S DO IT AGAIN! EXCEPT THIS TIME IT’LL BE SO SAD BECAUSE GRACE IS DEAD AND ALL RICH HAS LEFT IS ~MEMORIES.’
And like I’ve been saying, all of this repetition just doesn’t work because there’s too much of it. I freaking love parallels and mirrors you guys, I fucking live for them. THEY’RE BASICALLY THE FOUNDATION OF FABERRY. But they only truly work when they’re subtle and unexpected. It’s the best feeling in the world when they use something from the past and catch you off guard and all you can do is cover your mouth and squeal into your pillow because it’s all too much. But all of what they did in this episode? It was way too obvious.
You know what would have worked? If none of these BIG REPETITIVE moments had occurred, and then right at the end of the episode Rich brought a bunch of flowers to Grace. At first it’s nothing that out of the ordinary, they’re flowers, but then you’re like. Holy crap. He finally got Grace the flowers she thought he had bought for her way back when they were first starting out. It’s little things like that, that make you feel like your heart is going to fall out of your chest. The things that don’t seem like a big gesture, but actually mean a whole fucking lot.
As opposed to how everything in this episode is meant to MEAN EVERYTHING AT ALL TIMES. Just, no. Stop trying to play right into what you think we want, and give us what we never knew we needed.
Sophy says: Alo shows up, and this was the point at which I told myself not to worry, everything was going to be okay, because it was bromance time, Alo had come to find Rich and talk to him and pine under windows with him, I was safely ensconced in that van in 502, and everything was right with the world. (It was, for a brief period.)
Rin says: You’re getting your hopes up Sophy. I’m going to hold onto your legs so you can’t fly too far away, or else you’re just going to have to fall really, really hard.
Sophy says: Rich opens the door, finally, and Alo fires an imaginary gun, says “You’ve been man-tracked, bitch.”
Couldn’t he have just said hello?
It’s one of those times where I feel like they’re overwriting Alo. Like they’re trying far too hard to make him cool and it’s making him lamer by the second.
Rin says: AND NOT IN THE AWESOME LAME WAY I.E DR CAMERON LIKES LAME.
In the worst way where he really just needs to say hello, and perhaps have his tail inbetween his legs a little bit.
Sophy says: Alo fondles a spliff, asks where Grace is, and Rich explains that Blood has taken her to Switzerland. Alo thinks she’s going for a post-coma ski and Rich gives him the most epic ‘Bitch Please’ face about it. So far, so good, these are my kids.
Rin says: I refuse to get attached, or take any joy out of it. IT’LL ONLY MAKE IT HURT AGAIN. THERE IS NO GOOD HERE.
Sophy says: Alo says they’ll go to Switzerland and get her, like all they need to do is figure out the appropriate bus route and pack sandwiches, and I’m all YES, YES, KEEP ON BEING THIS PERSON THAT I LOVE. And then then he accidentally spits beer all over Rich’s face and I’m all.
This is the Alo I know and love. A strange mix of practical and impractical. A fuck up with a heart of gold. Someone who’ll always do the thing he thinks is right, even if he doesn’t think enough about it. Most importantly, he’s someone who loves his friend whole-heartedly, and has no trouble putting him first.
MY DARLINGS. SAFELY ENSCONCED IN THE VAN.
Rin says: What an unhygienic bastard. Spitting all over his friend like that…
NO I CAN’T. CAUSE IT’S REALLY FUCKING CUTE WHEN RICH PROCEEDS TO RUB HIS BEER FACE ALL OVER ALO’S JUMPER TO CLEAN HIMSELF OFF.
/climbs in the van
Sophy says: Annnnnd we’re back in series 6 land. That special place where everything wonderful gets taken too far, to the point where it makes an ass out of the characters. Yes, Alo trashed the farm and had a massive party on it in S5. Does that really mean it has to be his thing? Just like, you know, how he sniffed out that party in the finale, so he has to sniff out a BIGGER one in series 6. Just like how he leads them all through the wilderness, so now he man tracks Rich, bitch, instead of just saying Hello like a normal person.
Just. Too far. Too much. Trying way too hard.
And then this scene is problematic on another level. It’s one thing to trash your parents’ place when they’ve taken everything away from you down to your dog, and you’ve just blown up a cow, and gotten kicked out of college, and basically the whole world is falling apart on you. It’s another thing entirely to trash your principal’s home when his daughter’s just finished being in a coma for a month. It’s just not even in the same realm as decent, first of all.
Second, it’s fucking idiotic. Rich is already on the outs with the Bloods and it’s understandable that he would be. Can I just make that point right now? Blood relented in his controlling ways. He let his precious only child go on holiday with Rich. She just about came home in a body bag. That’s the kind of thing that would make even an easygoing father flip his shit, whether rightly or wrongly. Sure, Rich had nothing to do with what happened. But Blood doesn’t know that – he wasn’t there. From his perspective, Grace nearly ended up dead on Rich’s watch. From his perspective his fear of this surly, long-haired lout has been vindicated. Yes, it’s harsh that he won’t let Rich see Grace. But he has that right. And the last thing in the world that’s going to make him soften is coming home and finding Rich and his friends have trashed their home. All it’s going to make him think is: ‘I was right. This boy is a criminal. This boy is violent. This boy undoubtedly had something more to do with what happened to my daughter than he’ll say.’
Third, since Grace is supposed to be alive at this point, you’d think it might be nice to not break all her things. She might actually like some of this stuff, you know? Even when I’m really angry with my mum I try not to break the good china.
I just can’t even deal with how fucking vile and stupid it is that Alo is committing a very serious crime for fun. For his stupid fucking music revolution. Nevermind that it will be to the detriment of a distraught mother and father, his best friend, and his best friend’s death row girlfriend. Rich has the excuse of being out of his gourd right now. Alo does not. “Mindless anarchy! That’s what the kids are about these days,” he says. And apparently that’s what he’s about too.
The phones were not a fluke. RIP Aloysuis Creevey.
Rin says: I hated this so fucking much. And haha yeah, if you thought us being annoyed over the phone stealing last episode was just us whining, then things are about to get a whole lot worse.
It doesn’t make sense. IN ANY WAY. Are they fucking morons? Do they not understand that this is Grace’s house too? RICH HAS BEEN THERE MANY TIMES, I’M CERTAIN HE’S PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER AND KNOWS THIS.
At any rate, this level of vandalism isn’t funny or amusing in any way. It’s too far and kind of cruel? And if there’s one thing Rich and Alo never were, it was cruel. Maybe it would have been different had they had the house party and then everything got trashed because of that, and other people getting out of control. But no, it was always their intention to fully trash the place and all of their belongings. And it’s not that they probably caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, it’s that this is their house where all of their family memories are kept. If someone, let alone any of my FRIENDS had trashed my house in this way I would feel extremely violated and that would be the end of our friendship, for sure.
This isn’t petty thievery, like Liv and Matty and the packets of chips and drinks. This is a serious crime, and I hate that they’re getting so much joy out of it.
Can you not be dickheads for two seconds? No? Your dickheads are only going to grow larger as the series goes on? Oh okay then.
And maybe that’s the crux of the whole situation. Everyone (bar Liv) just became so damn unlikeable this series that it was painful to watch. I couldn’t find it within myself to care for them, when all they wanted to do was act like a group of entitled, whiny, bitches. And if you’re going to pull shit like this, you better give me a reason to forgive you later on. NOPE. NEVER CAME. So unfortunately we’re just left with this. And this? Not a good place to be left.
Sophy says: I feel like we should make a shirt that says ‘Everyone sucks except Liv.’ Because it’s just so true.
Rin says: Ah, that explains her absence. She just couldn’t deal with this kind of fuckery.
Sophy says: I hope she burned the robe.
Sophy says: Rich makes some awesome crazy faces, then storms off out of the house in search of that phantom Fur Elise ringtone. Lol.
Alo tries to prevail on him to come back by suggesting they “poo in Blood’s bed.”
Rin says: I think I have blocked that from my memory.
Thank you, ever so kindly, for reminding us all of that one particular gem.
AND YET AGAIN, STOP TRYING TO MAKE EVERYTHING LINK. Usually we’re all about the links, it’s what we live and breathe for? BUT I HATE ALL OF THEM IN THIS EPISODE. It’s all just too much, and too in your face. It’s nice when it’s like, one subtle, poignant moment.. NOT WHEN IT’S EVERY FUCKING SCENE.
Sophy says: Rich runs and fetches his phone from the bushes. Always a bad sign. He harps on crazily about having no signal and needing to find Grace, and in one of the few moments of comedy that really works in this episode, Alo asks if he’s checked the fridge.
Rich is all WHAT? And so am I.
Sophy says: He could at least have put it on a plate.
Rin says: Or wrapped it in glad wrap!
Sophy says: BAM. Always, always, always… check the fridge.
Rin says: Where did Sherlock go? Come back Sherlock, don’t leave us here alone.
Sophy says: Alo is pretty pleased with himself and Rich concedes, rather cutely, that he does “have some uses”. Unfortunately Alo’s usefulness is wasted on account of the fact that Grace is, you know, dead. Or is she dead at this point? I don’t even know. Rich can’t be hallucinating this phonecall, because it’s on speakerphone and Alo is hearing everything he hears. So when Rich hears the guy at the clinic say cheerfully “You’re looking for Grace, buddy? Ja, cool. Putting you through,” that must be real. When he hears Blood answer and say his behaviour is unacceptable and he needs to leave them alone, that must be real too. It’s a little odd that a clinic employee would be so flippant about putting someone through to a loved one who’s in a coma, but it’s completely beyond the bounds of believability that they’d be so flippant about putting someone through to a loved one who’s dead. Just as it would be unreasonable for Blood to even care that Rich was calling if that were the case. So I think we can state categorically that Grace is not dead at this point and that she did go to Zurich for treatment.
Rich stomps off to be alone and Alo seems interested in trying to help him until…
Rin says: NOOOO. NO. TO WE HAVE TO BE ALL ‘UNTIL DOT DOT DOT’… can we just go back up? Come on, let’s scroll away from here.
Sophy says: Oh hi Malo, sucks to see you.
Rin says: Oh fucking hell.
Sophy says: Rich sulks over videos upstairs in a disproportionately grief-stricken way that makes it clear that Grace is dead and that he knows it on some level, long before the final reveal. Ironically, if they hadn’t had him hallucinate her, I’d have been less certain she was dead at this point. It would make no sense for Rich to be this devastated about simply not being able to see her, not if he actually had seen her in the meantime, however briefly. He wouldn’t be torn apart if those scenes had been real. He’d be fucking jubilant with relief that she’d woken from her coma. So. It was pretty clear what was going on here. The only reason I didn’t quite believe it to be the case until the end of the episode was because I was so sure Skins wouldn’t go there – that they wouldn’t kill off another character, and, more importantly, that they wouldn’t indulge in hallucinatory wank. Not so much because I have issues with hallucinatory wank generally, but because Skins had pretty much outright stated it wouldn’t go there. And Christ, if you’re not going to go there in series 4 with Effy Stonem… I would have thought you are not going to go there.
Anyway. Rich tells Grace’s tiny self to never grow up, and it’s one of those lines I would find terribly poignant, if everything else was working well enough for me to really feel things about the episode.
And so I’m trying to figure out what it is that’s bugging me so much. It’s partly that I think it was idiotic to kill her in the first place. It’s partly the bad taste 601 left in my mouth. It’s partly the fact that after this Rich’s arc ceased to exist. It’s partly that I don’t feel Rich would respond this way to loss… but more precisely, it’s the fact that Rich isn’t responding to loss at all. He’s responding to the possibility of loss. Or, even worse, this is a continuation of his ‘My Gracie Sense is tingling’ moment in 601. Nobody has told him Grace is dead. Because, in fact, Grace isn’t dead at this point. And yet he’s grief-stricken to the point of hallucinating her. Why? Because he knows. How? Because we were special.
Apparently it is possible to experience hallucinations as a part of the grieving process, without actually being cray-cray. I’ve done grief, repeatedly, and it’s never been such a glamorous affair for me. The first time around I remember wanting, in a way I had never thought it was possible to want anything, to have that person returned to me. I remember being so sure my wanting would have me seeing ghosts that I was terrified to walk in certain parts of the house alone and also could not resist walking in certain parts of the house alone. Sometimes I thought I saw things or heard things, but a moment later I would know I had only felt things. And most of the time I was living my life – you know, the life where you eat breakfast because you’re hungry and feel sort of guilty that you’re not going to fade away. That’s what grief is to me: something very real. Something horrifying mundane, in fact.
But, you know, we have to take people at their word. We can never know what they experience, so we have to assume all the reports of visions and words exchanged beyond death are true – as true as something fundamentally untrue can be. Given that there is basis for grief hallucination in the real world, it’s not so much the fact that Rich is hallucinating Grace that bothers me, as the way it’s done.
Basically, my issue is that Rich isn’t experiencing hallucinations so much as living them, on the grandest scale possible. Rich and Grace’s love is so much better than regular love that he can hallucinate whole conversations with her – he can hallucinate sex with her – to the point where he’s not aware on any conscious level that he’s hallucinating at all. His love makes her manifest. And, you know, his love also makes his latent psychic powers manifest. He knows when she is in a car crash. He knows when she’s going to never wake up. Rich can tell the future for Grace.
Skins has never been this pompous about the connection between any of its characters. Ever. It has never cheated on the real world to this extent. And I’m very uncomfortable with it.
Rin says: It’s upsetting how much they wassstted Alex Arnold this series. He’s so wonderful and capable of so much more than they gave him.
And yes this is a pretty scene and baby Grace is the most precious thing in the world, but meh. MEH. MEH MEH MEH.
It’s not that I have a problem suspending my belief for TV when they want to do this kind of stuff when they’re a straight drama. As in, no fantasy involved. I can deal with that ‘it’s all in your head’ type of episode, and it has been done successfully. For sure. One of my favourite episodes of House (SIGH, HOUSE) is No Reason, and that was all a hallucination. And even Tony’s episode in series 2 had a lot of mind fuck involved, but I really enjoyed it. But the difference is that they are self-contained episodes of ‘we went a little out there’ that work for their specific purpose in time. Maybe if Grace didn’t continue to pop up all Where’s Wally: Ghost Grace edition, we wouldn’t have such a big issue with what they did here. But it kind of all turned into one big sad joke of not knowing what to do with Grace and Jessica Sula.
Honestly, when they sat down to brainstorm, did they really think ‘oh we can just pop her into every episode as a vision/ghost/spiritual guide’… THAT’S THE PERFECT SOLUTION!
Sophy says: Loud sex noises along the lines of “Grab my balls!” interfere with Rich’s special grief.
UGH, MALO, DO YOU EVEN GO HERE???
Rin says: HAAHAHAH.
HAHAH HAHA HA.
Sophy says: Rich is a bit disgusted, which, me too Rich. Me too. “You awful, awful bastards,” he says, and, “This is horrific,” and I want to applaud because it’s the most succinct and apt summation of Malo as a ship ever.
In all seriousness though it is pretty off for them to be loudly shagging in the Bloods’ house while Rich is upstairs falling apart. What happened to Alo’s van?
No wait. That’s where I’m ensconced. I don’t want any of this shit in there.
Anyway. Mini thinks now’s good time to tell Rich off for not informing her that Grace woke up. She huffs that Grace is her best friend, and Rich fires back with “I see you managed to fill the emptiness inside.” Zing! I would enjoy that a lot more if Mini’s lack of response to Grace’s death wasn’t going to be an actual thing – and a thing that is never addressed beyond this quip.
Rin says: Oh my god, Sophy, but don’t you see???? She’s using Alo as a means to deal with Grace’s death! Except not really, because at this point she believes Grace woke up and really she should be happy more than anything. BUT YEAH. SOON MINI WILL REALISE, THROUGH HER NON-COMMITAL GRIEF THAT ALO WAS THERE ALL ALONG. AND SHE LOVES HIM. AND WANTS HIS BABY, LIKE NOW. LOL. Grace dying, for Mini, was just a segway for her to realise she loves Alo.
Sophy says: This is why she had to have the baby.
Rin says: GO DOWN THE LAKE FOR IT.
Sophy says: Mini answers Rich with “I wanted a fuck. He’s available.” You guys, she is sooooooooo liberated. No wait, she’s not. She’s just here to realise she’s in love and get impregnated. Not necessarily in that order.
Alo is all “But you like me, right?” And the correct answer is of course.
Rin says: Everyone is just so….pathetic.
Sophy says: Mini whinges pointlessly about keeping the great love of all time a secret, Alo doesn’t give a fuck, Rich hates them both and storms out.
Rin says: NO RICH, TAKE US WITH YOU. TAKE US WITH YOUUUU, WE DON’T WANT THE NEXT PART.
/covers eyes and ears
Sophy says: Mini says she needs some “closure”. I don’t even want to talk about it.
Rin says: You guys.
Do we even remember last series what Mini went through? At all? And now it’s all Sex and the City, with the cosmos and penis sizes.
Sophy says: Rich hurries out onto the stairs to call Grace back – her Fur Elise ringtone was all up in the Malo sex. They have a conversation about how Blood’s trying to split them up and Grace should run away but she can’t. When she hangs up, Rich is left sulking to the sounds of Malo’s casually resumed sex. If anything their expletive cries are even more obnoxiously loud than before. Who needs enemies, huh?
Rin says: Yeah, run away Grace. Just walk off that month-long coma, you’ll be fine.
Sophy says: Rich is in what I’m assuming is Mr and Mrs Blood’s bed, since it’s not Grace’s and why would she have a big picture of herself on the bedside table anyway but whatever. He’s lying on a bed watching the ballerina in a music box turn while – you guessed it – Fur Elise plays. Groan. Like. Huge, huge fucking groan. Look, okay, this might have worked – maybe – just – if it had been the sole reference to the 502 performance. As it is the Fur Elise ringtone is pretty much the soundtrack for the episode and Grace is all over the place in her ballet gear… it gives the impression that that’s literally the only thing she ever did. Dance to Fur Elise. The idea that we’re going to be that reductive – that Rich is going to be that reductive – about Grace of all people… it’s a special kind of depressing.
Rin says: Yeah, I remember we talked about Fur Elise back in 502, about how it is such an overused piece of music, to the point where it’s a bit of a cliché. But with the way they used it in 502, it was like new and heart-warming and unexpected and felt like what Fur Elise was composed for.
And they couldn’t just LEAVE IT BE, could they? Let it stay safe and untouched in that perfect, perfect, scene where it belongs. NOPE, they had to bring it out and drag it through the mud and use it to over and over again, to make the horse want to beat itself to death.
Sophy says: Rich hears that dickbag Alo playing his “music” downstairs and sees red. So do I Rich. So do I.
If I ignore the aspect of it where they’ve vandalised Grace’s home and I will never, ever be okay with that, the list of crossed out options on the wall is pretty cute.
Rin says: It’s weird how all of those options would have been better than ‘TRASH HOUSE’. Even the kidnapping.
Sophy says: Rich storms downstairs and tells Alo to get his stuff out of the house. Alo thinks the request is unreasonable and blethers on about the gig of the century. He’s the lamest teenager in the world.
Irrelevant Guest Drummer might be fun but unfortunately for me her presence just highlights Toxic Bob’s absence.
(Seriously, this episode is flawed in deep, structural ways, but I would have forgiven a lot if they’d worked Toxic Bob into the plot.)
Rin says: TOXIC BOB
He would’ve straightened all of this malarkey out. He would have hit them all over the head and told them to not be an ass.
Sophy says: Okay, this is where things start to get really stupid. Alo tells Rich how he’s a great friend because he brought over all of Rich’s music gear. Rich says he doesn’t want his music gear he wants his girlfriend. Alo says… well I’m just going to quote it because paraphrasing is stressful where there is no logic.
“Don’t you get it, man? If she wanted to be here, she would be here! No! She’s dumped you, mate! All right, actually, no… she got her dad to do it for her. Maybe that is a bit pussy, but now we’re going to party like it’s 1999 and get the fuck over it!”
I just… I don’t even know where to begin with the stupid. Is this just poor writing? Or is Alo meant to be grossly insensitive and/or slightly less clever than a bag of rocks? I JUST?
Okay for a start, the idea that Grace has clearly dumped Rich because she hasn’t popped over to see him yet is ludicrous. As far as Alo knows she has just come out of a month-long coma. MONTH. LONG. COMA. The idea that she would have the freedom to do as she pleased is, I’m going to have to use the word again, ludicrous. Now let’s factor in the highly publicized fact that Blood has always tried to come between Rich and Grace. How on earth does Alo get from that to ‘Grace must have asked him to keep Rich away’? And what about the fact that Rich and Grace were blissfully in love for all to see prior to the month-long coma? There is absolutely no reason why she would suddenly split up with him upon waking up. Even if that was what was happening, it would clearly mean that Grace was not in her right mind. And if Alo doesn’t care about Grace’s mind, he should care about Rich’s. He should know how utterly traumatic it would be to find that your girlfriend, who adored you, woke up from her MONTH-LONG COMA suddenly not wanting you in her life. I mean, jesus fucking christ on a fleet of bicycles, Alo’s “get the fuck over it” would be assholeish even if Rich had had a rather unpleasant girlfriend who had simply split up with him after a few week’s tolerable happiness because it wasn’t really working out. BUT MONTH-LONG COMA???
In conclusion, Alo manages to be wrong… and then wrong about what he’s wrong about. And an overall crap friend… who keeps going on about what a great friend he is. So. Again. Wrong and wrong.
Rin says: This is beyond stupidity, it’s a complete and utter miss of any form of logical thought. In no world, anywhere ever, would anyone come to the conclusion that Grace has dumped Rich and that’s what is going on. Let alone Alo who is damn well familiar with the story of Rich and Grace.
It’s just bad writing to get these two to fight, destroy more stuff and be generally unpleasant.
Sophy says: Rich and Alo take it outside, and start throwing shit around because that’s what they do. Okay to be fair it’s mostly Rich doing the throwing, because Alo seems to value his own stuff – just not other people’s. Rich on the other hand values nothing except Grace. Or maybe he just hallucinated the guitar into a shark or something. And was batting it away. For safety.
Anyway, they punch each other and stuff, and talk some cliched drivel that has nothing to do with who Rich and Alo ever were about how Rich has told Alo all his life that music is the solution! Kumbaya! Rich also accuses Alo of wanting to be in a band just to impress Mini. Or more precisely, so that “Mini will let you look her in the eye when you suck her cock.”
And there’s just something about this that is so… off. The fact that they make a transgender joke about the girl who was never gay, please, thank you, and only ever had platonic feelings for the girl who dressed like a boy but doesn’t anymore. It’s just. I don’t even know, but it really rubs me the wrong way.
Rin says: GENERALLY UNPLEASANT.
They really got a lot of Rich and Alo wrong. But that’s probably a much longer, much more exhausting rant for the finale. YOU KNOW THE SCENE.
Sophy says: Alo looks up and sees Mini at the window in a sheet. He wipes the blood off his nose and he’s good to go.
Rin says: So.. when did this become a thing? The whole wiping blood off face and it being some kind of turn on for girls?
Why do they keep doing it?
Sophy says: HOT!!!!!!!!!!!
Rin says: Cosmos/penises.
Sophy says: YOU GUYS, WE HAVE ARRIVED. OUR DESTINATION? ONE OF THE VERY, VERY FEW SCENES IN THE WHOLE OF SKINS SERIES 6 THAT IS ACTUALLY GOOD.
I AM EXCITED?
ARE YOU EXCITED?
Rin says: OH YES. I TAKE BACK WHAT I SAID ABOUT RICH’S MUM/FACE PRESSAGE.
This is actually really good, and the most Skins we’re going to get until around… Liv’s episode? Probably? So we better all saviour this moment, it’s the only thing we’ll have to sustain us for our long, arduous journey ahead.
Sophy says: Until Liv’s episode… and then never again.
Sophy says: So Rich has gone to meet Liv at a diner I have never seen before but that kind of reminds me of when Sid and Tony had breakfast that one time right back at the beginning of it all. He’s just told Liv about Alo’s music revolution and how they’ve just trashed Grace’s house, and Liv is rightly appalled. It does make me laugh though, that she’s the only one to give a shit, when last year she was pretty much first in line for the Fuck it lifestyle.
Rin says: Oh my god, Rich is doing such a good in that cap.
Yeah, but all of the kids grew up a bit and learnt to care more about each other and the people around them. It seems like Liv is the only one who kind of retained that life lesson.
Sophy says: Liv moves on to the other way in which Rich sucks. Like Mini, she’s peeved that Grace woke up and nobody bothered to tell her. The difference is, Liv actually seems like she cares. She suggests they take Blood to court to force him to let them see Grace, which, though adorably naive, isn’t as stupid as ‘Trash his house’. Rich says that wouldn’t work, and Liv starts crying, saying she thought he was metal, and he says he thought he was too, and it would be marvelously poignant if it were series 5 Rich sat opposite her, instead of this boy who is about as unmetal as it gets. I mean, come on. It should be perfectly obvious to Liv that this boy is made of cooked tagliatelle and Bright Eyes songs.
Still, Liv is my hero, for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that she’s asking the big questions: “What the fuck has happened to us all? Where are my friends?” Indeed Liv, indeed. “Everything’s mental since fucking Morocco,” she says, and yes, indeed, I’d say that was about when we entered Doppelgangland.
Rin says: Thank god Liv has some fucking sense left in her. And yep, totally, this reeks entirely of alternate universe.
Sophy says: Liv fully starts bawling right there in the booth, and Rich stutters that he’ll get her some biscuits. HE’LL GET HER SOME BISCUITS.
I just. Best. I’m having serious series 5 feelings and it’s beautiful and IT HURTS.
Rin says: I LOVE that she just starts BAWLING. AHHHHH. LAYA LEWIS, YOU BEAUTIFUL PERSON. And oh my god, Alex, his FACE when he’s asking for the biscuits. I CAN’T. It might be the best fucking thing.
I really love these two together, and it would have been nice to see their friendship explored beyond what they did do. YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF THAT OTHER KID WHO WAS PRETTY MUCH USELESS AND HAD NO PLACE IN THE GROUP AND I WISH HE WOULD JUST FUCK OFF AND DIE? Why couldn’t they have had Rich and Liv cling to each other in their grief? It would have been glorious.
Sophy says: Cut to Rich and Liv eating their biscuits on the steps outside the diner. It’s so fucking cute I could die. I’m not sure anything could have saved this series once it had been set in motion, but if every episode had had a scene like this? It would have been terribly soothing for me.
Rin says: This really is a bit of magic (ugh sorry), and yes it soothes, but also it just… makes me wonder why on earth everything else had to be a big stinking pile of shit? THEYRE ENTIRELY CAPABLE OF NOT PRODUCING SHIT. We know that. They know that. And yet?
Sophy says: “I do actually feel a little better,” Liv says, conceding the power of biscuits. She’s the best. They are the cutest. I could watch a whole Skins series that was just Rich and Liv eating biscuits in various poses.
Rin says: Biscuits really do make everything feel better, though. Well played.
Sophy says: Franky shows up looking slightly boyish – but in a cute Topshop kind of way. This just in, the reason she’s wearing pants is that she hates herself today.
Rin says: She’s probably sad about it not being sunny enough to wear her bikini out. I’m surprised her shorts are so long, to be honest.
Sophy says: Franky asks what’s so important that Liv couldn’t tell her on the phone, and that’s when I realize how much more excellent Liv is than everyone else. Rich gets a pass for not telling people Grace has woken up, because on some level, however buried, he knows it’s not true. And because he’s crackers. But Alo and Mini are just too far up each other’s arseholes to get around to letting their friends know. I mean, really, Mini even consciously articulated how much it hurt her that Rich didn’t tell her about Grace the moment he knew because Grace is her best friend… but can’t scale that empathy chasm and arrive at ‘Oh, maybe our other best friends will feel the same way if I don’t tell them now.’
Mini sucks. Alo sucks. Liv is my hero, counting the ways. Rich is crackers. Let’s not discuss Franky.
Rin says: Okay to be a bit fair, maybe this is the least annoying Franky will ever be this series. Because at least she’s HAPPY and WANTS TO SEE GRACE when she finds out that she has woken up. LIKE ANY FRIEND OF GRACE’S WOULD BE. Not like Alo. DEFINITELY NOT LIKE MINI. Fuck. Seriously, those two couldn’t possibly care less about Grace. Their response to finding out Grace had woken up, was to sex each other instead.
Sophy says: Let’s not discuss Franky.
Rin says: I wish ‘Let’s not discuss Franky’ was a viable option for all future recaps.
Sophy says: Liv, Franky and Rich head back to the Bloods. I think the plan is to steal what they haven’t smashed, sell it, and go to France. Or there is no plan.
Rin says: WAIT. WHAT THE FUCK? How did they all get to Bloods? They…didn’t just walk did they???? But? Are you guys okay? You’re being too normal. Why didn’t you all pile onto the mini bicycle and ride over like some travelling circus act?
Sophy says: Alo is packing up his stuff and getting the hell out of there, because apparently he’s announced on facebook that there’s an empty house in the middle of the countryside and the owners are away, so 300 people are going to come to watch them play slash fuck shit up. Somewhere along the way this has become a bad thing.
Rin says: YEAH ALO. I THOUGHT YOU WERE ALL UP FOR FUCKING SHIT UP. Stupid git.
And we’re back to let’s not discuss Franky and she says she hopes they burn the place down. Lol, these kids.
Sophy says: Mini exits the house and enters the scene, merrily telling “cock boy” that she’s leaving. She runs straight into Liv and Franky and this is a problem because she doesn’t know how truly she loves Alo yet, so she’s doing that thing where she’s super ashamed because he’s, like, super lame, even though he’s also the leader of the pack.
Rin says: We need to stop trying to make sense of things. It’s impossible when they weren’t even trying to make any sort of sense in the first place.
Sophy says: Rich covers for her with a story about her picking up her straighteners. And I actually snort out loud, because totally, of course, why not – and what are her straighteners again? Alo’s cock and balls?
Rin says: Pretty much. It’s actually kind of rude for them to keep making jokes about it at the Minky fans expense.
Sophy says: Franky calls Mini out on not telling them Grace woke up, and Mini explains that the signal is shit here, and that she also needed to have a quick marathon sex session before leaving. First things first and all. Okay she doesn’t tell them that last part. But probably only because Alo is lame, rather than because she’s aware of how fucking whack her priorities are.
She dresses her shitty excuse up with a “Yay!” that is adorable, but also sort of upsetting, because it underscores all the fucks she doesn’t appear to give about Grace.
And I don’t get this – I really, really don’t get this thing where Mini is super casual about Grace being in a coma slash waking up from a coma slash in fact being dead. I don’t get it to the point where I’m going to put it down to bad writing. It seems like they were unable to balance her ribald romance with Alo with any kind of sincere concern or heartbreak over her friend. Which makes sense, really. Romping and grief are pretty much unmixy things. So.
Rin says: And again it’s that thing where, well Mini didn’t even react decently when she found out Grace was better. So it’s not like we can say Grace’s death was the catalyst to her downfall.
Sophy says: Rider shows up to collect Mini, because apparently she is fucking him too. He high fives Alo. Alo looks sad. Mini looks sad. Those two crazy kids. They should just have a baby already!
Rin says: HAHAHAH. Did people actually feel sorry for Alo? DID THEY?
Sophy says: HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA OH MY GOD. Mini is spinning a record with a huge cock on it. And this is when I know the writers are doing it on purpose.
Christ in a horse and carriage with a bonnet and gloves on.
Also I find it totally obnoxiously hipsterish that she’s being a fucking DJ now. I know Mini was loosening up and becoming more confident and cool last series………………….. but this is not part of a progression. This is an end-point. This is a Mini McGuinness who is totally uninhibited. It just doesn’t feel right.
Rin says: SHE SPINS THE COCKS RIGHT ROUND BABY, RIGHT ROUND LIKE A RECORD BABY, ROUND ROUND ROUND ROUND.
Sophy says: Alo looks on jealously while Mini makes out with a random. A random guy, just to clarify. It’s not a girl with short hair or anything.
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT IT? WHY WOULD MINI WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH A GIRL WITH SHORT HAIR??? PURPLE MONKEY DISHWASHER?????????
Rin says: I love how Alo was two seconds away from running away, and then as soon as they weren’t he just slipped into the worst fucking outfit the world has ever seen.
Sophy says: Okay, girls. There’s being supportive and then there’s just having bad taste.
Rin says: Stop even trying to go there. You’re not getting anywhere close to the Glockenspiel Song.
Sophy says: Speaking of bad taste, Alo seems to be a Katy Perry fan. He decides to get the crowd going by giving Rich a big old kiss on the lips. Now normally this kind of thing would be water off a duck’s back for me, but in the wider context of gay in Skins series six, it really, really fucking bothers me.
You may remember that I said in the 601 recap that the dominant attitude to homosexuality in series 6 is ‘LOLS’. This is just one of the many examples. It’s so funny when two guys kiss. It’s such a show. That’s the crux of it. That’s the end of it. And oh how Mini laughs.
There’s also some awful music with awful lyrics and an awful monologue about how Blood’s house is a prison that needs to be torn down and stuff. I hate these children.
Rin says: Just wait till Nick’s episode. Oh my god.
Remember kids, get your permission slips signed because we’re going to have a FIELD DAY!
Sophy says: Rich spots Grace in the crowd and rushes in the direction of her disappearing ghosty self.
Rin says: Oh man, look at her, all tiny and lost in the crowd.
Sophy says: Alo runs after Rich and they have a boring conversation about how Grace isn’t really there and they’ll find her tomorrow.
Rin says: BLAH BLAH BLAH. I’M SO STUFFY, GIVE ME A SCONE.
Sophy says: Yeah. This does nothing for me, for so many reasons. But probably the second to main reason is that it’s an outright rip-off of that time Tony held Sid when his dad had died and he couldn’t cry until the music screamed over it. That was just… phenomenally brilliant. This is a pale shadow of it, which is fitting, I suppose, for a bromance which has so very sadly become a pale shadow of its former self.
Anyway Rich runs off and Alo doesn’t go after him because he’s in the middle of a music revolution and stuff.
Rin says: Oh my god, just make out already.
And yeah, it REALLY doesn’t work because that Tony/Sid scene is ICONIC. It’s freaking iconic, and there was no way they could measure up to it. Especially not in that fucking stupid jumpsuit.
Sophy says: WHOA, GRACE IS HERE. TIME FOR SEX!
That’s pretty much how this works.
And can we take a moment to marvel at Rich’s outfit. Richard Hardbeck took to the stage in a slim-fitting petit pois shirt and pink trousers.
Frankly I’m having a hard time dealing with the idea that Richard Hardback would take to the stage at all.
BUT PINK TROUSERS???
Oh well. At least he’s going to be taking them off in a jiffy.
Rin says: It’s honestly the worst. Because seriously. Is this all Grace was to Rich?
Naked and waiting for him in bed?
Sophy says: Rich and Grace have the kind of dreamy, disjointed conversation people hallucinate on TV, in which Grace tells him she’s “left [her dad] behind” because he “can’t get past things.” For those who weren’t already on the ‘Grace is dead’ page those expressions, so often used of death and bereavement, would have been super unsettling. But Rich has Grace deflect – distract – one more time. He pretends she’s talking about that old, easy problem – Dad doesn’t approve.
Grace says “I probably love you,” and it’s very sweet. She comments, archly, that he’s still got his clothes on, and I roll my eyes.
Rin says: At least they both look really gorgeous in these two caps? IDK? Clutching at straws?
Sophy says: They have sex. It’s pretty, and at the same time feels faintly pedophilic. I felt the same way when Sid and Cassie had sex. And Thomas and that girl in the hospital? Idk. I have weird double standards when it comes to watching teens have sex. I’m also not sure that sentence should ever have been born.
Rin says: And yet? You had no qualms about getting all these caps in here, did you?
Also, 60 year olds having sex would still feel pedophilic for you.
Sophy says: Rich and Grace snuggle their beautiful, glorious, perfect little faces together. And this is how I’ll remember them, always, in close up, so I can pretend Rich’s hair and clothes this series never happened.
Rin says: Oh my god, they’re perfect like that. Can we take them into the van with us?
Um, clothed. Obviously.
Sophy says: Rich wakes up alone, in what I’m now thinking must be Grace’s new bed. It’s a shame they couldn’t get something that at least vaguely resembled her old one, for continuity. If this episode was going to pack an emotional punch for me, the emotional punch packed would have been bigger had this final love scene taken place on the same bed where Rich asked Grace to marry him.
Rin says: I love that he wakes up naked, instead of just being passed out in his clothes from last night. JUST TO KEEP THE ~ILLUSION GOING FOR THAT MUCH LONGER.
Sophy says: He stumbles outside and gets a call from Grace, who tells him that she “had to go” and, “You know why, Rich,” and if you were clinging to any hope you probably dropped it right about now and it thudded to the floor like a heavy heart in a bag. She tells Rich how beautiful everything is today, and honestly, it’s so pretentious, so contrived and so button-pushingly sentimental that I kind of want to barf.
What was the word I used above? Pompous.
Rin says: LOL RIGHT. The dead girl talking about how BEAUTIFUL THE WORLD IS.
Sophy says: For the three year olds in the audience, Rich looks down at his phone, which has been trashed along with the rest of the place. He sees Blood’s car in the driveway.
Rin says: Oh please, the moment she called Rich to have sex with her in the hospital room, in her hospital bed… you should have known.
Sophy says: Honestly, this is as plausible as Nick’s actual love story this series.
Rin says: Peas in a pod. Bonded peas.
Sophy says: Rich walks into the house and sees Blood sitting on the steps. He remarks that Rich has trashed the place, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about it, on account of how his daughter has just died. He does use the f-word though, which I think is to show how he’s stopped being so stuffy now that he’s been dealt the worst blow a father can ever be dealt.
It may be worth mentioning at this point that I was very disappointed that Rich’s lack of arc meant we didn’t see Blood again for the rest of the series. And I’m utterly, crushingly devastated that Mrs Grace made no appearance. I mean that both in a lols and srs bsns way.
Rin says: Maybe they thought that if they just didn’t mention Mrs Grace, we’d just all forget about her and not wonder where she is when her daughter has died. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if they hadn’t used Grace/Mrs Grace in such a nice way last series, that this series it seems like a big oversight to not bring her into the story. So much of who Grace is, was reflected in her mother.. fairytales, stories.. make a happy ending. I’m not trying to say Mrs Grace would have fixed everything, but it certainly would have added a feeling of completeness, as opposed to feeling a bit empty.
Sophy says: Yikes. If Blood wasn’t fond of him before…
Rin says: Yuck.
Sophy says: When I say Grace has just died I mean “yesterday afternoon”. That puts us shortly before her ghost floated over to the house to have sex with Rich. Or something. That’s all well and good and totally confirms my theory about Rich’s love for Grace unlocking his inner fortune teller. Think about it. He’s spent a month not hallucinating Grace while she’s been in the kind of coma that’s entirely indefinite. And then just hours before she randomly dies in said coma he starts having the grief hallucinations. With absolutely nothing to tip him off that anything was any more wrong with her than usual.
Must be love, true love?
Really though, this whole plotline would have worked a lot better for me if Grace had been dead from the start of the episode, and if Rich had in fact known she was dead all along. And by known, I mean known. Not ~known. You know?
I can just buy these grandiose hallucinatory experiences as a response to Grace’s death. But as a psychic reaction to the imminence of her death? Ugh, ugh, ugh.
For the record, here’s how I would have ended this episode:
You fucked my house up, I see.
Sorry. Where’s Grace?
(Struggling to speak)
I’m very sorry… I’m very sad… to say…
A beat, two beats, three. Blood looks at Rich helplessly. Finally…
It’s OK. You don’t have to tell me.
He sits down on the step next to Blood, puts his elbows on his knees and stares out through the wreckage, out the open door to the house. We follow his gaze to the beautiful day outside.
People have been telling me all day.
Back to the two of them sitting side by side. A long silence as we close in on Rich’s face.
(soberly, but with some difficulty)
Grace died today.
Blood suddenly begins sobbing O.S. We pull out to see Rich has taken his hand. Rich stares straight at the camera, while Blood sobs at his shoulder, his grip on his hand tightening.
END OF SHOW
Rin says: HAAH END OF SHOW. LIKE, COMPLETELY?
I would have appreciated the ending much more if it had gone that way. Like, a million times more.
And. Right. There would actually be a feasible reason for Rich to be hallucinating if he’d actually known that Grace’s condition was getting worse, or in fact had already died. But as it stands, there is absolutely no reason why he would have started hallucinating when he did, apart from as you said, his sixth Grace-true-love sense. I mean. Really? At least maybe wait until after you hear that Blood is wanting to move Grace to Switzerland, not before. Alas. Rich can even preempt that. God Rich, if you truly loved Grace you would have stopped her from getting in the car with Matty in the first place.
Sophy says: Rich sits next to Blood on the stairs. They have an extremely cliched conversation about loss in which they do that thing where sometimes being really quiet is really poignant. They also bond, I think. But who cares, we’re never going to see Blood again. We’re never really going to see Rich again, actually. He may as well say “Bye” to us, right here, right now.
Okay, this episode. If it seems like I hate it, it’s because I do. And yet, I’ll admit, it’s one of the least offensive, most watchable episodes of series 6. I can even see why others might really love it, particularly Hardlet fans who wanted their ship to go out with a bang. But even for those people: surely you were expecting more? Surely the series as a whole would have been that much more enjoyable for you if Rich had had a proper arc after this episode? Or if Grace had told Franky to fuck off and stop hallucinating her because she was starting to look like a ghost and also because Franky???
More on that later.
For now I’ll just say that things I liked about the episode were Jessica Sula’s beautiful, beautiful face, Alex’s good sadness, and the biscuit scene. Also that bit with the fridge. Things I didn’t like about it? Katy Perry action, Mini not caring about Grace, Alo not being Alo anymore, Malo, Franky’s face, Rich’s pink trousers, his small bicycle, the music revolution, the way that the episode is basically a standalone despite the fact that Ghost Grace is going to pop up all over the shop, Rich and Grace’s mystical forever love, post-coma hallucishag, “What else is there to do but hallucinate?????”, couldn’t he at least have hallucinated Grace’s actual bed???, the music revolution, NO TOXIC BOB, no Mrs Grace, no further Mr Grace, no further Mr or Mrs Rich, trashing Grace’s house and the complete lack of consequences for it, the rip-off of the Sid/Tony hug, thank you, yes, I have seen the Sixth Sense, the music revolution.
I think that’s about it.
THE MUSIC REVOLUTION.
Rin says: Fucking sparkly piece of shit music revolution.
The biggest issue for me is that I didn’t even care that Grace died. I had no feelings about it whatsoever except, ‘Well that was pointless.’ Grace was one of my favourite characters (THEY ALL WERE), and if you’re going to kill off one of my favourite characters, at least make it hurt. At least make me feel like there was a purpose for their death, in a way that will provide further story and depth. Grace’s death doesn’t really have much of an impact on anything, except allow her to pop up as a ghost every now and then? We never really get to see Rich again, Franky was ~off the rails before Grace died, Mini is too busy Malo-ing, Alo doesn’t care, Nick doesn’t care, Matty is missing most of the series. The only one who seems to care is Liv, and that’s probably why her episode was the only good one of the bunch.
I think I’m just really disappointed that this is the direction Skins chose to take. The OVER THE TOP, CRAZY, WILD, SKINS! I don’t feel like this is the Skins that people want to remember, or would be itching to show their friends and talk about for years to come. And it’s a pity, because a bad final series shouldn’t affect everything that came before it, but it’s like if you have the most delicious meal you’ve ever had in your life.. and then be forced to eat your most hated food. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And that’s why it has taken me SO INCREDIBLY LONG (I’m sorry!) to be able to talk about this episode in a way where I care, and not just be spewing a constant stream of bile. I think I’m finally at a place where I can separate Skins 6 from everything that came before it. In my eyes, they messed up, they really fucking messed up. That doesn’t mean I won’t forever love 1-5. I have pretty much lost all faith though, so I can’t say I’m looking forward to those three new episodes. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
Sophy says: Yeah. If you think we were jerks about this episode, you have no idea what you’re in for with 603.
Rin says: Literally the most enraging piece of tv I have ever seen in my life.
Sophy says: IT’S NOT TOO LATE. SOMEBODY QUICK. GET A BIKINI AND A DECK CHAIR.
Rin says: FORGET THE BIKINI! THIS REQUIRES FULL ON FRONTAL NUDITY! STAT!
Sophy says: NURSE!!!!! GET ME 60cc’s OF LIQUID EYELINER!!!!!!!!! WE’RE LOSING HERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!