Skins Fire – Part 1

 



Sophy says: Pretty.

Rin says: HAhah Skins Fire, “Very pretty”.



Sophy says: Also pretty.

Rin says: I had to include the credit for Charles Martin because he definitely deserves it. If anything this episode was directed beautifully and I can’t deny that. He’s the man responsible for episodes such as Cassie, Effy, Freddie, JJ, Katie and Emily…so you know. A mighty fine director.

Sophy says: Indeed. This episode was gorgeous like it was made out of lollies.


Sophy says: Yeah… no. I really wish they hadn’t given them these names. Seriously, just call it series 7, Effy 1 and 2. Fire is cheeseballs enough, and then they go and add the crackly noise to it and just… no.

I also really dislike that it’s in caps. Somehow the Skins font is really pretty in lower case and kind of naff in caps.

Rin says: Oh god. The crackling fire audio is probably the worst part, and the ‘FIRE’ in of itself the second worst part.

They really didn’t need to ‘name’ these episodes. It does nothing for them.

Sophy says: I wonder if London’s going to be burning in the next episode?

REALLY YUMMY!



Sophy says: I was really excited at first because it’s THE WOMAN from Sherlock. Unfortunately her character turned out to be extremely dull. Also every time I see that last cap I think it’s Sketch and get EVEN MORE EXCITED.

Rin says: 32, 24, 34….. wasted.

Sophy says: I suppose there’s still time. She might reappear in the next episode with a baseball bat.



Sophy says: Sometimes tea and coffee is so overwhelming. I’m glad Effy didn’t drop the tray.

Do we need to fill you in on what’s happening? Oh alright. Effy’s a secretary of some kind at a stockbroking firm. Her boss (The Woman) and her boss’s boss (Not Freddie, just kind of looks like a sleek, douchey version of him who went to the gym a lot) appear to be shagging.

Rin says: He really does look like a substitute older douchey Freddie, and I’m sure nothing will come of it. They’ll just be all, ‘I don’t see that :-?? ‘ and move on.

Like how they promoted the hell out of Mini and Frankie and then went on to say they just never saw it :-??

Whoa, I didn’t expect the bitterness to hit so early, but would you look at that.

But honestly. I didn’t go into this episode with my arms crossed or ANYTHING. I was fully prepared to enjoy it and welcome back my lovelies with open arms. Sigh.


Sophy says: Some guy who works at another firm and is called Dominic and is very short and kind of in love with Effy, which, duh, shows up. I can’t remember what he says but I’m sure it’s cute and befuddled.

Okay, I checked. He said Effy should call him if she ever wants a quick one. Of course he didn’t mean to, he just kind of tripped and fell onto those super embarrassing words. As these kinds of characters always do.

Effy is all thanks but no thanks, like he’s some kind of JJ, which he kind of is, except he also reminds me a lot of Martin Freeman, which has me really, really wanting to love him.

Rin says: Okay I didn’t even see you say that he reminded you of JJ when I made this…



Sophy says: OH MY GOD SHE IS SO CUTE. I kind of ship Jeffy when he’s in a wig and she’s pretending to be a homo.

Rin says: She’s such a happy little Vegemite.


Sophy says: Not Sketch says something mean about Dominic and Effy shuts her down with a seemingly entirely unrelated comment about the unfortunate horsey things her face does when she laughs in that particularly bitchy way. It’s a nice moment. I like it. It’s something Effy would do for a JJ.

And holy crap, Kaya Scodelario, stop with your face and your hair and your general you.

Rin says: SHE CAN’T TURN IT OFF, IT’S WHO SHE IS.

But yeah, this was one of the truer Effy moments that happened in the episode. She does stick up for the people she likes and never stands by if someone is being a debby downer for the sake of making themselves look better.


Sophy says: I see what you did there, show.

In important Skins Fire news Effy has come home after a long day at work. She read work stuff on the train, which tells us she is really serious about this job. She stopped at a convenience store, which tells us she has money and buys things? When she gets home she pours herself a glass of grown-up alcohol and is general disdainful of the teenage chaos going on in her apartment.

Rin says: Haaaaaaahahhaa. The girl with the red hair.

Wow, just wow.

We’re not biting.

Sophy says: No. Mandeh would though.



Sophy says: LILY LILY LILY. AND SHE HAS A BRAID.

I love the way she says “Potentially”. Somewhat less enamoured of the idea that she’s a slobby moocher these days. I mean, it’s not like she’s sticking her smelly socked foot into Effy’s mouth when she wakes up or anything, but it’s still kind of sad to see Naomi foisting on her friend exactly what her mother used to foist on her. Fuck’s sake, Naoms? Maybe Effy just wants some peace?

Rin says: I guess they were just going for the WHAT A TWIST! approach with having the smart driven girl be the slobby moocher, and the smart albeit lost girl be the one who has her stuff together. It’s just…when they give no reasons as to why it’s kind of hard to blindly accept this as the way things are now. Or maybe they will actually dive into their characters next episode, who knows? But for now it was just a teeny bit confusing.

Sophy says: I don’t even think they were going for a twist. I think they just don’t care and don’t have any idea how much the viewers (or some viewers) really, really do fucking care.



Sophy says: LOOK AT HER LITTLE FACE. OH GOD LOOK AT IT.

I also really like her cat shirt. I always imagined Naomi as a cat person. Only as opposed to dogs. In general animal terms I would say she’s a chipmunk person.

Rin says: She loves them chipmunks to death.

Sophy says: IT’S POSITIVELY BESTIAL!




Sophy says: Lily/Steak forever.

I’m not sure I’m quite as enamoured of Naomi/Steak though in terms of what it says about where Naomi is at. Basically she has morphed into a somewhat less wacky version of Chris Miles? That is to say she is constantly high and pretty much pathologically, if adorably, unaware of people around her and the way they’re trying to live their lives. Later it’s Effy who will be cast in the role of Friend Who Is Frustrated And Dismissive At Exactly The Wrong Moment. But right now? Naomi is the one who’s being kind of vapid and self-involved.

She doesn’t know where the steak came from, you guys. She potentially has money to pay her own way but she might have spent it all on a good time. Yes, these days Naomi is supposed to be that comically immature. She is a baby bird Effy provides for and she has somehow become spoiled enough not to be fully aware that it is happening or that it shouldn’t be or that if she’s going to freeload off her friend the least she could do is not invite everyone back from the pub whenever she feels like it and feed them Effy’s paycheck without even asking.

This bothers me. It is just not Naomi. Well, it’s not the Naomi I knew, anyway. And more than anything it bothers me that it’s Effy’s life she’s cheerfully bringing chaos into. I can deal with the idea that Effy is okay three years on from her breakdown, if I squint and ignore the fact that her breakdown was closely followed by bludgeony murder trauma. But I can only deal with it in a context in which she follows a strict mental health regimen that involves no mind-altering substances of any kind. The glass of wine I can take. But Naomi casually putting a joint in her hand? Flaunting her own hedonistic pursuit of a high?

I know I’m not meant to see that as grossly insensitive. I know I’m just supposed to buy that Effy is all better and has been all better for long enough that her friends have no reason to worry and indeed can lean hard on her because she is just a tower of sanity and strength these days. But it’s still fucking distracting.

And I still don’t think it’s who Naomi is.

And again, I might have been able to buy it a little easier if it had been about the cancer. But it isn’t. Naomi’s party down douchey behaviour pre-dates the jittery weirdness and talk of doctors. So there is no explanation as to why she is Chris Miles these days when previously she was like… the anti-Chris Miles.

In fact, I think what makes all of this so jarring is that it’s as though Effy has taken Naomi’s role – of being strong, sharp, sensible, kind, but unavoidably disdainful of all the fools around her wasting their lives – and so Naomi has had to be shifted into another gear in response.

Sigh. Anyway, Effy goes to her room to be serious about her job. She has a fucking wall collage about it, you guys. She is that into the numbers.

I think it’s easier to forgive or even to embrace the element of pretension when you’re watching a show about teenagers, but now that Effy is all sleek and adult and no-nonsense? It just seems ridiculous to me that she doesn’t have all these papers in a file. Or on a computer. The plastered-all-over-the-walls thing just seems like shorthand for genius. And I can’t with it. Or with the giant red question marks Effy was drawing.

No.

Rin says: Lily/Steak was one of my favourite things IN this episode. But only because it was Lily and the steak. I love it for the Lily of it, but do not understand where Naomi Campbell went.

But it’s like you said, Naomi is not Naomi anymore, and is resembling more of a Chris Miles. And we love Chris Miles, okay? And okay yes, maybe he dressed up in a dress and wore a blonde wig that one time, but that doesn’t mean you can just mush him into Naomi and expect us to be okay with it. I definitely think your late teens and early 20s is when you change a lot, but not THIS much. We should still be able to recognise Naomi and the person she is/was, but at this rate it seems they just did away with her and created an all-new Naomi for the purpose of contrast to the more important story of Effy. This Naomi is simply a plot device for things that happen in relation to Effy. As we’ll see later on in the final scenes when Naomi’s cancer is all about… Effy?



Sophy says: London is just a train ride away.

Rin says: Your past is always going to catch up with you. No matter where you go.

Important life lessons: Sophia is teaching them.



Sophy says: Effy lies in bed listening to a brief conversation on Skype between Naomi and Emily, and if I’d known this was all the Emily I was going to get in this episode I might have treasured it more, except… actually no, I wouldn’t have. Because it was rubbish.

The conversation was basically the shorthand for ‘couples fight’. Emily is pissed because Naomi hasn’t been picking up when she calls. Things are hard, she wants to talk to her girlfriend. She is talking to her! Naomi says she’s just tired, Emily says she’s stoned, again! Yawn.

Rin says: I feel like I have nothing to say. And that should never be the case where Naomi and Emily are concerned.

Instead I feel like it’s S4 again and Naomi never got her episode and was forced to try and squeeze in wherever she could, and as a result the story suffered.

I just don’t think there is a bit point to bringing back Naomi and Emily, one of the most-loved couples to ever come out of Skins, to have them be on the sideline. If they really wanted to treat their characters with the respect they deserved, they would have gotten their own episode. And it’s like they just included them in the storyline otherwise a good majority of the fans would have no interest at all.



Sophy says: “Don’t you dare,” Effy says to herself, as she hears Naomi heading for her room. Apparently this happens a lot. And by this I mean Naomi sneaking into Effy’s bed at night for a cuddle. Effy pulls back the covers so Naomi can hop in.

I complain a lot about things being out of character or off in this episode, but this? THIS? This is pure Effy. It’s as though she wrote the script herself. And made Naomi violently out of character to suit her ends, of course.

Rin says: I never know how to feel about Effy, on the one hand I adore her and her pathetic ways, and on the other I just don’t know if it’ll ever stop?



Sophy says: AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH OH GOD

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH WHY

Rin says: BECAUSE THIS IS LITERALLY HOW THE SCENE WENT DOWN IN MY HEAD.




Sophy says: This was perhaps one of the most irritating scenes in the episode, in that it was written to a formula and failed entirely to engage with the actual characters.

The formula:

Person A: What if my significant other dumps me? There’s lots of attractive people in Place X.

Person B: (cutely) Your significant other doesn’t like attractive people, he or she likes losers like you.

Person A: (dreamily, with temporary contentment) You’re right, he or she loves me.

Person B: Some further cute remark about how daft that is.

It’s trite and done to death for a start. But secondly, it really, really doesn’t work here. First because Emily does not, as Effy jokes, like useless stoners like Naomi. Of all the many qualities that Naomi possesses that made Emily fall in love with her, being a stoner and useless… are not among them. Naomi in seasons 3 and 4 was neither of those things. Ever. She was vivid and brittle. She was bold whenever she wasn’t afraid and sometimes even if she was. She believed in things. She was sharp-tongued and high-walled. She was fucking smart.

Emily doesn’t like girls like the Naomi of Skins Fire. The Naomi of Skins Fire? Not really Emily’s type. And the worst part is that the show isn’t even trying to say that Emily has changed as much as Naomi and these days she’s particularly attracted to human beings who are sloppy, cute messes. They make it clear that that’s not the case in the conversation Effy has just heard Naomi having with Emily re: how Naomi is stoned again!

The fact that that cliche of a couples fight can be immediately followed by this cliche of a comfort scene exposes just how sloppy the writing is in this episode. Essentially, Jess Brittain has used two forumlas that directly conflict with one another without even realizing it.

Naomi then says that she needs to see Emily so she can get some “fanny time”.

No. I don’t find it funny. I don’t find it cute. I don’t find it sexually liberated or disarmingly frank. I just find it tacky.

I won’t pretend to know how Emily would feel if she heard Naomi say that about her. She might be fine with it, because let’s face it, she’s something of a practical soul and her feelings are not easily hurt (really, Naoms has always had to work for those tears of Cutest Human Ever doom). But speaking purely for myself I would be horrified if a partner spoke in such crude, reductive terms of their need to be reunited with me.

I think Skins wants to show us how sexually liberated Naomi has become – how wholly unashamed she is of her gayness these days. But honestly, to my mind, Naomi was never all that ashamed to begin with. What she was is afraid. And you know why? Because unlike Emily she is not a practical soul whose feelings are not easily hurt. I may believe that Emily ‘tits and fanny’ Fitch would be okay with characterising their relationship in such base terms. But I’ll never believe that Naomi Campbell would. She’s a delicate flower when it comes to love, okay? And she very much sees Emily as an above and beyond kind of a thing. She would never be ‘fanny time’ to her. Never.

She’d be all sorts of mushy, overblown things she would never tell Effy Stonem about.

Rin says: Hahah thank god you pointed out that HUGE contradiction that needs to be brought to the attention of everyone.

Emily is clearly frustrated with Naomi and her useless stoner ways.

Effy says that’s what Emily likes.

Facepalm.

And surely it’s not just me who was in disbelief that Naomi is actually questioning Emily’s commitment/investment in their relationship? Aren’t we very much past all of this nonsense? Haven’t they time and time again fought for each other in ways that pretty much rule out this kind of insecurity? I understand that long distance is hard and even the strongest of relationships crumble under the pressures of it, but it seems entirely un-Naomily like to me that their fighting over being unable to communicate properly would then lead to Naomi thinking Emily is going to leave her for some hot dyke.


Sophy says: This is so very sweet and pretty if you can get past that predatory glint in Effy’s eye. But I can’t help feeling irritated by the fact that it’s Naomi in that bed when it should be Panda. In fact, Naomi’s role in Skins Fire 101 should be Panda’s. Pretty much all of it would fit that character better than Naomi, both in terms of who Panda was and would now be and in terms of her particular relationship with Effy.

Can’t you just see Pandora dropping out of Harvard, winding up in London on Effy’s couch, feeling sorry for herself and trying to figure out what to do next – being a ‘useless’ stoner – anybody? ANYBODY? Can’t you just see her being the one who’s climbing into bed with Effy after miserable skype convos with US-based Thommo, and having a terribly awkward stab at stand-up? It’s such an obvious fit that throughout this episode I really felt as though I was watching Lily play Pandora Moon.

And I can’t help feeling that the only reason it’s not Lisa Backwell playing Pandora Moon is that, well, Naomily is how the viewers are reeled in.

And to that I say, should have had their own episode.

Rin says: Holy ever loving fuck, yes. I would have actually liked this episode way more if it had actually been Pandora because at least then the character would have made some sense. I see Pandora trying her hand at stand-up so vividly in my head, because she’s the kind of person who isn’t as self-aware that maybe perhaps it wouldn’t be their thing? And that’s probably why all of that stuff was so jarring when Naomi tried it out. You’d think a girl like Naomi Campbell would know that she would not succeed as a stand-up comedian.

Even Emily would have been like, ‘I know I once said I think you can do anything…but Naoms….’

Sophy says: Omg she would. And then she would try to write jokes for her.



Sophy says: One terrifyingly deformed eye open is better than no eye open?

Rin says: OF ALL THE THINGS WE’VE DONE IN OUR LIVES, this is perhaps the most terrifying one.

Congratulations.



Sophy says: Effy does some thinking, presumably about stockbroking since it’s her jam these days. She turns and has a good long look at Naomi, which, again, wow Effy, just wow.

And then she goes clubbing before work.

I like it. I do. It is stunningly shot and Kaya is stunningly Kaya and if I could connect to the rest of the story and her characterisation generally in this episode I would probably enjoy the hell out of it. Still, I like it as a reflection of what she’s lost and will never have again – in my mind due to her illness and the loss of her innocence, in a way. Effy will never be this free again. She will never be able to be this lost to herself. I like the idea of her reliving in quiet, contained, very private way, the mad, heavy-tinted nights of her youth. She was miserable then and I think she knows it. But I’m sure she sometimes tricks herself into pretending she wasn’t, the way we all do.

I still pine for the worst times of my life. I have my own little clubbing-before-work rituals.

Though they don’t involve actual clubbing. Me/clubbing is… rare and generally unfortunate.

Rin says: She has the bruises to prove it.

I liked the clubbing bit because yes it was irresistibly pretty, but also because it made me hopeful and thankful. As in, thank god maybe there actually are some remnants of the Effy Stonem we knew? And it’s not even the partying that makes me think of Effy, it’s the deceitfulness of it all. By day she is a seemingly put together person who scoffs at Naomi and all the ways she hasn’t grown up yet, and by night she is out there partying with the best of them. To me it screams Effy, who was all about control and the way she was perceived by others, whilst always having her secrets.

So there is a bit of redemption to be found, as to whether or not it’s enough depends on the follow-up episode.


Sophy says: Meanwhile, back at the office, Effy tells her boss about the exciting discovery she made last night; there’s a mistake in one of the reports that could lead investors to believe they were trying to hide something. The boss is predictably threatened and dismissive about it, and predictably goes on to tell everyone in the meeting she discovered the error, predictably receiving ‘What would I do without you!’ praise from her boss (the hunk of Not!Freds). Effy glowers. Predictably.

Rin says: Hahaha I was so bored with all of it that I could only include the one cap to represent what is notably supposed to be a big thing that goes down. But do we care? Really? Do we really care that this happened to Effy?

No.


Sophy says: Okay, this made it sledge-hammer obvious that Naomi was going to have some kind of medical condition that endangered her life. If you didn’t pick up on that the moment she was all ‘Ouch! Plot device!’ then you must be, like, one of those people who can’t tell when they’re thirsty or whether they have shoes on and you should not be allowed to cross roads alone.

Having said that, I did not expect cancer. I expected liver damage from excessive drinking. You know why? Because I figured, if they’re going to pretty much rewrite Naomi as this drugged-out, slacker fool, they must be going somewhere with it. There must be a reason why.

But cancer? It could happen to anyone. Maybe it’s more likely to happen to someone who parties hard, depending on what kind it is, but the reality is that this could just as easily have happened to Effy or Dominic or the horse-girl at the office or, you know, Posh Kenneth – or Pandora.

Cancer just happens to Naomi the way it could have just happened to anyone else. Why? Because it just does.

And I get that that’s how cancer works. Believe me. I get that it can target the rich and the poor and the pretty and the plain and the old and the young alike. I get that it doesn’t actually target a single damn thing because it is the cruelest kind of random. But Naomi isn’t here to prove a point about cancer. Or she shouldn’t be – not when we haven’t seen her for four years, when we’ll probably never see her again whether she survives or not, and when we’re going to spend a total of about twenty minutes with her if this episode is anything to go by. I wanted her story to be about her, not about something happening to her. And maybe I’d be okay with the idea of serious illness being a way to explore You’re always scared and You don’t want anyone to care. Maybe I could like the idea of seeing how Naomi would cope or fail to cope with losing control of her body, and the ways that experience would affect her relationship with Emily. But let’s face it, we’re not going to get any of that. There just isn’t time, and anyway, this is Effy’s story. There will, of necessity, be a broad-brush approach here, and I suspect that cancer will not so much be a jumping off point as an end in itself.

It’s an easy way to make crazy things happen. Big emotions at cut price, you know?

Oh and you may be wondering why Dominic is there. Don’t worry, you’re about to find out.

Rin says: Cancer? Isn’t that like killing off one of your characters in an unbelievable car-chase-crash in your series opener? 8-.

Sophy says: Which is why Naomi will totally live. PSYCH!


Sophy says: HE’S HERE TO PLAY HOPSCOTCH.

Rin says: They’re in London on a rooftop. You’d think for a couple of smart people they’d choose a better medium.


Sophy says: To be precise, he’s here to teach Effy ‘everything’ about maths and the stockmarket… via hopscotch.

Why couldn’t Effy and Dominic just sit down with some paper and pens and a cup of coffee? Because the scene would be boring. And that, my friends, is when you know your writing is in the process of sucking. If you have to rely on cutesy visual gimmicks to sustain interest in your plot, CHANGE YOUR PLOT.

Alternatively you could have Lily Loveless saunter into your scene with blankets, wine, a fag in her mouth and a hand over her eyes. That works too.

But seriously, I was extremely embarrassed by this. The cool Skinsy music playing while they graffiti the heck out of being grown ups? And his explanations over the music and her slow-mo nodding? REALLY, SHOW?

IT’S LIKE SKINS DOES A BEAUTIFUL MIND DOES THE KARATE KID, I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

Rin says: Oh yeah, it was totally a grab for ‘Omg Skins is being so unique and cute again!’ but it was too obvious. Just like Effy’s wall collage. One of the things I adore most about Skins is that it is unique and creative but always subtle about the ways in which it is. They usually don’t make a big artsy montage out of it is all.



Sophy says: All I really have to say to this is OH LILY.

Naomi wants to be a stand-up comedian. She tries some material out on Effy and Dominic. Dominic laughs hard when she makes a joke about uncomfortable bicycle seats and being fingered by the politician after whom the uncomfortable bicycle seats are named. Dominic is an idiot.

Effy shows up to work and finds that her dopey, lesser, frumpier colleague has screwed up and failed to cancel an important meeting. Effy offers to go and tell the guy the meeting’s canceled for obvious Effy-is-the-world’s-hottest-consolation-prize reasons.

Rin says: You know they made a big deal out of everyone being more mature now, and how this is Skins Grown Up… but didn’t a lot of the dialogue and jokes seem very…juvenile to you?

On the plus, Naomi and Dom are looking cute in their matching purples.



Sophy says: Effy decides she’ll cover the meeting, takes the guy out to lunch. Dominic’s hopscotch tutoring really seems to have paid off, because she seems to know all about this guy’s company’s financial situation and how to handle it. He laps up her expertise and any and all effect her insane hotter-than-a-movie-star looks may or may not be having on the situation is downplayed – for the time being.

KAYA SCODELARIO’S EYES ARE LIKE FUCKING JEWELS. LIKE. THEY ARE THE HOPE DIAMOND OF EYES. WHAT EVEN.

Rin says: It’s ridiculous that their little session paid off in anyway. I HATED THAT. Seriously, one afternoon chat makes her an expert now? Or even that she can fudge her way through it? The guy should have called Effy out and that would have been way more interesting and realistic. I know Effy is smart and manipulative, but I would have rather seen a storyline about how that alone doesn’t work in a world outside of college.

But apparently everyone is stupid and incompetent in comparison to The Great Effy Stonem!!!


Sophy says: The big boss fires Effy after her boss gives her a good berating. She objects, telling him “I was good in there. Really good.” I could hurl. I am watching every movie about a bright young up-and-comer ever.

EFFY’S METHODS MAY BE UNORTHODOX BUT BY GOD SHE GETS RESULTS.

???

And meanwhile how ridiculous is it that she thought she might NOT be fired over gross deceit and insubordination, regardless of how well or badly it ended? Maybe as ridiculous as the fact that calling the boss ‘pussy’ as she exits the room causes him to sigh and reconsider.

What is this writing, show?

WHAT IS IT.

???

Oh and Effy doesn’t just not get fired for lying and verbal abuse. Effy gets promoted. That’s how it always works on TV. Moxy is everything.

Rin says: It’s like.. Skins trying to do Mad Men, and failing miserably.

Sophy says: Now I’m just picturing Kaya Scodelario on Mad Men. In a Joan outfit. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever never seen.




Sophy says: A small amount of time passes. Effy worries she’s no good at this trading lark because she’s lost on everything in the past months. Dominic says that’s just how trading is. Dominic tells her she’s not shit and I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to assume it’s just about trying to get into her pants. She tells him one of the stocks is plummeting and she’s supposed to be selling but she’s sitting outside smoking cigarettes worrying about it. Dominic asks why she’s not selling and she tells him she has a “hunch” that “something’s not right”.

Turns out Dominic works for the company. And Effy is really good at having hunches.

At the possible expense of his entire career Dominic purposely allows Effy to overhear a Very Important Business Conversation. She engages in insider trading about it. As ostentatiously as she can.

Seriously she’s basically just waving her arms around going ‘Check me out, insider trading, woo!’ to all the assholes in the office. She makes 1.2 million for a client out of it. She replaces her boss in her boss’s boss’s affections.

Effy is proud and smug about all of this and seems to think all is right with the world and she is on top again, because she is a lot less intelligent and sensitive than the Effy Stonem I used to know.

The truth is that the situation she finds herself in is demeaning and depressing. She got ahead by cheating. The kind of cheating that can land you in jail. The kind of cheating that someone who is shit at stockbroking is quite capable of. Her boss is enamoured of her because he thinks she’s a genius. In reality she’s just a woman who was given a leg-up by another man who has the hots for her. In reality the 1.2 million dollar cheat is something that is never ever going to happen again.

Sure, she had a hunch. But she didn’t trust it. And there’s nothing to suggest she should trust her next hunch. There’s no telling what kind of disastrous mess she could get herself into if she does.

Effy should have been as insecure as she was on top of the world. Effy should have been shitting herself even as she basked.

And maybe you’re thinking “‘insecure’ and ‘shitting herself’? Effy Stonem? Please.”

You must be one of those people who likes to pretend most of series 3 and all of series 4 never happened. But even though Skins Fire seems pretty intent on ignoring all of that too, that doesn’t mean this Effy is the seamless, stony-faced Little Miss Untouchable she appeared to be in gen 1. The Effy of Skins Fire is a whole lot more confident than her mousy co-assistant, because, well, who wouldn’t be, and how the hell do you look like Kaya Scodelario and not have some swagger? But she is not the Effy who made performance art out of people’s lives. She is not the Effy who was born backwards. She’s an Effy who’s excited to find a mistake she can fix, who’s quietly crushed when her boss steals her thunder about it. She’s an Effy who learns everything she can from the cute Maths nerd and worries out loud that she’s not up to her job. She’s an Effy who lets her friend into bed at night and says the things you’re supposed to say to cheer her up. She’s an Effy who is invested enough in her job and her boss that he can piss her off – that he can make her mutter childish things about herself and him when leaving a room. She’s an Effy who had a hopeless crush on that boss from day one and let this be known.

Basically, she’s a regular girl.

It’s sad seeing a regular girl fail and pretend it’s a success. It sucks to see her cheat and say she won.

It might have been fun to see the Effy who never tried manipulate, seduce, lie and shrug her way to the top, bathe in champagne, blow kisses to her peasant friends and not give a single fuck about any of it, least of all how far she has to fall. But let’s face it, then this would have been Tony’s story.

(This should have been Tony’s story, you guys.)

Rin says: I assume they’re doing all of this unrealistic building up of Effy to have it all come ~crashing down in a heap next episode. But as you said, the difference between this happening to a regular girl and Effy Stonem is that a regular girl would be surprised, shocked, upset. For Effy it would have been her plan all along.

I mean, here’s a girl that threw herself a goodbye party.

It’s like there’s a part of Effy that always knows the outcome before it occurs, and the joy in watching that was seeing which road she was going to take. Sometimes she likes to take the long way around just to fuck with everyone around her because she could, and other times she would just shut down and let it happen to her because she could find no way out. But she always knows.

This Effy has no clue. No insight.

And it’s honestly very boring.

The Skins we loved was all about the characters and their relationships with each other. It was about friendship and love and finding your place in this world.

This episode of Skins is about someone trying to climb the ranks in the finance world.

z.

zzzz.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sophy says: YES, YES, YES. Effy was always terrifyingly aware. Even when she was hiding under beds she was still one step ahead.


Sophy says: Effy gets to spend time in the special room with the big boss. She’s such a lucky girl. Her boss is jealous. So jealous she promptly decided to quit her job. She says she’s “sick of wearing heels” which I think is meant to be some kind of snappy commentary on sexing it up the ladder? I don’t even know.

Effy doesn’t seem to care. Neither do I.

Rin says: The visuals are more interesting than the story.


Sophy says: Effy has a bit of a think about how much of a success she is, then goes to ask Naomi for fashion advice (WHY WOULD YOU?)

Rin says: NAOMI WOULD NEVER CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT DIDN’T HAVE A FLORAL PRINT ON IT.

OUT. OF. CHARACTER.

But also, that first cap of Effy is probably one of my favourites of the episode. The framing and colours, ugh, my pants just fly from my legs on their own accord.



Sophy says: Naoms is peeved because Effy isn’t going to the doctor with her. Well, not just peeved actually. She looks extremely worried about it. Effy doesn’t seem to notice this. Maybe she’s not looking or maybe she just doesn’t want to face the fact that she’s a shitty friend for not going. She kisses Naomi on the cheek and Naomi looks about as excited about it as the Naomi I once knew and loved would be.

Rin says: Effy’s gayest moment goes by unappreciated.

And she had stayed up all night thinking about her big move.

Poor girl.




Sophy says: Naomi goes to the doctor, Effy works, and laps up the attention from Big Boss. She is way too pleased to be a way too obvious and swift replacement for her own boss. It’s very gross. I’m assuming Effy has some kind of plan to fuck this guy over because I just cannot believe she would be charmed by his sudden interest in her or fulfilled by the idea that she stole him from her unfortunate future self.

Effy talks some minxy shit. Big Boss sends her off to use her feminine wiles on the smarmy client. It’s all generally revolting and dull. Especially the part about how he likes her low-cut mini-dress because it makes her look older. Ugh.

I really hope this is all an act and Effy has the kind of feelings that are not for this guy.

Rin says: AHhhh can’t you guys see how clever this montage is?!?! Effy is going all UP UP UP and Naomi is going DOWN DOWN DOWN!!!!!

Not even Ellie Goulding can save it.

In fact, I even side-eyed the use of Ellie Goulding because it’s like they were purposely trying to recapture something and link it to the Fighter Plane promo.

It’d be like if they used Adele in Cassie’s episode.

Please. Don’t.



Sophy says: WHAT AM I SAYING. OF COURSE IT’S ALL AN ACT.

Rin says: If ‘Effy was gay all along’ is endgame I will literally stand up and start slow clapping the shit out of it.



Sophy says: The guy in the second cap is the smarmy client’s friend. His name is Freddie. Why not?

Rin says: It feels like they forgot that a Freddie even existed before this.

Like they needed a name for a guy and they just chose Freddie without realising anything.

Sophy says: Probs.



Sophy says: Effy decides to take the smarmy client and his friend to Naomi’s stand up gig. Compromise! This is obviously going to work out great. And stuff.

Naomi is terrible. And not even in an adorable way. But okay, she secretly has maybe-cancer at this point so let’s cut her some slack? She manages to mention her girlfriend in the first three seconds of the set, so she can have a brief gay-power moment about it. This means nothing to me. It means nothing to Naomi. It is shoe-horned and lame and undermines exactly what it might be trying to achieve. Naomi is gay. So what? So why bring it up in the first place, show. She has already used the word ‘dyke’ in two of her four previous scenes. Give it a rest.

The crowd heckles Naoms like crowds always do in these situations. Maybe Perth is a nice city, but I’ve never seen an audience be as mean as they always are on TV, which is perhaps why I’ve never seen a performer emotionally flee the stage the way Naoms is of course about to. She tells the main heckler to go fuck himself and says something about him having a small penis. CRAYOLA DICK.

If Emily were here she would have made them all sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. If Katie and Panda were here the scrapey shakey trio would have provided an interlude while she took names.

But seriously, did anyone flash back to that time Naomi was on a table and Emily had her bag and was asking Cook to go be a cunt elsewhere? Because I did. And I pined.

So Naomi runs off outside and Effy goes to see if she’s okay. Naomi says she’s going to kill herself and thankfully she’s not going to kill herself (yet?!) and hey maybe it’s a reaction to her fear about the maybe-cancer and whatnot, but nevertheless, the idea that a throwaway suicide threat is made to a person who has attempted suicide in the past few years by a friend who is fully aware of this is just stunning. As is the fact that the friend has no reaction to it.

I don’t expect Effy to start crying and pull out a knife and say Sophia’s name or anything, but come on.

AND NOW THAT I MENTION SOPHIA. It’s equally off-putting that Naomi is making a throwaway suicide threat considering that a few years ago a girl sort of killed herself over her. Like. No.

Anyway, Naoms is upset because of the awful comedy/cancer. Effy says helpful things like ‘It wasn’t that bad’ and that she has to go. Smarmy client’s friend invites Naomi along for a drink. Which, let’s be real, taken lesbian or not, terrible comedian or not, WHAT HUMAN WOULD NOT INVITE LILY LOVELESS FOR A DRINK.

It’s a no-brainer.

Rin says: PULL OUT A KNIFE AND SAY SOPHIA’S NAME. HAHAAHAHHA JESUS I DIED. =))

But that line was a real ‘whoa what??’ moment for me, and made it glaringly obvious that they’re trying to avoid anything that happened in their past and basically write these girls in a way that only suits the plot. I find it pretty ridiculously that there wouldn’t be a ‘Oops shit, sorry,’ moment from Naomi, or at least some sort of FACIAL CHANGE after she said it. But whatever. Who cares? Suicide :-j

And really, Naomi’s strength kind of lies in the insults… it was a bit weak that all she could think of as a comeback to him was something about a small penis. Sigh. And yes, with the amount of references there has been to Naomi’s sexuality, it’s like that’s all she is now. The lesbian who puts ‘lesbian’ in their ‘About Me’ section on Facebook.

And Sophy. Please. Please don’t mention old Naomily. It hurts too much.



Sophy says: Look at them both, trying to have Emily hair. Give it up, you guys! Even Emily doesn’t have Emily hair anymore.

So when they got to the bar/casino Effy asked Naomi to not talk and pretend to have a good time – that’s how her business works, I guess. Maybe she really was born for it?

Nevertheless, Naomi speaks and she is pretty forthright with her views. She pretty much berates Smarmy’s friend for being a stockbroker, saying that he only makes people rich “and fuck everyone else”. And even if I can see where she’s coming from, she is just exactly the kind of person I would never want to hang out with. This is what I feared when I first met Naomi Campbell – that she would be this girl – the judgemental ‘Everything is political’ harpy who kills everyone’s buzz by breathing. Except Skins steered her away from that archetype as quickly as it set her up in it. Yes, she was ambitious, serious-minded, sassy and not interested in making friends with every douchebag life threw her into contact with (god forbid she ever end up like her mother). But she was also vulnerable, afraid, tender when it counted, and more like everybody else than she would care to admit. Now it seems they have dropped the ambitious, serious side of Naomi and amped up the shrill and prickly.

But yes, I’m going to cut her a whole lot of slack because she has maybe-cancer and is probably the most stressed out she’s ever been in her life apart from that time Emily was running upstairs with a box full of bad dreams. I’m also going to cut her a whole lot of slack because these guys are actually rather gross.

Rin says: All I saw were the words ‘Emily’ and ‘box’ and the only thing that came to mind was, “FANNIES! IT’S FULL OF FANNIES!’ Oh man, what I would give for a dose of James right now.

These guys ARE gross, and what’s even grosser is the fact that Effy actually does seem rather oblivious to it all. I’m sure she knows she’s basically whoring herself out for the company, but she also seems to not have that cunningly manipulative side in her that revels in knowing her power. She legitimately wants these guys to like her, as opposed to not giving a fuck because they’re a simple means to an end. But the way in which Effy shushes Naomi tells me that she is way more scared about this going south than she should be. A talkative Naomi should be a cakewalk for Effy to deal with. Alas.




Sophy says: Naomi takes Effy aside and asks why Smarmy is touching her. Effy’s answer pretty much amounts to: ‘it’s my job’. Naomi sees the epic grossness of this. Effy does not. When Naomi tries to point it out to her, she tells her to go home and gives her a good shove about it. Someone’s a lot less grown up than they think.

Naomi has a cat scan, presumably the next day. It’s all very blue and scary. I’ve never had a cat scan but if I do I hope it’s not that blue and scary.

Rin says: The shoving was…bad. Naomi has every right to be taken aback and all very SCREW YOU in reaction. I mean honestly. WHO SHOVES THEIR CLOSE FRIENDS LIKE THAT? Get out.

And I’m pretty sure they would be that blue and scary.


Sophy says: Effy slept all day in her dress and it’s now night again? I don’t even know. It seems like it’s early morning out on the rooftop, but I don’t see how you get a late-night cat scan. I don’t even know. It’s London, right? It’s always dark?

Rin says: I think it’s supposed to be the former. Effy slept all day in her dress.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was supposed to be something else. It’s not really presented in a way that makes clear sense.



Sophy says: Naomi is playing very ugly music very loudly up on the rooftop. Effy stomps up crossly to tell her off. She says she’s sick of this and asks what is wrong with Naomi, giving Naomi the perfect dramatic segway. “Cancer,” she replies in a small voice. Effy would prefer to have misheard, asks her what she said.

I really like Naomi’s cardigan. And her face.

Rin says: HAHAAH for a BIG SHOCK reveal.

Our reaction being Naomi’s cardigan :X is so wrong.

But honestly, that’s the extent of my feelings towards it too.

And that is wrong.

Sophy says: It’s a really nice cardigan though.



Sophy says: Naomi gets all up in Effy’s face and yells “Cancer!” And Lily is pretty wonderful and so is Kaya so full marks to them both.

She grabs hold of Effy’s arms and says with a cross between panic and aggression “You win! You win again!” and honestly I’m confused by this. I’m not at all sure how Naomi having cancer is Effy winning. I guess it could just be a reference to the way Effy always seems to come out on top, but even then that’s never how I’ve seen the admittedly slim Naomi/Effy relationship. ‘You win again!’ is a line I could see working for Panda here. Or Katie. Coming out of Naomi’s mouth? It just leaves me scratching my head.

Rin says: Maybe it was always going to be Panda, but Lisa was busy. Seriously.

Because what the hell? Naomi and Effy have never been in competition and to go out on a limb like this and make us try to fill in all of this headcanon doesn’t work. We love headcanon, okay? We have pages of it stored away in our heads, but it usually comes as a result from really good storytelling and literally being unable to not delve deeper into these characters we love so dearly. But when you pull something out of the blue and expect us to fill in grand canyon size gaps? It just doesn’t work and is more confusing than anything.

We shouldn’t have to work in order to understand your story. We should just feel it and know.



Sophy says: Naomi has her head in her hands and not in the good way. Effy is stunned, reeling as rigidly as possible. We cut to her heading off to work – not to actually work, but to shag her boss. And if you ever needed a clear indication that Skins Fire is about Effy and nobody else, this is it. Naomi has cancer, but we barely stop to see what that means to her or even to Effy in relation to her. What we focus on in the aftermath of that reveal is what suffering – anybody’s suffering – the mere idea of suffering – means to Effy.

Rin says: I think maybe they’re going to his apartment? But it doesn’t even matter :-j

Bottom line is. Again.

Naomi? Sideline character that could be played by ANYONE and is kind of insulting that she was brought back for this. And I have a feeling it may only get worse from here on out.

Also I kind of hate that we’re trudging back over this.. SEX AWAY THE PAIN with Effy.



Sophy says: But they put so much effort in!!!!!!!

Rin says: He even slept with the curlers in.



Sophy says: So Effy’s response to Terrible News is to medicate with sex. Just like old times. I’m assuming this is stage one of a downward spiral and then I’m kicking myself for having the naivete to think Effy is anything but over her, you know, issues. Her doesn’t-matter-anymore died three whole years ago. It was just a little psychotic depression. And this will just be a little afternoon delight. I’ll hope I’m wrong until I find I’m right.

So. How do I feel about all of this. I don’t want to come down too hard because the truth is that everything will depend on the second episode. 702 could change everything – or it could change enough that I won’t care about the wobbly bits anymore.

But I have to say that thus far Skins Fire feels like an exercise in pointlessness.

Effy’s back, but for what? To tell us a story about stockbroking. Naomi’s back? To have cancer. The plot is in the driver’s seat and I can’t shake the feeling that the Elsley/Brittain clan may as well have just called this ‘Fire’ and cast Some Other Girl in the lead. I can say with confidence that it would have made no difference to anything in this episode.

Anything, that is, except the chances of it ever being made or aired or watched.

You know how sometimes you read fanfiction and you find yourself thinking how this Quinn Fabray they’re talking about has nothing to do with the actual Quinn Fabray, so really what is the point, why didn’t they just call these two randy lezzers ‘Kirsty’ and ‘Geraldine’? Often the only solid answer you can come up with is that nobody would read it if they did that. That’s kind of how I feel about Skins Fire.

The name ‘Skins,’ the character of Effy Stonem, the relationship that is Naomily… that’s how this story made it onto our screens. But it’s not actually about any of them.

Look, here’s the thing. I can imagine Effy saying and doing almost everything she said and did in this episode, with the possible exception of ‘Idiot’ and ‘Pussy’ when she was leaving the room because ugh. There is nothing particularly implausible about her characterization at this point. But there is nothing particularly plausible about it either. This girl who digs stockbroking, is ambitious about it in the way where she’ll bat her eyelashes and let herself be pawed, who sticks up for the little guy even as she shuts him down, who takes crazy risks she doesn’t expect to be fired for and snuggles kindly with her hopeless but loveable roomie at night… this could be Effy Stonem. But it could also be any number of other people.

Early in the episode I couldn’t help blurting at Rin: “So far she just doesn’t seem like Effy though.”

A few minutes later I found myself blurting “Okay, that’s more like Effy.” This was when Dippy Plain Coworker was mean to Sweet Shy & Clever Lovelorn but Physically Inadequate Male and Effy piped up with “You look like a horse when you laugh down your nose like that.”

The delivery was all Effy: flat, matter-of-fact, gently imperious, I can’t believe it’s not contempt!

But that was about as good as it got. And even then, note that what I said to Rin was that’s more like Effy. Not ‘That’s Effy right there’.

In episode one of Skins Fire there is nothing about Effy that is specifically Effy. And that is perhaps because there is nothing about any of the characters that is not a cliche.

Rin and I haven’t had the time or the emotional energy to recap the rest of the Skins 6 episodes yet, but there were things I was going to say about the way Jess Brittain wrote Mini’s episode in that series that can only be echoed here.

If Liv’s episode in series 6 was the only one that could fairly be called good, Mini’s episode had the honour of being relatively inoffensive. You know why? Because it was pretty much entirely comprised of well-trod terrain. Jess Brittain does not create a world when she writes, she pastes bits of existing worlds together.

Now that may seem like kind of a wanky thing to say, and before you object, let me clarify that yes, I am aware that there is nothing new under the sun, and that all shows, even the most out-there of sci-fi concoctions, are cribbed and cobbled together from the millions of stories that have come before them. I get that. I do. I also get that Skins isn’t, nor has it ever been, cliche-free.

But good shows at least try to avoid the paint-by-numbers technique. And Skins? Skins was often the master of using a cliche to its advantage – taking it and tweaking it and making it fresh and cheeky, and as sweet or as ugly as it ever was.

That doesn’t happen here. Nothing happens here, really. It’s just this cliche and then that cliche and then the other cliche, and all the while I have the distinct impression that I’m re-watching scenes I’m not supposed to have seen and I am just quite frankly bored.

To me the greatness of Skins lay in its little moments that grabbed you by the throat and held you close. You would think that in a condensed time-frame that amounts to a two episode series there would be loads of those. Or at least, know, one per episode?

But there is nothing. There is not one bit of dialogue that will haunt me – You know what hurts the most about a broken heart… There is not one shot I keep seeing when I close my eyes – Emily on that rooftop, looking down, looking back.

And I’m sure those of you who enjoyed the episode, or at least, you know, felt things about the episode, will be rolling your eyes at my curmudgeonly attitude and pointing out that I had my Everything’s so fragile moment right there! Naomi was on a rooftop! Crying because cancer ruined it and doesn’t want anyone to care!!

But for reasons discussed in the recap above, all that grope for emotion got out of me was a worn out sigh and an ‘Okay then, show’.

We’ll see if next week’s episode can stir anything in me. But right now I don’t care that Naomi Campbell has cancer. I don’t actually care if Naomi Campbell dies. Wow, that was such an ugly thing to type that I had to tell myself I meant the supermodel (I still felt sort of bad though).

It’s not that I don’t love Naomi with all my heart, as much as I ever have. It’s that this is not Naomi to me.

And Effy is not Effy.

I know what Jess Brittain would tell me. She’d say I need to let go of my idea of who these kids were and embrace who they are now. She’d say ‘time changes everyone’. She’d say Skins has always been about the here and now – it has never been about telling the story of x, so much as showing who x is at a particular point in time.

I get that. I agree.

But the thing is that if you’re going to give us a slice of life you have to either make it a big slice or be a really damn skilled writer. Normally, Skins gives us a big slice, which means that we get all the tasty bits without it feeling like nobody even bothered to make the cake and they’re just handing you a bag of choc chips and nuts.

Okay, wow, backing off on the metaphor. What I mean is that there’s enough time in any given Skins season to show us all sorts of really fundamental things happening to these kids without it feeling rather pre-planned that they’re all happening at once. Here, however, there’s approximately an hour and a half to try to achieve that. And ‘I made 1.2 million dollars!’ ‘Naomi has cancer!’ is likely to be followed with all sorts of other Shocking Events that we the viewers just happen to have dropped in on. It’s just contrived, basically. The way to avoid it? Spin gold out of simple things. Skins knows how to do this. There was a time when I would have called this show the Rumplestiltskin of TV.

It’s just so frustrating, because the writers want this to feel real, right? That’s why there’s such a commitment to the new as everyday. That’s why we’re all about the here and now. It would feel like a set-up if Effy suddenly started telling Naomi how she felt about Freddie’s death, right? Or whether she even knew about it? That’s why we have to ignore it. Everyone’s moved on, water under the bridge! That’s why we can’t possibly have Naomi reflect on how their friendship has grown since college – on how funny it is that even though they were far less close to each other than, say, they both were to Cook, they’ve wound up living together in London instead of with new friends from uni. We’re not allowed to reference Effy’s past struggles with mental health – not even to the extent that Naomi might, say, not offer her spliff as a solution. Nobody is allowed to discuss how or why Naomi wound up a “useless stoner”, it just happens, right? Not everyone who’s a Naomi in high school winds up Naomi-ing their way through life. Just like how sometimes girls who try to kill themselves as a result of depression and psychosis in high school wind up badass stockbrokers three years later whether their boyfriend was murdered by their psychiatrist or not.

Skins wants to say: This is now. This is where we are. We understand by observation, not exposition, and we rarely get much in the way of backstory. So why should it be any different now?

I guess because where we have a strong sense of who these characters were a few years ago and you’re giving us a less than entirely likely outcome in terms of where they’ve wound up, we need that to be explained. Or we just need you to do as great a job re-introducing them as you did introducing them in the first place.

I couldn’t find the Naomi and Effy I once knew and loved in Skins Fire. And the first episode has not made me fall in love with the people they’ve become. To me, that’s why this isn’t working so far. I think that’s why it feels pointless.

I don’t doubt that there are people out there who enjoyed this episode. But don’t even try to tell me you loved it. Don’t even try to tell me a single thing in it compares with Sometimes I think I was born backwards, or Love, love, love, what is it good for, or Nobody breaks my heart, or I’m not scared! Don’t pretend a single thing in it can hold a candle to Be brave and want me back, to Emily’s little feet in Thomas’ shoes, to her name inked into Naomi’s skin, to Emily!, to Naomi’s body curled around nothing on an empty bed…

There is nothing of any of that in Skins Fire Part 1. And don’t even get me started on the fact that I didn’t laugh once.

(Lily and the steak got a smile.)

Maybe all of that is coming in Part 2. Maybe it’s going to blow us away. That won’t change the fact that I watched 45 minutes of Skins and I was bored… but it could make me forget all about it.

Here’s hoping.

I am having mild palpitations about Emily tackle-hugging Effy. I mean, sure, it should be that other Fitch twin, but I’ll take what I can get.

Rin says: I am nodding violently along to everything you said.

Even though this episode was split into two (which I only found out after it ended), the episode itself shouldn’t have to rely on the second half of it to make it okay, you know? I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m holding out for something amazing to happen, because if that’s the case… Why have this episode in the first place? If I’m not going to get anything emotionally out of it, or even get a few laughs, isn’t that a waste of time? Yes they had to set everything up, but it’s not like you have to spend time introducing these characters as new people, because they’re not. You’re not presenting Skins for the first time, you’re making this for the fans, right? This is all the more reason they should have hit the ground running and held us in their hands from the second the episode started.

One of the things I’ve always felt after watching an episode of Skins (let’s go ahead and exclude series 6) is that I’ve just spent an episode of television being fully invested in these characters and their lives. For the duration, and often long after the episode is over, all I’m thinking about is them. And that’s what good TV is all about. I am still thinking about a lot of the moments Sophy mentioned, and pretty much every episode has at least one stand-out scene that will stay with you for a long time to come.

Never before have I watched an episode of Skins and just been left feeling… empty. As if I’d just watched a filler of an episode and left wondering what the hell actually happened? Because to me, not a lot happened.

Or at least, not a lot that I cared about.

And I should care. I should care a whole fucking lot that one of my, if not MY, favourite characters from Skins got cancer and might potentially die (she won’t). I should be sobbing and thinking about all the ways I can’t live without Naomi. But I’m not. I couldn’t care less, because like Sophy said, this just isn’t Naomi.

And it DOES feel exactly like how I felt during some of the things that happened during Season 4 of Glee. And I know a lot of you hate it when we talk about Glee, but that show ruined things in ways that I’ll never ever forgive. Especially with Quinn’s character. They’ve done the same thing here. She was missing for half the season, and when they brought her back it just wasn’t anything that resembled the Quinn that I knew and loved, and therefore I didn’t care at all about her. She could die and I wouldn’t mourn.

Instead she was a plot device used to service Santana’s story instead of being her own big damn important character.

That’s what Naomi, and probably Emily, are being used for now.

And it just makes.

Me.

Shrug.



Sophy says: LOOK AT EMILY’S LITLE FACE. LOOK AT IT. IT’S ALL SHINY AND HAPPY AND READY TO BE BRUTALIZED BY THE NAOMS-CANCER. WOE.

Rin says: As much as I’m upset. I will never not be upset to see Emily’s little Fitch face.


Sophy says: The brutalizing has begun.

Rin says: At least we can count on the pretty being there. These days it’s all we have left…

Sophy says: :((

:-.


Sophy says: I like to think Eff is reminiscing tearfully about that time she and the other Fitch twin came to blows. With a rock.

Rin says: HAHAHA.

All Fitch’s do is beat her. :((

Sophy says: SHE GIVES AS GOOD AS SHE GETS :smug:



Sophy says: You know, I’m not even sure we should blame Sophia for this.

Rin says: Holy. Shit. It’s a stack.

Sophy says: THEY’RE LIKE DENIM PANCAKES. :X

42 Responses

  1. heather hogan
    heather hogan at · Reply

    I love you guys so much.

    1. Sophy
      Sophy at · Reply

      We also love you.

  2. Benovine
    Benovine at · Reply

    FIRST OF ALL MAN THAT WAS FAST AND I’M STILL READING AND I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE IN SKINS AGAIN BUT I HAVE TO ABRUPTLY SAY SOMETHING xx

    To be honest the Naomi / Effy role switching always made complete sense to me, it really reflects where each of them were in Season 4, Naomi seeking freedom and comfort in life, just wanting to not feel trapped, by her love of Emily or by the directions in life she was expected to go to (“Yeah I got into *insert University here* but… I love you too”). Effy was seeking order and balance in life, and freedom was the one thing she feared the most, the feeling of being free made the demons chase her.

    I think it’s intelligently written, and to me it feels like the most natural thing in the world that they ended up as they are now.

  3. Mia
    Mia at · Reply

    “Jess Brittain does not create a world when she writes, she pastes bits of existing worlds together.”

    This sums up my feelings about her writing in Skins fire exactly. Well, not just Skins fire, her writing is always a cringey and regurgitative (is that even a word?), as evidenced how I could not for the life of me finish the skins novel that was supposed to fill the gaps between series 3 and 4. I only finished the Naomily parts (which was like reading terrible fanfiction) cause the rest of it was absolutely BORING. This is how I felt when watching skins fire.

    All throughout the 45 minutes I was waiting for it to get good. If wanted to fast forward to the Naomily parts but there weren’t any. I came here for the Naomily and there was no Naomily. There wasn’t even a Naomi and an Emily.

    I felt cheated, like a typical scene where a mother wants their kid to eat their greens but then they say something like, “You can have Ice cream if you eat your peas” so they eat the part they don’t like to get to the rewarding part.

    I ATE MY PEAS, SKINS. WHERE IS MY MOTHERFUCKING ICE CREAM?!

  4. Lisa
    Lisa at · Reply

    I’ve never been much of a fan of Jess Britain’s. (Nepotism at work, dare I say it?) I think her Mini episode echoes a lot with this: it’s the whole corporate world thing too. Jess Britain is a 22-year-old writer. How much does she really know of the corporate world?

    All the new characters, bar perhaps Dominic, were hollow cut-outs who all existed to fulfil a role rather than to be a character. I could buy Effy’s characterisation. She was always one for obsession–here, her obsession is stock brokering because that’s where she is now in her life.

    I couldn’t watch Naomi. I was embarrassed on behalf of the character. Naomi was probably the character I related to most (I’m not gay but it’s the whole fear and gentle spirit and outer-baddassery) and seeing her attempting stand-up comedy…man, I fast-forwarded through those parts. I could not watch the deconstruction of her character. And, you know, I hadn’t even thought it but Panda would have slotted into that roll far better and far more comically than Naomi.

    Further again, this whole episode felt like a pilot for one of those college-adulty type shows MTV sometimes makes. (Underemployed, par example.) It didn’t feel like the first half of a two parter. There was no real structure to it, but rather lots of exposition. The golden rule of thumb: three act structure, with each inciting incident revolving around the ad break time. (Cliff-hanger to reel the viewers in, right?) Where was that? There was no real tension or intrigue.

    This felt like the pilot of a whole new show, and not much like Skins at all. Which is okay, because Skins has grown up and I’ve grown up with it, but it’s obvious Naomi was shoe-horned in for the emotional resonance (cancer!) and to pull in viewers. That alone is why she’s here. And, you know, maybe if this was a pilot and there was five or seven more episodes to come and not a single one, I’d be okay with it. There’s a whole load of potential territory to explore and another single forty five minutes is not enough time to do it justice.

    My prediction:
    Effy will continue fucking bossman and cheating in the stock trading world. Bossman will be arrested at the end of the episode. Effy will be fired. Dominic may also be fired. Effy may even kiss him and mean it. Either way, she’ll leave the whole thing relatively unscathed.

    Naomi will be fine. She and Emily will be fine. I think Naomi collapses or something and that’s the “tragedy” people are talking about. This’ll be why Emily slaps Effy, I think. Effy will keep trying to lead a normal life, pretend like Naomi’s not sick, and Emily will slap her–in lieu of getting her to see sense–and then Effy will do the right thing and end things with AdultDouche!Freddie and resign/tell the police of their illegalities.

    Emily will arrive in the beginning of this episode. I think Effy will have called her or something? Cue released scene of them at dinner. Naomi keeps her cancer a secret. Emily goes back to America–but she comes back towards the middle to help Naomi. They end on great terms. (No way will Jess Britain bring them back to kill Naomi or break them up. No way.)

    And those are my predictions. XD

  5. Allison
    Allison at · Reply

    I gotta say, while I have my doubts about Effy getting back up on her feet so quickly (especially if she ever found out that Foster murdered Freddie!?) Naomi rang completely true for me. Let me explain. I was a bit of a Naomi in high school – social justice, student council, college plans, blah blah blah, the whole 9 yards. But college can be hard, and I totally buy that Naomi went off to Goldsmiths or wherever, wrote a few papers that got terrible grades, lost her confidence, and then Emily moved away to NYC, and she lost the one good thing in her life, her rock, the thing that kept her sane, and she broke apart a little. I can see that happening, I can see her letting one setback after another force her to drop out of college, shrug off all her ambitions and responsibilities, and move in with Effy and begin to live a totally hedonistic existence, I can see it. I think the problem might be that so many of us have so much headcanon about what these characters did after 408 that we have a hard time accepting they DIDN’T do those things, and that Jess Brittain’s headcanon is ACTUAL canon. You;re right, this read like fan fiction to me, but that’s partly because i’ve READ this fan fiction. Sure, it went slightly differently, but it all lines up. It may not be what we wanted, cancer DEFINITELY isn’t what I wanted, but I think that, for Naomi at least, it makes sense.

    And while I agree that Naomily should have had there own episode, they didn’t and I think it’s unfair to berate Skins for making them only bit players in Effy’s episode, when that’s how Skins has ALWAYS ALWAYS worked. EVERY character is a bit part player in another character’s episode. And while that sucks, we knew that going in.

  6. AnnYouBeautifulTropicalFish
    AnnYouBeautifulTropicalFish at · Reply

    First of all, you’re back!!!!!!!!!!!

    haha…well, ever since the Glee debacle, I’ve truly missed your weekly Rophy shenanigans. I don’t watch TVD, but I watch Skins, so I was happy to come back here and discover, yup, they did it again, Rophy and Skins are back. In theory, this would be a perfect thing. Unfortunately, Skins “growing up” obviously means losing sight of yout own characters.

    I felt exactly like you guys. Where was Naomi and why was she even there??? Using her as a plot device is just soooooo uninspired and so undeserving of her character. The best thing about this episode, as you pointed out, was the style. It was very beautifully shot and edited, but all of that beauty felt so empty. Everything felt incredibly empty and BORING. And not empty in a good way, like say, Naomi feels lost. it just didn’t connect in any way and I wish the entire episode wouldn’t feel so forced. Growing up is fine by me and I’d love to watch some of my favorite characters grow up, but this didn’t do it for me at all. It felt so incredibly shallow and I am pretty sure that it was meant to be perceived the opposite way. Sure, you can give Naomi a cancer story line and it could be very poignant and beautiful, but it would have to be about Naomi!!!

    Phew…Let’s wait and see if this can get butchered even more. I hope not. I really hope the second episode makes up for some of the nonsense we had to suffer through in episode one. Naomi, a stand up comedian, literally made me cringe and that sequence where the dorky guy explains the world of finance to Effy was just as horrible as you described it. It was vicarious embarrassment all the way.

    Glad to have you back :) Are you thinking or working on any new reviewing projects? Say, Orphan Black or Parks and Rec or, the list could go on forever, anything else …?

  7. Cecilia
    Cecilia at · Reply

    I haven’t left a reply in ages, but right now I’m silently slow clapping to you guys and maybe you’ll appreciate to know it.

    You said everything that needed to be said.
    And Jess Brittain is a poor, poor writer and shouldn’t have been allowed near these characters that mean so much to me/us/a lot of people – I’m so personally offended by it.

    (the thankgod.gif was VERY disturbing, lmao!)

  8. Blue Ox Babe
    Blue Ox Babe at · Reply

    Welcome back and thank you. Given the mess that is Fire: Part One, I have to start with two words: Jack. Thorne. I can just imagine the awesome job he would have done with a Naomily episode -he LOVES AND UNDERSTANDS THEM. JUST LIKE THEIR AUDIENCE DOES. A love and understanding that Jess just doesn’t get. I wonder if she has even seen series 3/4? Yes, graduates do struggle to find work but what would ‘our’ Naomi do? She wouldn’t just sit there getting stoned all the time – she would be angry and doing SOMETHING – writing a blog, organising a march, volunteering, protesting at G8 meetings and Emily would be there faithfully holding her bag as always and telling anyone who dared to disagree with Naomi to ‘go and be a c**t somewhere else’ . Never in a MILLION years would Naomi have even considered being a stand-up comedian. Where on earth did that come from? The only good things from the episode were Lily’s shining talent and her eyes making us swoon (as ever).
    I am just too sad to think about what is going to happen tonight.

  9. Rachel
    Rachel at · Reply

    You guys nailed it.

    I knew the episode was trouble when I preferred the gorgeous establishing shots of London to the part with, y’know, the dialogue and characters. Because even though I was a latecomer to the Skins fandom, I have been anticipating this for YEARS. Maybe anything in Series 7 would have disappointed me somewhat, after having read so much fic and invested so deeply in these characters. But I don’t think so. And I certainly did not expect the script to be this laughably bad. It was absolutely unsaveable by the actors.

    One thing that always amazed me about Skins was that we knew, despite the drugs and alcohol and shagging, that these girls were SMART. They were perceptive and aware. They had infinite layers. Even Katie Fitch in bulldozer mode could convey all of that in a single glance. It was the actors, yes, but the writing gave them room to inhabit the characters as people. Naomi and Emily? Pffffft. Perfection. No one in fiction has ever grabbed my heart and mind like that….ever. Except maybe Tara Maclay. But anyway.

    It’s almost like Jess Brittain has never even watched Skins, never mind written for it. These women, even allowing for the flailing of young adulthood, do not read as smart. The things they say and do exist only to serve a shopworn plot. As you rightly point out, we have come to expect a lot of Skins, but we never expected to be bored. And sadly, that’s the only surprise that Skins Fire served up.

    Props to Kaya and Lily for giving it their best.

    Also, this my first time commenting, so I feel bound to say that Rin and Sophy (and Heather): you are the greatest and I love your commitment to treating stories like they matter.

    And now I feel shy.

    Looking forward to your take on Part 2.

  10. polymorph80
    polymorph80 at · Reply

    I’m not sure if Jess Brittain has ever actually watched an episode of Skins, or if she just borrowed some notes off her Dad and made a load of shit up from there.

    I dunno. I mean, this really was Skins in name only, with a not-JJ and a not-Freddie and Jane, who I always saw as closer to Panda than Sketch, and a barely-Effy and a clearly-not-Naomi. I get the thinking with Naomi, that the difference between the shed and the real world is vast and your hopes and expectations may change, but if the shed told us one thing and one thing only it’s that she would follow Emily to the ends of the earth. She may be lost, she may have no clue what she wants (this stand-up thing is blatantly a cover story), but as long as she’s with Emily she’ll at least have a guide. So why is Emily on her own in New York? Why isn’t Naomi there? Why are Naomi and Effy, who had maybe two friend-y moments (the club in 307 and the loony bin in 407), suddenly cohabiting best buds? Who’s there to save who?

    The thing we want from Skins: Redux is character development. We do not currently have it. Exposition is bad, for sure, but at least some throwaway back references would be nice, to tell us that these are still the same people from three years ago. Give us something to work with, show. Because right now we’ve got nothing, no reason whatsoever to believe that this is a continuation other than the use of the same actors and actresses with the same names.

  11. Chrissy Sparkle
    Chrissy Sparkle at · Reply

    love, love, nothing but love for both of you. it’s always such a relief to realise that i’m not the only one who cares about these characters like they’re my friends. <3

  12. Maddy
    Maddy at · Reply

    I agree so much with you guys. Thank you for helping me get through it. If anyone is interested, this is my very messy and unedited take on part 1 http://refreshingsanity.wordpress.com/my-messy-skins-fire-commentary/ I was going to edit it and write up a proper review, because these are just notes, but now I’m not sure if I ever will because I’m so angry about part 2.

    Reading your recap I found myself nodding along at things I’d also thought (I was trying to be positive in my blog, but your criticisms really resonate with me as well) and you changed my mind about some things. My biggest issue was the absence of information. We don’t know enough about anyone or anything that’s happened. Having a two hours that is supposed to be focussed on the one character you’d think you’d get an excess of character development but it feels like the characters are still so distant.

    And wouldn’t have minded Naomily coming back as a sideline if they’d stayed a sideline and we just had cute glimpses of their life moving forward to contrast Effy, but this is like an awkward distance. Naomi is actually a part of the story, more than a sideline, but not enough part of the story to actually focus on? You can’t have both. You either focus on Effy entirely and everyone is a sideline, or you actually incorporate your other characters into the story with their own development.

    I never believed Naomily were just going to be in to attract viewers until this. And where the fuck is Emily? I want more!

  13. jock
    jock at · Reply

    I have nothing intelligent to add except to say thank you for talking me off the ledge. Skins fire was a joke, part 2 was an insult to fans and disservice to the characters and story they created. Much like others, I’ve been in a rage since the episode, but then I saw this, and it detailed everything I felt. This wasn’t the characters or skins we all know and that we have loved. It wasn’t really them at all. I can remove myself from this episode. Naomi and Emily finished at season 4 for me.

  14. sxe fiend k!
    sxe fiend k! at · Reply

    Super fast, you two!
    First of all, I’m no expert, but did anyone else feel like they were being hit over the head with the red//blue color scheme. So intense. wtf?

    But yes to all of everything you’ve ever said ever.

    I was worried that if Thorne was signed up to write Fire, it would have been all death-filled (he has a Whedon-esque habit of that), but at least it would have made a bit of sense.

    I think the thing that irked me the most was the fact that this season was touted as telling stories that still had a lot unfinished. Now, I’m not the kind of boi who needs everything wrapped up with a ribbon to boot, but what new element has Fire brought to the table? I didn’t feel a substantial shift in how they got from Series 4 to now.

    Also, I know it’s hard to gather the cast back, but seriously? Where’s Gina?! I suppose I’ll leave that rant for episode 2, but ugh.

    I apologize. I’m writing this sleep deprived in the middle of the night. haha

  15. Emma
    Emma at · Reply

    My pet theory about the skins fire debacle is that “naomi” is not naomi; having found out she’s got cancer, Effie goes all dissociative and projects herself into the sterile but adult life that Naomi Campbell has somehow wound up living. Because if you reverse these two roles/characters, they actually make sense. Naomi, separated from emily and in a high powered job that drives her already tightly wound self into robobitch mode, cheats on Emily with her boss, again. Horrible but believable.

    Effie, still traumatised and a shambles, finds out that on top of it all she’s got cancer. So she goes a little crazy. Didn’t Effie used to wear a plait way back in the day? I don’t know, I’m sure that the writers are just that inconsistent and willing to murder beloved old characters to inject cheap drama into a plot that just can’t generate it by itself. But I choose to believe something different. Or just ignore this shit altogether.

  16. Elysse
    Elysse at · Reply

    Yeah…the only real redeeming point of this episode is that it was pretty. I came into the episode with tentative hopes, and I was excited for the potential Naomi/Effy friendship because that was something I always thought there needed to be more of, but then it was basically pointless. The whole “WE DO NOT MENTION THE PAST AT ALL EVER NO MATTER WHAT” attitude reminded me of series 4 when Effy was going through her breakdown and her dad and brother were nowhere to be found or mentioned.

    Haven’t watched part 2 yet, and I don’t really want to, but I know that I will anyway just because I hate not knowing about it, even if I will hate it. From the sounds of it, it will have to go in the mental file of episodes/series (*cough* series 6 *cough*) that happened but never happened.

  17. Abbey
    Abbey at · Reply

    The only reason I was even going to watch season 7 was because of Naomily, y they no satisfy Naomily fans?! D:

  18. Mad
    Mad at · Reply

    Ugh. Yes. All this.

    It’s like they were like “ooh let’s make Skins grown-up! Do you know what is grown-up? I KNOW, STOCKBROKING! BRILLIANT.” Seriously.

    I haven’t watched 702 yet but yeah, this episode certainly did not make me optimistic.

    And it’s funny that you said that about Quinn because Glee has basically turned into badly written fanfiction of itself, where many of the characters act a completely different way every episode in order to serve some new issue-of-the-week storyline.

    I feel like the writers for this episode didn’t actually look over the old Skins episodes. Like they went off of what they remembered, which is apparently not a lot..

    (Also speaking of Sketch, do you guys watch Luther. BECAUSE SKETCH HAS APPEARED ONCE AGAIN EXCEPT NOW SHE DOES NECRO PORN WHAT. But for real Luther is a great show and I am totally terrified to start watching series 3 because I hear TERRIFYING THINGS . Also, I miss Alice wearing cute hats and breaking into people’s houses and drinking their wine and threatening people with hatpins, please bring her back to me, show.)

    Jess Brittain I think takes writing lessons from Ryan Murphy.

    But yes, it felt uninspired, boring, and yes, EMPTY.

    I think I would have been more angry, maybe, like I was about series 6, since series 5 was SO DAMN GOOD. But then series 6 happened, so I pretty much went in with no expectations for these new Skins episodes. And also the fact that Jess Brittain was writing. So it wasn’t quite as painful. Just…disappointing.

    1. Sophy
      Sophy at · Reply

      DO WE WATCH LUTHER.

  19. NiQky
    NiQky at · Reply

    Hahaha!!! Skins Fire and the crackling sound :D :D YES! Sooooooo cheeeeesy!!!!

    The woman from Sherlock – she kind of did turn up in the next episode with a baseball bat…? Figuratively… in that she took down wide-jawed, douchey, gym-guy Freddie lookalike.

    I have missed your Naomi caps and how much you like to moon over them and how you make me moon over them… so much!!!

    I agree with Sophy about Naomi’s character just not being like Naomi anymore. There are views out there that justify Naomi’s character transformation to … growing up and into a different way of being or behaving… like when the smart kids in school don’t always turn out to be the most successful and well-balanced adults. While I acknowledge that that is a very real process, I just don’t buy into Naomi having gone that way. There are smart kids who are smart but don’t know what they want to do in life or what they are really passionate about, and then there are smart kids who know what they want and they stand for it resolutely. Like Naomi and her hate for injustice. The writers didn’t care to tell us what happened in the years in between. So, what we can conjecture from what they told us of Naomi’s present is that everything in between was just hunky-dory! Except for Emily having to go to New York for a year, but even that wasn’t portrayed as having affected Naomily in an adverse way.
    So… how does a driven and passionate young girl who even has the good fortune of having found the love of her life become a spoilt, immature, freeloading, damn-caring person. Was it too much happiness and contentment? I don’t know… I just don’t buy it…

    And gosh… the fanny time bit… i didn’t even hear it correctly when I first watched it. I heard ‘funny’ time. And I was like “enh… what a random thing to say”. I guess I just didn’t expect such a line… :/

    And sophy! My thoughts exactly! It should have been Panda instead of Naomi in Skins Fire. Naomi and Emily were so unnecessary in Skins Fire! And yes… I can’t help feeling that Naomily was in the story purely for viewership purposes :(

    Why would you have a lesson on stockmarkets and investment management and maths on a rooftop with chalk. Surely there are better ways. this was just so contrived.

    My favourite things about Fire Pt.1 were Lily Loveless and Kaya’s eyes. Gosh her eyes looked magnificent in that episode *_*

    Dom and JJ in the wigs are teary-eyed :D HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    And yep… Skins is still very pretty as ever.

    Also, if they’re going to treat all the Skins stories in this manner, they shouldn’t have bothered to do them at all. Maybe just left the new series by Brian Elsley, ‘Dates’, to carry it forward, as a grown-up people version of Skins, albeit it focuses more on physical and/or romantic relationships rather than general life stuff. I started watching it after reading something Sophy wrote on tumblr/twitter. It’s not that great, imo. But I LOVE the theme song! Also, that guy who plays from Moriarty in Sherlock is in one of the episodes. that one made me laugh :D

    Also also, Luther is back! Soooo gooood!!! The last two episodes scared the hell out of me o_o
    You’re going to be doing Luther recaps… right? :D

  20. NiQky
    NiQky at · Reply

    well… that might have been my longest comment ever on this site :P

  21. Lauren
    Lauren at · Reply

    Thank you for this post. It exactly articulated everything wrong about this episode that I couldn’t express clearly myself. And surprisingly, it was rather cathartic reading this, knowing that other people felt the same way. I doubt you’re planning on recapping Skins Fire 2, but I hope you consider it–I think it will really help readers work out what they’re feeling and may even soothe the pain a little.

    Anyways, just wanted to say thanks :)

    1. Sophy
      Sophy at · Reply

      We’ll be recapping it Lauren! We need to vent.

      We were going to recap Cassie’s and Cook’s as well, but I doubt we will be given how poor this one was.

    2. atlas
      atlas at · Reply

      Lauren, you said everything I wanted to say :)

      Also, for me, the dreadful writing, characterisation and storylines actually kinda made this mess easier to come to terms with. Regarding the Naomi storyline – if you could even call it a storyline- I didn’t feel like I was watching the character that I love, and that made it slightly less upsetting. I knew that coffin-shaped conference table was a sign of things to come as soon as I saw it! However, I really wish I hadn’t had to see Lily like that though and poor Kat’s little hurt face :(

      At least I can write Fire off as being “an exercise in pointlessness” (excellently put) and know that I’m not alone in my detestation of Jess Brittain’s work.

  22. fro
    fro at · Reply

    First of all, thanks for going ahead and recapping this for all of us who always come back here for a catharsis of sorts.

    For a couple of days, all I’ve been able to say about these two episodes is: “Wow, that was some terrible fanfiction”. But it wasn’t (here we go, lesbians vs canon all over again), it was just a huge waste, and now I can’t shut up about it. I feel offended and cheated, and part of my brain is still convinced that we were watching a different, weaker show, because I could hardly recognize anyone.

    So I thought that Effy was the girl who never tried (“I never try”) for anybody’s sake, the girl who tries to fix things, other people’s lives.

    And then there’s Naomi. I know that there are people who are brilliant in school and then become disastrous at uni -and the other way around-, but Naoms is no slacker, nor a comedian. Maybe they were playing the “I’m so depressed I’m going to be perpetually high and drunk and throw my life away” card because they only remember Naomi in that last episode of the fourth series, but hey, that Naomi was feeling immensely guilty on top of sad.

    Here is a girl who had remained strong, more or less responsible, opinionated, “a bitch”, from middle school to college, even though she was younger, hopelessly in love with Emily, and terrified of how that made her lose her ground, and now, Emily goes to NY and she loses it? Or is it because she doesn’t know what to do with her life, which doesn’t fit her? I know that finally becoming involved with Emily opened a door inside her that made her “weaker”, but I’ve always believed that Emily was the one who indulged more on the “getting smashed when I’m depressed” mechanism. Naomi had to find horrid Mandy in her own bed and passively-aggressively pretend that it was nothing -guiltily allowing all of Emily’s indiscretions- to start drinking at 11 AM.

    This was probably too long, sorry guys.

  23. Lizzie Williams
    Lizzie Williams at · Reply

    I guess anything I say will be a slightly tamer version of the outrage that is happening at the moment, and I am definitely ‘looking forward’ to your demolition of the tawdry Jess Brittain nepo feast that was Skins Fire, but its like it has to come out, OK?

    My first instinct was to say that Jess Britain shouldn’t be let near any script more testing than a sketch for the Wiggles, but that’s not fair…to the Wiggles.

    No, it was a family collaboration, designed explicitly to demolish the phenomenon that is Naomily. It got bigger than the show and totally out of the creators hands. Ergo, Skins Fire. An execution of Naomi, poorly scripted (although impressively acted by Lily and Kat (when she was actually there) and beautifully shot, but a public execution nevertheless. Lazy writing, poor continuity and spiteful intent. Nice one Jess. Whilst you and your brother were laughing at the agonized reaction of the Naomily fandom, we were scheming to ignore all any anything you do in future, and that includes Pure and Rise. Sorry about that Jack and Hannah, but the cynical exercise in boosting audience figures by ‘including’ Naomily in Fire has worked in a way, but in a fashion you may live to regret. I’m not gonna join the more extreme reactions of the Naomily fan base by asking for your collective testicles, but W DO have an option in future. It’s called the OFF button.

    Oh God, where was Jack Thorne when you needed him guys? A proper scriptwriter. Good luck with the Wiggles, Jess…

    1. Naomi
      Naomi at · Reply

      Thank you Lizzie! It was an execution. The only reason Naomily were brought back was for the Brittains’ personal vendetta. Jamie B had written what he thought was the epic love triangle story and S3 was his masterpiece. When the Naomily phenomenon erupted in his face, he wasn’t best pleased. The toys were thrown from the pram in S4 as he sought to destroy Naomily with the death of their relationship. How dare Naomily and their fandom rob him of his masterpiece! After BE stepped into repair the damage in Freddie’s shed, a festering resentment was born. Skins Fire was JB having the last laugh, or so he thought. The Naomily phenomenon won’t die because he decreed it. It’s way too late for that. Naomily isn’t his any more. They haven’t been for a long time. Naomily belong to us and he knows that and it will fester within him forever. He’s a rather deluded figure so, long after the TV companies have stopped paying him (and his sister) for writing nonsense, Naomily will continue in us and he will know that. Let him fester.

  24. Lizzie Williams
    Lizzie Williams at · Reply

    PS

    Anger is not good for my typo spotting or grammar…sorry.

  25. anamewhatsinaname
    anamewhatsinaname at · Reply

    i read this before pt2 and it really made laugh and feel better. thank you so much-

    i’m awaiting your review for pt 2..reading how other fans feel about it really helps. i’m just at a loss for words.

    shame on skins

  26. Kimberly
    Kimberly at · Reply

    I was really excited for this, because Effy and Naomily are two of my all-time favorite things about Skins (and about TV ever), but it just ruined everyone.

  27. Shannon
    Shannon at · Reply

    oh no i hope you guys do review Cook’s episodes just for the fact that JB wrote them and they’re COOKS EPISODES and well last time he wrote Cook he turned him into someone who deserved to be hit by a semi truck multiple times and then killed my favorite character in the most absurd way ever so there’s bound to be a lot of anger there.

    Wow that was a huge run on sentence.

    1. Sophy
      Sophy at · Reply

      Rofl, Shannon, I enjoyed the sentence. I am sure we will make some kind of response.

  28. Sarah
    Sarah at · Reply

    Love your recaps. You totally nailed everything that was wrong with Skins Fire. I honestly think you should skip Fire Part 2 and instead review Pure, which was worlds better in my opinion. I think that Pure was better than anything Skins has done since Series 5, at least. The last time Skins has taken my breath away like this was probably in 4 x 02, with the rooftop scene. That’s just my opinion though. I really hope that you guys at least watch it, as I too was reluctant after the shit show that was Fire, but ended up pleasantly surprised.

  29. Jeremiah
    Jeremiah at · Reply

    Looking fwd for part 2 T____T
    I think I’ve had a nightmare about Naomi died or something
    and I fall in love with you two , so funny and friendly :)
    I’m from Thailand and not much of people ever watch Skins so it’s kind of loneliness here.

  30. atlas
    atlas at · Reply

    I have been re-reading your Gen2 recaps (as therapy to try to wipe Fire out of my brain!) and came across this gem of foreshadowing from Sophy:
    Sophy says: If Ed Hime had done a commentary for 402 and was talking about why Naomi cheated with Sophia, Lamie probably would have burst into the room and yelled out ‘IT’S OBVIOUS. NAOMI WAS WEARING JEAN SHORTS IN 304. THAT’S WHY SHE HAD TO DIE.’ And Hime would have been all ‘Um… she didn’t die?’ and Lamie would have been all ‘Oh. I wish I’d written that episode *sadface*’

    :o

  31. Ella
    Ella at · Reply

    I actually hope you cap Pure and Rise, or at least Rise – I think part 1 turned out surprisingly well. Cook’s character is definitely visible, and all the changes that have happened are believable. Though it doesn’t make up for the nightmare that was Naomi’s ending in Fire…Rise felt like an actual Skins episode! And the way it ended…DAMN.

    1. Sophy
      Sophy at · Reply

      I think people would have to be changing their names to ‘Skins Rise’ en masse to get Rin to watch it.

  32. Meh
    Meh at · Reply

    I disagree with most of this whole heartedly and I think the main thing you’re missing is that it’s been three years since they’ve been seen. To say Naomi and Effy have never competed over anything is to say that in the last three years nothing has happened. I like your reviews, but I think you’ve missed the mark on this one. Another thing I noticed was the use of the word “juvenile”. Three years from season 4 would make Effy aged 20, 21 max. That’s not very old at all. I can see Effy excelling in math because of her history, math is cut and dry, there’s no questioning the truth of math or whatever. Math is math, there’s no feeling in math. I agree that the whole not getting fired thing was silly, but I’ll cut it slack. Seems to me that Effy’s power hungry, money hungry. How do you excel in an office? You make the coffee, you do what you’re told. Look sexy, talk the talk. Effy knows how to manipulate people, maybe this is her way of doing it. Also, she’s 20, 21. The whole dynamic of the cheating in trading thing is probably being blinded by her need for power. As for the Freddie look a like, she thinks he’s sexy, she gets what she wants and sloppy seconds doesn’t seem to be her issue.

    As for Naomi, I imagine this. Naomily travels for a year, taking a year off from school. This could head in one of two ways for Naomi, she comes back and doesn’t go back to school or she comes back and does. Thinking that it’s been three years, either she went back to school for two years, or she didn’t go back at all. Maybe she got lazy, got thrown off her mark. Maybe she went back and studied what? Liberal arts? No idea. Anyway, in three years, its very possible she got thrown off her mark. On top of that, the on-point Naomi you seem to be remembering was the third season Naomi. 4th season was not the same Naomi as the 3rd season Naomi. Who knows what’s happened between now and then? Naomi didn’t have a mental breakdown or suicide attempt to steer her away from drugs and parties, but Effy did. Effy almost killed herself. She probably did therapy after Foster, and she probably turned herself around for her own sake, freed from the troubles that Freddie and Cook caused in her head. After seeing the first episode of Skins Rise, I get the impression that Cook killed Foster and took off immediately. Maybe Effy never got that full story about Freddies murder. Who knows. Anyway, I think it’s perfectly possible that the role reversal happened. Effy had a reason to change, Naomi didn’t. Happy relationships can make people lazy in other aspects of their life, it happens to lots of people. Emily is driven though, and after five years now(?) of partying and getting stoned, I could see why it would irritate her that Naomi’s not doing anything with herself. But that’s her love, it’s not so easy to toss five years out the window, you want to see the best in your love. So now it’s been five years since we met Naomi. And she’s still just getting stoned. Emily’s in New York with an internship and Naomi’s barely paying the rent and still getting stoned. That’s fucking annoying. So GASP Emily’s annoyed by that, lover’s quarrel. Yawn, sure, but it’s not outlandish or unrealistic. I think trying to assume that Naomi or Effy are going to be the same after five years is silly. I’m no where near the same person I was when I was sixteen. And we met Effy when she was what, fourteen? You really thought you were going to see them as they were five years ago? Thaaaat’s just silly.

  33. kotr
    kotr at · Reply

    now that youve mentioned it.. the thought of naomi’s character in fire shouldve been pandora’s or maybe even katie but not naomi is stuck in my head.. pot addicted drunk definitely not suited her character.. and why would she be that way??? she aced her exams and is united with ems happily.. i really think the skins writer just wanted to give naomily fans a big “f%#k you”.. maybe it was really written for panda but heck skins wanted to cash in so they brought naomily, a sure way to get audience to watch skins.. but they thought why not screw them over this last time.. with no chance of ever getting back together.. i wanted to see lily and kat play naomily again but i dont think 20 minute of screen time is enough for the shit they made naomily go through in this fire.. if this was just some random series that ive watch then i will say its ok.. the cinematography is beautiful as always.. but this isnt some random, its the series that fans have invested in.. they waited for this for so long.. and im sure everyone thought this is a thanks of some sort from skins.. a chance to end it well but NO!! fire, pure, and rise.. gave us nothing except more “what the??? thats it??”this is one of those season that should never have been made for the sake of the fans…

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