Darker, grown-up stories ends Skins for a generation
Ending a long running cult series is never easy, there’s a lot of people to please and a “fitting” end is expected. Skins has always been synonymous with being young and carefree with an abundance of sex, drugs, parties and everything hedonistic about youthful freedom and promise.
However, with only three, two-part episodes – and not really a chance to introduce a group of new characters that could satisfy generations – original writers, Brian Elsley, Jess and Jamie Brittain decided to follow three popular characters from the previous generations: Effy (along with Naomi and Emily) in Skins Fire; Cassie in Pure; and finally Cook in Skins Rise. Like the audience who originally watched them, they’ve all grown up and responsibility and consequences have caught up with them… Which leads to a pretty grim affair.
As Cook says in his episode opener, “One thing I’ve learnt is that you should never look back; past is dead and buried, you’ll get nothing from living there. It’s all about today.” And this is exactly the premise the writers appear to have taken the story; glimpses of the past but on the whole, new chapters.
The first story Fire stars former wildchild Effy played by the talented Kaya Scodelario, now working for a London Hedge Fund and sharing a flat with Naomi (Lily Loveless). Effy begins an affair with her boss (Kayvan Novak); gets on the wrong side of his girlfriend Victoria (played by Spooks Lara Pulver) who also happens to be her superior, while also using a besotted Dominic (played by the brilliant Craig Roberts in a careful emotional performance) to gain insider trader information. Meanwhile Naomi is given some tragic news which changes everything and leaves Emily (Kat Prescott) pretty much in the dark working in the US.
Skins Pure focuses on Cassie (Hannah Murray) now living in London and working in a cafe following her time in New York. Cassie discovers her co-worker, Jakob (Olly Alexander) has been taking secret pictures of her and posting them online. Her initial anger turns to intrigue leading to an odd friendship between the pair and ructions with Yaniv (Daniel Ben Zenou) who has also taken an interest in Cassie. Meanwhile she also faces having to cope with her father’s (Neil Morrissey) emotional problems and the care of her brother.
The best story of the specials is that of Skins Rise which sees Cook (Jack O’Connell) now peddling drugs round the streets of Manchester and still on the run from his past. However, his past returns to haunt him as he gets himself and his girlfriend, Emma (Esther Smith) entangled in the affairs of his boss and his wife (Liam Boyle and Hannah Britland). Leading to shocking circumstances.
As much as I enjoyed the episodes (despite their grimness) and seeing some of the characters again, along with the superb acting, filming and cinematography, the thing the writers failed to see is the reason why many watched Skins in the first place: FUN! Yes the audience has grown-up just like the characters but I’m pretty certain there must be some positive stories in there somewhere. In some ways these episodes undo some of the previous series more satisfying conclusions but they also give us the audience the opportunity the experience some great characters and also the growth in these actors abilities.
The DVD lacks any special features, however the E4 site does include many extra’s. Not much consolation, if you’ve parted with your well-earned cash though.
If you’ve never seen an episode of Skins I think you could quite easily think these are good quality well-written episodes and enjoy them for that purpose alone. However, if you’re a fan, or someone who has dipped in and out of the long-running series and are expecting a fun ride and a nicely tied up ending then you will be sorely disappointed.
Personally, I have no problem with ambiguous endings. These characters are too young to tie them up in a neatly wrapped bow tie. It feels natural their stories would continue unseen in some way.
Seeing where these messed-up kids ended up and discovering what kind of people they have become will be part of the journey and reason many watched the TV series or will buy the DVD. Just don’t expect it to be happy.
Skins series 7 and Series 1-7 Boxset is available to own on DVD from 12th August 2013.
Head over to our competition page for your chance to win a copy of Skins Series 7 on DVD.
Watch the trailer below…