Monday, September 29, 2008

Skins, "Effy": Love thy sister

Spoilers for the penultimate episode of "Skins" season one coming up just as soon as I sculpt my food...

One of the things that's really drawn me to "Skins" is its ability to create a mood through its visual style. Not a lot of TV producers have the time (or directorial talent) to do that properly, so they put most of the burden on the dialogue. But "Skins" always has one or two sequences per episode that are striking both for their beauty and for the way they put you completely in a character's head.

Here, it was the two party scenes, first at the warehouse, then at the sports clubs. The warehouse party is like magic -- kids with this huge space all to themselves, zipping around (or, in the case of Effy and her boyfriend, flying around) -- while the sports club rave appears to Tony to be a descent into Hell itself. Really effectively done on both points.

I'm not sure I feel, though, about Josh's revenge and Sid's reconciliation with Tony. Getting back to the question of how enamored the "Skins" writers are with Tony, we have an entire episode where he deservedly suffers for all the crap he's pulled on the people around him, but then Josh takes things so far (hurting Effy in the process) that Tony begins to look sympathetic again. You know, "Sure, Tony's a rascal, but he'd never stoop that low, right?" Sid being nice to Tony at a moment of family crisis speaks well of Sid, but the last 10 minutes or so of the episode felt like the show trying to take Tony off the hook for everything.

And that makes me uncomfortable, no matter how visually impressive the hour was or how good Nicholas Hoult is as Tony.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

not to mention that tony cost sid yet another chance with cassie. if tony and sid are best friends like they always have been in the next episode, i will be disappointed, because it will once again be like tony's actions have no repercussions.

while i can understand sid coming to tony's aide in such a time of crisis, if he returns to being tony's doormat, he will sadly move from a little too nice and forgiving to pathetic in my book.

Myles said...

After weeks of being behind (Since Sid, I think), late night insomnia got me caught up with the show for last night.

"Effy" is an interesting beast - I felt like you did, Alan, that there was a bit too much of a sympathetic portrait of Tony. The episode also felt very much like a dream, as you say: not only are the party scenes really visually powerful, but the use of projecting Effy's picture on the pillars beneath the overpass seems like something far too high tech for this sting of sorts.

I guess we have to presume that Josh was off his meds considering the foreshadowing we got in "Michelle," but it still felt a bit extreme all things considered. I did have to wonder, though, what would have happened if Michelle had gotten in the car with him and been there to witness it - that hypothetical seemed more dramatically interesting than the Tony Pity Party it ended up becoming.

I was impatient and watched the finale during my catchup session, so really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it next week.

AC said...

The visuals in this episode were indeed stunning and yet sinister at the same time. I've really enjoyed this show because while some plot points are a little far-fetched, it doesn't seem to be as caught up in its own awesomeness like "Gossip Girl" or "The OC." There is a sense of realism under all of the crazy stuff that I think is lacking in American programs geared to the same audience.

Tony's semi-breakdown at the end seemed a little trite - "I feel like I have to be a wanker. You guys like that. You like that I stir you up." - but it was nice work from both actors.

And then I had to go and spoil myself for the rest of the series, which makes my thoughts a little different now.

Anonymous said...

Not even a mention of the awesome Effy? I was seriously impressed by her-- as a character who was sidelined since the pilot which hinted at her nature, she certainly carried much of this episode, and without even saying anything!

I thought she was captivating, and I found it pretty cool that they chose to have the penultimate episode feature this peripheral character and it wasn't frustrating or disastrous.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the writers are trying to show how manipulative he is with the way they make him look sympathetic.

It's hard for his friends to resist him, despite him being a sociopath.

Mads said...

Not even a mention of the awesome Effy? I was seriously impressed by her-- as a character who was sidelined since the pilot which hinted at her nature, she certainly carried much of this episode, and without even saying anything!

She was fantastic. And the actress was 14 when this was shot. I love love love how the actors are the same age as the characters they portray.

I hope something else happens with Tony and he isn't forgiven as quickly.

Karen said...

Josh's revenge was certainly apt, but its viciousness towards a totally innocent bystander took me by surprise. I'd have been happier if he'd made Tony call Michelle and confess what he'd done. I'm not sure how effective his technique was. I guess we can chalk it up to his going off his meds, but it was just so far over the top. I mean, yes, Tony humiliated Abigail, but Josh HAD seen Abigail curse Michelle out like a fishwife. Effy hadn't done anyone any harm. And the whole scheme was so...elaborate for a bunch of teenagers.

It was interesting, though, to learn that there IS one person that Tony loves unconditionally.

I agree that the closing scene with Tony and Sid was unsatisfying. When Tony said, "I know I'm a wanker, but you all like me that way," I was kind of rooting for Sid to say, gently, "No, Tony. We don't." Sid's forgiveness wasn't entirely plausible.

This is still one of the most compulsively watchable shows on television, though.

Anonymous said...

"Sid's forgiveness wasn't entirely plausible."

I find it entirely plausibla.

You know the saying, "Nice guys finish last." Well, there's a reason that's so true. Because a-holes generally are forgiven and get away with a lot in high school. That's why girls like the bad boys.

Tony's too charming to totally throw out, no matter how much of a dick he is.