These are my thoughts about the latest Skins episode where the gang meets a new potential member of the group named “Alex”.
At first I remember thinking as I was watching the story unfold that this episode feels a bit awkward and strange. Then I realized that this episode was SUPPOSED to feel awkward and strange. One of the most loved characters of the generation passed away. Rich who loved this girl dearly feels like he’s been abandoned by his friends and needs to escape so he leaves. Then all of a sudden this new character walks into our lives and we are just suppose to accept them in like a member of the family? He never knew Grace or how important she was. He has no idea what these characters have gone through. We have though! Who is this dude?! After this initial thinking and screaming in my head I started to realize what I was doing. I imagine I am not the only one. Some people after they lose someone grab onto something new that has nothing to do with what makes you sad (like Liv), others lash out and resent the new person (Mini), and the rest need time to adjust (the rest of the gang.) The main thing is to realize is that Alex is not a replacement he is another story.
Alex as a character still seems quite abstract and new at the end of his episode. He is someone who adores his Grandmother and really looks up to his Granddad who passed away. Through Alex a love story is painted between his Grandparents. His Granddad was a gambler and a risk taker. He wooed his Grandmother with his charm asking her to take a chance on him due to a flip of a coin. His Grandmother is getting older and seems to desperately miss her love. Alex’s Dad is absent and seems to only come into Alex’s life with demands and money. His Dad wants to move his Grandmother into a nursing home. Alex and his Grandmother hate this idea. Alex also comes across as a major flirt and adrenaline junkie. Just like his Grandfather everything is a risk and everything is an opportunity for chance.
He finds himself trying to make friends with a group who is depressed beyond words mourning the loss of a friend. Mini is angry and has been retreating into herself. She has been ignoring Liv and hasn’t seen Franky either. She has been spending most of her time with Alo. Franky reminds me of someone who is suffering from a quiet rage trying to hold it in, but you know it’s going to snap. Nick is drinking and doing drugs to numb the pain. Alo is pre-occupying himself with Mini. Liv wants to talk and go out…to live. Only everyone else is preoccupied she’s lonely and desperate for someone. Then comes Alex someone to have fun with and talk with to give her both comfort and escape. I can see the beginnings of a beautiful friendship between them.
Mini and Alo seem to have had a shift in this episode. It seems to me that the claims of superficiality to this relationship are no longer easily applied. Alo is becoming jealous and wants Mini to himself. Frustrated at how casual she seems to act over their relationship. However Mini may not admit it or want anyone to know is also just as reliant on Alo. When she is distressed at the end of the episode on Alex’s stolen boat it is Alo who she called over to help her. There are feelings being developed and the relationship is starting to grow. Make sense since Mini is not just sleeping with Alo he is also the person she has been spending the most time with grieving for Gracey. It makes total sense for emotions to go deeper from that.
There was also a brief mention of Rich that you could barely hear. When Nick and Alo walk into the common room right before Alex punches Alo. Nick says Rich is supposed to help him with his course work. Then Alo says, “His girlfriend just died I don’t think he gives a fuck about coursework.” I really liked hearing that. Because to me it was a little acknowledgment that Rich’s pain and what he is going through is bigger than many things going on. I hope that Rich is not gone too long. He is needed and I think he needs them.
Alex’s Grandmother passes away. He leads the group to a boat in the name of a party. Only he hasn’t told anyone fully yet what he envisioned. He wanted them to help him send out his Grandmother the way she wanted in the hopes that it could give closure to the group of friends. The group of friends who were not given an opportunity to see their friend while she was hurt, a group of friends who were not able to grieve openly for their friend, and a group of friends who have no way of visiting their friend’s grave. Losing a friend is a hard thing, but having all that denied to you sends the grief into absolute agony. It was a sweet moment that all the friends needed. Far better than the crazy memorial that was thankfully saved by Franky’s anger and Liv’s breasts.
What I find most poetic about Alex is that he is a character that thrives on chance and risk. Grace died randomly and by chance. It could have been Liv or it could have been Matty. Grace got into that car by chance. Liv heard about Luke by chance. Grace did not originally plan to go on the trip, but by chance they changed their mind. The entire incident was not planned and was absolutely senseless. Then in walks this character who lives by chance…a controlled version of it anyway. He is someone who has accepted that you can’t control things. While everyone else is left wishing that they could have changed something. I find that beautiful.
Overall I thought it was a great episode. Nothing compared to the first two though. I feel the tensions in the group are getting to the boiling point. Liv has a new friend, but nothing is quite fixed yet. Rich’s absence was also obvious. I cannot wait for more Skins.
“It’s just numbers mate. Only numbers.”