This is my review of Episode 4 of the Sixth Series. This Episode of course follows Ms. Franky Fitzgerald. I saw many thematic elements in this episode and one issue that I think exposes a societal ill.
Some people will think that this episode is about violence or about how Franky has changed dramatically since the fifth series. This episode to me represents “loss” on multiple levels: loss of self, loss of a foundation, loss of a friend, and loss of direction. This episode follows Franky as she loses and gains control of herself. If you allow yourself to see past the apparent character change and see past the uncomfortable elements that this episode presents to you…what you are left with is a beautiful, broken, and needy young lady who needs to know she has family.
The episode opens with Franky looking at photos of the past. The good moments she shared with her friends and with Gracey. She imagines that Grace wakes her up when in reality it was her dad. Her Dads are putting parental pressure on her to take her schooling and exams seriously. While taking her exams she leaves to go find Luke who gives her everything she craves. He shows her a world of violence, a world of without attachments, and a world in which you take actions into your own hands or rather fists. At first she craves this action and admires Luke’s ability to not care about anything or get hung up with emotion. She tries to do this as well, because she craves so desperately to crawl out of the trapped, bitter, and angry feelings she has inside.
Matty talks to Franky two times throughout the episode. Many people have said that Matty sounds pathetic and does not seem to sound all that sorry about what happened. I am going to keep myself from saying those things, because ultimately everyone deserves a chance to explain themselves. Matty to me sounds more desperate than anything else. He wants Franky to listen to him and he wants Franky to stop hanging around Luke who is a dangerous guy. Only Franky is not giving him a chance, because she is angry and hurt. She feels guilty about what happened to Grace and wants an outlet for her feelings. I also think she feels wounded that Matty left her even though she in a sense left him as well. I still want to give Matty that room to explain…Franky is not ready to hear it yet.
Franky and Grace were close friends. In fact Grace was in essence the first real female friend Franky has ever had. She is somewhat connected to the accident and she is feeling this guilt inside of her. She keeps hearing Grace and seeing Grace. I was worried about how they were going to pull this off, but I think they did wonderfully. It was poetic and beautiful. I also like that even though Grace may be dead and may not be in every episode…yet Grace IS every episode. When Franky goes to counseling and starts screaming “I’m sorry” I started crying. Because imagine you made a mistake…you made a bad decision…and because of that decision it set off a chain of events that you never foresaw that led to one of the people you love getting hurt. That is something that eats you up. All that emotion bottling inside you…she sees Grace…because she misses her…and because she needs to be forgiven. I thought they handled those scenes brilliantly. Especially towards the end when Franky says “I don’t know what to do” and then says “I want to go back.” This whole episode is about those two emotions regret and grief.
I know that many people want me to write about Nick and Franky. Many people are saying that this relationship came out of nowhere. I can see their points. The “love” word at this point may be a mistaken emotion. I have no doubts that Nick cares about Franky intensely. He has a need to protect her. She intrigues him. I thought Nick was absolutely sweet and handled himself really well. I also thought that last scene was nicely played out. I am looking forward to see where they go with this. My only worry is that it seems like Nick has a thing for wanting things he can’t have. When he was with Mini he slept with Liv. Then when Liv got with Matty…Nick believed he had feelings for Liv. Franky dates his brother and the same thing happens. This could all be coincidental; however, I worry that some people may take that stance. Nick and Franky has one important thing in common Matty and the complicated feelings that attach to him running away. I think they both feel abandoned by Matty in some capacity. It will be an interesting story line to follow. I think its genuine.
Many people are saying that Franky is a crazy bitch who was absolutely horrid to her Dads. I agree she was horrible to her Dads; however, I think I understand why she did that as well. It is not easy to be a late adoption. You do not have that foundation of unconditional love that most other children do whether they are adopted as a baby or are born into a family. She is in a place right now where she feels her friends blame her for Grace’s death, she blames herself as well, and I think she lives in constant fear that her Dads will see what she sees in herself. Someone who poisons things. She fears that one day they will throw her out, because they do not have a long history or a foundation together. This is why the discussion that Franky has with her Dad at the end of the episode is important. He says everything I think Franky needed to hear. She had a family. A family that would love her no matter what and will worry about her and take care of her through everything. That she did not have to worry about that. She NEEDED that. With everything going on…she needed to know she had a home.
The last thing I want to write about is that besides being an episode about “grief.” This episode is also about “how men treat women.” Many people have been debating about whether the last sex scene is a rape scene. Some people are saying “she liked it…she smiled!!” and others are saying “are you crazy? She did not enjoy it…she ran!” Any scene that creates a conversation like this is…I think showing us we still have far to go. I do not think that the sex that happened would stand in a court of law as rape. However that does not mean that it was not sexual assault or forcing a woman to be submissive. She said to him “look me in the eyes” and instead he took his hand to hold her head down to do what he pleased with her. You do not need to say “no,” in order to see what that gesture was and how very little the character of Luke thinks about women. The fact that after the sex occurred she withdrew into herself. Felt uncomfortable around him and began to pull herself away from him to me is proof that she was not at all comfortable with the way he treated her. It was wrong. I think that what makes this scene so powerful and eye opening is that it is ambiguous. It was not your traditional rape or assault scene. It was subtle…yet…as soon as he put his hand out my stomach turned. I became uncomfortable and I wanted to hurt him. No man has a right to do that to a woman. No man.
Some other things I would like to say is that Dakota Blue Richards did a wonderful job acting in this really brave and uncomfortable episode. She also looked gorgeous. It was nice seeing Grace’s face. The only thing I missed from this episode was a bit of humor. I hope that we can get a few laughs soon! I thought though this episode was bold. For that reason some of you will hate it and some of you will love it. But that is what makes Skins amazing…it dares to make episodes that even push the fans to their limits.