This is my review of an extremely thematic episode that dives into the world of Cassie Ainsworth played by the wonderful Hannah Murray.
One of my favorite things about Generation 1 and Series 1 in particular is that though the episodes have a character focus it still incorporates the other characters as well. Cassie’s episode is no exception. Not only was this episode eye opening in terms of the motivations and personality of Cassie it also advances the other characters’ plot lines. For instance the development of the Mad Twatter drama with Sid and of course the attraction that Chris and Angie feel for one another. Both of these story lines advanced along as well as learning about Cassie. The ensemble feeling of the show is absolutely refreshing.
Now I want to switch gears and focus on the portrayal and story of Cassie. Cassie is in some ways a mysterious character that is fleshed out by symbolism and in many instances silence. Most of the episode we see Cassie observing the world and watching. Everything from her sitting on the bus, to being home with her family, or wishing for Sid to look up if he likes her. Cassie is a watcher and an observer. Seeing the world though the world does not seem to see her. Other things that happen in this episode that show cases this notion is Michelle’s sleepy utterances that Cassie is a crazy bitch. Though the biggest part of showing how the world does not see is shown through Sid’s obliviousness and her parents neglect. Living with smiles and happy tones but absolutely no substance or understanding. The parents are also shown ignoring her little brother Rueban as he cries by making out with one another. The use of using silent observation presents Cassie as an alienated character who desperately wants to be wanted or seen, but no one seems to really understand that about her.
Throughout the episode Cassie is also being tempted by her own subconscious to eat. Starting off with her waking up at the party with food all over her body. It may not seem like much for a Skins party to turn into a major food fight, but the fact that the first scene we see of Cassie in her episode is her covered in food is quite telling. Then throughout her episode she is taunted by mysterious messages telling her to eat. At first she thinks that it is Sid telling her these things, but later finds out that it was her own mind telling her to eat. She wanted someone to notice and someone to care enough to send those messages so she desired it to be Sid. However she only needs her own permission which is what the Taxi driver Alan informed Cassie of. We also see that Cassie keeps a drawer of sweets underneath her bed which also indicates the constant battle and need for control Cassie has. She even informs Sid of the her methods not to eat which involves quite a bit of deceit, manipulation and distraction.
As always with Skins the world of psychology is treated with cynicism and dark humor. Cassie in the episode is trying to be released from treatment by faking her way into being approved of. The runner of the facility (Abigail’s mother) does not seem to care or to listen to Cassie. Not noticing the subtle hints that Cassie may not be fully ready to face the world alone. Cassie’s psych experience seems to be both pointless and dangerously neglectful just like other areas of Cassie’s life. People not fully seeing her. Yet she fully sees everyone else.
One of the best scenes of the episode is when Cassie sits with Sid at the lunch table. Cassie mentioned to Sid that his relationship with Tony is a special one. That Sid looks up to Tony. She voiced what we all know about Sid that he is a follower not a leader. He does hero worship Tony. Cassie by nature of being a watcher is privy to the subtle mannerisms people have in order to better understand the true motivations of others.
This episode was a solid one that fleshed out a character that could easily be misunderstood. Hannah Murray does a great job portraying Cassie who is not an easy character to play.
This was a solid episode. One of my favorites.