I am so excited to talk about this episode. This is one of my favorites. It was a new kind of episode for Skins. The progression of Rich from the beginning to the end of the episode was a gradual yet steep growth. It was as if we were traveling with Rich as he held onto a strict definition of himself to a Rich who realized he needs to be more open to other people.
The themes that this episode touches upon definitely has to do with issues of identity, understanding, and also issues of appearances. This episode was beautifully written and beautifully acted as well. It is just a gorgeous episode that jump starts the story of one of Skins greatest and most magical couples Rich and Grace. I also think that this episode was brave.
It is a very CHARACTER driven episode about Rich navigating through life with a very narrow mindset about how the world works. To striking a friendship with the persistent and kind Grace. It is about how these two characters help one another and then begin to want one another. It’s a beautiful story. It is also told bravely through their use of music. Metal and Classical music are not typical mainstream music genres yet they use the two genres in way of story telling. It turns out great.
To help talk about how great this episode is. I want to list some of my favorite scenes and why I think they are important!
#1) Toxic Bob the Philosopher of Anti-Asshatness
Rich is a bit of a tactless bull dog sometimes. In the beginning of the series he is clinging onto a label to keep people away from him. He is content with his life that revolves around music and Alo. He has this attitude that people who are not like him are superficial, mean, and fake. I think he thinks this for multiple reasons. However Grace is fighting to learn about him and his ways. This I think surprised him and I think he honestly has no idea what to do with her persistence. Because girls like her do not hang out with guys like him—it just doesn’t happen. So he acts like a dick to her. I love this scene because Toxic Bob is brilliant first of all and makes me laugh. It is also great advice not just for Rich.
#2: Subrosa Meets Rich
This scene is key for me. How Rich and Grace seem to function is that one scene they focus on one of them and then they focus on the other. After Grace storms out and she is sitting at the tables Rich comes to join her. Then SHE gives him advice on how unreasonable and mean he is being. That she is like him in that they are both passionate people who love their music. They both have things that are important to them. The only difference is that Grace is not being disrespectful of his ways, but he is being really disrespectful of hers. Then you have this scene where Grace dresses up as Subrosa and starts to fish for what Rich thinks of her. Rich tells her the truth about how she lets her friends walk all over her and that she shouldn’t take it. Through this scene I think they both start to see one another differently. It was an awesome scene.
#3 Rich is not just rejected…he is HUMILIATED!
I think this scene is important. Rich is metal because metal music is so important to him. It empowers him and he believes in the power of the music. However I think this scene proves that even though he is metal—he is not fully accepted by the metal community. He was sitting alone in that metal bar before Grace comes in. This is the first time he is interacting in a real way with someone who is metal (at least that we have scene — besides Toxic Bob) and she rejects him. Not only rejects him but does so meanly. Rich believes in his very black and white stubborn life philosophy that Grace who hangs out with Mini would be the one who is mean, wants him to change, and thinks something is wrong with him. However it is the “Angel of Death” one of his own kind in his head that rejects him, judges him, and treats him like crap. Rich is metal. However Rich is also has a shy and kind side to him despite his snark.
#4. Rich and Alo’s Fight
I love this scene. First of all it proves that Alo understands his best mate so completely. Rich has just been rejected by a girl that in his head “he should” be with and just got asked out by a girl he thinks “he shouldn’t like and should’t be with.” The dogmatic way in which Rich says “Never compromise” and “I’m metal” reminds me of someone who has been proven wrong; however, if he allows himself to change his position his entire life would make no sense to him. So he is grasping at straws to understand what is happening and he is scared of what this means. What this means to the question of who he is and also the questions of how he views the world. Going out with Grace which is something I think he wants on some level at this point…scares him. Because it goes against everything he has ever said he was and has believed about how the world works. Alo talks right to these points. Of course Rich goes off to prove just how metal he is only metal does him a favor and forces him to see.
#5 Rich is Moved by Grace
Rich has gone temporarily deaf. His metal music has been silenced. His metal shield is down. He see’s Grace’s ballet pamphlet and he decides to go though still reluctantly. During her performance Rich sees how beautiful, passionate, sweet, and wonderful Grace truly is. Without the music in his head, without the excuses in his head, and without all his defenses blocking the truth from him. I think this is the moment in which Rich realized he wants Grace and that his stark definition lead him to a wrong conclusion. It was gorgeous.
Rich’s episode was really a beautiful character journey that follows Rich from a closed off, narrow, and defensive character who thinks he knows everything. To a shy, snarky, and changed guy who wants somethings that metal can’t supply him. It is a beautiful episode.
I plan to post my favorite quotes of this episode in a separate post. Because there are just too many of them.
***Gifs by everything-skins she’s lovely ***