“Skins” Retro Recap (3.01): “Everyone”


Across town, Emily Fitch is choosing her first day of college outfit like the kind of person who believes that snow makes everything new again, and I know I can’t shut up about Skins music, but here’s what Timothy Victor’s "Lady Belles" has to say, and it really is the most important thing.

There were always two sides to this story / It was faith that led us here / Two lady belles / We saw wings that cling and wings that fell / All our time / It’s easy to see all these changes for me / But all of these things do not compare / Not anywhere no / Near the way we do / Through all of this life there’s you.

Skins has a lot of tangled up love stories coming our way, but the three very, very best ones are Naomi and Emily; Freddie, JJ and Cook; and Katie and Emily. Their relationships are layered and tender and gut-wrenching in their authenticity, and we’ll talk about them when it’s time, of course, but we should talk about Katie and Emily right now, just for a minute.

Do you have a sister? I have a sister. She’s exactly one year younger than me, and in fact, my very first memory is the day she was born. We were automatic teammates against the rest of the world, automatic hugs when things got dark, automatic high fives, automatic roommates, automatic toy share-ers, automatic fight fights, automatic clothes thieves, automatic everything.

When my sister gave birth to my nephew, I held her hand and remembered her first Cabbage Patch Kid. When my sister finished her first marathon, I held her hand and remembered her first field day. When my sister started radiation treatment for cancer, I held her hand and remembered the first time she crashed her bike and I mopped up her blood with my t-shirt.

My sister is my very best friend in this whole entire world, and our stories intersect at so many points that it’s impossible to tell them apart sometimes. We belong to one another in a way that we’ll never belong to anyone else. My world started the day she came into it.

So this "Lady Belles" thing, this "through all this life there’s you" thing? That’s one of the deepest sentiments Skins ever expresses, but Katie and Emily have to get ripped apart to realize the truth of it, because their stories can’t grow side-by-side and flourish. They need their own sunlight.

Emily will never belong to Naomi the same way she belongs to Katie, and I think that’s what Katie means later on when she tells Naomi, "She’s mine."

She’s not, of course. Emily is Emily’s, and she gets to choose who she belongs to, or if she wants to belong to anyone else at all. That’s half her story this season, and we don’t talk about it enough.

Why Emily has selected a leopard print skirt for the day she plans to begin exerting her independence, I will never know. My guess is that she somehow knows Naomi is going to show up later wearing the most garish floral print jacket that was ever conceived at Satan’s own atelier, and she hopes when Naomi sees the two patterns in close proximity, she will be alerted to the extradimensional horror of what she’s wearing and be like, "Emily. We need to take off these clothes immediately. Let me help you with those buttons."

But none of that — the built-in BBF thing or the leopard print thing — matters now anyway because when Emily finally shouts Katie out of the shower, she discovers there’s no hot water left, but by the time she gets back to her room, Katie is already wearing Emily’s first day outfit. She tells Emily it looks better on her anyway, and hurry up and get ready because her boyfriend — she’s got a boyfriend, have you heard? — Danny, of the Bristol Rovers — he plays for the Bristol Rovers, did you know? — will be there to take them to school/publicly grope Katie soon. As in now.

So, Emily’s first day of college: not quite as different as she’d hoped, then.

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