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

And, you guys, I can’t … I’m sorry, I can’t keep it inside because this is it: the beginning of a most epic romance, and I don’t even have to qualify it. I don’t have to say "lesbian romance," because this is a time machine; only, instead of going backwards to the genesis of Naomily, we’re rocketing into to the future, where stories are stories, and longing is longing, and love is love, and two girls can find one another’s gaze in a crowded gymnasium, and it’s not subtext, and it’s not whatever poison-laced-marshmallow Sweeps story we’re doing on American network TV at the moment.

It’s panic and it’s desire and it’s anger and it’s terror and it’s sorrow and it’s impossible, impossible hope, and I’m only talking about this very second; not the whole story that extends at the same time into the past and future in ways neither Naomi or Emily or you or I can even understand yet.

I mean, who knew — really, you guys, who knew — that time I was in the bed with the flu and decided to give this Skins thing a go that one day I’d be begging the writers to treat the straight characters as awesomely as they treat the queer characters?

Doesn’t that fill you with the kind of unabashed optimism Emily Fitch wears on her face in every single episode of this series? Doesn’t it make you dream as you’ve never dreamed before? Doesn’t it make you want to borrow Panda’s insane sunglasses because the future of stories could really be just that bright?

And here’s where it starts: this look. This look where Emily says, "Naomi Campbell, I am going to peel back every single layer of the mystery of you, until you are naked and quivering before me."

Does Naomi look outraged? Does she look indignant?

Look again. She’s already trembling.

And here’s something I don’t get about Bryan Elsley, even though I sort of universally adore everything he writes: I don’t get the toilet humor. I didn’t get it in series four’s "Everyone," and I don’t get it here with Doug because, seriously, why? It’s such a waste of time when the themes of the entire second generation are playing out in all their saturated, nonverbal glory on the bleachers.

Witness: Cook watching Effy. Freddie watching Cook watch Effy. JJ watching Freddie watch Cook. Effy watching no one. Panda watching balls. Katie watching everyone, hoping they watch her. Emily, listening to Katie, watching Naomi. Naomi, operating outside herself, watching Emily watch her and crumbling under the weight of her unspoken promises.

That’s how good this show is. That’s literally everything you need to know.


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