“Skins” Retro Recap (3.02): “Cook”


When Naomi walks into the pub, her face is resolute and smug and terrified all at the same time. I’ve mentioned Cook and Naomi’s similarities before — and oh, they are many — and here’s where I think we start noticing one of the first things, which is how Cook and Naomi spend half their lives pushing their own propaganda.

(I’m going to talk a lot about how Naomi and Cook are alike in this recap, but I think if you want to see it, you’ve got to step outside the place where Cook is the only other person to kiss/try to seduce Naomi. Cook and Naomi’s relationship is vividly realistic, but if you’re determined to see him as Emily’s Evil Foe, you might not agree with me. And that’s cool. We’ll catch you in episode three; episode four, for sure.)

Naomi and Cook are eaten up with fear, and while Naomi’s is specific and Cook’s is general, they’re both terrified of being known. So every morning they look at themselves in the mirror and go, "Today the role of Naomi Campbell will be played by Naomi Campbell." "The role of James Cook will be played by James Cook."

And then they wave their arms and shout about, "Look at me! Look at this thing I am! I am saying it loudly! I am saying it repeatedly! It must be true! I’m a tosser! I’m a bitch! I don’t care what you think about me!"

It’s written all over Cook in this episode, just all over him. And it’s a hint with Naomi, full of retrospective knowledge: Stop staring at me, Emily Fitch! Stop trying to know me! This is who I am! This person, this one over here, the one you cannot destroy!

See, because you can’t destroy Propaganda Naomi. And you can’t destroy Propaganda Cook. That’s the whole point. And one thing I love about Naomi is how her entire look just gets softer and softer and softer the deeper she falls into Emily. It’s a really nice visual: the stark contrast between the hard edges of Propaganda Naomi and the warm reality of Actual Naomi. It doesn’t mean she has to stop being caustic and quippy; she is those things. It’s just, that’s not all she is.

Naomi walks into the pub and Katie goes, "Great, it’s the lesbian, come to gay us up!" Which Cook thinks is the funniest thing, and offers her a willy-waggle to cure her sapphic ailment.

To shut them up, Emily gets into a magic-off with JJ. JJ makes a goldfish appear in a glass of water and presents it to Cook. Emily pulls a cake out of thin air and presents it to Cook. JJ says, "Yes, but I can make milk come out of my ears!" And Emily goes, "And I can make anyone at this table gay for me!" And Naomi scowls, and Effy goes, "How about your sister, can you make her gay for me?"

(Oh my God, Rophy got me! Did you see what just happened?)

[Rophy says: And how did it make you feel, Heather? Hmmm? I bet it felt real good.
Realllllll good. You might as well give in to their love, it makes
things much easier?

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