“Skins” Retro Recap (3.02): “Cook”


Back inside, Cook has taken to the stage and is singing and dancing with the hope of charming the actual pants off of Macenzie Crook’s daughter, and Macenzie senses it, so his thugs apprehend Cook and take him to the dungeon to kick the shit out of him. Cook laughs in their faces even as they’re beating him down, because (Cook/Naomi similarity number three) a whole other way to have power is to pretend not to care.

Freddie busts in and saves Cook, and there’s a full-on riot by the time Cook drags his friends out into the night and into that underground tunnel where Harry and Dudley got attacked by a Dementor in Order of the Phoenix. Cook offers to have sex with everyone individually, but no one’s really up for it, and Freddie is so disgusted with his shenanigans that he’s like, "I quit you, man." Cook pretends not to care some more, and takes JJ to a brothel …

… and I’m totally not recapping this because it’s beneath us and beneath Skins. What you need to know is JJ pays ten quid for a kiss and Cook is halfway through a hand-job when he hears Macenzie Crook getting sex tortured in the next room over. What does he do? Oh, he sneaks in and tortures him some more, of course; steals his necklace, receives a death threat for his effort.

Finally, finally, Cook’s birthday is over, so he walks alone to Freddie’s.

This is my all-time, number one, favorite-ever set-up shot. It’s the sucker punch of set-up shots for me. Frame a person walking against a silhouetted tree in the sunrise and I am going to believe whatever happens after that. And my most beloved set-up shot like this is from Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth is walking to Mr. Bingley’s to check up on Jane.

But this is even nuttier. Listen, Jack O’Connell is from Derby, right? And you know who else is from Derby? A thousand pounds a year and he owns half of Derbyshire, in fact? Mr. Darcy! Which was disconcerting for me when I first found out about Jack’s accent, because neither Colin Firth nor Matthew Macfadyen sound like Cook, and neither does Mr. Darcy in my head when I read Pride and Prejudice.

But facts are facts, and so the things is: In my real life — my, er, real, fictional, Victorian life — I may not be able to understand Darcy the way I sometimes don’t understand Cook. How crazy is that! I thought I knew Darcy so well! I’m going to have to get my own Derby translator, I think.

Anyway, so: Jack is from Derby, and Cook is a perfect candidate for a Darcy archetype (behind Naomi, of course), but they have even more in common than that.


Cook, you almost got Elizabeth Swan killed! Never torture a pirate in a whore house! And if there’s one lesson you need to learn from Gossip Girl, it’s that prostitutes have feelings too!

Cook throws pebbles at Freddie’s window and Freddie reluctantly meets him in the shed where he tells Cook that he’s not going to look after him anymore. But Cook says, "I f–king love you, man." And it’s so true, and his face is so open, that Freddie knows he’s going to take care of him for his whole life. [Rophy says: Ouch, Heather Hogan. Ouch.]

And here’s my favorite Naomi/Cook similarity of all. Right now, in this moment, it seems like they care less than any two people have ever cared in the history of the world — but in the end, both of them are ready to die for the people they love.

It’s the last thing we know about them, and this is interesting: Naomi says it out loud, "I would die for you." And Cook says it physically — by not running, for once — finally realizing that heroism is just a synonym for love. But then, Cook says it out loud, too, to Effy: "I’d do it all again. The f-cks, the f-ck-ups, everything. I’d do it all again." And Naomi says it physically — by not running, for once — finally realizing that given every single second chance, she’d choose Emily Fitch every single time.

On his way home, Cook hears a crack ring out through the air. He falls to the ground, crouches behind some flowers, and then begins to laugh. It was a car. Just a car. "Whew," he thinks to himself. "I thought I heard a baseball bat."

[Rophy says: WOW. The least you could have done was click your pen before dropping
that one on us.

(Check out Rophy’s "Cook" recap! You’ll be so happy you did!)

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