“Skins” Retro Recap (3.06): “Naomi”

In the hallway, Kieran apologizes with some more lovely dialogue that works in degrees.

Kieran: I’m sorry.
Naomi: You were supposed to be flattered by my attention, but ultimately, honorably, unobtainable.
Kieran: A bit too flattered, maybe. A but too obtainable. A bit of a twat.
Naomi: Yeah, maybe. So, do you like her?
Kieran: Yeah. She’s … right.
Naomi: So go tell her, will you?

On her way out of the chaos, Naomi spots Chaos Personified rummaging around, looking for some contraband toys to return to his constituents. Cook giggles and says they get to willy-waggle now that he’s won the election and Naomi banters with him cutely, decides maybe there’s another way to wash Emily off of her, jumps off the desk, grabs his face and snogs him silly. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s sexy. I adore Cook and Naomi’s relationship. They thump around and Naomi yelps as they fall off the desk with a stack of textbooks, and then she stops him and becomes the only main girl on this show not to sleep with one (or more) of the main boys on this show. (Fascinating!) And here’s how she stops him: "Cook. Cook. This isn’t right."

Which is, of course, a perfect callback to the previous scene: "Yeah, she’s … right."

(Which is the second of three times someone else gives voice to the thoughts inside Naomi’s head in this episode. Number one being Freddie: "It should make a difference when someone loves you, shouldn’t it?")

I love, love, love the contrast between riot and peace in this episode, and the way that even the music adds depth to the idea that Naomi can only rest when she and Emily are together. And I love all this talk about the difference between right and wrong, not in a moral imperative kind of way, but in a how-magnets-work kind of way.

Count me among the people who are grateful the Skins writers never felt the need to label Naomi’s sexuality, because while I am over the moon about the way Emily embraces and adorns the "I’m gay" label with courage and aplomb, I’m equally enamored with the idea that in the complex and infinite spectrum of fluid sexuality, Naomi’s "right" just happened to be another girl. (I mean, that’s truth. That’s life. That’s a conversation I’m excited to be a part of, a future that makes me want to leap out of bed. That’s a story that makes me feel like maybe we — all of us — really are going somewhere.)

Naomi asks Cook if he’s not going to try to change her mind: "Most guys would." Cook says, rightly, that he’s not most guys. And that there’s another reason she won’t sleep with him, and it’s probably a good one, because she’s clever. She kisses him on the cheek, that lost little boy, one of the only people in the wide world to ever see his soul, and they say their "f-ck yous" and she heads back out into the storm.

And while I’m just singing praises like an angel on ecstasy, let me just go ahead and high five Simon Massey, the director and mastermind behind the brilliant shots (and choreography) in this episode, including this one of Naomi engulfed in flames. Just another layer, kids. Just another perfect layer.

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