“Skins” Retro Recap (3.06): “Naomi”

 
 

OK, pop quiz — Which is worse: a) Waking up in bed next to Mandy, her Giant Nakedness and vodka bottles all up in your business to the extent that you have to bolt from under the covers and sniff your fingers to determine what kind of f-ckery she tricked you into in the dark. Or b) Waking up with a hobo’s foot in your mouth?

[Rophy says: Rophy would take the hobo's foot. We'd swallow his sock, digest it and all. No really.]

[Rophy also says: Is there an 'other' option? If so, Rophy would like to be the hobo's foot.

]

Jack Thorne and Atiha Sen Gupta wove Naomi’s episode together with such tenderness and skill that every time you peel back one layer you discover another one, and that’s especially true with Naomi and Emily’s dialogue which is delicious on top and delicious underneath — like at the end when Naomi asks if they can just hold hands through the cat-flap for a bit, and Emily says that yes they can, for a bit.

[Rophy says: Rophy says: Naomi and Emily's dialogue is like a turkey sandwich, where the bread is made out of turkey

]

But also: wouldn’t it be perfectly reasonable in that moment if Emily was like, "Look. You’ve woken up beside me two out of four times this week, and if you count the time with my name tattooed to your face, you’ve woken up with me seventy-five percent of your mornings. And you’ve seen the perfect contrast of us, the way we fit together, how we’ll take turns being the big and little spoon — so I honestly do not understand why you are allowing room for vagabond toes and jean shorts and Giant Not-Yous, when we can just be together in a way that doesn’t require either of us to open a flamethrower on your bedroom."

So, Naomi wakes up with a strange man’s sock in her mouth, which she spits out while sitting up and shouting, "Jesus Christ!" And the guy under the covers pokes out his grubby head and goes, "You rang?"

Naomi gathers her clothes and storms out of her room, which I guess explains her outfits: She’s always just picking up skirts and shirts and tights off the floor and shrugging them on in the hallway to get away from whatever random Jesus her mum tucked into her bed in the middle of the night. Although, if God really did visit Naomi’s bedroom, the first thing he’d do is banish that one floral print jacket back to the ninth circle of hell because you know that thing was conceived and sewn together at Satan’s own atelier.

Naomi clomps into the kitchen to wonder aloud if anyone’s ever told her mum what a "complete f-cking cow" she is. Answer: Yes, apparently. But right now she’s more concerned about how the aggressive — nay, patriarchal — shape and texture of a banana is scaring one of the vagrants living in their house. Naomi is like, "Speaking of phallic-shaped produce, there is a man. in my room. in my bed." Naomi’s mum says he didn’t have anywhere else to go and so obviously she told him to bed down with her teenage daughter. Naomi picks up the banana and bites the head right off that thing, wipes her mouth, clomps out.

And let’s go ahead and talk about how Skins music is always awesome, but in this episode it is just maddeningly perfect. It serves as a frame in some places, the Mirror of Erised in others: showing you nothing more and nothing less than the deepest, most desperate desires of Emily and Noami’s hearts. Honestly, "Naomi" doesn’t even need any commentary. I could post screenshots, dialogue and song lyrics and it would be better than anything I could ever write.

High Place’s "Jump In" doesn’t come in until the middle of the episode, but check this out:

If you never take the first step
You cannot go too far
I’m sure you know that
You strike me as a smart kid
And you’ve got big plans
And big dreams
And big big goals

If that’s not a treatise on Naomi Campbell, I don’t know what is. Smart kid with big plans and big goals and big dreams, who is convinced that her success in this world depends on not going too far with Emily Fitch, which of course she cannot do if she never takes the first step. I mean, that’s literally her survival plan in life: Do Not Take The First Step With Emily Fitch. And with most people, Naomi’s got some serious desert between first step and too far, but with Emily, the first step is already too far. And Naomi knows it.

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