“Skins” Retro Recap (3.03): “Thomas”


The camera keeps pushing in closer and closer and closer before — bam! — speedy-quick panning out to reveal Effy and Panda sitting next to Thomas on the bus bench. Which is just so, so Skins; I love it. I love how the camera adds an whole other layer to these stories.

Panda is gawking, of course. And Effy is bored, of course. “Wow, you’ve got a whacker lot of doughnuts,” Panda finally says, and Thomas remembers his manners and offers her one. She eats it almost as fast as he did and then garbles something that means “juice,” I think, because Effy hands Panda something that looks like fizzy and apple-y. Thomas reaches past Panda to give Effy a doughnut.

Panda: Effy doesn’t do doughtnuts.

Thomas: No? What does Effy do?

Panda: Drugs.

To prove the point, Effy exhales a perfect smoke ring.

Thomas: I’m Thomas. I’m very pleased to meet you.

Effy: [bored, mocking a little] I’m Effy. Very pleased to meet you.

Thomas: I came yesterday, all the way from Africa. This place is exceedingly cold.

Effy: Bummer.

Do you ever feel like you want to watch Effy and Naomi have an apathetic zing-off? Thomas is actually freezing, and Effy’s all, “Meh.” Katie’s like, “My family has lost our house.” And Naomi’s all, “Well, that was careless.”

Anyway, Panda pukes for the second time in three episodes, because what’s that old children’s rhyme from the sea? Beer before liquor, never been sicker? Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear? Oh, right — Doughtnuts before juice before hash is rash.

So, Panda is just rat-arsed and Thomas carries her to Effy’s house like a sack of potatoes or, you know, a goat. He whisks her up the stairs and deposits her on a chair and Effy is just starting to warm up to him when she hears some wailing and thrashing around going on in her parents’ room. Thomas is like, “Do not worry; I deal with wild animals all the time in Congo.”

But it’s just Effy’s mum having an affair. “I’m Thomas,” Thomas says, reaching out to shake a naked Anthea’s hand. “So glad to meet you.”

Back at home, Thomas is rudely awakened by a punch in the face by Mackenzie Crook. Mackenzie steps over Thomas’ body, walks in the door, and instructs his goons to “put on the kettle, please, lads.” And I think it’s time for us to talk about tea.

In my Coronation Street recap last week, I mentioned that the characters drink a gratuitous amount of tea, even by British standards, and, you guys, I have never seen such a national outcry! I always knew tea was a thing in Britain. I studied British history at university and I have backpacked around the UK three times. I feel like I am a real student of non-American cultures, but it turns out all I really needed — educationally-speaking — was to question the usefulness of guzzling that much tea.

After your many, wonderful, enlightening comments, and a fair bit of outside reading, I have learned the tea is the most refreshing of all beverages. It can prolong drunkenness, cure a hangover, mend a broken heart, substitute as fuel for automobiles and farm machinery, be given as an elixir to put a stopper in death, subvert therapy, and bring together an entire country in times if national crisis.

And see, Mackenzie Crook just gave us another one: Need to threaten a teenage tenant? Make a cup of tea!

Actually, though, Mackenzie Crook is making a cup of noodles, which his goons spike with Tabasco sauce or something equally nauseating, and Mackenzie Crook drinks that cup of noodles; he drinks it right in Thomas’ face so Thomas will “know what kind of man he’s dealing with!” And then he tosses the cup off the balcony and tells Thomas he owes him 300 pounds by Desperate Housewives, or … I’m not really sure. Something menacing though, I think. And Thomas can’t have that, because his mum is coming at the end of the week and she is a “very fussy lady.”

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