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From Russia With Love: "Skins" School Trip

Is it just me or is Tony turning out to be a total sociopath?

I'm speaking, of course, of last night's episode of Skins ("Maxxie and Anwar"), which saw the kids traveling to Russia as part of their school history coursework, only to encounter corruption, violence, and the savagery of their Russian jailer/caretaker, prone to serving up gruel (with a garnish of parsley) and hosing down the students each morning.

Having the kids break out of their everyday lives to take this bizarro trip eastward was the perfect vehicle to bring about some major changes to the Skins status quo: best friends Maxxie and Anwar nearly come to blows during an ideological discussion in which Muslim Anwar tells gay Max that he thinks that homosexuality is wrong; teacher Tom hits on Angie (after forcing her to share a room with him)... which in turn leads Chris and Angie to consummate their taboo relationship not once but twice; Anwar loses his virginity; Sid finds himself trapped in a house with an angry Russian man. And, oh, Tony tries to convince Max to let him perform oral sex on him while Tony's girlfriend Michelle (whom he still insists on calling "Nips") sleeps a few feet away.

It's this more than anything that makes me believe that Tony is quite literally a sociopath in the making, a petulant child driven to create chaos and "drama" in his wake. Just a week after breaking Michelle's heart with the stunt he pulled at the choir concert (in the episode "Sid") and forcing Sid to literally engineer his eventual reconciliation with Michelle, Tony takes his manipulation even further. He kicks Sid out of their shared room (after learning that Max can't stay with Anwar) and then embarks on a mission to have sex with Max because he's "bored."

Tony, being Tony, finally does convince Max when he's at his absolute lowest and attempts to, er, pleasure him orally with Michelle just a few feet away. Michelle, of course, wakes up and must witness the entire exchange (mercifully brief) but refuses to say anything to Tony about it on the flight home, instead asking him whether there is something he wants to tell her.

Her silence furthers the conversation that Michelle has with her best friend Jal, in which she tells Jal that she's okay with Tony playing around as long as he loves her best. But does he love her? Does manipulation and wanton cruelty equal love, even when you're a teenager and don't know any better? Or is the veil finally torn from Michelle's eyes with Tony's latest betrayal?

For Tony's part, he just likes to stir up trouble. The initial episode of Skins ("Tony") sums this up best as Tony goes out of his way to create chaos in his wake, locking his father out of the bathroom and climbing out the window for no other reason that to thrive on the pandemonium that he creates with his every action, getting a kick out of the way that people react to the awful situations that he places them in, like pawns. I was really hoping, after the way Tony treated him with Michelle, that Sid wouldn't be speaking to Tony in this week's episode (after all, he hung up on him last week) but sure enough, there he is, playing drug mule for Tony.

(Aside: how heartbreaking was it when Sid asked Maxxie why he drew Cassie as beautiful? Hello, because she IS beautiful!)

One can only hope that Tony gets his comeuppance (though I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't, given his penchant for manipulation and charm) but, either way, I'm hooked.

Next week on Skins ("Michelle"), Michelle tries to get back at Tony by breaking up with him and starting a relationship with the son of Cassie's doctor (and the brother of Tony's choirgirl squeeze Abigail) but Tony strikes back and uses explict photos of Abigail to lash out at Michelle.


I'm a Gossip Girl fan but Skins tops every teenage drama on the air today. It's more risque than Gossip Girl but more real as well, offering us a weekly glimpse into these tortured teenage souls. I'm amazed by the consistently fantastic acting and writing and am already looking forward to next week's episode!
joy said…
The more episodes I watch, the more I wonder who the heck these kids are, and dear God, what will the world come to in 10-20 years.

OTOH, I can't stop watching - they're infinitely more insane than the cosseted Gossip Girl and 90210 fact, those kids only wish they could be as twisted as the Skins kids.

I do wonder what the US audiences are for this show, because it feels like it skews more toward adults here in the US, versus The CW crowd.
joy said…
Oh! And ITA, that Tony kid is totally messed up.
Linz McC said…
I am with Danielle. There is something so raw and gritty about Skins. And it isn't about rich people in rich parts of town doing rich things. Just normal goofballs (that don't seem to have parents that care about them at all...).

I really like Maxxie and was really sad for him in this episode, mainly because of Anwar, but also for Tony's manipulation. I agree that Tony makes trouble for trouble's sake. So frustrating!
Unknown said…
Tony seems to relish pushing limits. He just wants to see what he can get away with. The more he gets away with, the further he pushes. I am curious as to how far he will go and if his "friends" will finally push back. Come on, Sid! Stand up for yourself!
Anonymous said…
I love Tony's sociopathic ways.

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