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Things Fall Apart: An Early Look at the "Skins" Season Two Finale

It was with an extremely heavy heart that I sat down to watch the season finale of British teen series, Skins, which airs this Sunday at 10 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

After the last episode, which saw the death of one of the main characters and the disappearance of another, I didn't think that the writers of this brilliant and evocative series could twist the knife any deeper and yet after watching next week's season finale, my jaw hit the floor.

It wasn't a shocking plot twist that made me so emotional about the end of Skins' second season but rather the naturalistic way which with the writers dealt with each of the characters going their separate ways. US series--especially teen dramas--could learn a hell of a lot from Skins, especially the producers' decision to push our beloved characters out the door and onto new (unseen) adventures while replenishing the cast with a new batch of characters, including Tony's sister Effy.

That, after all, is the nature of life. People grow up, they move on, they move away to follow their dreams. And the gang in Skins are no different, as they say good-bye to one of their own and await their A-Level grades, which could signify just how far they'll go... and possibly how high they'll fly.

So what can we expect from the Skins season finale? Let's discuss.

Chris' death was a sad surprise last week and the season finale deals with his passing in a most unexpected way. We're not given the opportunity to see how Chris' friends cope with the news of his death (seeing as last week we followed runaway Cassie to Manhattan, where she ran instead of telling Jal and everyone about Chris' demise) but are given a glimpse into the aftermath as we see first-hand how each of them prepares for Chris' funeral.

Until, that is, Chris' father (guest star Mark Heap of Spaced fame) turns up at Sid's and demands in no unspecific terms that Sid and Chris' other friends be barred from the funeral. This being Skins, Sid and Tony don't take this lightly but instead launch an offensive. The results are not only touching but hilarious as Sid and Tony steal Chris' body right from under the noses of Chris' holier-than-thou father (who, yes, abandoned his child years ago) and engage in a high-speed car chase with a coffin strapped to the roof of their car down the side streets and alleys of Bristol.

Meanwhile, Jal struggles with the toughest decision of her life as she must decide whether or not to have an abortion in light of Chris' death. Look for Jal and Michelle share a truly touching scene at the zoo, where Michelle shares the story about how she and Chris first met, and for Jal to follow Chris' sage advice and give a moving speech about Chris' innate bravery in the face of adversity. And for Anwar to feel pulled between the dubious friendship of Sketch and settling for life in Bristol and the jealousy he feels for his friends, about to embark on their own adventures without him.

The season finale also contains one of the most beautifully understated emotional moments of the whole series and it's not between Tony and Michelle, but rather between former best friends Tony and Sid at the airport. Over the past two seasons, we've seen Tony be so abrasive and cruel to Sid that it's utterly gut-wrenching to see him finally express his true feelings for his friend... just as he says good-bye to him.

I'll admit it: I got teary-eyed.

Very few series have successfully dealt with the realities of male friendships so well as Skins has and the ending to the season finale and its crucial scene between Sid and Tony speaks volumes about this. Casting aside their hurt feelings, egos, and wounded bravado, Sid and Tony finally realize just what their friendship means to one another and it's stoic, manipulative Tony who turns emotional. I don't want to give away just what happens but keep an eye open for the look on Tony's face after the revolving door has spun.

It's with a definite sense of sadness that we too say goodbye to these characters. I have no doubt that Skins' talent cadre of writers will create new and gripping characters for us to root for, fall in love with, and hate in equal measure. Still, just as it's hard for the characters to say goodbye to one another, so it is for us, the audience, to bid them farewell too.


I'll miss catching up, week after week, with Tony, Cassie, Sid, Michelle, Jal, Chris, Anwar, and Maxxie, but, for us as much as perhaps for them, life goes on.
Looking back at the first two seasons of Skins, we've been treated to a groundbreaking look at a real--sometimes hyperreal--depiction of teenagedom today, with all of its bad skin, raging hormones, and innate cruelty that was at times just as hard to watch as it was to look away from.

Or as Cassie might say, like, um, wow.

Skins wraps its second season on Sunday at 10 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

Comments

A beautiful ending to an exceptional season of Skins. I know the show isn't ending (and I'm excited to see what new adventures Effy and her friends take us on) but it is, for the most part, the last we'll see of these incredible characters.

It's funny because these two seasons of Skins add up to fewer episodes than one normal season of an American show and, yet, I feel more invested in these characters and their crazy lives than I have with any American teen drama. And I will truly miss them.
Melissa said…
I couldn't get any of my peers on the Skins bandwagon, they don't know what they've missed. Sunday night became my favorite night of the week. This show is unlike anything we've seen state-side or will ever see. I look forward to seeing Series Three.
Anonymous said…
I am so upset that Skins is getting rid of the cast. I am sure you are right that the new characters will be great but I will miss Sid and Cassie most of all. Can't wait for the finale. I am going to have kleenex standing by in case I start to cry (which I am sure I will.)
Dani In NC said…
It has been a couple weeks since I watched the finale, but your description made me teary-eyed all over again.

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