The strengths of the episode came with Nick's internal struggle - did he want Matty to come home (of course, he's his brother), or for him to stay away (of course, he wants Franky)? Skins is always at its best when it gives its characters difficult choices, and this episode certainly did that.
I'd also been a bit unsure on the Nick and Franky relationship before - whereas I could see the chemistry between Alo and Mini building last series, I was less sold on exactly why Nick had fallen for his brother's girlfriend.
'Nick' managed to resolve that by giving us a glimpse into Nick's infatuation with Franky - the way he gazed at her in the opening scene; the wonderfully chemistry-filled chemistry lesson; that rom-com style moment as they rush into Franky's house to shelter from the rain together. There's a sense of energy and thrill about the whole thing.
Of course, Franky's determined not to give Nick the impression that he has a chance (even though, as the girl Nick sleeps with later says, she's clearly into him too.) This all comes to a head when Matty calls Nick on webcam and urges him to help him get back from Morocco - by paying a large sum of cash to a clearly dodgy man known as The Doctor.
The Doctor's obviously bad news - he works in a place called 'Hammer & Thongs', for goodness' sake - and soon he's asking Nick for an extra £1,000 on top of the £2,000 he's already scrambled together. Nick's forced to steal from his father's bank account, especially after none of his friends are interested in helping him or Matty.
The scene where he asks for their help is one of the highlights of the episode, actually - Mini and Franky are both adamant that Matty should not be allowed to come back, and they don't come out of it well. Surprisingly, one of the only people who does is Rich, who asks to stay out of it instead of condemning Matty outright.
But the rejection just accelerates Nick's downward spiral - he even pushes past Alex, who offers to help. That leads into the other highlight of the episode, as Franky comes to find Nick in the toilet and he shouts that he wishes he could just forget about her. It's an argument, but it's also really heartfelt - it's almost a shock to see Nick like this. And when he storms out, he stops only to kiss Alex - a move which could be bizarre, but seems to make sense considering his messed-up headspace.
It's not long before Nick discovers that, predictably, The Doctor's stolen his money - and after a punch-up, it's pretty clear he's lost it for good. So when Franky meets him at his house and offers him money to help out (while making sure it's for Nick, not Matty), he laughs and refuses it.
But then comes another lovely moment - Nick calls Franky "beautiful", she gives in to her feelings for him and they have sex. I couldn't help but compare this sequence - so gentle and caring - to Franky's previous dalliance with the awful Luke. When Nick asks: "What now?" and Franky suggests they "just enjoy it", it's a lovely little moment.
But we don't end on such a happy note. While Nick's grinning in the mirror to himself, Franky answers a webcam call from Matty. She doesn't need to say anything - she's answering a call on Nick's laptop, in Nick's room, wearing Nick's shirt. It's such a cold, harsh moment as she glares at him, remains silent and then ends the call. It's fantastic, and leaves us with all sorts of consequences. I can't imagine there won't be consequences...
What's The Skinny?
- "She's smooth like Ken."
- Franky's still clearly in a bad place - hence the stolen painkillers and bike theft. I like the fact that Liv and Alex could see this and disapproved, but Nick was so blinded by love.
- I like that Nick's 'N' from last series is still in his room.
- "And it's legit?" Nick, seriously?
- The scene when Alex is showing Nick his 'dating' app and Nick's phone buzzes is a nice comedy moment. What facial expressions.
- Nick couldn't really have chosen a worse girl to go home with, right? "I like it!"
- "It's not f**king Expedia."
- "Things change, like when I told my wife I wouldn't f**k her sister. Such is life." All The Doctor needed was a moustache to twirl.
- Also: He was clearly called The Doctor simply for the line: "The Doctor will see you now."
- There's still tension between Alo and Mini, isn't there? I like that we got a little moment of that at the club.
- "Compared to this, I haven't felt a single f**king thing in my life. I love you, Franky."
- So that DJ? It was only Jamie Brittain!
- Did anyone else notice that when Nick was waiting to confront The Doctor, he was standing by an office offering "immigration advice"? Cheeky.