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TV Recap

'Skins Fire' review: Dark fates for Effy, Naomi in episode two

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Season 7, episode 2 | Aired Monday, Jul 8 2013 at 22:00 BST on E4

It's fitting that this final series of Skins is comprised of three two-parters, since the show has always somewhat relied on a two-act structure. The first series of any 'Generation' was always about 'actions' - wild parties, hedonism, casual sex - and the second about 'consequences' - growing up, growing apart and losing loved ones.

Compare the first series to the second, in which we lost everyone's favourite party animal Chris (Joe Dempsie), or the third to the fourth, in which Freddie (Luke Pasqualino) was brutally murdered.

So it is that the second instalment of Skins Fire sees Effy (Kaya Scodelario) face the consequences of last week's actions. Wild parties and drugs have been replaced with financial fraud and living the London high life, but the cost remains as high, and as grim, as ever.

Skins 'Fire' Part 2

© Channel 4

Skins 'Fire' Part 2



Several months on from last week's opener, Effy's established at the firm and is bedding dishy Jake (Kayvan Novak) on a regular basis - in short, the one-time wild-child is as "f**king together" as she's ever been.

But Jake is in trouble with his investors and encourages Effy to indulge in another round of insider trading to bail him out. Eager to prove that she's more than just a pretty face, Effy toys with the affections of awkward, lovelorn Dom (Craig Roberts) to get her hands on priceless information.

Naomi's health, meanwhile, is failing, but there's a potential light at the end of the tunnel for 'Naomily' fans as Emily returns from New York...

It's disappointing that the character's screen time in Skins Fire is relatively minimal, but thanks to an assured performance from Kathryn Prescott, you get the sense that four years and her NY stint have made Emily a more confident figure than the sensitive teenager we once knew.

Naomi insists on hiding the truth from her girlfriend, right up until she's diagnosed as being terminal - and it's at this point, I imagine, that the internet imploded.

Skins 'Fire' Part 2

© Channel 4

Skins 'Fire' Part 2



Last week, I questioned the wisdom of imposing a tragic twist on the 'Naomily' romance and, having now seen how the plot played out, I stand by my original criticism.

Yes, these dramatic scenes milk the fantastic cast for all their worth - Prescott, Lily Loveless and Kaya Scodelario all play an absolute blinder - but that's not the point.

Sometimes, a happy ending isn't cheap or trite - sometimes, it's earned. To steal that away from Emily and Naomi here just feels mean-spirited.

Effy's final fate also feels cruel. She's always projected uber-confidence but, beneath the bravado, has remained desperate for reassurance and validation from the men in her life - from Tony onwards. A good example - as soon as good-hearted Dom finally loses his patience, she immediately throws herself at him to win back his favour.

But ultimately, sex can't save her friendship with Dom, or her job, as cold Jake turns his back on her and allows Effy to take the blame for the fraud. The slick-but-soulless businessman gets his comeuppance, we're assured, but Effy still faces a long spell behind bars.

Skins 'Fire' Part 2

© Channel 4

Skins 'Fire' Part 2



All the grief and tragedy soon becomes overwhelming. The second part of Skins Fire is very good - the acting, script and direction are all top-notch - but, at times, the tone is pitch-black. When the laughs come, they're still pin-sharp ("Is this where Patrick Bateman lives?") but they're few and far between.

It's telling that I always preferred those first series of Skins - the fun, the hedonism - to their more 'adult' follow-ups. This is the show at its most bleak and, for my taste at least, it leans too far to the dark side.

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