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TV Recap

'Skins Pure' review: Hannah Murray's Cassie faces tough times

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Season 7, episode 3 | Aired Monday, Jul 15 2013 at 22:00 BST on E4

"Do they even still have raves?"

Anyone still reeling from the pitch-black Skins Fire and hoping to find a little light relief in Skins Pure can guess again. As with its predecessor, there's little of the debauchery here that once made E4's teen drama so notorious - in its place is the grim notion that once your youthful exuberance has dried up, there's little waiting for you in the 'real world' but disappointment.

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1

© Channel 4

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1



Hannah Murray's Cassie - last seen fleeing to New York following the death of Skins favourite Chris (Joe Dempsie) - is now spending her days working in a sweaty London café and her nights in a raucous bedsit.

Life seems to have worn Cassie down a little and she's a less whimsical, more grounded character than the one we knew in 07-08 - the 'Wow' count is at zero, for one thing. She's perhaps a little less enchanting as a result, but also feels more like a real person than she did previously and, returning to the role that made her name, Murray remains a compelling watch.

The thrust of Skins Pure concerns Cassie's discovery that she's apparently being stalked - with a mystery photographer posting secretly-snapped images of her online.

Unlike Fire, this instalment features just one major character from series past - though Neil Morrissey does appear (initially in voice only) as Cassie's dad.

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1

© Channel 4

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1



Now I'm not of the opinion that this final run of Skins 'movies' should simply act as fan service, but equally, some questions feel like they need answering. Sid's complicated relationship with Cassie was crucial to both characters' journeys in the show's first two series and in brushing it off in such a passing fashion, Skins Pure feels incomplete.

Her new suitors leave a lot to be desired too - first, there's rather unsavoury colleague Yaniv (Daniel Ben Zenou) and then there's Jakob (Olly Alexander) - a nervy and obsessive photographer who, it transpires, is the one behind Cassie's new online following.

Perhaps it's just me, but Skins Pure felt like it was on slightly dubious moral ground here - the suggestion that Cassie should be grateful for Jakob's odd attentions seems a little perverse. Her initial reaction - to belt him one - seems like the appropriate response.

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1

© Channel 4

Hannah Murray in 'Skins: Pure' part 1



The 'Jakob idolising Cassie' angle - with lines like "People look at you - I think you like it" - feels creepy and no amount of twee piano twinkling on the soundtrack is going to convince me that it's anything else.

It's perhaps not surprising that Skins Pure shares the same strengths and weaknesses as Fire - with uniformly solid acting, writing and direction, it's definitely worth buckling down and persevering with. But lacking as it does a sense of fun, some may find it too heavy-going to handle.

So far, this series of Skins has been easy to admire, but difficult to really enjoy. On that basis, I'm hoping Cassie gets a happy ending next week - us Skins fans could use it.

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