Skins (UK) Recap: Keep it Simple

I have jokingly referred to Liv as Jal 2.0, but after last night’s episode I quickly realized that Liv is no Jal. She is stuck somewhere between her family’s expectations, her best friend’s deception, and her desire for someone to care about her.

After their hook up in last week’s episode, Liv and Nick are at it again, this time in Alo’s van. Liv is feeling guilty; she tells Nick it can’t happen again and he reminds her that she called him the last time. Liv makes the long walk of shame home. The track heard here is Klumzy Tung and Mr. Dero’s “Headscrews“.

At home, Liv encounters to her mother. Her mom is worried because Liv always turns up looking like a zombie and her aura seems wrong. Her mother is going on a spiritual retreat for a couple of days. She is trusting Liv with the house and her younger sister, Maude. Leaving a member of the Skins gang alone for the weekend is never a good idea.

Almost on queue, the doorbell rings. Rich, Grace, Alo and Franky have arrived. They don’t know why they are there except that Mini told them to come. Mini pretends to have forgotten everything that happened between them at the fashion. We know, however, that she is choosing to ignore that Liv and Nick slept together.  She wants to make up with not just Liv but the cool, alternative kids too (“I’ve been a complete bitch, some of you more than others”). It seems like a heartfelt apology, although Nicola Roberts might take offense to being called the plain one in Girls Aloud. Franky immediately jumps at the chance to be friends again and there is a group hug. Aww.

Why wouldn't you want to be friends with these cool and alternative kids?

Mini produces an enormous amount of weed and Alo declares that no one will leave the party until the entire bag is gone. Young Maude questions the antics. “If it is tobacco, why is it green?” Even better, she asks Alo what is like to be a ginger. Between her big hair, her bookworm attitude, and apparent love for sci-fi marathons, Maude is awesome.

Nick approaches Liv in the question. They both agree that there is no way Mini can know. Mini breaks up their conversation and sends Nick off to mingle with his new comrades. Mini admits to Liv that she didn’t know why she was so hung up on sex. It turns out that Mini really hasn’t changed that much; she is still lying to herself. Liv uses an excuse to buy sherry as an excuse to leave the party.

Liv drops Maude to a sci-fi film festival and leaves to visit their older sister, Bella, in prison. Despite their differences, Bella is Liv’s only confidante about her love triangle with Mini and Nick (“Keep it simple. If I can survive a place like this, you can say you don’t fuck some boy”). Needing some space from Mini, Liv sits at the bus depot where she runs into by the mysterious Matty (“Have I met you before?”). They have an instant connection, aided by a homeless guy and his drugs. Liv suggests they take the drugs, despite hardly knowing one another. Matty tells her, “Fun? I’m just trying to get out of this shit hole.” Liv responds, “Well, I hate this town too. Lets get fucked, burn it to the ground, dance on the embers, and then you can get on your cage.” Matty agrees.

A new friendship

Their afternoon together will have some ground rules. Rule number one: Keep it simple. “I’ve got interpersonal issues and syphilis,” Liv tells Matty to keep him away. While waiting for the drugs to take effect, they rob a store for some alcohol. Liv tells Matty that he is like a Dickens character named Teddy Sexdrum. They then proceed on a walk (set to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Wednesday Morning“) and enter a costume shop. In the costume shop, they goof off. The manager tricks Liv into trying on some clothes when he attempts to rape Liv. Matty attacks him with a fire extinguisher; they leave with some the video tape of the evidence and some cash. And they leave dressed like this:

Yup.

Liv feels guilty for attacking the sex offender. (She should feel stupid for stealing the obvious evidence.) They return to check on the scene and see cops. “Pervs never die,” Matty assures her. Liv asks if him if she can go away with him, if they can run away. Their night continues at a disco and consumate their relationship.

Back at Liv’s, the party or something like it is still going on and Franky is a lightweight.

Liv and Matty return and find Nick and Mini having sex in Liv’s bed. Nick immediately recognizes Matty. They’re brothers. I wasn’t expecting that. Neither were Liv or Mini. Nick tries to warn Liv that Matty is a psycho and that she should stay away. Matty catches onto their affair quickly, finally revealing it to Mini so she can’t ignore it.

Liv kicks everyone out of the house and she tells Matty, “I don’t know you. I don’t trust you,” ending their promise of it being just you and me. Franky, humorously, is left behind. She wakes up, tells Liv that all the hate and blame is toxic, and hands Liv a tape that she and Mini made in middle school. It is cute look at their friendship before boys, drugs, and sex got in the way of everything. The video and the news that the perv was all right (just like Matty said) causes some emotion from Liv.

Everything is falling apart

But it takes Maude, having returned from the movies where Liv forgot her, to force some sense into her older sister. “It doesn’t sound right when you try to be cool. You’re not cool. And I am swearing now because you let me down. So deal with that fuck tooth.” With this, Maude has joined James Fitch as part of the awesome younger Skins siblings club.

Desperate, Liv visits Bella again. The root of the Malone’s problems are revealed. Bella sees their mother as a crazy, control freak who drove their father away (“She deserved what I did to her”). Bella can’t see past her failed relationship with her mother to help her younger sisters. Liv tells Bella that she is never coming back and that she will never be Bella. Probably good riddance.

The next step is to repair her relationship with Matty. She finds him at the bus station and begs him to stay. He tells her to have a party with someone she trusts. Liv continues on the most self destructive path imaginable. If downing a bottle of vodka can’t convince Matty to stay in Bristol, than what will?

The girl's got problems.

Matty stays. If only because Liv is puking her guts out. The next morning, she wakes up and finds that they have broken into a house, Matty’s house. Nick discovers them in the garage. Matty uses this as a chance to make up with his brother (“I’m sorry I hit you”)  and asks Nick to ask their dad to let him move back in.

Liv’s last stop to make amends with Mini. “Do you remember how we became friends?” she asks. Liv begs for Mini’s forgiveness. Mini isn’t having it unless Liv drinks a bottle of vodka like she did for Matty.

When you have a friend like Mini...

It doesn’t work. “I hope you die puking out your kidneys, bitch,” Mini tells her before she darts away, probably to forgive Nick who obviously has done nothing wrong. Liv is left alone except for her mother who chastises Liv again for her appearance and partying. In a strange way, Liv and her mother have come to understand each other better. Their relationship isn’t perfect. It may never be. Liv then takes the opportunity to join Maude at the movie theater. If she can’t have a friendship with Mini or a relationship with Bella, she can at least work things out with Maude.

What did you think of the episode? Of season 5, it has been my least favorite episode. I generally grow to like every Skins character, even Cook. But Liv? I didn’t see any reason for her betrayal of Mini other than Mini is always a bitch to her and Nick was there when she needed something physical. Matty is a compelling addition but I think he will quickly wear out his welcome.

Sound off below.

 

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