Skins (US) Recap: High in the Wild

It is hard to believe but we have passed the midpoint of the first season of MTV’s Skins experiment. The show has had its ups and downs as the pieces come together. If you made to choice to stick with and not overwhelmingly compare this series to the UK version, then you probably have been pleasantly surprised. (If you haven’t read The New Yorker’s recent review of Skins, do so now.)

Monday’s episode focused on Abbud, played by Ron Mustafaa. So far Abbud has been the series most peripheral character, the  human equivalent of a lapdog. Abbud can be overly energetic, a bit sexually depraved, sometimes Chris’ sidekick, and another straight boy yearning for Tea Marvelli. And sometimes, he prays to Allah. Abbud also makes some shocking discoveries about his friends.

The call of the wild doesn't really help Abbud

Let’s get into it.

The episode begins with a profane rendition of “Oh Canada” courtesy of Abbud, Tony, Chris, and Stanley. I don’t know why the Mountie was so turned off when we all know that Canadians love hockey, maple syrup, Justin Bieber, and clubbing baby seals. At Customs, the girls use their best assets to get through quickly, Stanley looks uncomfortable (gee, I wonder what he’s hiding) and Chris plays a prank on Abbud (“Guess he didn’t tell you about the bomb up his ass”). Welcome to Canada!

Oh Canada, what could go wrong?

The group in on a camping trip led by teachers Dave and Tina. Dave is apparently Canadian, which explains why he is America’s most ridiculous teacher. On the drive to the Camp High in the Wild, Tea is sleeping on Abbud’s shoulder. It’s a cute moment, reminding us of Abbud’s crush on Tea… and Tea’s still ongoing fling with Tony. Oh, and Stanley is hiding weed up his ass. That kid is the definition of a mule in more ways than one.

Tina has the privilege of spending time with Dave. “Nothing is better than making sweet love under the stars,” he tells her and her face says everything she thinks about him.

"What the hell did I get myself into?"

Dave promptly hits a moose (because we’re in Canada, duh) and totals the bus. He sees it as opportunity to teach his students about the cycle of life. “It is our duty to put this beautiful beast out of its misery and help it make the crossing.” The moose totally has a different idea. Once Dave declares the moose dead and his equally caring students have filmed it on their cell phones, the moose darts away. It is stunned but “in need of some serious counseling.”  The bus however isn’t fine and the group walks to Camp High in the Wild. (Did you catch Michelle’s leopard print rolling suitcase? Hilarious.) On the hike Abbud thinks he spots a psycho killer watching them in the woods. Tea tells him that he has been watching too many horror movies again and everyone ignores him.

Finally at Camp High in the Wild we meet Brown Paw, the woman responsible for turning Dave into a man. So Brown Paw, you are the one to blame. Tina, the more sensible teacher, asks the kids to try and enjoy their weekend camping adventure.

This is Skins' version of Coach Beiste.

Brown Paw is one of the few realistic adults seen on the show so far, which isn’t saying a lot. The gang is in for a weekend of tough love and discipline. They receive shirts with numbers and they have to earn their names back. Abbud is number 69 (clever, writers, clever), Tea is lucky number 8. Tony is number 13. Foreshadowing much?

Abbud is bummed out by his bunk assignment. Chris isn’t that bad but he wanted to bunk with Tea. Chris gives Abbud some pointed advice on his relationship with Tea and losing his virginity: “You can’t target a friend of Ellen.” Wise words, but easier said than done for dear Abbud. He finds Tea drawing and he thinks he sees someone in the woods. The girls ignore him. They do tell him that if he finds drugs they would love some Abbud time. And Betty is on the camping trip! The girl still wants Tea, but Tea isn’t budging.

Chris is seen next spying on Tina. (Sidebar: Did we ever get an update on where Chris is staying now? Is he still bunking at Tina’s?) Tina doesn’t really mind that her student was watching her change. Dave barges in, calling Tina she-bear (awkward) and Chris has to hide, logically, in Tina’s sleeping bag with Tina in it. Now that’s a situation. (Yes, I just typed that.) Chris admits that he loves her and they share their first kiss. I already like this relationship.

Teacher-student romance

The boys escape from the clutches of Brown Paw. Someone has got to find the mushrooms. On their search, someone comes up with the bright idea that if you lick a toad, you will get high. They all try it and promptly get sick. Abbud spots the mystery psycho again and runs away. Dave, who has lost his clothes, finds him and starts slapping Abbud to bring him back.

Crazy teacher-awkward student bromance

It’s night time. Nothing ever good happens at night. Stanley still hasn’t passed the drugs. Daisy snores like a drunk mule. Tea denies Betty again. (“I don’t do relationships… because they suck.”) Tony’s not interested in Michelle anymore. Abbud asks Chris for relationship advice. “If it’s sick and weak, I want you humping it,” he tells Abbud. Sound advice, Chris.

The following morning it is time for the Courage Pole. No one, except Dave, is on board to climb to the top. Dave wants his she-bear, Tina, to belay for him, prompting Chris to volunteer. Chris decides to jolt the high and wild Dave and accidently (I hope) drops Dave on the ground. Tina, oddly, appreciates the gesture.

Tony confront Tea again. “What are we supposed to talk about?” she asks him and Tony reminds her again that they are the same. Abbud breaks up their discussion and Tony darts off to help Stanley finally relieve himself of the drugs. (Of course Tony would.) With Tony gone, Abbud and Tea dart away. Abbud sees this as the perfect time to make his move on Tea, which she turns down (“What you want isn’t how I’m built”). Tea and Abbud have one of the best friendships of the group. Unlike most people in her life, she actually cares about Abbud. That is why she cannot use him to figure out her sexuality.

Real friendship

Back at the campsite, Dave continues to be a freak, Stanley still hasn’t delivered the drugs, Michelle vents to Daisy about Tony, they get high with Brown Paw’s assistants, and Chris and Tina consmumate their relationship. Yawn.

At night Abbud finally comes face to face with his problems, starting with the psycho killer. He hears the alleged psycho using a chain saw, tries to hide in the back of the psycho’s truck (naturally), and discovers… a dead moose. (Rest in peace, Canadian moose. You deserved better.)  A freaked out Abbud runs through the woods and then finds Tea with Tony post-coital. He doesn’t know what to make of the situation. Neither does Tea (“I didn’t want any of this”).

The following morning, Tea climbs the courage pole to find Abbud. Who needs safety equipment anyway?

High in the sky

Tea opens up to Abbud about her decision to sleep with Tony. “I think I did it to feel bad or something… I’m scared of all of it, having a girl I could love. So I make it impossible.” And Abbud retorts, “What don’t you get about being a lesbian?” She blames her hook up with Tony on their weird connection. (“Aren’t I allowed to not know what I’m doing?”) Abbud finally gets mad at Tea. He stands up, shouts at her, “It’s just me isn’t it?” before he falls off the courage pole.

And then Abbud dies.

Just kidding. But when he comes to, everyone is extremely calm considering the kid probably just fell 70 feet. Tea and Abbud share a sweet moment and a few “I love yous”; they are going to be fine. Abbud is carted away to a hospital by Brown Paw’s mom… revealed to be… the alleged psycho killer.

Close call, but Abbud doesn't feel to lucky

What did you think about Monday’s episode?

Confession: I hate the episode of the UK series that this episode is based on. In the original episode, “Maxxie and Anwar,” the group goes on a disastrous class trip to Russia. When I rewatched it a few weeks ago, I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at how implausible it is. This episode, although it had it moments of ridiculousness, outdid the original by being more earnest, especially in addressing Tea and Abbud’s relationship. I think Tony’s transgression with Tea will hold more weight than Tony’s failed hookup with Maxxie.

What do you think about Chris and Tina? Can Tea make it work with Betty now that she is done with Tony? Did you miss Cadie? Are you ready for the shit to hit the fan next week?

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