Welcome to the most ridiculous episode of Skins in the history of Skins. On one hand, it’s about the wonderful romance – okay, friendship – between Anwar and Maxxie. (Aside: I’m convinced that Dev Patel and Mitch Hewer should star in a buddy cop movie together. It needs to happen.) On the other, this episode sets off the major events that happen that have the most lasting impact on the first Skins generation. And it’s all set in Russia. Sorry Russia, you never knew what was coming. Or did you?
We find the gang en route to their “total education” experience in post-Soviet industrialist Russia. Their trip of a lifetime is led by their history teacher/goon Tom and psychology teacher/love struck Angie. And most importantly, the drugs are up Sid’s ass. Not Anwar’s turban like Chris thought. You just know things cannot end well, which means it will be great for us.
So they arrive in Russia and our favorite Muslim boy Anwar promptly gets strip searched. Tom, bravely declaring that as trip leader he should be anally strip searched, tries to step in and pay off the guards. Every one else watches in confusion of the gross stereotype unfolding before them. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)
After a bus ride gone bad, they arrive at their
prison hostel, meet their translator/part-time Russian Ranger Rick, and set off to explore their surroundings. Sid can’t get the drugs out of his butt, giving Tony one more reason to care about Sid’s butt. Tony is also plotting something. When is he isn’t?
Over in Maxxie-Anwar land, Maxxie discovers Anwar’s “bad mood comfy jim jams” and condom stash. Anwar discovers his very own Russian barbie doll.
Naturally Anwar reacts like this:
That’s the thing about Anwar; he’s obsessed with sex more than anything else. Most of the time, it makes him a joke of a character but there’s more too Anwar. Thanks to his religion, he’s confused and uncomfortable about his best friend’s sexuality. So when Anwar tells Maxxie not to bring a guy around to their room, the two get into a very serious fight:
Anwar: Seriously, Maxxie I don’t have to be stuck around watching you do a guy.
Maxxie: Could I bring a girl back? I could, couldn’t I? You’re shit, Anwar.
Anwar: Well, have you ever tried being with a girl?
Maxxie: Have you ever tried being with a man?
Anwar: No. Don’t be sick.
Anwar uses the “I’m Muslim. Gay is just wrong” argument. Just like that, Maxxie and Anwar break up. No! My dreams of them starring in a buddy cop movie are crushed.
And then, Tony-gate happens. After his break up from Anwar, Maxxie seeks out advice from Tony and Sid. Tony immediately kicks Sid out so he can “try something new” with Maxxie. Hey, when in Russia… Maxxie objects to Tony’s advances, telling him, “I’m not a hobby” and reminding him about Michelle, his girlfriend. Thankfully, Michelle swoops in and unknowingly saves Maxxie from an uncomfortable situation. For now.
The next couple of scenes go like this. Angie and Chris flirt. Tom does squat thrusts. Angie and Chris kiss. Anwar spots his Russian barbie again. Sid still hasn’t passed the drugs. The next morning the boys, minus Tony and Maxxie, get sprayed down by a hose. And Anwar refuses to take back his comments about being gay. So he and Maxxie are still broken up.
Oh and remember how they are on a school trip? Here’s what we learned:
Following the disastrous learning experience, Tony pressures Maxxie to draw his penis and, as a bonus, a blow job. (“I’ll give you head. That’s friendship.”) Maxxie can’t take it anymore. He finds Anwar and rips into him for being hypocrite. Maxxie’s right. Anwar can’t play the religion card when it comes to homosexuality when he is a sex-crazed, pill-popping teenager. Sigh. Their break up is killing me.
Here is where the episode enters into crazy town. Maxxie gets whisked away by an older Russian woman who loves Neil Diamond wants him to draw her naked. (Aside: This always seems to happen to gay boys.) Michelle and Jal sneak out to the local bar in an attempt to remind us why they’re friends. Anwar enlists Sid to rescue the Russian barbie from her abusive dad in the worst rescue mission you’ve ever seen.
So Anwar and Sid rescue the Russian barbie. Sid is left to deal with her crazy father (poor Sid. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride) and Anwar whisks his barbie off to his pleasure palace. Oh and Barbie knows English! One of the few good things Friends ever did for Russia was help Anwar get laid.
Meanwhile, Maxxie continues to have his Titantic moment with his Russian grandmother. Plus side: she reminds Maxxie that he is not the problem; Anwar has some things to deal with. Also, Michelle and Jal manage to woo the Russian military.
And THEN. After hours of making sweet love and trading lines from Friends, Anwar’s Barbie reveals that her dad is really her husband. They were on a break. The husband goes crazy on Anwar. Just when our beloved Muslim boy is about to get his head blown off, Maxxie storms the castle and defends his best friend. Then the Russian army shows up and the ridiculousness of this scene is over.
After this mayhem, Maxxie and Anwar make up. Kind of. Not really. Anwar is still torn between his religion and his friendship with Maxxie. Religion is not just “stuff” to him. Maxxie cries a bit and it kills me. Maxxie and Anwar have one of the more realistic friendships of the series. You can’t split them up. You just can’t.
My one complaint about this episode is how long it takes to get to the very big thing that happens. Everything in the season just far builds up to this moment – Tony attempts to give Maxxie head, is bad at it, and Michelle witnesses the whole thing. The next morning, Tony pretends nothing happened.
Odds and Ends from Maxxie and Anwar:
Best Exchange: After Anwar is strip searched – Anwar: They just look so disappointed when I’m not a terrorist. Tony: Well, you’re a very dull Muslim, Anwar.
Best Line: “Every time. Every fucking time. ‘Buy three ounces of weed, Sidney.’ ‘Oh yes, sir.’ ‘Shove a bag of pills up your ass, Sidney.’ ‘Oh right away.’ ‘Come help me save some random chick.’ ‘Oh could I?’ What have we learned, Sidney? Your friends are shitheads.” – A classic Sid moment.
Best Style Upgrade: Sid’s Hat
Most Disturbing Tom Moment: Squat Thrusts? Back hair? I’m blinded just by the thought of all of this.
Minutes Before Anwar’s Penis is Referenced: One
Number of Jal Spottings: Definitely more than five. She got to be more than just the overly supportive friend and actually got to have fun.
Biggest “Thank God” Moment: Sid finally, FINALLY realizing that Cassie is beautiful, thanks to Maxxie’s drawings.
Most Unnecessary Moment: When it is revealed at the end that all the Russian characters played Tom and company for a fool. But Anka still likes Anwar. Whatever