Back and forth, we go with this show. With last week’s episode ranking as a huge disappointment, this one rebounds to some emotional poignancy despite the serious issues it has.
This week, we focus on Cadie–the crazy pill-popper. The girl has a lot of issues, but it’s refreshing that she’s mostly a pill-popper because her therapists and mom tell her to be. All we heard from Cadie’s ex-beauty queen mom this episode was “For God’s sake, take your medications” and “Smile like you’re pretty.” All this while she pranced around in a bikini.
The dangerous cliche with drug-addicted teens is that they’re doing it to numb out a bad family situation or relationship (it would have been horrendously cliche for Tea to be a drug addict). But Cadie is told to take her medication because it will “make her happy.” This episode explores what happens to her as she decides to stop taking the drugs after a session with her third therapist of the episode challenges what everyone else has been telling her.
“Everyone’s going to disappoint you,” he says. “They won’t mean to. But they will. Drugs won’t change that.”
It’s the kind of line that stops to make the audience (and Cadie) stop and think. Usually, the mentor in this situation will say, you don’t need drugs, you’re better than this, blah, blah, blah. But it’s a particularly dark approach Skins chose to take for a decidedly dark issue.
Too bad that episode doesn’t work out too well for Cadie, which is another feather in its cap. It would have been easy for her life to line up once she got off the drugs, but often things don’t really work out that way. The show is content to take its time and really set up the issues–much like the insane love chain that’s going on (Cadie loves Stanley who loves Michelle who loves Tony who loves Tea who loves girls). Sooner or later, to keep (or even gain, for that matter) an audience, Skins is going to have to turn someone in that chain around and make a romance happen, but for now they’re establishing build up. Which is smart, as long as the gratification delay isn’t too long.
My biggest complaint with this episode is the parents. They’re awful, yes, but they’re also ridiculously one dimensional. In Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf’s mother is a little like Cadie’s at first, but her deeper issues are very quickly brought to light that make her the kind of parent she is. With two nearly-naked moms and a pervy boyfriend in this episode, we’re going to need some serious parent justification pretty soon.
Also, can we keep the transitions between episodes a little more coherent? Last week, Chris’s life was totally a wreck and this week he’s hitting Stan up for drugs without a care in the world. The Tony/Tea drama barely trickles over each week, although this episode had a good little scene. Let’s hope next week we actually get some gratification.
End Note: Where does Tea find all these weirdo lesbians? Is she in a club or something?