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October 7, 2015

'Skins' Season 1, Episode 9 Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Mar 15th 2011 10:00AM
Skins['Skins': 'Tina']

With only one episode left of the season, the MTV version of 'Skins' went where the franchise has never gone before -- the perspective of an adult. Tina (Anastasia Phillips) the teacher had a comparable character in the original series (who also got it on with Chris), but she was never the focus of an episode. Needless to say, interest was high but expectations low for this grown-up POV.

What's interesting is that despite the paradigm shift the Tina episode created (it seems counter-intuitive that a series so blatantly targeted at teens would switch to show an adult's point of view), her story was compelling (if pathetic) enough to reveal what can happen when you don't really grow up. Tina isn't an adolescent, but she's not really an adult, a role model or an authority figure either.

It's difficult not to feel sorry for Tina, even if her decisions are obviously misguided and self-destructive (not to mention illegal and immoral, but we'll leave judgments out of it). It's hard to believe such an attractive woman would have a hard time finding friends her own age or prospective dates, but Tina's date fail with her hunky neighbor was proof that she's not able to sustain a mature adult relationship -- at least not while she's still sleeping with Chris on the side.

As an actor, Phillips did a decent job with the role. She's clearly not an amateur like the teenagers. But her passable performance couldn't save this episode from being a relative bust. All it did was demonstrate that there was more to Tina's life and loneliness -- that her fling with Chris was just one more way her life was depressing and on hold.

It's been hard enough to feel any kinship or interest in some of the high-school-aged protagonists, so shifting to Tina did little to further anyone's arc except for possibly Chris. That's not good news going into next week's season finale, which is named after Eura, Tony's wild-and-mute sister, and someone else at the periphery of our core group of stars.

So what did we learn about the kids this episode? Abbud and Daisy are still having meaningless sex; Michelle still hasn't forgiven Tony for hooking up with Tea; Tea has no problems getting off with other girls; Stan pulls fire alarms when he wants to avoid a test; Chris thinks it's funny to turn in sexually explicit homework; and Cadie verbally slays Tony with her explanation of why she can't hate him any more than she could hate any natural disaster. Ouch. And meh, because none of this is particularly compelling news, particularly for a penultimate episode.

At this point, with viewership hovering just over the million mark and ad dollars limited to Red Bull, house ads and movie studios, it's hard to say whether there will be another season of the much-hyped series. After next week, this adaptation from across the pond could go down as a failed experiment or could be granted a reprieve to finish out the two-season formula the creators established in the U.K.

If MTV green-lights the show for a second season, I'll keep fingers crossed that the stories get tighter and the acting better. But if the series is going to end next week, let's hope that it at least goes out on a high note rather than suffer from the continued inconsistency that has plagued the series to date.

What did you think of the Tina-episode stunt? What do you hope will happen in next week's season finale?

'Skins' airs on Mondays at 10PM on MTV

Want to know which songs were featured in this week's episode? Watch the music recap here:

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