‘Skins Pure’: Part 1 review

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The blurry opening shots and ambient soundtrack are soothing and calming, before a harsher, duller reality kicks in. Cassie opens her once bright eyes, but they are now dim with indifference. Much like the beginning of Effy’s two-parter, we begin by watching Cassie go about her daily routine, but unlike Effy, what made Cassie magical isn’t just lying dormant at this point, it seems gone entirely. Her teenage joy and naivety seems drained.

As a result, the opening scenes are even more tragic than usual. Cassie’s opening scenes show a much bleaker life in London than Effy’s did; living in a house of loud, antisocial strangers by night and waitressing at a depressing cafe by day. Having no friends in London is sadly feasible, and so when an offer of friendship comes simultaneously as a realisation that someone is stalking her, it seems like her life is about to become a little more interesting. After all, any company is good company in the city right?

However, it seems to this Cassie, any company is bad company. The old Cassie would’ve befriended a weirdo like Jacob, gone for a drink with her hunky workmate and smoked weed with her flatmates, but this one doesn’t want to know. She’s not only no longer innocent and naive, and in fact, she’s even developed a cynicism and antisocial nature of her own. The underlying theme of being “discovered” runs throughout the episode, but even when opportunities crop up, this Cassie doesn’t believe in them. She doesn’t believe in herself and she doesn’t believe in other’s intentions. She doesn’t even give her grieving father time of day.

As a result of her constant “say no” attitude (Chris would be turning in his grave), the episode feels a lot slower paced than Fire, and a lot more low key and incidental. Nevertheless, it must be said that, thus far, Pure is thoroughly beautiful filmmaking.

Despite her neutral expression and shy posturing, Hannah Murray has a glittering presence in every shot, like an angel over a sea of grey London streets, and the sparse, ethereal music that intertwines each scene is beautiful.

It’s not until the final scene, where Cassie, vodka bottle in hand, decides to give her stalker/photographer Jacob a chance, that we see a hint of old Skins‘ hedonism seep through the tough exterior.

The “purity” of Cassie is what made her one of the most iconic characters in Skins history, and it’s clear that the brutality of the real world has corrupted and defeated her. If that’s the case, this episode is a perfect symbolism of that fact, but only if the second episode offers a payoff.

Aired at 10pm on Monday 15 July on E4.

> Order Series 7 on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy the complete Series 1-6 boxset on Amazon.

Watch the Series 7 trailer…

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