Episode 3 of the gradually improving fifth series sees Skins take a massive and unexpected leap from good to great, revolving around tall, slim, blonde bimbo Mini, the Generation 3 cast’s token bitch. For an idea of Mini, think Michelle meets Katie, with a sprinkle of Abigail if anyone can remember that far back.
The show opens with Mini (Freya Mavor) ruling the roost as usual, planning the college fashion show. When Grace’s designs are not up to her standards, she makes Grace an outsider at a click of her fingers. However, Mini’s confidence and control doesn’t reign over her boyfriend Nick’s privates. ‘Jack the lad’ Nick wants to consummate their teenage dream romance, unaware that his girlfriend Mini is a virgin.
The episode provides a touching account of a supposedly confident girl’s fear of her first time – something that, if it goes wrong, could ruin her status. Peer pressure couldn’t be better represented here. Everyone in her life who fits her social requirements has sexual experience and she can’t even turn to her disillusioned and promiscuous mother (guest star Clare Grogan) for advice.
It turns out that laid-back Liv is in fact more sexually experienced, while ‘ruler of the roost’ Mini just wants to be loved – something that it would seem Nick is not so bothered about.
After Mini reveals, in an uncomfortable intimate scene, that she has yet to have sex and is not ready to lose her virginity yet, true to form, she is now the outsider, and risks losing everything. Her vanity seems to be the only thing she has left, and her desperate actions to keep herself popular – and, more poignantly, thin – are surprisingly moving.
Liv proves herself until the last moment when, in typical Skins style, she oversteps the line with her best friend’s boyfriend. Inevitably Mini finds out – but, in a desperate urge to stay popular, pretends it didn’t happen and forces herself to have sex with Nick. This results in another unexpectedly touching scene and the first time that a teen sex scene has been truly and uncomfortably represented on the show. It’s the perfect example of the real, gritty, awkward sexual realities that the show has been accused of shying away from.
With an amusing cameo from Kelly Brook, an episode packed with topical and revealing teen drama and a bittersweet, almost disturbing final scene, Series 5 is going from strength to strength. Next week, the relatively-unseen Liv gets an episode, which will hopefully, as Episode 2 did with Rich, open the door on another stranger.
Airs at 10pm on Thursday 10th February 2011 on E4.