‘Skins’: Series 5 Episode 4 review

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The character of Liv (Laya Lewis) had been a bit of a mystery up until last week, when we saw a glimpse of this promiscuous easy going girl who would claim to have morals but was alien to the concept of self control, hence sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. It wasn’t a great first impression of the character, admittedly.

This week, Liv has a chance to win us round with her centric episode, so we see Liv sleep with her best friend Mini’s boyfriend Nick again, but we then see that she’s not too happy about it. She returns to a house where a mother (guest star Jaye Griffiths) lectures but doesn’t comfort her daughter, and to a little sister who feels Liv has betrayed her. Liv is simply a girl who wants to get away from her messed up life.

And get away she does. As Mini turns up at Liv’s free house with the entire group, attempting to regain control and form a big group of friends, Liv would evidently rather be anywhere else. Escaping to visit her jailed sister (at a location that Being Human fans will recognise instantly), it’s soon clear that the one person Liv looks up to is behind bars. It’s an interesting concept, but one that is not fully explored in this episode.

After the initial group scenes – the kind of Skins ensemble moments that some viewers have missed so far this series – the main focus in Episode 4 becomes Liv’s encounter with the mysterious Matty (Sebastian De Souza) and their surreal drug-induced adventures together. Above the law and daring, yet cryptic and secretive, Matty is exactly what Liv wants. Although the relationship quickly turns sexual, it’s clear that this is incidental; Liv just wants a new start, a partner in crime. Despite some rehashed ideas from previous series, the results of this partnership are entertaining and a little bit beautiful nonetheless.

Although it’s never fully explained what it is Liv wants to get away from, touching on many aspects of her life but none in any real detail, this episode is nevertheless classic Skins. Liv consumes more vodka than is humanly possible, on two occasions, and genuinely believes this is how she can prove her love and friendship. As with so many of the show’s characters, love and family are alien concepts to Liv – all she knows is the hedonistic lifestyle of sex, drugs and alcohol. Lots of alcohol.

While it’s not exactly the most logically written episode of Series 5 (a shock twist seems a tad improbable, although gets away with it by being a genuine surprise), Liv’s story encompasses everything that Skins stands for and is actually the most involving episode of the series so far as a result. Where this seemingly doomed group can go from here is unsure, but it’s certain by the manic preview of next week’s episode, focusing on Nick (Sean Teale), that they are indeed going places… places that they almost certainly shouldn’t go.

Airs at 10pm on Thursday 17th February 2011 on E4.

> Order the Series 5 DVD on Amazon.