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Skins Review: "Abbud" (Episode 1.06)

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<em>Skins</em> Review: "Abbud" (Episode 1.06)

Skins has managed to fall yet another rung on the ladder, possibly to the very last. This week’s episode was absolutely the worst so far.

To put it simply, the episode was extremely boring. Nothing happened.

Nothing.

This week’s episode was supposed to be focused on Abbud, but we don’t really know much more about the character than we did before. Instead of intense character development, which is to be expected when an episode is named after a character, all we got was a few humorless jokes and a senseless plot involving a not-so-mysterious figure in the woods.

The worst thing about this week’s terrible episode was that it had the potential to be so great. In the U.K. version of the series, Abbud’s parallel Anwar is best friends with a homosexual boy named Maxxie. This presented all sorts of interesting situations for the two friends, considering Anwar is straight, particularly when Anwar expresses his discomfort with his friend’s sexual orientation. However, in the U.S. incarnation, Maxxie has been replaced with a lesbian character named Tea, one of the only brilliant changes the American series has instated. Abbud and Tea are best friends, just as Anwar and Maxxie were, but the difference is Abbud wants to be more than friends.

The relationship between Abbud and Tea should have been the focal point of the episode. The very situation presented an opportunity to create a wonderfully interesting story about love, friendship, sexuality and doomed teenage longing from a perspective that’s different from what we’ve seen a million times before in countless teen dramas. Unfortunately, the opportunity remained almost completely ignored.

Instead, the episode chose to focus more on an uninteresting plotline rather than fully explore the relationship between the two teens. You’d think the fact that the British version of the episode was titled “Maxxie and Anwar” might indicate how important these two characters are as a unit. However, we only got a few moments that really dug into what Abbud and Tea mean to each other.

Besides a couple of shots of Abbud longingly watching Tea, the first real “interesting” moment between the friends is when he tries to kiss her (which didn’t occur until well over halfway through the episode). I use the word interesting lightly because instead of really delving into the incredibly rich subject matter on the table, Tea simply brushes the action off. However, this could be due to the guilt she feels about her hetero-affair with Tony, but this scene would have felt a lot more in place if it occurred closer to the beginning of the episode, ignoring the boring filler plot and allowing for more exploration of the characters.

Speaking of Tea’s fall from grace, one of the best scenes in the episode occurs when Abbud walks in on Tony and Tea together in the barn. Caught in the act, the two teenagers resemble speechless parents whose child has just walked in on them. Abbud storms out with fury over the betrayal. His conversation with Tea at the top of the climbing pole gets pretty heated and even starts to capture our interest before ultimately being cut short when Abbud falls. Once again, the possibility for a captivating element ends before it even truly begins.

“Abbud” was an extraordinarily disappointing episode considering the potential it had to be one of the series’ best to date. Unfortunately, not even Tea, by far the show’s most interesting character, could save this one. There are only four episodes in the season, and I fear they may not be able to rescue the rapidly drowning series.

Stray Observations
• The scenes between Chris and Tina were cute and entertaining. I look forward to more episodes where Chris is featured prominently. His episode has remained one of the better ones so far.

• “Every man, once or twice in his life, needs to ask himself a question, ‘How much do I want to get high?’” – Despite being an episode practically devoid of any real humor, the scene where the boys resort to eating random mushrooms and licking a toad to get stoned was pretty hysterical.