Franky’s feminine transformation this series has transformed her into an infinitely more confident, yet considerably less likeable manifestation of her former self.
The unusual, beautifully vulnerable girl who didn’t believe in herself, who everyone thought was gay, is now something of a diva, boring of the boyfriend she fought so hard for, and turning towards drop dead gorgeous but drop dead idiotic players, resembling everything you hated in popular kids at school.
Franky appears to have taken Grace’s death particularly badly; understandably, as it were her actions that led to the car crash. The guilt drives her into the arms of the nauseatingly cocky Luke from Episode 1, and away from her caring adoptive parents. From being one of the most interesting characters, it’s funny how this newfound stroppiness has left her as one of the more predictable.
Her descendence into Luke’s dark world of violence isn’t easy viewing, and it’s genuinely disturbing how much she seems to initially revel in it. As the world she knew falls apart around her (her friends resent her, her parents can’t understand her rebellious behaviour, she gets expelled from college), it seems to her that she has no option but to run into Luke’s arms.
Just as a counsellor almost attempts to break in, Franky is so terrified of what has almost been revealed that she goes back to Luke, who reveals a nastier side on Franky’s return than we could possibly have imagined, acted to terrifying perfection by Joe Cole. The awesome soundtrack aside, the surprising revelation of Nick’s fondness for Franky is the one thing that keeps this episode from being a depressing black hole.
The final act of the episode, as Franky runs from Luke, talks to Grace, and makes peace with Nick, is beautiful and a total relief from the darkness. It’s the first glimpse of Franky, the woman, as opposed to Franky the little girl.
One of the toughest watches in the history of Skins, this episode is also one of the most rewarding.
Aired at 10pm on Monday 13th February 2012 on E4.
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