Skins Review: "Chris" (Episode 1.03)

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<em>Skins</em> Review: "Chris" (Episode 1.03)

Well, the episode everyone was worried about finally arrived. The story begins with the lovable pill-popper Chris waking up with some serious morning wood due to taking a few too many “performance enhancing drugs.” So serious in fact that he accidentally pisses onto his own face.

After discovering that his mother has deserted him leaving behind an empty house and $1,000 in cash, Chris does what any fun-loving irresponsible teen would do; he throws a raging party. Like Tea, the focus of last week’s episode, Chris is one of the more interesting characters in the show. Despite plenty of less-than-perfect qualities and bad habits, he consistently wins over our affection.
Unfortunately for Chris, he leads a deeply saddening life, although, he does his damndest to prevent it from showing. The morning after the big party, Daisy asks about his mother’s whereabouts. He tells her quite simply that he doesn’t know where she is, and immediately laughs it off.

The truth seems to really hit him when he goes up stairs to find that his mother has taken everything from her bedroom drawers. “What’d you do mom?” he asks, staring into the empty wardrobe. We witness a heartbreaking moment immediately followed by a hilarious one when Chris curls up in the wardrobe, thoroughly overwhelmed by his situation, at which point it falls over as his friends witness. “I was just checking which stuff my mom took with her,” he says in his defense.

“Well, what’d she take?” Tony asks.

“Oh, you know. Everything,” Chris says nonchalantly, but it’s obvious he’s hiding a pain that anyone who has been abandoned can understand, whether it be by a parent, a friend or a lover.

Hiding pain can be difficult, though, and Chris turns to drugs to cope. After a couple of days of binging on pills, he wakes up from his drug-induced haze to find his house destroyed and his life in tatters. A bum sleeping in his bathtub locks Chris out of his house, leaving him stranded and literally naked. Daisy, the only friend who seems to realize the gravity of Chris’s situation, takes him to the house of his estranged father.

He’s not warmly received (his step-mother awkwardly humoring him, his father refusing to see him), and before long we understand why. Chris runs to a graveyard with Daisy trailing behind. There, he tells her the story of the happiest day of his life—a story about his brother Peter. As they stand up to leave, we realize where they are. The abandoned teen takes the flowers left by his mother from Peter’s grave, and replaces them with a spliff. Chris may be misguided, but he’s full of heart.

“Chris” may have been a better story than last week’s episode, but didn’t really give the audience anything they hadn’t seen before. The episode plays out a lot like Chris’s introductory chapter in the original British version of the show, but unlike the premiere episode of MTV’s Skins, this rehash doesn’t feel like a rehash.

It definitely helps that Chris is probably the most compelling male character in the cast, and Jesse Carere has found a way to portray the character that not only remains true to the spirit of the part, but allows his interpretation to stand on its own instead of slipping into a cheap knockoff of the original. His performances provides something to look forward to as the show progresses.