WARNING: This article contains some spoilers.
The newest spin-off of the hit BBC series Doctor Who, Class, has just passed the halfway point of the inaugural series. If you want to look at what I thought about the first two episodes, click here. This article is dedicated to episode 3, ‘Nightvisiting’ and the two-part ‘Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart’ and ‘Brave-ish Heart’. Here is my verdict.
If you have read the previous review, you will know that I praised the initial portrayal of the characters and how, even though they can be seen as stereotypical, they cover different areas of representation. Three episodes down the line and the majority of the characters have had story arcs that have changed them in some way. Charlie comes under fire for his regal viewpoints and his treatment of his enslaved Quill becomes more defined Ram and April grow closer whilst dealing with the latter’s arc involving sharing a heart with the leader of the Shadow Kin and even Matteusz, Charlie’s boyfriend, is showing layers that is normally unusual for a recurring character. That leaves Tanya and, despite taking the spotlight for episode 3, an emotionally-charged narrative that deals with themes of family bereavement and loss, she has been criminally underused for the first half of this season. This is summed up by being the one to supervise the parents thrust into this new world. Other than that, the characters are developing nicely for the final part of the season.
I was slightly critical of the first top episodes for not really knowing what audience they were appealing to, with the tone zipping between dark and mild within a couple of minutes. It felt as though the writing team had got it spot one in episode 3, which dealt with very mature themes but ones that affected adolescents. Whilst some could argue that Tanya’s anger at her father leaving her being the tool to defeat the antagonist was a bit of a deus ex machina, the truth is that those feelings were staring the audience in the face the whole episode. Also, what makes this episode brilliant is how it allowed the characters to deal with grief in their own way, from Ram trying to move on from the murder of his girlfriend to Tanya’s catharsis and eventual reconciliation with her mother.
However, the following episodes reverted to the problems with tone that the opener had and I am going to blame this on the reappearance of the Shadow Kin. The problem with having a race of monsters as the central antagonist is that it is suitable for the main show Doctor Who because it allows writers to not deal with serious issues head on. It would have been much more appropriate having the flesh-eating petals as the main threat as they evoke a certain form of horror that young adult and adult fantasy series have thrived on. As it happened, April defeated the Shadow Kin leader in single combat (really), which felt very forced in order to deal with the petal entities. This was literally a deus ex machina and I felt the series could have done so much better since this is only the first season.
What’s to Come?
A trailer was released just before episode 5 that shows clips from upcoming episodes, such as a martial arts battle in a desert (maybe alien) and a disfigured Quill potentially after having the free-will zapping creature removed from her brain. However the most exciting episode ahead looks to be episode 6, which seems to be Class’s answer to the critically acclaimed Doctor Who episode ‘Midnight’. With the five main adolescents trapped in space and with cracks showing in their relationships, will they all survive? My biggest worry for the coming episode is that Matteusz will die in order to advance Charlie’s development. I have been a big fan of Jordan Renzo’s portrayal and the fact that he is only credited as a recurring character despite being featured in every episode bar one makes me worried that he won’t last the season. The usual trope for LGBT+ couples is that they kill at least one of them off and Class has given Charlie and Matteusz’s relationship a great portrayal so far in how accepting other characters have been and how well the fans have reacted to it. Let’s not spoil it.
What do you make of the most recent episodes of Class?
Comment below what you think about the newest Who spin-off.