After last week’s terrific study in grief, Class picks up on the events which launched BBC Three’s new Doctor Who spin-off last month; that of the Shadow Kin threat and the precarious status of April’s heart.
While we have been following the lives of Quill and the Coal Hill students, the Shadow Kin have been working on a way for their leader Corakinus to fully take control and end his accidental symbiosis with April.
Although their first plan fails, and Corakinus’ retribution is brutal, attempts to anchor April’s heart with the alien actually intensify the connection, forcing physical effects to manifest alongside bouts of mental control.
On top of the de rigueur possessed eyes and an outburst when discussing the retreat to Dunkirk, the foremost sign is the sprouting a pair of scimitars from her hands, which come as a bit of a shock to her troubled Dad (Con O’Neill) who approaches her outside school.
Recently released from prison, and flouting a restraining order, his arrival is unwelcome and serves to drive April further towards Ram. The pair come together in passion, but have cold water poured on their post-coital bliss when April’s mother Jackie (Shannon Murray) finds them together, her understandable trust issues with men writ large through the awkward conversation.
The story also picks up on Quill’s situation, with Pooky Quesnal (The A Word) installed as the new Headmistress, Dorothea, replacing the recently eaten Mr Finch, and clearly knowing far more about the School’s situation than her predecessor. In league with the as yet unseen Governors – and we are guessing a certain I. Chesterton is no longer in post – she dangles a way for Quill to end her enslavement to Charlie.
Interestingly, it is Dorothea who has spotted the invading petal threat, though bonus points to Matteusz for questioning them too, and she was surprisingly compassionate regarding April’s situation, which makes us wonder again at the Governors motives.
‘Co-owner of a Lonely Heart’, and top marks to Patrick Ness for that title, brings a new director. Phillipa Langdale does a great job of moving between the bombastic landscape of the Shadow Kin and the more personal elements of April’s story. The slow menace of the invading, blood-hungry petals is well sold too… in the opening moments we took it for a stylistic motif, before slowly releasing there was more to it.
In a two-parter, as this transpired to be, it is inevitable that there are plenty of balls still in the air at the mid-point. As well as April (and Ram’s) leap to the Shadow Kin home world, we have a prickly moral dilemma on the boil too now that Matteusz, and Quill, have become aware of Charlie’s potentially world-destroying casket of Rhodian souls.
Add to this Charlie being taken to task over his treatment of Quill and we cannot help but wonder if the Charlie/Matteusz relationship might fail due to extra-terrestrial cultural differences? It’s not you, it’s me…
Available from 10am on Saturday 5 November 2016 on BBC iPlayer.
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