‘Class’ Episode 5 review: ‘Brave-ish Heart’ was a tour de force for April

With a title that might be a reference to Tegan, but is more likely a nod to a Mel Gibson movie, ‘Brave-ish Heart’ concludes last week’s story.

Taking the fight to Corakinus, before he could wreak havoc on Earth, April (Sophie Hopkins) and Ram (Fady Elsayed) embarked on a desperate mission to the dark, volcanic planet of the Shadow Kin – earnestly fathoming out the dynamics of their embryonic relationship, plus dropping a few brief snippets of Sikhsim, amid the inhospitable environment.

Thanks to her heartbeat connection, we discovered more about the Shadow Kin’s world, the Underneath, and their violent culture which sprang from an evolutionary cul-de-sac and causes them to hold a grudge against the universe at large.

At Coal Hill, Dorothea (Pooky Quesnel), revealed the substance of the Governors’ offer to Quill (Katherine Kelly); a promise to free her from Charlie’s enslavement in exchange for persuading him to use deploy his Rhodian “cabinet of souls” weapon to save the planet from its deadly petal infestation.

Class 1 4 Dorothea (POOKY QUESNEL)

Once Quill had digested the information, understandably a shock, she instead tried to convince Charlie (Greg Austin) to wield the cabinet’s power against the Shadow Kin and enact a terrible revenge for the destruction of both of their peoples.

Unsure of the right path, Charlie’s crisis of confidence was in no way aided by his armed Headmistress threatening to shoot Matteusz (Jordan Renzo) as an inducement to decide her way. A pragmatist at heart, frankly, Dorothea kicks ass – although her offhand comments regarding governments being overly preoccupied with people’s rights seem especially resonant in the light of recent world events.

In the end, after besting Corakinus but taking on board some fatherly advice, April’s new found regal status granted her the power to destroy the voracious petals (and top marks for the gruesome shock factor of them swamping people whole), so Charlie was spared his monstrous decision for now.

To our mind this was a good thing too as, notwithstanding the genocide, the Chatteusz relationship seemed to strengthen against the challenge and, despite not being one of the core cast, for us Renzo’s Matteusz is an essential part of the show’s makeup.

Class 1 4 April (SOPHIE HOPKINS)

While April was eventually stripped of her “superpowers”, and let’s not think too hard about this bit, she was left dealing with the consequences of her actions as, using her Shadow Kin abilities, she rashly decided to fix her mother’s post-crash physical disability.

This surprised us a lot, and if we are honest makes us feel rather uncomfortable – as fixing a disability, however it was gained, seems controversial territory. We will be interested to see where this particular element of the story is headed!

Appearing rather more fantastical than earlier instalments, ‘Brave-ish Heart’ was a tour de force for Sophie Hopkins, who continues to impress as the surprisingly feisty and emphatically not fragile April, although we can’t help but feel we never really saw enough of April’s original ‘safe, delicate, nice girl’ character for this transformation to have much impact as an arc.

We are over the halfway point now and can say we are consistently entertained by Class – that said, a lighter, less frenetic episode and a chance to connect with these characters in a more grounded story would not go amiss!


Available from 10am on Saturday 12 November 2016 on BBC iPlayer.

Order Season 1 on DVD on Amazon here.

Order Season 1 on Blu-ray on Amazon here.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

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  • Ed Prior

    Yeah, the fixing of her mum’s disability seems like a really odd choice and just came out of nowhere. I really liked the first few episodes of Class, but recently I feel like it’s maybe a bit too heavy-handed with some of the points it’s trying to make and a lot of the character development feels a bit rushed. It also seems odd the way the Shadowkin threat seems to have been so thoroughly beaten back halfway through the series. Would have expected this to be something they slowly built up to for the final.

    One thing I am curious about is that Ian Chesterton was obviously a governor of the school at one point, but it seems like the old governors have been replaced from what was said in this episode. I wonder if that will be addressed further at any point.

    • Chris Lawson

      The healing thing was very odd – not least because we hadn’t been given any suggestion up until then that the Shadowkin had the power to heal others, and since all of April’s powers came from King Tall Dark and Angry I had expected her powers to be limited to stolen copies of his powers (opening portals and summoning magical scimitars)

      That said, this was a very enjoyable episode and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

  • Dr. Moo at christmas

    Yet another excellent episode. Class has been utterly magnificent every step of the way and this episode was no exception. Here’s to hoping this show sticks around for many years to come! Acting, writing, direction, music, story, characters, the entire package comes together to create something truly wonderful, best new show of 2016 bar none.

    Ignore the haters, they’re just bitter because IT’S NOT TORCHWOOD OR CLARA, OMGHATEHATEHATE – if that’s you then I have three words for you: F*cking grow up!!!