Saturday, 29 October 2016
Class 1.3 - Reviewed
BBC 3 has just screened the third episode of Class - Nightvisiting. I have watched it on the i-player service. Don't read any further if you have yet to see it where you are.
The title refers to old folk tales of the spirits of dead loved ones knocking on your window at night, either to act as a warning, or to steal you away. I sat down to watch this episode expecting not to like it - as the idea of aliens using images of dead loved ones as a snare is far from original. It has been a Sci-fi staple for more than half a century. However, I found it to be a particularly creepy episode, that gave us the chance to learn far more about the main characters than we have seen so far. They were introduced brilliantly in the first episode, but only in broad brush strokes. Nightvisiting allowed us to get to know a lot more about them.
Plot-wise, the spotlight was primarily on Tanya. In the pre-credits sequence we got a potted history of her life with her family - including her dead dad Jasper. It's two years to the day since he died - and then he suddenly turns up in her bedroom that night, at the end of a long vegetable tendril. There's no attempt to hide this latter fact. We see these tendrils branching out all over. He claims to have come from a race called the Lankine, who gather souls and reunite them with their loved ones. Miss Quill also gets a visitant - her dead sister - and Ram gets his dead girlfriend. April doesn't get a visitor, nor does Charlie. He's too busy getting it on with his boyfriend, Matteusz, who has been chucked out of his house by his homophobic dad. Charlie tells him that he was never really loved by his parents - as a prince he was just a commodity - so when the Lankin tries to create them it fails. Ram scarpers the minute his dead girlfriend appears, and we get to see people all over the area engulfed by the obscene vegetable matter, as Mary Whitehouse would have been sure to have called it (again).
It's Miss Quill who sees that this is just a parasite, feeding on emotion. She particularly hates it as it has made her sister too nice. Tanya is the primary victim - the one that the creature needs most. She finally gives in to it - but instead of giving it her grief she gives it her hatred, poisoning and weakening it. That's hatred for it looking like her father - not hatred for his memory. Just when it looks like the alien will be vanquished by emotion - dreadful memories suddenly springing to mind of Cybermen having their heads explode thanks to the power of love - Miss Quill steals a bus and drives over the primary Lankine branch. Good old Miss Quill -still the best thing in this new series.
By close of play, Tanya has come to terms with the loss of her father; Charlie has moved the boyfriend in with him; Ram and April have snogged; and Miss Quill has decided that she is getting fed up with being a babysitter and ought to be a warrior again.
Overall, a very enjoyable episode. From the trailer for next week's episode, Coal Hill Academy gets a new headmistress, and the Shadow Kin are back, as we get to see the implications of April sharing Corakinus' heart.