Wednesday 28 December 2022

Class 03: Nightvisiting

In which a sentient plant-like lifeform emerges from a tear in Space / Time at Coal Hill School. This appears as a mass of tendrils, which can take on the form of people through a psychic link with its intended victims. Tanya is visited by her father Jasper - on the second anniversary of his death. Convinced she must be hallucinating, the figure attempts to make physical contact with her. He appears to have memories which only her father should possess.
Elsewhere, Miss Quill is visited by the same plant-form, which takes on the appearance of her sister. She tries to encourage her to accept a weapon - claiming that she can bypass the block which prevents her using guns.
Ram is on a video call with April when he is visited by Rachel - his Prom date who had been killed by the Shadow Kin.
April and Ram each run from their homes and meet up outside. They see people covered in green slime lying in the street and in nearby shops - victims of the tendrils.

Miss Quill knows her sister to be an imposter as she is too nice - she and her sister always hated each other. The creature reveals itself to be the Lankin - a parasite which feeds on the grief of its victims by appearing as someone they have lost, before absorbing them completely.
Unable to attack it, Quill fetches Charlie who has been in bed upstairs with Matteusz. Charlie stabs the creature with a screwdriver.
Ram and April discover a huge network of tendrils stretching across the neighbourhood. It is spreading across the whole of London. They spot one particular tendril, thicker than the rest, leading in through Tanya's window and head inside to save her.
Tanya hated her abusive father, and instead of feeding it the grief it desires, she poisons it with her anger. This weakens the Lankin. Miss Quill steals a double-decker bus and smashes through the main tendril leading into Tanya's home. The Lankin are forced to withdraw into the school and retreat through the Space / Time rift.
Charlie tells Miss Quill that Matteusz will be moving in with them, after being turfed out by his homophobic parents.

Nightvisiting was written by Patrick Ness, and was first broadcast on BBC 3 on 29th October 2016.
This episode allows for some character development, as we discover various things about the families of some of the regulars. Miss Quill had a sister with whom she shared a love-hate relationship (they loved to hate each other). April confides in Ram the circumstances that led to her mother being confined to a wheelchair. Her father had attempted to commit suicide by deliberately crashing his car - with his wife and daughter still in it. Matteusz has a homophobic family, who throw him out of the house due to his sexuality. He, meanwhile, sees his relationship with Charlie move up a level and they go to bed together. The main focus of the episode is on the one character who has been underused so far - Tanya. We learn about her dead father and about her mother and three brothers, and it is her attitude towards her father which leads towards the defeat of the Lankin. Her hatred quite literally poisons it.

The guest cast is a small one. Playing Jasper - Tanya's father - is Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.
Anastasia Hille plays Orla'ath, sister of Miss Quill. It transpires that Quill develop in nests, and sibling rivalry is encouraged in a "survival of the fittest" sort of way. 
Tanya's mother, Vivien, is played by Natasha Gordon. Anna Shaffer reprises Ram's deceased girlfriend Rachel.
Critics at the time claimed this to be the best of the series so far, thanks to scenes such as that between Tanya and her "father", and the development of the relationships between Charlie and Matteusz, and April and Ram.

Overall, an interesting little episode, though not terribly original. Ghosts pretending to be loved ones, concealing dangerous motives, is an old idea.
Things you might like to know:
  • Tanya has a letter from Coal Hill School giving its address as Foreman Street, Shoreditch. I.M. Foreman was the name of the junkyard proprietor on whose premises the TARDIS was parked in 1963.
  • The name Lankin came from the song Long Lankin, by contemporary musician Jim Moray. It was an adaptation of a 15th Century Scottish ballad called Lamkin.
  • Moray also wrote a piece called Nightvisitor, which was included in the episode. It backs a flashback scene involving Tanya's father, and April plays a section on her violin. Moray released it as a single on the day this episode first aired.

No comments:

Post a Comment