Sunday, November 13, 2016

Class, Season One, Episode Five: Brave-ish Heart

This week, our merry band of students is facing two threats.  Last week, April and Ram jumped through a portal and ended up in the Underneath - the Shadowkin home world. On earth, flesh eating plants are busy consuming flesh at an alarming rate and will soon be too many to handle.  Quill has been promised that she can have the device from her brain which makes her a slave to Charlie removed, if she will just get Charlie to use the cabinet of souls as a weapon to defeat the petal creatures.

I really think that this episode of Class the writers really lost their way. On one hand, it's clear that there's a desire for Class to be glorious cheese and on the other serious in its treatment.  This week they gave up on the self aware parodying of various shows in this genre and gave up on the cheese and instead we got this awkward hybrid of seriousness and comedy that really just fell flat for me. Not even Quill could save this episode, so that's saying something. 

Even though this is a two-part episode, it still felt incredibly rushed for me. Perhaps it's because April's magical powers came out of seemingly nowhere.  There was also no real big build up to the final confrontation with Corakinus.  I understand why Huw ended up in the Underneath however his presence along with that of Varun helped to take the urgency out of the battle, even though I love the way that Varun stands by Ram. Also can we get a cheer for parents who just don't suddenly disappear on YA shows when the world is falling apart?

I know that from the moment April landed on the Underneath that it was predetermined that she would fight Corakinus and defeat him but the start and stop motion of the action to simply draw out unnecessary dialogue made the fight scene seem to last forever. Am I really supposed to believe that Corakinus would wait patiently for April to work out her issues with her father when his very life is at stake?  Then there's the issue of exactly how easily Corakinus was defeated. He's supposed to be this terrifying warrior who is guilty of genocide and yet somehow April managed to just defeat him with a few well placed kicks and a few swings of her weapon. If that were not enough, April and Ram are supposed to believe that they are stuck on the Underneath and that they might die in battle but they take time out to discuss their relationship? Really?  Facing death is when you decide to discuss whether it was a quick shag or if you really care about each other?

On earth, while April is busy doing battle with the Shadowkin, Charlie is faced with a huge dilemma. Dorothea holds Matteusz at gun point, threatening to kill him if Charlie doesn't use the cabinet of souls to defeat the flesh eating petals.  Either way, Charlie feels that no matter what he does he will ultimately lose.  The cabinet represents hope for him that one day his people can return and rebuild and Matteusz represents love, family and a new beginning.  

Charlie begins the invocation and Quill gets more and more excited with each passing word. She wants to see the weapon used to take out the Shadowkin. Quill wants vengeance against the Shadowkin for killing her people and if the petals happen to be destroyed along the way, so much the better. Fortunately for Charlie, when Dorothea lets down her guard, Matteusz is able to knock her down and disarm her.  Matteusz throw the gun out saying that he hates them, reminding me very much of The Doctor. This still leaves them with the problem of the petals however. 

When April defeats Corakinus she becomes the new king.  The first thing she does with her new powers is to order them to come to earth and take out the petals.  This conveniently happens before Charlie can use the weapon. April then orders them to return home and in the process destroy the path to earth so that they cannot return.  Corakinus responds but cutting the new connection he created and this eliminates all of April's newfound powers. Fortunately for April's mom, the loss of April's new powers don't mean the loss of her new found ability to walk. Yes, this is still ableist.

Later, a pissed off Quill takes out her rage about not getting vengeance on what she believes to be Dorothea's car.  As it turns out, Quill chose the wrong car. For her part, Dorothea is completely calm because it seems that she predicted that Quill would try to use the weapon for her own ends and even predicted that April would come through and save the planet.  Who are these mysterious Governors that she works for? At any rate, Dorothea is pleased with the degree to which Quill kept her part of the bargain and instructs her to come by on Monday to have the device removed from her head. 

As much as I wasn't a fan of this episode, there's so much to love about Class.  Charlie and Quill being the last of their people evokes the pain of the Doctor in so many ways.  I can identity easily with both Charlie and Quill's positions on the Soul of Cabinets. It's easy to understand why Quill would want vengeance because everyone she loves is dead.  In terms of Charlie, he just wants to hope that all of this can be undone.  It makes the conflict between these two fascinating.

I want to take a moment to talk about the fact that Class decided to delve briefly into Sikh beliefs. This is a huge moment and something the writers need to be commended for.  I absolutely believe that they are committed to a true inclusive cast and story lines and this makes Class so incredibly unique. Even in an episode that clearly wasn't the greatest, they still managed to pull off some awesome in the most unexpected ways. 

I really could do with the relationship angst between Ram and April.  I suppose this is what happens when you have teenagers and sex but for me, it all feels like a massive distraction when we know that each week, they are going to have some horrible alien invasion to take care of.

I really like the way that April ended things with Huw.  He may want a relationship with his wife and daughter but she's right when she said that he lost that right when he tried to kill them.  I like that she took back her power and stayed true to who I believe the character to be.