Sunday, November 6, 2016

Class, Season One, Episode Four: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart

Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart marks the halfway point of season one.  It is also the first of a two-part episode.  At this point, I think that we are very much still learning about who the characters are and what kind of relationship they have with each other. This makes Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart a problem.  It moves far too fast and drives the narrative along like a speeding bullet. Unlike American shows which typically run longer, Class doesn't have a choice but to keep its story telling tight. If this were a more established show like it's parent show Doctor Who, it wouldn't be a problem because we understand the basic premise of that world and the Doctor always provides continuity.

Last week we learned that April survived an attempt by her father to kill her and this week, Huw shows up after being released from prison.  It seems that despite a court order that he is to have no contact with his family, Huw desperately wants to reconnect.  His timing however couldn't be worse because Corakinus has decided that he no longer wants to share a heart with a teenage girl. I'm actually quite surprised by Class's quick return to the Shadowkin and the issue of April's heart.

Corakinus's first attempt to sever his connection with April ends up strengthening the bond between the two of them.  Talk about a backfire.  The effect on April is almost immediate.  In class, she starts to talk about soldiers and how ridiculous it is that they should feel any kind of fear and that those who do deserve to die.  This is far out of character for the April we have gotten to know thus far.  The only one to really notice what is going on is Ram

April is resistant to telling anyone about her struggle but finally breaks down and tells Ram. The budding relationship between April and Ram which class started last week, is culminated in this episode when the two end up sleeping together.  Corakinus then feels his own groove and starts flashing mating eyes.  When he's gotten his however, he's not content because he wants to cuddle. This is played for comedy and it actually works quite well.

The story line with the other characters is really quite separate this episode. Matteusz is very curious about Charlie's culture and so Charlie opens the cabinet of souls and explains that though it's a weapon, there's a legend about a hero bringing everyone who has died back to life. For Charlie, this represent hope, though Matteusz clearly does not believe that it's worth the risk to keep the cabinet. What they don't know is that Quill heard the entire conversation and as a result, knows that Charlie lied to her. This is going to have repercussions. At this point however, Charlie is so sure of his control of Quill that he has no problem ordering her to attend a parent/teacher conference so that he can learn about his progress.  He gives little thought to how Quill feels and absolutely feels justified in his treatment of her, despite Matteusz and Tanya calling him out for keeping Quill as a slave.

The Shadowkin aren't the only threat in this episode.  Tree blossoms are appearing out of season and feasting on the blood of animals.  The first and only person to really notice is the new head teacher Dorothea. Unlike her predecessor, Dorothea is in the know as far as the supernatural and its connection with the school.  After noticing that the blossoms seem to double after being fed a little bit of her blood, Dorothea immediately recognizes the threat. If something isn't done, the blossoms will suffocate people as they cover the world in their desire to feed.  To deal with this, Dorothea reaches out to Quill and offers her something she thought she'd never have again - her freedom.  The tree blossoms didn't feature largely in this episode but I very much get the feeling that they'll have a huge role in episode five.

The main story comes to a head this week when Corakinus makes another attempt to draw April in so that he can end the connection between them.  It means that he will suffer in pain though he will be healed by his underling.  Corakinus begins the process and April feels the pull. This of course is when Huw decides to make another appearance. An enraged April confronts her father and when she calls out, "you cannot have my heart", it's a warning to both her father and Corakinus.  Swords appear in her hands as a horrified Jackie, Ram, Charlie, and Tanya look on.  Ram begs April not to do this, pointing out that this is not like her.  When Corakinus kills his underling it increases the pressure on April to kill her father.  She manages to overcome the desire to kill and then channels that power into healing her mother.  That's right, it's only episode four and the Class writers decided to cure 1/2 of its disabled cast.  This is supposedly justified by April wanting to take back power from her father and to set things right.

I don't care what motivations and explanations the writers offer for this one.  Deciding to cure a disabled character is bullshit and it's ableist as fuck. Look the ability to heal is great, especially given that the cast of Class are probably going to continue to go up against aliens but there's a huge difference between that and making Jackie able bodied again.  When you combine this with the fact that Ram seems to have totally adjusted to his prosthetic, Class has done a shit job with its treatment of disability.

Thanks to the work of his underling, Corakinus now knows exactly where April is and announces that his people are going to war against humanity. Ummm didn't he learn that the earth is protected when he met the Doctor?
Image result for doctor who this planet is protected

At any rate, aware of the danger that Corakinus presents, April opens up the crack in space and time and leaps through to the Shadowkins home world. She is quickly followed by Ram. Yeah, I'm secretly hoping that the Doctor shows up next week to pull their behinds out of the fire.

Earlier in the episode, April worries that she is going to die because that is how their interactions with aliens have worked so far.  Ending Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart with Ram and April on the Shadowkin homeworld is clearly about having the viewers worrying about whether they will survive. The problem with this strategy is that though we've gotten to know that characters a little bit, Ram and April don't exactly inspire a connection and Class doesn't give you the sense that anyone can die, like The Walking Dead or even Game of Thrones. Despite the supernatural location, they don't feel in any real peril to me and that's a problem.