Verdict: 4 / 5
In this, the third outing of this latest Doctor Who spin-off, Class, we get a wonderful case study of what makes these characters tick.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s been two years since Tanya’s father passed away, and the emotional scars have barely healed. Yet a breach in the space-time rift at the Coal Hill Academy leads to a strange visitation for her at home – her father, who appears and claims that he’s there to take away her pain. However, the long organic tube from his back leading all the way to the rift is a pretty clear indication that there’s a lot more happening than meets the eye. Worse, Tanya’s father isn’t the only deceased person to make an appearance. Miss Quill is visited by her dead sister, Ram is visited by the girlfriend who died in front of him… and then there are thousands more.
While Charlie welcomes Matteusz into his household as both a guest and lover, Tanya and Quill are tempted by the offer of being with their lost loved ones. It’s up to Ram and April to try to understand what’s happening and rescue their team. However, a shocking decision from Tanya may be the turning point for them all…
Once again leaning more on the side of Torchwood, all of the leads get a moment to shine. Charlie is looking increasingly like he’s the least-prepared of all the team to handle the problems they face, while Quill continues to kick ass and take names with as much snarkiness as possible. Ram’s problems take a bit of a back seat after the previous episode focused on him so much, allowing April to be seen as less of a damsel in distress and more as a genuine survivor in life.
For Vivian Oparah as Tanya, this is the chance for both herself and her character to shine, and they do, ever so brightly.
The opening minutes of this show is enough to move a viewer to tears. This isn’t a cheap, schmaltzy, melodramatic gimmick but a display of love and loss which feels genuine, allowing Tanya’s heartbreak over the loss of her father to strike an emotional chord. Since the entire rest of the episode rides on this pivotal moment, so much of this relies on Oparah’s performance and the result is truly outstanding.
While the plot may be formulaic – who seriously trusts aliens taking on the guise of our dearly departed? – it’s to the show’s credit that it’s another wonderful character study. Once again this show continues to hit all the right notes, and it’s rapidly setting new standards for intelligent teen-centric dramas.