Class continues its ongoing character studies this week as April steps into the spotlight. Is her starring role a full-blooded effort or only half-hearted?
Actually, that intro does a little disservice to this week’s episode of Class. While it’s true that it yet again focuses on a particular member of the cast, that’s only half the story. If anything, Episode 4 is the convergence of Episode 1’s overarching plot and Episode 2/3’s standalone structure. Everything so far ties together into a single thread here at last, and it’s all the better for it.
Predominantly, the episode’s premise surrounds April sharing her heart with Corakinus. Yes, the Shadow Kin are back (as if there was any doubt!) and they’re desperate to sever the connection between them. Symmetry plays a big role in what’s going on and there are some fantastic shots as one side influences the other. Corakinus’ effect on April is powerful, turning her into a frightening and violent force. But it’s not all one-sided: there are a couple of hilariously awkward scenes that display exactly what happens when a teenage girl impacts the mind of an extraterrestrial warlord, too. An intergalactic odd couple if ever there was one.
But what about the other characters? Luckily, there’s a second – if largely unexplored – narrative taking place alongside the Shadow Kin’s. Seeds planted in previous weeks (such as Charlie’s cabinet and Quill’s suspicion of “the Governors”) finally begin to blossom. Meanwhile, there’s been an invasion of sinister flower petals around Coal Hill Academy, a delightfully simple but terrifying idea. How far it will go in the long run remains to be seen, but at face value alone it has plenty of promise. It’s also nice that this episode takes place mainly in and around the school grounds. Sure, there are frequent visits to the Shadow Kin homeworld, but Coal Hill was all but absent from Episode 3, and it’s refreshing to be back.
The heart of the episode (pun fully intended) though is definitely April’s struggle. Sophie Hopkins totally owns the show, playing a whole range of emotions often at the drop of a hat. Her growing relationship with Ram develops naturally too, if a little predictably. Everything culminates in a dramatic confrontation that mixes words with physical tension – again, a nice balance of everything the series has done so far. We end on some shocking twists, and one very special surprise: this is the beginning of a two-parter! Truly, a story of two halves in every sense. Consider this episode the home leg of the match – next week it’s time to take things away to darker territory…
As strong an episode as it is though, Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart isn’t without its niggles. The flower petal plot will clearly have greater significance next time, but a little more build-up this week wouldn’t have gone amiss. Also, Tanya continues to get the short straw, barely getting any genuinely useful screen time at all. But, all things considered, this is April’s story, and from that angle it’s an absolute cracker. The cliffhanger leaves plenty of enticing questions dangling in the air, and the series will never quite be the same again. There’s nowhere to hide from things now.
Patrick Ness and the Class marketing team certainly weren’t lying to us. Prepare yourselves, because war is coming…