Episode 6 – Detained
Finally after a three week lull, Class returned to form with an interesting and intense episode that challenged the main characters in ways they haven’t been challenged before.
The claustrophobic setting of the classroom was a great way of making the teenagers feel trapped. They could’ve easily been in a big black space of nothingness, but the classroom suspended in what sounded like the void really helped the atmosphere of the story. Charlie’s struggle with being stuck in such a tight space, along with the other characters’ growing anger and frustration at not only their plight, but at one another too, made the situation seem even more desperate. I loved how they were not only fighting the prisoner, but fighting themselves in what turned out to be a petty competition about who was the member of the group who was the most out of his or her depth. Seeing the teenagers battle themselves and let their unassertive personas shine through was a refreshing change to how characters usually react in a crisis. In sci-fi shows, we’re so used to confident, verging on arrogant characters take centre stage and comfortably rise to whatever the challenge is. Here though, everyone was on the back foot for most of the episode, and it felt like a very relatable reaction from everyone to what looked to be an impossible situation. I mentioned last week that Tanya and Charlie hadn’t featured as much as I’d have liked, but here every character had the perfect amount of air time. Charlie using his alien knowledge to wish to kill the prisoner was a clever way of returning home. And the episode ended in true style too, with Miss Quill appearing to no longer be a prisoner of Charlie’s. I really hope the last couple of episodes see Miss Quill turn into the villain because Katherine Kelly is an actress who’s more than capable of portraying nasty and manipulative characters.
The episode wasn’t perfect though. Throughout the series there’s been a bit of a struggle to balance the emotional moments with important action scenes. This was never more apparent than in this episode. When Charlie was murdering the prisoner, the whole episode seemed to just stand still for a few seconds as he told Matteusz that he loved him. That particular line was just so out of place and took some momentum out of what should have been a more epic and dramatic conclusion.
Another thing I’ve mentioned a few times throughout the series is the determination to prove how diverse and politically correct the show is. Viewers aren’t stupid though. There was really no need for Tanya and April’s little argument about race. I know the show is trying to tackle discrimination and I’ve loved how natural Charlie and Matteusz’s relationship has been and how Ram’s dad and Tanya’s mum influenced some of their children’s behaviour earlier on in the series. But Tanya and April arguing about their race just seemed so forced as if it was in there just to say “Look at this show, we can tackle racism too”. It was the same a couple of weeks ago with April’s mum’s disability and it’s forced bits of dialogue like these that are slightly cringeworthy.
I’m not accusing anyone of stealing ideas or anything like that, but the whole concept of the episode was to confess something to get some information or help. This felt a lot like Heaven Sent. With the main characters trapped as well it felt a bit like a budget version of series nine’s penultimate episode.
This is comfortably the best episode of Class since the first couple were released. My criticisms were really only nitpicks and I did enjoy the episode a lot more than the last three. The pacing of the episode was much better and we learned a lot more about all of the characters. With Miss Quill seemingly free of protecting Charlie and a new, mysterious head teacher at Coal Hill, the last two episodes look to have been set up perfectly to round of a finally improving debut series.
Episode Rating: 8/10