Episode 7 – The Metaphysical Engine, or what Quill did

If episode seven of Class proved anything, it is that the new spin-off is remarkable at reaching consistent levels of inconsistency. Even within the duration of a forty five minute episode, the story can go from tedium to edge of your seat drama within a matter of minutes.

It was almost an episode of two halves this week. I found the first half of the story far too slow and I found myself zoning in and out. I couldn’t invest in the three characters. Ballon was introduced too quickly and it was hard to feel anything for him in the early stages. Even though it was clear to see that he was suffering and wanted freedom, initially I couldn’t care less what happened to him. Some background on his character before we met him would’ve helped. Dorothea is yet to live up the potential she showed in her first appearance as well and she grew to be quite irritating here. Even Miss Quill for the early part of the episode wasn’t her usual self. The episode trundled along slowly for twenty minutes or so and really the first half of the episode was a bit of a waste of time.

Thankfully the second half was a marked improvement on all fronts. The development of the characters was much better. When Quill and Ballon had to fight to determine who would return to Coal Hill, we learned a lot about each of them. Ballon’s motivation to return to see his niece was the first time I felt sorry for him. I liked the scene where he got philosophical about being a soldier and said if you don’t fight for your family then what are you fighting for. It was when the episode really made me sit up and take notice. Everything that had happened previously seemed irrelevant as Quill and Ballon had to decide who would return and who would die. It was a beautifully written and directed scene and was in my opinion, the most touching moment of the series so far. It also showed how manipulative and deceitful Dorothea could be. She essentially fooled the two into believing they’d be rewarded in the end of what was essentially a suicide mission for Ballon. Again, I hope we see more of her character in the finale. We learned a lot about Miss Quill too. Her fierce will to survive and get rid of the Arn demonstrated what a warrior she is. This will hopefully continue into the finale and see her take centre stage while trying to get the freedom and independence she craves.

The pacing of the second half of the episode was much better too. Never once did my eyes deviate from the screen in an action packed twenty minutes. Once Quill returned, the revelation that she was carrying a Quill child was a great way to set up the finale. The episode did a great job of being the penultimate one of the series. It left a lot of intriguing questions unanswered. What will Quill do now without the Arn? How will her pregnancy influence the finale? Who are the mysterious governors? Despite this though, the next time trailer showed the Shadow Kin to be quite prominent in the finale. This is disappointing as I felt they were belittled in earlier episodes and shown up to be of very little threat. I hope they play just a small part and the focus is on Quill, Dorothea and the governors.

Episode seven was a good way to set up the finale despite the slow start. Katherine Kelly delivered her best performance of the series as Quill and I hope she takes centre stage in next week’s finale.

Episode Rating: 7/10