Wow. What a wild ride that was! Class has been on a rollercoaster of ups and downs over the last two months, but the series definitely goes out with a bang.
The premise of the finale picks up six days after where Detained and The Metaphysical Engine left off. Set to a beautifully haunting musical performance from April, we see the gang’s split in full flow. They’re completely torn apart and the wounds have yet to heal. Meanwhile, a newly free (and pregnant!) Miss Quill is still recovering from her ordeal. But as the song over the montage ends, so must their division. Corakinus is back, and this time he means business. Serious business. He preys on the group while they’re alone and vulnerable in the most terrible ways possible. The only way to stop him for good is to put aside their differences and work together: but are they already too late to save the day?
The grand finale might only be a single parter, but it draws together everything from the series so far. All the dangling plot threads and tropes pop up again in some shape or form. Ram’s terrible luck? Check. April’s connection with Corakinus’ heart? Check. The gratuitous gore? Check. The focus on family and relationships? Check. Even narrative points that have previously been pushed to the forefront, like the Cabinet of Souls, are used again – and this time there’s no get-out alternatives. It’s a (literally) explosive finish that wraps things up in a nice neat bow, while posing a few more questions all at the same time.
United We Stand
Hands down, the best thing about the episode (and arguably the series) is how strong the acting is. After last week was almost exclusively adult-led, the kids are back in town – and they more than prove their worth. This is probably the best they’ve ever been, bowing out with a solid showing all round. The characters are already in a broken state at the start, and they’re visibly put through an awful lot more pain by the end. Their emotions and their torment build across the episode, culminating with a dramatic climax in the school hall. Even Tanya, who has notably been the weakest link throughout the series, finally gets her moment to shine as she develops a deeper (and darker) personality. Katherine Kelly does not disappoint either, now a far more ruthless and unhinged Miss Quill. Together, the cast forms a definitive and tight-knit unit of powerhouse performance.
Similarly, the Shadow Kin receive their strongest outing to date. They made a great impression in the debut episode, but their threat was somewhat diminished by the events of Episodes 4 and 5. Now, Corakinus himself is more imposing than ever, and his evil sights are set on a wider scale than before. For the show’s most recurring and iconic villain, the Shadow Kin certainly manage to convince as the ‘big bad’. Their story is as integral to the show as any other, and they too have a part to play in the narrative’s ultimate resolution. They might not quite be what the Daleks are to Doctor Who, but they’re a fearsome foe all the same.
For once, there isn’t really a lot to say on the negative side of things. Considering how many things the episode has to juggle – and all within 45 minutes – it’s impressive just how cohesive and well-paced it is. Not everything gets quite as much attention as it should, but by no means does anything go ignored. In fact, quite the opposite. There’s more here than you might ever have expected, with shocks and twists galore. Patrick Ness must have had a field day writing all the sudden surprises into this script.
Class had a bit of a rocky start and took some time to truly find its feet, but this episode will surely go down as a moment when it finally, unquestionably stands tall. There’s plenty of action, plenty of drama, and plenty of pay-off for those who have stuck with it since the beginning. And what’s more, there’s plenty of teases that tie the spin-off even further into its parent show. As the credits rolled, we were definitely left to wonder: just how much will Class impact upon Doctor Who Series 10?
Time will tell. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Class, it’s that time never forgets…