Class 1.06: Detained, 1.07: The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did
For a show set in a school, it was always going to be interesting to see how Class would break out of its confines and work within its limitations to create some interesting concepts and this these two episodes have a little bit of fun with structure with both running concurrently.
'Detained' kicks things off with Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly) putting the students in detention in the process giving us a rare chance to see the characters in their most natural setting and also see some new interactions. The smaller scale of the episode works well to explore the characters and give them all moments that are a pleasure to watch.
When an asteroid hits a tear in space it sees them stranded a dark limbo separated from the real world and giving them no hope of rescue meaning they have to work together to find a way home. When panic sets in the stakes are raised and it becomes clear that the asteroid itself has properties that lay everyone's innermost feelings bare. Secrets become common knowledge and will likely change the dynamic of the whole group from this point forward.
The smaller scale works well in really fleshing out the characters and showcases just how good a cast Class has. Vivian Oparah once again turns in a wonderful performance - she's going to be one of Britain's best actresses in the future - but we also get wonderful turns from Jordan Renzo (Matteusz) and Fady Elsayed (Ram). Really good stuff that suffers from a slightly unsatisfactory conclusion.
We don't get to find out what has been going on with Miss Quill all this time until the following episode - 'The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did' - but the wait is worth it. Katherine Kelly's Quill is one of Class's many highlights and putting her centre stage is a rewarding experience.
Both beginning and ending with the same events as the previous episode, it's that meat in the middle that gives us a VERY different experience - using the pocket-sized Metaphysical Engine (think even more sketchy TARDIS), Miss Quill travels to a very Alien world and for the first time since Mr Capaldi showed up in the opener this really feels like it belongs in the same universe as the Daleks, Gallifrey and the TARDIS. That isn't just because we get a few Whovian references thrown in for good measure.
Again, the conclusion disappoints slightly - this has been a running issue with Class from the start - promising setups that falter at the last, but that's such a problem when the rest of each episode has been so strong.
All in all these two episodes really help to set us up for the finale next week - over the last seven weeks we've gotten to know the students of Coal Hill well and whatever happens next looks set to be really exciting...