Welcome to the first recap for Class, the new* Doctor Who spinoff. Why are we recapping Class? Well: 1. The show is set at Coal Hill Academy, meaning it “stars” actual YAs, and 2. Patrick Ness, an FYA fave author, is a showrunner. Ergo: 1+2 = it’s quite on brand. And while the Doctor Who recaps have gone on indefinite hiatus—real talk: I need to actually enjoy the show again** before I recap it—it’ll be fun to chat about this new part of the Whoniverse.
*We know it’s not really new, considering it aired on the BBC last year, but it’s “new” to the U.S.
**The first episode of series 10 had real promise, I will admit. ALSO, I totally spotted The Master (John Simm) in the sneak peek of the new series, and that’s v. exciting.
Class is in Session
A dark school hallway is made all the more sinister when a scared young man runs down it, being chased by shadows. He ducks into a classroom, where he meets a severe blonde woman. A creature rises from the shadows, we hear a scream, and then the hallway overwhelmed by darkness.
Cut to a sunny morning outside Coal Hill Academy. Two young women (Tanya and April) chat about Prom. April decides she’s going to ask Charlie, but he awkwardly shuts her down. In class, their teacher (Miss Quill) is scathing and wholly unsympathetic, and shatters Charlie’s phone after he Googles Idris Elba. After school, Charlie makes it clear why he didn’t want to go to Prom with April when he states that he’s going to ask Matteusz. And Ram showcases his football prowess, both for a pretty girl and very stern looking father, but his concentration is shaken when he sees someone’s shadow act strangely.
On her way home, Tanya also seems some strange shadowy activity. She pops into a shop and pauses, thinking it’s just stress. Charlie arrives home, and the vicious teacher from school is waiting at his kitchen table. Charlie questions her about the death of Kevin, a missing student, and she admits that she had a hand in his death. The two chat about her punishment/slavery before she leaves, reminiscing about the previous night and Kevin’s death as she goes.
April stays at school to decorate for the Prom (Is she really the only person on the planning committee?), and Tanya tutors Ram via video chat. While working on a poster, April’s attacked by shadows. At the same time, Ram notices something strange in Tanya’s room, and he watches as Tanya battles with one of the same creatures that killed Kevin. Miss Quill arrives at school in time to see what happened to April, and she’s seriously concerned, especially when a creature emerges from the shadow. She tries to get April to shoot the creature, but Charlie arrives and knocks both she and the gun astray.
Miss Quill explains what the creature is, and that April’s having heart pains due to the fact that she now shares her heart with the Shadow Kin leader, Corakinus. Charlie hesitates to kill the creature, due to April’s situation, and it disappears. Charlie tells April that he and Miss Quill are both aliens, and explains how they both became the last of their kind, thanks to the Shadow Kin, how the two are connected via a creature called an ahn, and how the Doctor rescued them. Suddenly, April has an attack, and reveals that the Corakinus wants something Charlie has. He’ll be back the following night to collect it.
At school the next day, April tells Tanya to be careful with shadows, and when both she and Ram react oddly, she explains everything that happened to her. Later that evening, everyone gets ready for Prom, and head to the school. Everyone dances and has a good, if on-edge, time, until April has another attack. Ram and his girlfriend head out into the hall, but she’s killed by a Shadow Kin. Ram fights back, but it’s an unmatched battle. April tries to get the rest of the students to leave, but they don’t listen to her until the Shadow Kin descend on the gym.
Charlie takes out some of the creatures, but still can’t kill Corakinus thanks to his connection to April. Thankfully, the Doctor arrives in the nick of time. He’s pissed that the Shadow Kin are attacking, and confused as to why they’re doing so. Corakinus tells them he’s there for the Cabinet of Souls, a religious relic of the Rhodian people. He thinks that it can be used as a weapon, but Charlie says it’s empty and useless for anything other than nostalgia.The Doctor drives the Shadow Kin away with light, with a little help from Tanya, and they chase Corakinus into the hallway, where he attempts to abduct April. Ram arrives and drives him back with a chair to the face, before passing out, and the Doctor closes the rift in the hallway.
The Doctor can’t close the rift all the way, however, and so deputizes the kids and Miss Quill to handle all the strange things that will likely happen at Coal Hill in the near future. Back at their respective homes, the kids struggle with the night’s events. And Charlie looks into the Cabinet of Souls, revealing that it’s not actually empty at all.
- The shadow creeping up behind Tanya as Ram watches on the computer is the literal stuff of horror films and nightmares.
- Ram’s girlfriend getting stabbed right in front of him, and then him getting part of his leg chopped off!
Open Your Textbooks
This is the first time the Shadow Kin have shown up in the Whoniverse, I think. They’re brutal, if the story of the Rhodia and Quill is any example, and wickedly hard to kill. I kind of dug their volcanic appearance and their samurai-like features and weapons, but really didn’t appreciate their tendencies toward genocide.
Most Likely/Least Likely to Succeed
Winner: Miss Quill. Regardless of her situation and the reasons she’s in it, her personality is delightfully acerbic. And her prom posters were amazing.
Loser: Ram. Not only did he watch his girlfriend get stabbed through the chest right in front of him, her blood splashing all over himself, but also he lost part of his leg, which doesn’t have the best of implications for his future in football.
Tanya: “And you just made us fail the Bechdel test.”
Miss Quill: “April MacLean—the answer to the question, are spinsters born or made?”
April: “What was that thing?”
Miss Quill: “Shadow Kin, you ludicrous Care Bear. Is this how little you pay attention in class, too?”
Charlie: “Would you believe me if I said I was from another … planet?”
April: “God yeah. You’re weird and don’t know anything about pop culture. You’re either alien or Amish.”
Charlie: “Everything all right?”
Matteusz: “Oh, yeah. My deeply religious parents are very happy that I’m going to dance with a boy. This has been an evening of love and warmth.”
The Doctor: “You’ve heard of me, haven’t you?”
Corakinus: “You are the great destruction of the universe.”
The Doctor: “Yes, but most people just call me the Doctor.”
Miss Quill: “You can’t seriously expect these juveniles to deal with whatever’s gonna come through these tears in space and time.”
Ram: “Through the what?”
April: “It’s like a Hellmouth.”
Tanya: “Or that town in Once Upon a Time.”
Charlie: “Or The Vampire Diaries.”
Ram: “You watch The Vampire Diaries?”
Charlie: “Well, everyone’s very attractive.”
Matteusz: “Yes, it’s true.”
Miss Quill: “[sigh]”
Do Your Homework
- Could Miss Quill be any more amazing?
- Will the Doctor show up again before the series’ end, or was that a one-time thing?
- Will the fact that the Cabinet of Souls isn’t empty come back to haunt Charlie and the gang?
I can’t say that I’m enamoured with the show yet, but it was decently entertaining, and has promise. What did you think? Let’s take it to the comments.