Following a pretty solid start, Class now faces the challenge of being a monster of the week series that stays interesting. While this second episode doesn’t hit the same high as the pilot, it does seem that the series has a grasp about the parts that really do work. For this last episode, the goal is to answer the most lingering question I had from the start: how are these kids properly connected enough to care and make the hook of the show work? It turns out the answer to that question is “They aren’t.”
Picking up just a few days after the pilot, Ram has tried to pick up his life where he left off following the events of prom. The others have tried to reach out to him, but he’s disregarded all attempts at contact. Because he hasn’t gotten used to his new leg, and he hasn’t told anyone about it, his football performance has fallen apart. That gets the ire of one of his coaches, Dawson and the concern of his father. Both chalk it up to grief, but Ram doesn’t want to talk to his father about any of it, and his coach doesn’t quite care. Later on in the locker room, one of the other coaches tries confronting Dawson, but is attacked by a lizard looking creature. Ram sees the aftermath, but after trying to find help, the carnage has completely been cleaned up.
As for the others, they’re far more concerned about Ram, though Charlie is also mystified that the school seems perfectly content to just move forward with their lives, which I would pretty much chalk up to multiple alien invasions courtesy of 50 years of Doctor Who. Attempts to get Ram to open up continue to fail, even in the classroom, causing concern from everyone save for Ms. Quill, who has to also contend with a government school evaluator watching from the back of the room.
Most of the episode is basically set up this way, more go missing around the school, all nearby Ram. Ram has to struggle with both flashing back to the events of prom. He genuinely starts to believe that he’s losing his mind and pushes everyone further away as they try to get to the bottom of what’s bothering him. The exception to this becomes Tanya, who chooses not to ask Ram at all about everything that has happened, instead opting to act like things are normal for his benefit. As it turns out, Tanya lost her father shortly before the series began, so she’s had her own grief cycle experience. It’s a pretty interesting hook to give to Tanya, since it’s a lot of weight to give the youngest character.
Meanwhile, Ms. Quill becomes obsessed with the evaluator, even going so far as to steal his identification and discovers that this man doesn’t have any sort of public record. She attempts to warn Charlie of a potential problem, but he’s uninterested and more concerned about Ram. Quill decides to just deal with it herself, while the others try to figure out Ram’s claims and come across the monster of the week-a literal dimension hopping dragon. The group witness the murder of the school headmaster by the creature, but when they try to get Quill to help, she flips the uninterested coin back around.
Finally deciding to work together, the four students try to sort out what the dragon keeps trying to do. With Charlie’s ability to sketch the creature in detail, Ram realizes it is identical to the tattoo on Coach Dawson. Returning to Coal Hill at night to investigate, they eventually do come across Dawson and confront him. Meanwhile, Quill is caught at the school by the mysterious evaluator, who does not speak even after Quill threatens him. When asked what he wants, he writes in a notebook, “You.” Quill takes this as a sexual advance, and attempts to reciprocate, until the dragon appears. They run, but Quill eventually sacrifices the man to the dragon, and discovers he was a robot. She then encounters the others. Through this, it’s discovered that there isn’t one dragon, but two. One dragon fell through the rift and became bound to Dawson, giving him the equivalent of space steroids. The other is the mate, who helps Dawson kill so both can feed on blood to stay alive. Because Dawson can harm its mate by simply pulling at his skin; the dragon is at his whim.
Ram confronts the dragon, challenging its subservience. Ram relates to the dragon’s situation and tells it that while things will never be the same, it doesn’t have to live defeated. This completely sounds like this is how Ram gets over his own trauma, but the show manages another fake out. After telling the creature this, he tells it to kill him if it’s going to do it, he’s not interested in surviving anyway. Instead, the dragon takes Ram to heart, choosing instead to just take Dawson with it back across the rift to change the terms of their arrangement. Departing, Tanya reaffirms to Ram that she won’t make him talk about what he’s going through, but he should take himself to heart. And no one cares about Quill’s robot endeavors.
Returning home, Ram decides to come clean to his father about everything, and while his poor father can barely comprehend it, in what is the episode’s best moment, he comforts his son. What was, in appearance, the standard image of a stern father with high expectations melts away into a genuine father/son moment of grief and healing. They spend the night starting to rehabilitate Ram’s leg. Meanwhile, Quill inspects the robot remains and discovers they are the property of an organization called “The Governors.”
This episode was significantly slower than the first, and for the most part that’s a strength. Class has seemingly worked out which characters are more interesting and should be a focus already, and the fact that some tropes are actively being avoided is nice. That said, this episode also severely lacks the same level of stakes or pacing, so a lot of it feels empty. Hopefully going forward we can find a happy balance with it all.
- Tanya is also in the process of hacking into UNIT databases to get the group more info. I don’t know what that will end up meaning, but does The Doctor really think UNIT isn’t going to find out about these kids?
- It really is surprising how quickly to the background Charlie is sent. He is the least interesting character so far, but usually shows will try to fix that first.
- With that in mind, Charlie does have a point-all these kids and teachers sure do get over massive traumas at this school pretty quick.