Brave-ish Heart

Posted in Episode by - July 06, 2018
Brave-ish Heart

Aired 12 November 2016

With just four episodes remaining in this initial run of Class, ‘Brave-ish Heart’ is tasked not only with continuing the exciting revelations introduced in its opening half but also with setting up new intrigue to carry the series through to its finale, a particularly tough order given the large core ensemble and supporting cast and the many engaging ideas already introduced. With an understandably frenetic and somewhat disjointed script as the result, Patrick Ness somehow manages to deliver another weighty but enjoyable script that delves more into fantasy territory than previous episodes but that just about maintains the impressive momentum of this fledgling series.

Intriguingly, the villainous Shadow Kin are quickly becoming one of the more mundane aspects of Class given their fairly derivative nature in a show that as a whole is anything but due its brave conviction to explore even the darkest aspects of humanity for its young adult target audience. With April deciding to directly confront Corakinus with Ram in tow before her enemy can ravage Earth, there is ample opportunity for these two to come to terms with their burgeoning feelings for one another, and Sophie Hopkins and Fady Elsayed are superb together even if the scenes on the volcanic Underneath suffer from not having the expanded cast present to fully interact as in previous episodes. The revelation behind the violent nature of the Shadow Kin is an intriguing one, but this storyline is buoyed not by the monsters but instead by the intense emotions emanating from the two leads as this intimate exploration of the two touches on the importance of mental health and the breaking down of stereotypical gender roles. To this effect, mental health plays a major role in the story of April’s father as well, and allowing a notion of sympathy and empathy to be associated with the man with whom April still chooses not to associate is a another brave choice that only further enhances all of the characters involved.

Back at Coal Hill, Dorothea promises to free Quill from Charlie if she can persuade him to use his Cabinet of Souls to save the world from the brutality of the petals slowly overtaking it. Never one to blindly follow orders even if she stands to benefit, Quill instead asks him to use it to defeat the Shadow Kin as revenge for the terrible fates of both of their people. With Dorothea ever the pragmatist and unconcerned about others’ rights or putting a life at stake to get her own way, the conflict Charlie faces is impressive in scope and delivery, let down only by the fact that- despite their danger- the petals are clearly not going to be the ultimate use for this weapon of mass destruction that so clearly will be used against a much bigger menace down the line. The discussion about genocide and rights hits all of the right notes, but it doesn’t have quite as much impact within this particular context as it would with a different and more anthropomorphic or communicative threat present. Still Greg Austin and Katherine Kelly are spectacular as their characters must confront their unique motivational forces as the impossibility of the choice looms large, and the pure emotion and range each displays are among the standout moments of the series thus far as a much greater understanding of these two otherworldly figures is attained.

‘Brave-ish Heart’ might not be quite as strong as some of its preceding episodes, and the ultimate confrontation with Corakinus might be a bit underwhelming, but it provides a neat resolution to both the Shadow Kin and petal threats in the present while seemingly absolving April of some of her powers while bestowing upon her a nobility and also hints at the true power of the Cabinet of Souls and Quill gaining her freedom in more ways than one. The tone is somewhat inconsistent as in the opening half and the story as a whole does follow a much more traditional trajectory, but this is an episode that at times shows the true potential of Class and that once more boldly follows its vision from beginning to end and ominously and boldly hints at a much greater menace to come, and not just the one fronted by Dorothea and her associates at Coal Hill.

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