Nightvisiting

Posted in Episode by - July 05, 2018
Nightvisiting

Aired 29 October 2016

Grief has been one of the most significant narrative forces behind the relaunched version of Doctor Who, allowing for a tremendous exploration of the lead characters with a powerful nuance that wasn’t often present in the classic series. Unsurprisingly, that motif has been brought over to Class quite early on following the harrowing events this group of young adults has already witnessed, and ‘Nightvisiting’ explores that emotion and the anger associated with it through creatures that can change into the form of lost loved ones in what proves to be an intriguing break from the norm just three episodes into the run.

‘Nightvisiting’ is a very dialogue-driven story with Quill and Tanya receiving the greatest focus. The young cast members have proven straightaway just how capable they are in delivering deep and weighty material, and Vivian Oparah steps up to the task ably here as the creature shows up with her father’s appearance on the two-year anniversary of his death claiming to be able to help her deal with her grief. Through sadness, suspicion, anxiety, and terror, Oparah realistically conveys the conflicted emotions of an individual still processing the death of a loved one and who is then asked to react to the impossible return of that individual without warning. The script and direction don’t quite manage to pull off Tanya’s eventual relenting of her suspicion given just how menacingly and strangely the creature acts throughout their interactions, and Tanya guessing her way through the resolution by using anger instead of grief is a bit thematically unrewarding, but the journey to that point fueled by memories only her father could have is a powerful and well-delivered one.

Quill’s tale is a bit more balanced on whole as she confronts her dead sister and proves just how alien she is. She had to survive her sister’s attempts to kill her at birth, and the sheer niceness of her sister here informs her straight away that the being is not who she claims to be. Even within the confines of Quill not being able to use weaponry until Charlie is put in danger, Katherine Kelly gives a superb performance that proves that Quill is always in control by bringing action to the forefront when needed and culminating in a brilliant moment of revenge. Indeed, the ambition of this episode is limited only by its time constraints, meaning that April doesn’t quite have the chance to naturally develop as much as her monologue suggests. She has a devastating story of an abusive father, and Sophie Hopkins capably delves into the combination of conflicted emotions well, and it’s intriguing to note that April uses niceness to fight against the cruelty of the world as she perceives it. However, this is somewhat removed from the main plot, and using her father to slam Ram’s sensibility as romantic feelings quickly begin to manifest within their burgeoning respect feels somewhat off, at least at this point without further exploration.

While also dealing with the familiar storyline of Matteusz and Charlie coming to terms with their feelings for each other while trying to give Matteusz some needed depth, ‘Nightvisiting’ is a very busy episode that intersperses just enough action to break up the lengthy but engaging dialogue sequences. With stylish design and wonderful performances, Class continues to deliver meaningful insight into its characters in very heightened circumstances, with Ram lacking a scene against a facsimile of his recently deceased girlfriend being one major omission that still shows how much he has processed since the previous episode that he featured so heavily in and that gives plenty of opportunity for others in the ensemble to shine.

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