Now You Know…

Posted in Audio by - September 14, 2018
Now You Know…

Released August 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With a large ensemble cast and only eight episodes in Class’s only run of televised episodes, it’s unsurprising that some characters just didn’t have the time to feature together to fully explore the dynamics of the core group as a whole. In ‘Now You Know…’ Tim Leng seeks to at least partially rectify this situation by pairing Tanya and Mattesuz in what quickly becomes a surprisingly dark and mature tale about bullying and its effects as the two uncover a mystery dating back to the 1960s while looking into a series of freak attacks that has left both staff and students of Coal Hill in comas.

It’s difficult to overstate just how well this young cast has transitioned to the audio medium while managing to capture and further refine the characters who so quickly became so well-rounded on television, and Vivian Oparah and Jordan Renzo instantly develop a quick chemistry that further enhances the bond that Tanya and Matteusz form over their outsider status. With Tanya a prodigy several years ahead of her age group and Matteusz an immigrant who is openly gay, both characters know what it like to be bullied for being different, and this theme is exactly the type of core concept that creator Patrick Ness would have undoubtedly explored to continue giving a meaningful and emotional look at the many serious aspects of young adulthood in a second series of episodes.

Naturally, a stereotypical school bully is included, and Shvorne Marks fills that role ably even if Michelle is far too harsh and biting in her derision of this duo. It’s clear that Michelle who used to be great friends with Tanya is acting out because of her own misguided emotions that hint at a greater insecurity beneath the surface, itself an intriguing aspect worthy of mention, but in a story filled with very adult language from the start, the character still seems a little too over the top so that even her moment of humility at the end can’t quite redeem her. Far more effective, however, is the central mystery behind the attacks in Coal Hill, and Tanya’s technical prowess and intelligence are put to great use as Matteusz and she are slowly able to piece together just how these events relate to a child who went missing from the school so many decades ago. Through excerpts telling of this boy’s demeanour in school and his mother’s unending search until her death for any information relating to him, this forgotten story of the past resonates all too closely with the duo in the present, and they realise that their search for what has become a corruption of absolute power necessitates that they must at least temporarily turn on each other with surprisingly personal results.

While it is somewhat out of character for Tanya and Matteusz to tackle this mystery alone and so staunchly refuse to involve their friends, this is a necessary sacrifice for the types of stories being told in these early audio adventures. This necessary decision, however, allows for a very intimate exploration of these characters who quickly find that they have so much in common. Despite some tonal missteps with the degree of bullying, this is a strong exploration of another aspect of students’ lives in schools, and the core mystery provides a compelling backdrop against which individual strengths and fears can be explored.

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