Posted in Episode by - July 07, 2018

Aired 19 November 2016

Following the more fantastical multi-planet exploits of ‘Brave-ish Heart,’ Class returns to the root of its early success with the most intimate exploration of its core characters yet. And although the premise of the group being locked in detention and then forced to tell the truth- this time as they touch a strange meteor that has come through the tear in the hallway- is a fairly well-trodden one that by itself doesn’t suggest anything novel or great, the tense and emotional ‘Detained’ proves to be the absolute strongest episode yet that can proudly stand amongst the best of any of the offerings in the ever-expanding universe of Doctor Who.

With Katherine Kelly absent after Miss Quill seemingly locks the group away for no reason, the young cast members are solely responsible for carrying the narrative and emotional weight of ‘Detained,’ and each proves more than capable to exploring the unfettered emotions that have been fueling these characters to remarkable effect as all but Charlie notice that they are becoming more aggressive and begin panicking. With Charlie instead experiencing an extreme claustrophobia while realising that Quill could not be responsible because of the arn in her head, Tanya picks up the meteor and reveals that she is afraid that the others feel like they simply have to tolerate her as a little sister figure and more importantly that the meteor is housing a prisoner. As Ram reveals that he feels as though he loves April more than she loves him and her resulting silence only fuels his insecurity, he learns that the prisoner is a murderer with intentions of killing them all. When April’s turn with the meteor confirms Ram’s suspicions and suggests that they will forever be trapped in this area outside of time and space until they kill each other, the tension and paranoia only continue to escalate.

While the performances are uniformly strong and devastatingly believable, special credit must be given to Jordan Renzo who, despite inexplicably not being listed in the main credits, gives a profoundly nuanced performance as Matteusz remains the most grounded of the group while reliving the day that he told his grandmother he was gay and then revealing that he is afraid of Charlie with whom he has developed a relationship. With a reference to Narnia defusing the anxiety that ensues and allowing a deeper understanding of each other, Charlie then takes his turn with the meteor after realising that he has not been affected like the others and comes to understand that due to his Rhodian belief system he is even guiltier than the prisoner. His guilt proves to be the group’s saving grace as they return to Coal Hill, but the prison needs a prisoner and Charlie quickly becomes its next intended victim. With Miss Quill making a bombastic entrance sporting a scar and longer hair while proclaiming that she is free, it’s clear that the dynamic has shifted as Class enters its final two episodes.

‘Detained’ is a character study at its finest despite a fairly traditional setup that might suggest anything but, and the evocative atmosphere, sterling direction, and unique visuals complement the brilliant writing and nuanced performances to give the most impactful and resonating episode of Class yet. While this type of story understandably cannot be the norm, ‘Detained’ proves itself to be a crucial part of the franchise’s burgeoning mythology that should have a tremendous effect on its future progression.

  • Release Date: 11/19/2016
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