This article contains spoilers for “Nightvisiting,” episode three of Class season one.
Grief is a powerful motivator.
Almost as powerful as hatred.
On the two-year anniversary of her father’s death, Tanya mourns his passing with flowers, tears, and a heart-to-heart with the late policeman.
Unlike its parent series, Class pulls no punches when it comes to evil doings in and around Coal Hill School. Writer and creator Patrick Ness knows when to tease out a villain (see “The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo”), and when to just get on with the explanations and the vanquishing (see this episode).
Dear Ol’ Dad Jasper is clearly not actually sitting in Tanya’s bedroom, expecting a chat. Just as Ram’s murdered girlfriend Rachel and Miss Quill’s long-departed sister Orla’ath—each sprouting an alien umbilical cord from their back—are not here for a friendly visit.
At only 14 years old, Tanya has experienced more emotional trauma than most will in a lifetime; the child prodigy has been hardened to the ways of the world—terrestrial and alien.
So when the ghost of her father appears on the anniversary of his passing, she almost shrugs off the situation, saying that she doesn’t think she’s “dealing with this very well.”
Frankly, she’s not: It’s her heartache that’s led a grief-sucking race of aliens directly to her bedroom window, like sharks smelling blood. The Lankin travel through space and time to gather wounded souls—just like Tanya’s (and Ram’s and Quill’s).
“The more souls we gather together, the more energy the Lankin have,” Jasper explains, urging Tanya to take his hand so “I can ease your pain.”
Unable to take people against their will, the chameleon-like Lankin morph into lost loved ones, in an effort to entice new victims (a stranger in a white van full of candy and toys). Then, by taking another life, the alien feeds on the next generation of mourners, creating an unending cycle, as Ram so aptly pointed out (while clinging to Tanya’s pajama-clad leg—a surefire survival tactic, I’ve heard).
Tanya fights fear with anger (via BBC)
While the hungry alien creature feeds on unwitting Londoners, Charlie and beau newly homeless Matteusz take their relationship to the next level, just as sparks begin to fly for April and Ram.
Bonding over death, destruction, and folk music, the teenagers share a sweet (if not brief) kiss. After all, if the world’s ending, what’s one smooch between
diverse classmates forced together by extraordinary circumstances friends?
This episode, expertly written by Ness, plays with words and phrasing in a most satisfyingly subtle way. When Matteusz confesses to Charlie that his homophobic father kicked him out because “if I don’t have a boyfriend, he doesn’t have to think about it.”
But Charlie—he exists. He’s a “real person.” Unlike those imitations haunting Tanya, Quill, and Ram.
Everyone deals with sadness and loss in their own way. Some bottle up their feelings, others set them free. I tend to spend a quiet evening alone, sobbing into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s froyo and watching my favorite Barry Manilow live concert DVDs.
Tanya, however, fights back. Younger than her peers, she is at once guarded and hasty; desperate to fit in with the Scooby Gang, she’ll never show her hand to anyone.
“My grief may be strong, but my anger is stronger,” she declares to the weakening monster. “And that’s what I gave you. … You don’t get to have my closure.”
The bitter taste of outrage was not enough, though, to defeat the Lankin. So Miss Quill drives a double-decker bus into the city-wide vines, forcing it back through the rift.
“We beat it together,” Tanya cheers in the end. “Finally we did something as a team”—just as the Doctor ordered.
Missed episode two of Class? Check out our recap of “The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo,” as well as our review of Doctor Who episode “Thin Ice.”