Love Is My Legs - or - The Seeds of Digestion
Back in 1969 at the tail end of the Second Doctor era there was a story called Seeds of Death in which the Ice Warriors attempted to invade the Earth by means of some titular deadly seed pods. Then seven years later, smack in the middle of the Fourth Doctor era, there was a story called The Seeds of Doom in which an evil gardener nearly destroyed the Earth by means of an alien Krynnoid seed pod. The only reason I can remember which title is which is because (as my friend Michael Montoure pointed out to me) the titles come in alphabetical order. I have long wished for a third story in that pattern to complete the spiritual trilogy, and today's episode of Class missed out on the golden opportunity. I'm telling you, it should have been titled The Seeds of Digestion.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
When last we left our intrepid group of teenage adventurers, April had used her MagicShadowScimitars to rend a tear in space-time in order to leap through to homeworld of the Shadow Kin in order to battle the Shadow King to the death and claim full ownership of their timeshare heart. Footballer Ram Sing leaped through the tear after her, in a noble impulse, and the rest of the group was left behind with April's mom and estranged dad. Oh, and Miss Quill was off getting an offer from the mysterious Governors to have her brain parasite removed in exchange for convincing Charlie to use his Rhodian SuperSoulWeapon to destroy the rapidly-multiplying Cherry Blossoms of Doom.
So then, most of this episode has April and Ram cosplaying as Frodo and Sam at Mordor while back home Charlie agonizes over whether or not to use the weapon. See, his Cabinet of Curiosities contains all of the souls of his now-extinct race. He can release them at any time, and they will commit genocide. Sure, they could wipe out the CherryBlossomMonsters (of whom we get multiple sequences of them brutally devouring poor random Londoners), but then Charlie will never resurrect his species. Charlie's other option is to have his SoulBomb attack everyone on Earth, committing genocide but then resurrecting his own people as they take over the human bodies. The third option, passionately advocated by Miss Quill, is for the SoulBomb to be used to wipe out the Shadow Kin in retribution for their destruction of both the Rhodians and the Quill.
So, a lot of the episode is alternating between April trying to figure out how to defeat the Shadow King while Charlie is threatened on all sides with how to unleash is SuperSoulWeapon as his boyfriend Matteusz tries to keep him from committing any kind of genocide at all. You know, your typical teen drama stuff.
I joke, but it was a dang good episode with lots of great character explorations. Bloodthirsty cherry blossoms turn out to be a pretty dang scary opponent. Ultimately Charlie is spared from having to unleash the weapon, once April wins her conflict and becomes Shadow King (as she points out, the leader of the Shadow Kin is called a King regardless of gender), and then she orders her army to wipe out the Seeds of Digestion. Problem solved.
And then there is a coda in which April sends her deadbeat dad away, and then helps her mom to take her first steps after eight years of being wheelchair bound. Yes, it's a predictable moment, but it is played well.
Patrick Ness keeps really surprising me with his imaginative conflicts and deft character studies. I expected an "alien of the week" format to this show, and I guess it is, but the threats are varied and inventive. I am curious to pick up some of his books. Honestly, I feel like this is the show that I wanted out of Torchwood (and briefly got, especially during Children of Earth) - a show with more mature themes than the more child-friendly Doctor Who, but without all of the stupid gratuitous sex-and-gore-for-its-own-sake. Sure, Class has both sex and violence, but it just seems much less prurient and desperate. It is all actually in service to character and plot, instead of just screaming "check out how very adult and edgy we are!"
Only three episodes left? God it's gonna suck when this is over.
Companion(s): Charlie Smith, Matteusz Andrzejewski, April McLean, Ram Singh, Tanya Adeola, Miss Quill
Episode(s): Brave-is Hearth
Steps Walked: 7,623 today, 4,365,854 total
Distance Walked: 4.13 miles today, 2,285.16 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 10,500 total
Sit-ups Completed: 200 today, 4,865 total
Weight: 263.82 lbs (five day moving average), net change -43.48 lbs