With Detained, Patrick Ness is adopting a device often used in Doctor Who by having the main cast split across two episodes allowing for breaks in the actors’ schedules and also saving money. In this case, Class not only peeled the teenage leads away from Miss Quill, but also managed one of those inward looking episodes with no additional cast.
It was different, pretty good but I have to admit I am more looking forward to next week’s adventure.
So, Miss Quill is off for surgery, so has to put the gang out of harm’s way. What could be safer than detention? Well, if there’s a rift just by the classroom that opens just as a strange alien prison rock asses by, anything would be safer. No sooner have we locked the team into a none too secure classroom than they are warped off into a twist in the universe that (luckily) still has air, gravity and electricity!
For the sixth formers, this is the episode that takes a different look at the characters – the gimmick here is the glowing rock with its confessions and truth telling. As each in turn faces their inner thoughts the mood turns angry and truths are told. For a change even Charlie has some decent material to work with, Tanya gets angry and lays more like a much younger team member, Matteusz opens up about Charlie and the Ram / April relationship gets unwelcome scrutiny.
These episodes come up in long-running series, the trick is do they matter or are they just a one-off experiment? We shall see.
The story telling
These pocket stories can work well but also be a bit ‘so what’. For my money Class, isn’t that established we need an episode like this, but with Quill needing not to be followed and the others having been centre stage (except Matteusz) then balance prevails. I don’t like the convenience of the setup, but writers all have to compromise; at least Ness avoids the trap of wasting time with exposition and gets on with the story.
A decent enough breather, but doesn’t the trailer for next week look intriguing?!