Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Class 1x07 Recap: “The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did” (The Longest Day Ever) [Guest Poster: Stephanie Coats]

“The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did”
Original Airdate: May 27, 2017

It’s been no secret that the character who has most piqued my interest on Class is Ms. Quill. The freedom fighter/terrorist (depending who you ask) turned slave/servant has routinely been more surprising, complex, and mysterious than her teenage charges. And that’s saying something, because they’re all richly written characters themselves. Getting an entire episode focused on Quill is a fabulous gift as we near the end of Class’ first season and it will certainly complicate things beyond what we’d even theorized.


After chucking the kids into detention, Quill stomps off to meet Ames for her Arn extraction procedure. It’s going to be nearly impossible, undoubtedly painful, and most likely will result in Quill dead. She still agrees. First order of business is adding a shape-shifting alien named Ballon to their crew because he can perform the surgery. He’s also a prisoner of the Governess, so it’s easy to get him to cooperate.

Ames uses a kind of cheap and nasty time travel device to “fuzz” from place to place or, more accurately, heaven to heaven. Any version of the Doctor would surely sneer at this device as primitive and crude and Quill would tend to agree. But there are essentials that need to be gathered for the procedure. They need a real live Arn and their first landing point is what the Arn believe is their version of heaven. To attract the creature, Quill is made to recall some of her first memories, which are her mother dying and she and her siblings eating her. Hey, it’s archaic and unnecessary but it’s their way.

With a dead Arn in hand, the crew jumps to the hell of Ballon’s people. The alien’s hands are frozen in his human form, which means they’re no use in performing surgery or extracting any blood from the devil. Ballon needs the blood to make his hands work, meaning Quill also needs that blood. Unable to wield weapons herself, she has Ballon take the knife, grabs ahold of his arm, and together they succeed against the devil. The experience brings the two soldiers closer together. Quill starts believing her freedom might be within reach but she must keep that hope checked, because if the Arn catches on, it’ll kill her.


The final stop is the Quills’ heaven, where they need the brain of a goddess. When she emerges as the stories say, Quill attacks her for all of the suffering her people endured while their supposed goddess did nothing to save them. Just as the deity is about to say something in response, Ballon beheads her. Despite her frustration with his timing, Quill accepts Ballon did the right thing. In a moment of quiet, he confesses he killed a human family not because they discovered him on Earth, but because they were beating him; it was self-defense. In turn, Quill confesses the man she loved was killed in the civil war on Rhodia.

With all their pieces acquired, the trio jump back to Coal Hill for the procedure. Ames leaves to inform the Governess while Ballon sets to work. He’s able to remove the Arn and kill it. Doing so also means taking Quill’s left eye, which makes me almost pass out because there’s a brief shot of the new hole in Quill’s head and it’s disgusting. Using the blood of his god, Ballon restores the eye, though a long scar remains. Quill doesn’t mind. She’s so amped up by their success she kisses Ballon fiercely. Then they pause a moment and decide, yep they really do like each other and want to hook up in the Coal Hill music room.


It’s actually rather sweet when Quill wakes up first and examines the scars on Ballon’s face, then feels her own. Which makes things all the more wretched when they realize they aren’t actually at Coal Hill. They’re in the Cabinet of Souls. A hologram of Ames explains there’s only enough power to get one of them back to Earth. She’s left Quill’s gun to help them decide. When they both refuse to kill the other, Ames tells Ballon his niece is on Earth.

It might be a trick, but he can’t take that risk. He and Quill fight and he gets the upper hand. She forgives him before he pulls the trigger but the gun backfires and kills him instead. Why not one of you leave and find a way to get the other out? I guess that leaves the same question of who gets to leave and who stays behind but then at least maybe you’d both survive.

Quill buries him and rages at the Rhodian souls who appear around her. She grabs one and she ages an indeterminate amount in that moment, noticeable by her suddenly longer hair. An exit appears and she climbs out of the cabinet, returns to Coal Hill, and saves Charlie’s life for maybe the last time. After tossing him the Arn, as we saw at the end of the previous episode, Quill passes out and Charlie, Matteusz, and we see she’s pregnant.

Final Thoughts:
  • How do you die in another species projected afterlife? For that matter, how do you get pregnant there either? 
  • Quill told us in this episode that giving birth is the last act of a Quill. It’s interesting then that she isn’t so standoffish about falling in love or having sex considering getting pregnant kind of seems like signing her own death certificate. And she definitely seems to value her life. 
  • “Where are we, O wise head teacher and mistress of nauseating space travel?”
  • “Where are we? Who is this Little Lord Growls-A-Lot and why are we all so bothered that he just killed a kitten?”
  • “An unfree life isn't a life.”
  • Quill: “I can't use knives, remember? That is the whole point of this trip!” Ames: “Oh. Oh, dear, that was an oversight.”


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