Monday, April 24, 2017

Class 1x02 Recap: "The Coach With the Dragon Tattoo" (Blood, Gore, and Football) [Guest Poster: Stephanie Coats]

"The Coach With the Dragon Tattoo"
Original Airdate: April 22, 2017

There are some thing that once you survive them together, you’re automatically friends. An alien attack at prom apparently isn’t one of them. It’s been a week since our band of misfits saved their school and possibly their planet, and football (soccer) star Ram is ignoring his new would-be friends. He’s got a lot on his mind already: the violent death of his girlfriend right in front of him. Losing his leg and getting an alien prosthetic that won’t cooperate during practice. And, most recently, seeing the skinned body of the assistant coach in the locker room. As we’ll soon discover, this isn’t the last of Ram’s troubles.


It’ll take most of the episode for our heroes to figure it out, but we know from the start the person behind the killings is Head Coach Dawson. He has a massive dragon tattoo on his back, buttocks, and bicep that comes to life and attacks innocent people. It’s also very good at cleaning up after itself. Ram had hidden after seeing what remained of the assistant coach and when he emerged, the room looked spotless, leading him to believe it was a hallucination.

The slim “hope” of PTSD is soon washed away when Ram witnesses a dragon grab a cleaning lady and kill her right in front of him. He’s even sprayed with blood yet again. Seriously, this poor kid. The incident is enough to make Ram reach out to Tanya, who in turn tells Charlie and April -- because someone has to make this team a team, and I guess it’s going to be the 14-year-old. Let’s be real, she’s the smartest one of the bunch. Tanya is even trying to hack into UNIT.

These three are able to verify Ram’s story by asking Mr. Armitage, the nice headmaster who was also on Doctor Who during Clara’s tenure at Coal Hill, about a missing cleaning lady. Sadly, Mr. Armitage barely has time to be suspicious when a dragon appears through the space-time rift and kills him. At least Ram has three more people to back him up. And Charlie is very good at drawing. His sketch of the dragon is dead on, enough that Ram recognizes it as his coach’s tattoo.


Pausing the dragon slaying for a moment, let’s check in with Quill. She’s been paying no mind to all of the bloody killings because she’s too busy scrutinizing the school inspector. The dude is pretty creepy, so I can’t completely blame her. He sits silently in her classroom day after day, unblinking, and taking notes. In a very Sherlock moment, Quill tells Charlie all the parts about the inspector’s appearance that are incongruous (like fake glasses and pants 40 years out of date). She thinks the inspector is dangerous to them.

In fact, she’s so convinced of this she nearly dismisses the dragon problem altogether. But maybe she’s blinded by lust. When she corners the inspector and asks what he wants, he responds, “You.” She takes this as invitation to snog him senseless, although he doesn’t participate and we’ll find out why in a minute.

During this sudden and awkward make-out session, the dragon appears. Quill and the inspector sprint to a classroom for safety. When the dragon breaks in, Quill offers the man up as a sacrifice. Only... he’s a robot.


Thankfully, Quill’s unfortunate encounter with Inspector Gadget has at least brought her to the aid of her charges when they need it most. They’ve confronted Dawson outside the school but his tattoo is still on him. There’s more than one dragon at Coal Hill. The one on Dawson is the female. She came through the rift and was bonded to his skin somehow, giving him strength due to her dragon blood. Her mate came looking for her and has been forced to kill somewhat at Dawson’s bidding because the female dragon needs blood.

In a moment equal parts heartfelt, Doctor-esque, and pure cheese, Ram tells the male dragon he doesn’t have to live on Dawson’s terms. After all, Ram lost his girlfriend recently so he knows about... these things? Well, it works. The dragon drags Dawson into the rift. Maybe now Ram can make first team again.

But he’ll still need to practice. And really, more than anything else, he needs someone else to help him. Ram tells his dad everything’s that happened and his dad, to his credit, doesn’t freak out. Instead, he helps his son practice his football skills.

Final Thoughts:
  • Interesting that both this week’s Class and Doctor Who episodes were driven by grief.
  • After examining the robot inspector’s parts, Quill sees “Property of Governors.” Earlier, the headmaster mentioned the school’s “governess.” Who do we know in the Doctor Who universe who likes nicknames and seems like an evil school teacher of sorts? Missy (a.k.a. the Master). While I’d be surprised if Michelle Gomez reprised her role on Class, it seems a fair guess as this moment. 
  • Also, it warrants mentioning, Quill snogging the inspector is very reminiscent of Missy snogging the Doctor in series eight’s “Dark Water.” 
  • Ram about Quill: “Oh, yeah, her and her happy superbest sparkle team.” 
  • Tanya: “Is a coach really a teacher?”
  • “At first I thought he was an evil designer of casual coats and gifts, but I guess that's somebody else because this Paul Smith, he is nowhere to be found.”
  • “You and your little team, you go pretend to save the world. I'll just stick to saving you from boring old death.”
  • "Oh, please, Quill, help us with a skin-peeling dragon. We're just little arses of smart who don't even know what evil looks like."


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