Nightvisiting’s Monster of the Week is the Lankin, a sentient plant that feeds on emotion bent on snaring us messy, emotional humans by appearing to Londoners as dead loved ones and promising closure and the chance to meet again in heaven.
Any Whovian watching will see the twist a mile off: the Lankin’s promise is a honey-trap and a lie designed to appeal to humanity’s need for closure.
The third episode of Class is perhaps rather more straightforwardly metaphorical in the application of its science-fiction plot than its predecessors. Nightvisiting centres on Tanya, whose father, as we learned in the previous episode, died of a stroke two years before. The Lankin’s manifestation as her dead father is an opportunity for the show to talk about and work through her grief. Which it proceeds to do at some length, culminating in a reasonably typical (if nicely observed) Whovian climax which sees the Power of Love saving the day –
In fact, though, it doesn’t, because, as we’ve seen, Class is clearly not interested in repeating the clichés of its older cousin. Woven into Tanya’s emotional story is a more deductive one focused on Miss Quill, to whom the Lankin shows the figure of her sister, offering the chance of one last brawl. Miss Quill, being badass, takes the opportunity to try and work out more about the Lankin, rather than being suckered into its tentacly grasp; so her coolly rational storyline is interleaved with Tanya’s encounter with grief. It’s to rationalism, not love, that the final victory of the episode is granted, when Miss Quill drives a bus through the Lankin’s trunk and it flees screaming back through the rip in space time. At the same time, though, it seems clear that Tanya’s reached a kind of emotional victory over her grief and anger.
It’s another example, in other words, of Class’ ability to use its speculative elements to multiple ends. Though Nightvisiting isn’t my favourite of the three episodes I’ve seen so far, it remains sharp, witty, and progressive.