I decided to bash through this two-parter in a day, as opportunities to make progress have been so rare of late. I’m glad I did, as it managed to arrest the steady decline that’s been happening since the series started. I’m not sure it was actually any good overall, but it was surprising and intriguing at times, with an element of fun to go alongside the usual doses of violence and angst.
This was, predictably enough from the two episode titles that reference pop culture from years before the target audience was born, the story of April and her connection to the Shadow Kin from episode one. Badass April is actually a great deal better to watch than normal, slightly irritating April, and I quite like her and Ram together. The scene of them consummating the relationship was considerably more tasteful than I expected, with positive and important messages about consent, safety and respect. The Shadow Kin’s side of the sex scene was a little odd, but worth it for the King asking for “a moment of cuddling”.
All of this April activity stems from her dad being released from prison – the rule seems to be that if an important-sounding piece of backstory is introduced in one episode, it will drive the plot of the very next episode. Her family issues lead up to the highlight of the story – the unpredictable and shocking climax to the first ep, where April does something weird to her mum and then fucks off through a rift. The concluding part didn’t quite live up to the promise, though. I’ve never found the Shadow Kin that interesting – they’re a bit generic and are hard to decipher at times – so I didn’t really care to explore their homeworld.
Meanwhile, Coal Hill has a new head teacher, and the world is about to be ended by killer petals, which are multiplying exponentially and eating people alive. You’d think that having two massive high-stakes plots happening at the same time would be distracting and unsatisfactory, and you’d be right. So often it feels like Quill is taking part in a different episode to everyone else, and it’s a shame that the gang are so rarely all working together.
The two elements only came together right at the end – it looked for a while like Charlie might have to use his magic soul weapon to fix either one problem or the other, but in the end April just fixed both. The power seemed to come a little too easily to her at times – she not only took on the Shadow Kin single-handedly, but won convincingly. It’s weird that all this has happened and we’re only halfway through the series. This one felt like a finale, and it’s hard to know where they go from here.