Wide Open FinalesI'm not opposed to a good cliffhanger for a TV show's current season. In fact, they're often a good way to get me excited for a show again after slogging through 20-some episodes on a weekly basis. BUT using a cliffhanger in place of wrapping things up when you have NO guarantee of returning next season ticks me off. Class's finale ends with literally no denouement. It ends with a joke. There's no time for the characters to recover from the deaths and destruction of the last hour. And the BBC hasn't made any statements about renewing it. Even if they do, the show's creator and writer, Patrick Ness, has said he won't be returning if a second season happens. Color me disappointed.
On to the more salient point . . .
Bad Narnia ReferencesThis actually happens in the season's sixth episode (but really, episodes 6-8 form a sort of 3-part finale, since 6 and 7 are simultaneous episodes dealing with separate groups of characters, and both episodes feed directly into the finale).
In this episode, the main group of kids is trapped in an inter-dimensional classroom for detention with a prisoner (who is further trapped in a meteorite) whose presence is driving their anger to higher and higher levels. If any of them touches the meteorite, he or she winds up confessing their true thoughts on a subject. Matteusz is one of the first to touch the meteorite, and he winds up confessing that he's afraid of Charlie, the alien masquerading as a human teenager with whom he's become involved this season. In the course of trying to apologize for his harsh words, Matteusz tells Charlie about the Narnia books, which he read as a child. He says he always thought the author hated Susan because "for one, she doesn't go to heaven because she wears makeup" and then he goes on to relate how Susan once eavesdropped on a schoolmate and heard some unkind things and the experience ruined the friendship forever.
There are two main problems with this double reference, but the first half of it is a common reductionist misconception of Susan's fate in The Last Battle. (More on that in a moment.) The second half of Matteusz's reference is actually in the books, and a fitting analogy for the moment. The problem is, the story he's describing happens to Lucy, not Susan, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Maybe we can chalk this up to Matteusz not remembering the books clearly, but since it follows the other mistake about Susan, it seems more likely that Ness chose to forge ahead with his own misremembered version of Narnia rather than take the time to check his facts. The scene drove me crazy because this would have been such a powerful reference if it had been done properly. Instead, we have another modern writer jumping on the "Lewis hated Susan" bandwagon.
As to Susan being excluded from heaven for wearing makeup in The Last Battle, the text actually makes it clear Susan wasn't in the Real Narnia because she, alone of all the Friends of Narnia, wasn't on the train that crashed. She wasn't with them because she had convinced herself (rather like unlike Andrew denying the Talking Beasts's speech) that Narnia was only a game and she had become obsessed with invitations, parties, and lipstick. Notice that having an interest in these things is not what keeps her from being in communion with the other Friends of Narnia. It is her own decision to exclude herself, to lie about what happened, and to obsess with things that matter little in the long run. What's more, Lewis himself held out hope that Susan would come back to Aslan before the end (and after all, "Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen").
Have you seen Class? What did you think?