Night at Coal High Academy in London, and a boy--Kevin Williams--runs through the halls as something pursues him. He ducks into a classroom and Quill pulls him down. An inky blackness flows beneath the closed door and a glowing black figure emerges from it... and the two student scream.
Outside in the hallway, a rift in reality pens and something dark comes through.
The next day, Charlie Smith arrives at Coal Hill and stares at the front. Another student, Ram Singh, deliberately bumps into him and goes on. As Charlie picks up his books, two other students go in and talk about Kevin not getting home the previous night. As they go past Charlie, Ram says that students disappear all the time but everyone pretends that it doesn't happen. Inside, Tanya Adeola arrives and her classmate April MacLean asks if she's going to help decorate the student prom. Tanya says that he mother won't let her because she thinks that she's too young, Charlie goes by and April suggests that Tanya ask him to the prom. Tanya realizes that the prom is the next day and April doesn't have a date, and April goes after Charlie.
As they go to class, April describes for Charlie how students dress for the prom. Miss Andrea Quill brushes past them and the principal Mr. Armitage is with her. He warns that she's a babysitter of sorts but she glares at him and then goes into her physics class. Meanwhile, Charlie notices a black burn mark on the floor. He then turns to April, who suggests that they go to the prom. Smiling, he quickly turns her down and leaves. Ram , going by and overhearing, chuckles.
In physics class, Quill dismissively says that the country is in trouble if her students are the cream of the crop. She notices Charlie texting and asks if he's cheating, and she drops his phone on the floor. When April objects, Quill insults her and asks if she has a date to the prom. When Ram speaks up, saying he has a date, Quill dismisses him as egotistical, writes out an equation on the board, and tells the students to solve it. Tanya whispers to Charlie, April, and Ram what it is and goes to work, and Ram jokingly whispers that Quill probably ate the missing kid. Charlie takes him literally and the others stare at him. He insists that he's from Sheffield, and Ram wonders why he's talking to the geeks. Quill threatens to put him in detention.
After school, April hands out flyers for people to come to the prom decoration party. Nobody is interested. Charlie comes out and asks if having a date to prom is important, and then says that he'll ask fellow student Matteusz as his date. April assumes that Charlie is gay and congratulates him.
Later on the soccer field, Ram is playing and scoring. His girlfriend Tanya calls to him, and Ram's father Varun is surprised to see her. As a guard comes out to block Ram, a darkness merges with the student's shadow. Ram sees it and stares, losing the ball, and Coach Dawson orders him to take twenty laps. As he goes past Tanya, she smiles at him.
Tanya is walking home and goes past a missing poster for Kevin. She stops in the middle of the alley and debates with herself about helping decorate a prom she can't go to. Tanya figures that April is the only chance she has at a friend, and sees blackness oozing down the alley wall. The girl runs off and the darkness follows her, growing. Tanya runs into a store and figures that she hallucinated the whole thing.
Charlie walks home where Quill is there. She complains that he took his sweet time.
At home, Tanya is sketching when her mother Vivian comes home from the hospital where she works. Tanya tries to bring up her going to the prom, but Vivian says that she's too young and she should focus on homework.
Charlie asks why Quill is upset, and then asks if she killed Kevin. Quill says that she's not allowed to use her gun, but Charlie figures that she'd find a loophole and repeats his question. She sarcastically says that she tricked Kevin into using the gun and killing himself, and reminds Charlie that she's not allowed to lie to him. Charlie reminds her that she's performing punishment, and Quill insists that she'll keep him safe but he can't question her. As she leaves, Quill remembers telling Kevin to shoot the gun, and it wrapping around his hand. The gun destroyed both Kevin and the creature with a bolt of energy. Quill makes sure she still has the blaster and leaves.
April arrives to decorate the gym, but there are no volunteers. Armitage leaves her to handle it, and once he leaves a shadow moves toward April.
Tanya contacts Ram via the Internet and starts giving him the answers to Quill's equation.
As April works on a banner, her shadow shifts and she notices. However, she dismisses it as a trick of the light.
Tanya tries to make small talk with Ram, and he tells her that if she says that she's helping him to anyone, she's dead. Ram notices a shadow moving behind her and Tanya turns, but it's gone.
A shadow slaps its hand down on April's pinning it to the floor. Screaming, she tries to pull free.
Tanya says that there's nothing, and then asks if it was a shadow. The shadow moves out again behind her and she turns to see it as Ram reacts.
April manages to pull free and she looks up to see Quill there. Quill says that they're in terrible danger.
Ram calls the police and watches on his laptop as Tanya uses a lamp to drive back the burning creature emerging from the darkness.
Quill calls to the shadow, saying that she's waiting for it and she is war itself. She then tells April to run and does so herself.
The shadow creature-demands to know where "the Prince" is. Tanya has no idea what it's talking about, and it draws a sword and shield out of nothingness.
Quill tells April that she can use the gun, as the shadow pursues them down the hall.
Ram tells April to get rid of all the shadows, but she trips before she can get to the light switch.
One of the creatures--Shadow Kin--advances on April, and Quill tells the girl to shoot it. The gun wraps a tendril around April's wrists, but Charlie runs up and knocks the gun aside. The energy bolt goes wide.
The Shadow Kin in Tanya's room disappears. Vivian storms in and demands to know what is going on, and realizes that Tanya is talking to a boy.
Charlie wakes April up as the Shadow Kin gets up. Quill says that it's Corakinus, and it clutches at its chest in pain. April does so as well, and Quill says that she and Corakinus caught a glancing bolt from the displacement gun. It tears apart the shooter and target, but Charlie knocked the gun aside so they only got a glancing blow. April moans in pain and Corakinus does as well, and Quill says that the blast sent its heart out into space... but now Corakinus shares April's heart. As Corakinus laughs, Charlie tells April that her heart is phasing in and out of space-time. The Shadow King says that they can't kill it without killing April. Quill calls Charlie "Your Highness" and tells him to kill Corakinus, but is shocked when he refuses to kill a friend. Corakinus warns that it isn't over and passes back through a rift, and Quill calls someone and says that they have a problem.
Tanya searches her room, flashlights ready, and Ram sets up flashlights in his room as well.
Back in the gym, Charlie reminds Quill that they weren't supposed to draw attention to themselves. Charlie finally says that he's an alien, and April believes him. He says that his people are the Rhodia and Charlie was their prince. They were at war with the Quill, and Quill was the leading terrorist. Quill insists that she was a freedom fighter, and Charlie says that when his side won, his people used a symbiote to telepathically link each Quill to a Rhodian. The symbiote, an ahn, will kill Quill if she kills with anything but her bare hands. However, it will also kill her if she fails to protect Charlie. While the two sides were fighting, the Shadow Kin invaded and killed the three billion residents. Quill managed to save Charlie and he saved her as they fled. A legendary figure rescued them, brought them to Earth, and told them to keep a low profile. Charlie brought a cabinet with him.
April wonders if the Shadow Kin came to destroy Earth, and Charlie figures that they came to kill them. He refuses to spend the rest of his life on the run, and Quill pointed out that he failed to kill Corakinus and April. April gasps and sees an image of an alien landscape, and collapses to the floor. Her eyes glow red and she says that she can hear Corakinus' thoughts. Corakinus wants something that Charlie has and is coming for it the next night. Charlie figures that their best bet of getting April's heart back is if they're all together. Quill realizes that Corakinus can read April's thoughts as well, and wants to kill her. Charlie forbids it as Armitage comes in, and Quill orders him to leave. Once he walks out, Charlie tells April to tell them if she sees anything else and then leaves with Quill.
Later back at his home, Charlie lies in bed and looks at the Cabinet.
April lays in bed and rubs her chest, looking out the window at the stars.
The next day, the students go about their classes. April tells Tanya to be careful of shadows at the prom, and realizes that she and Ram saw something. She tells them what happened. Later, Ram is preparing to go to prom and chatting with Tanya online. Tanya is surprised when Ram tells her to be careful, and he suggests that she tell Vivian that the prom is a sociology project.
April dresses for prom and her mother Jackie--in a wheelchair--comes in and assures her daughter that she looks gorgeous. The girl worries that people think that she's nice, and Jackie assures her that she's kind. She thanks April for taking care of her and assures her that she looks gorgeous.
Charlie arrives at Matteusz's house and finds the teenager's religious parents yelling at him. Matteusz comes out and explains that his parents aren't happy he's going to prom with a boy. Charlie doesn't understand the problem, and Matteusz kisses him.
As Ram prepares to go with Tanya to the prom, Varun warns his son that he's facing an important step in his future soon. Ram says that his father has no idea what he's facing and leaves.
At the prom, Quill is chaperoning and April sees Charlie and Matteusz come in. She figures that the prom success will look good on her university application, and Matteusz invites her to dance with them. Once he goes to get drinks, Charlie asks about April's heart. She says that she's adjusting to it, and Charlie leads her out to dance.
Tanya and Ram arrive, and Ram looks around nervously.
As she dances, April looks nervously at the shadows. Tanya comes in and April greets her, and Tanya says that she has to write an essay about the prom for Vivian. Ram and Tanya come in, and April, Tanya, and Ram all watch the shadows. Tanya goes to the toilet and Ram insists on going with her.
Charlie approaches Quill and confirms she hasn't seen the Shadow Kin yet. She says that she's set the gun for him. April collapses and when Charlie comes over, tells him that they're opening the tear.
In the hallway, Tanya assures Ram that she knows he's more than just ego... and Corakinus stabs her through the chest. Corakinus demands to know where Charlie is.
April, Charlie, Tanya, Quill, and Matteusz run out into the hall as the Shadow Kin attacks Ram. More Shadow Kin materialize down the hall. Charlie shoots at them while April runs back in and realizes that the teachers are outside. She and Tanya tell the students that there's a fire and they all have to get out, but they ignore them.
Ram tackles Corakinus but it dissolves out of his grip. He says that he's the prince.
April finally has enough, grabs the mic, and angrily tells everyone to get out.
More Shadow Kin appear, and Charlie and Quill are forced to retreat. They enter the gym, Charlie still firing, and the Shadow Kin burst in. The students panic and run.
Corakinus cuts off Ram's leg at the knee, and then goes to join the others.
As the students run out, Charlie realizes that they have to close the rift. Corakinus comes in and recognizes Charlie, and Charlie says that he can't have it. April steps forward and says that Corakinus won't kill her because he'll kill himself. Corakinus knocks her aside and Charlie runs forward, dropping the gun. The Shadow Kin king crushes it and Quill prepares to die well. The Doctor steps onto the stage and complains about the mess, and Corakinus recognizes him as the "great destruction." He says that he has a soft spot for people who are the last of their species, and they called. Corakinus says that they're there for the Cabinet of Souls.
The Doctor tells April that the Cabinet contains the soul of every Rhodian who dies... and a weapon. Corakinus worries that Charlie will use it against them, and Charlie says that the Cabinet is empty and the legends are just bedtime stories. He took it in memory of his people, and Corakinus wonders who will stop them. April grabs a bar and threatens to ram it into her chest if Corakinus doesn't leave. The Doctor realizes that they're linked, and Charlie tells Corakinus to take him.
The Time Lord says that he knows of the Shadow Kins' one weakness, and Tanya realizes that it's light. She turns on the overhead lights and the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to boost the voltage and increase the intensity. The Shadow Kin dissipate, but Corakinus vows that they will return. Charlie runs after him to get April's heart back, and the others follow him. He tells Quill to sacrifice herself, and she admits that she has no choice but to obey him. Corakinus rematerializes and grabs April, promising to take his heart with him. Ram arrives and hits Corakinus with a chair, knocking him into the rift. The Doctor seals the rift and Ram says that Corakinus killed Tanya before passing out from shock.
Later, the fire department secures the academy. The Doctor takes Ram into the TARDIS and stabilizes him, and then wonders what to do with them. He admits that there's so much artron energy around Coal Hill that time itself has worn thin, so he can't close the rift permanently. He has varied the pulse to prevent the Shadow Kin from homing in, but warns that the rift is a beacon through all of time and space. The Doctor warns them to be on their guard, and points out that Quill and Charlie won't be any safer elsewhere. As he talks, the Doctor notices Clara's name on the board of former teachers. Quill says that he should think of the students, but the Doctor is impressed by their resourcefulness and self-sacrifice. Ram comes out, a new prosthetic leg attached thanks to the Doctor. Quill warns that the students can't deal with alien invaders, and the Doctor says that her punishment will be to help them. Her crime was killing Kevin. He tells her to use her brains instead of weapons, says that they're an amazing team, and departs in the TARDIS.
Tanya wonders if they're all mates. The students return home, considering what happened. Charlie promises April that they'll get her heart back, and points out that she's remarkably calm about things. April explains that Jackie was paralyzed in a car accident and should have died, but didn't. The girl figures that she'll adjust as well, and Charlie goes into his house with Quill.
When April returns home, Jackie asks how the prom was. Her daughter says that it was uneventful.
Tanya calls Ram and offers her condolences for Rachel. She assures him that she doesn't want to be alone, either.
Quill wonders why Charlie isn't consumed with rage over the death of his people. He says that he's responsible for his people, and refuses to commit one genocide for another. Quill says that it won't stop her. Charlie goes to his room and opens the Cabinet, and a light from within shines on his face as he looks at the millions of souls inside.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 10, 2017