There’s a real depth of textuality to The Metaphysical Engine, which demonstrates a lot of Patrick Ness’ greatest strengths as a writer – indeed, strengths that he perhaps hasn’t always been able to demonstrate on Class, given the nature of the programme as a Doctor Who spin-off. Here, however, you can really see his imagination being let loose; Ness deftly establishes the three different belief systems with relative ease, and quite quickly too, while still allowing each time to breathe. It helps that, typically speaking, they’re relatively simple and well-defined ideas – the best being Ness’ conception of hell for a shapeshifter – but The Metaphysical Engine does touch on some interesting concepts regarding belief and one’s perception of it. True, more could have been made of it; in some regards, one is almost inclined to wish that The Metaphysical Engine had been the two-part story for this season, rather than the previous Shadowkin episodes. However, there’s plenty going on here for the episode to be both entertaining and thought provoking, which is more than enough for now.
A decent, albeit imperfect episode, which is still a lot of fun. It probably would have been better served, admittedly, by a simpler plot – allowing some of the more interesting ideas to breathe a little more. Or, alternatively, if it had been positioned slightly earlier in the run, giving some room for the ideas within to be explored more in subsequent episodes.