This Deadly Class review contains spoilers.
Deadly Class Season 1 Episode 9
This episode of Deadly Class was puzzling to say the least. On the one hand it gave us a long-awaited moment between Saya and Marcus and brought Lin’s hypocrisy to its inevitable conclusion, but on the other hand the build-up to a confrontation with Fuckface vacillated between cathartic moments of joy and friendship and nonsensically piss-poor planning. Despite some moments of insightful clarity for Marcus, Willie, and even Master Lin, “Kids of the Black Hole” played out just like the mosh pit at the Adolescents concert: with camaraderie and chaos.
Maybe that’s what the writers were going for; god knows Deadly Class likes a good extended metaphor. But the attack plan executed by the students as well as the battle between Gao and Lin had none of the violent glory of slam dancing but instead felt more like falling a lot without a musclebound punk to pick us up and keep things going. There was plenty of rich irony, however, in Lin’s counsel that “to care for another human is to create your own greatest weakness,” and thematically, that concept held more weight across the various storylines than the plot itself.
Even Willie with his pacifist dreams of escape to Los Angeles had to grapple with this idea of caring being a weakness. Sure, his fondness for Gabrielle is what finally convinces him to try and break free of Kings, and we love both of them for it. Even in such a short time, the two of them have chemistry rivaling that between Marcus and either of the women in his life, and that’s saying something. But it’s not their fondness for each other the illustrates the theme; it’s the fact that Willie must ignore the injustice of a robbery assault at the gas station that makes us realize what the price of not caring enough to fight sometimes can be.
It’s the same concept that convinces Lex to ask his friend Cactus Jack for some explosives to aid in the group’s plans to raid Chester’s stronghold. Marcus shames Master Lin for not truly believing in the righteous fight of the oppressed, and he makes the same argument with Lex about changing the world with a bullet. But Marcus, with his hatred of bullies clashing with his need to be loved, is far from perfect. So whereas Willie illustrates what happens when you care but don’t fight, Marcus is an illustration of what happens when you do both badly.
Saya almost redeemed him, God bless her. As much sympathy as we might have for Maria, she’s killing Marcus with neediness, and Saya showed Marcus at the concert how violence and love can coexist, despite what Lin said to the contrary. The problem is that in real life, the music ends. The group made such a point of accompanying Lex to get the C-4 and then weren’t needed, but that doesn’t mean you leave the goods in a comic book shop in danger of being discovered. Saya is as culpable for that as Marcus. She got caught up in the success of her own lesson and ended up proving Master Lin’s point.
Sadly, the diarrhea scene — a moment long-awaited and expected by Deadly Class comics readers — fell flat and only served as an unwelcome distraction. In the comic, Marcus’ situation added to the pathos of his character who was more often drunk and had less heroic bluster than the live action character. Here, it was just a moment of embarrassment and discomfort before heading off to battle. Fan service at its unfortunate worst.
Lin actually had the most satisfying plotline this week although his reliance on and subsequent dismissal of Brandy and Viktor took an interesting moment from last week’s episode and rendered it almost completely irrelevant. Seeing more of Gao’s story in this week’s animated sequence was certainly welcome, but it didn’t tell us anything new. What made his story fun were the knowing glances, whether in his melee with Gao or in the tragic confrontation with El Diablo. Seeing Lin’s wife kick some ass before her death made the bullet to the head even more profoundly felt. Perhaps Lin got away with Naya too easily, but the finale is sure to offer us an exciting illustration of the price Lin will pay for indulging in love against his own advice.
So yes, Chester’s singing was fun as was the gruesome trap that got Mr. Shabnam. And with a showdown coming between Diablo and Lin, between Maria and Saya, and between the group and Fuckface, there should be plenty of interesting ways to wrap up the season. But with a story that bumbled around a bit like a mosh pit first-timer, we might have hoped for a bit more cohesion both to the preparation for battle and to the actions of the characters. All we can hope for now is that Deadly Class brings it home strong in next week’s season finale.