Maybe I’m just getting used to the voice of the TV version of Deadly Class, but the fourth episode of the Syfy hit feels like the most confidently made chapter to date. It’s not as reliant on clichéd “teen drama” tropes as the first three, forming its own identity by allowing its ensemble some time to develop as characters instead of archetypes. “Mirror People” even has a thematic motif as we learn that several of King’s Dominion’s top students have family connections that have defined them, and are often represented physically – a father’s katana, a dead brother’s favorite Cure tape, a mother’s eyes. And then we end with the defining act of an abusive father and a pledge to kill him.
After a funny prologue involving Brian Posehn, Iron Maiden, and an argument about the quality of Risky Business, the meat of “Mirror People” gets underway as Marcus, Petra, Viktor, Chico, Saya, and a new kid named Jaden (who might as well have been named “red shirt”) are dragged away by hooded figures for the KD version of detention. For their violent behavior at the dance last week, the six students will have to spend 48 hours locked in a room with minimal supplies and growing animosity toward each other. It’s a very Breakfast Club set-up for a show that openly riffs on ‘80s pop culture, but at least the writers don’t exploit the connection too much. There’s no quirky dancing or talk of anarchy. At least not yet.
It’s not long before Saya is kicking at the door and Marcus is prying the lock to escape their confinement and seek out Lin’s secret stash. You know the room at your school where the principal put all of the illegal material taken from students? Imagine that at a school for assassins. There are fireworks, wine, even a chainsaw and a motorbike, which Saya uses to perform a cool stunt.
Meanwhile, a couple of mysterious masked men assault King’s Dominion, first getting their hands on Saya’s katana and then coming for the mysterious young woman herself. While Chico is listening to The Cure and revealing that he lost a little brother who was into Robert Smith, the assault begins. First, Jaden’s hand is cut off by the masked assassins, and then a fight breaks out. As the students flee, Chico pushes the handless Jaden into the path of the enemies, allowing him to fulfill his “who is that guy” destiny by dying. Chico is cold.
Locked in a room, Saya reveals that she didn’t exactly leave Tokyo on good terms, and that the men after them are the Kuroki, assassins sent by Saya’s family…and they are her cousins. Chico immediately wants to hand Saya over. He’s just that kind of guy. When that plan doesn’t get any traction, he flees the foxhole, escaping through a tunnel, through which he locks a gate behind him. Yep, super cold.
While Saya and Marcus are trying to figure out how to escape, Petra and Viktor are struggling with their wounds from the fight. We get a bit of disturbing Petra background via animation – her dad thought he was the New Messiah, killed Petra’s mom, and put mom’s eyes in a mason jar in the fridge for Petra to find them. It’s a truly crazy WTF scene that Deadly Class could use more of to stand out, and I dig when it goes animated, really recalling its source material and allowing it to show things it otherwise can’t even on Syfy.
While Willie is getting Maria a passport to escape Chico’s grip, Marcus and Saya are overcome by the Kuroki, and they carry her off presumably for a trip back to Japan. Time for Lin to save the day! He comes into the diner to catch Saya’s cousins in the act and body parts strewn all over the cooking area. Metal guitars kick in on the score, and Lin starts to kick some ass, helped by Marcus and eventually Saya. The bad guys end up dead, Saya ends up crying, and then ends up holding Marcus’ hand on the roof. Nothing brings a couple together like carnage.
Once again, Deadly Class eschews the expected ending of Saya and Marcus on the roof for a couple epilogues. First, we see Shab’s parents come home to a destroyed home and Marcus’ nemesis from the boy’s home using Brian Posehn as a pet. Second, Billy gets a heartbreaking scene. He comes back to school from a trip home with bruises all over his face. His father is an abusive asshole and Billy has had enough. But he can’t do it alone. They need to take a trip to Vegas to kill his dad. Road trip!
- I can’t wait to see how the Vegas arc from the source plays out here. Should be fun.
- The ‘80s references can sometimes be a bit much but I could listen to Chico trying to explain Robocop to Viktor for an hour.
- There are only three major music cues this week but they’re great ones: “Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden, “In Between Days” by The Cure, and “Did You Wanna Die” by Youth Brigade.
- One of the reasons this episode worked better than the first three is it felt like a true ensemble, moving away from the Marcus arc to give nearly everyone at least one strong character beat, including Petra, Chico, Saya, Lin, Maria, and even Viktor. Keep it up.