After spending a weekend in Las Vegas filled with acid, trippy clowns, murder, Ice-T slot machines, and more murder it’s safe to assume that one would need some time to decompress. A vacation from the vacation if you will, but when you attend murder school it’s hard to escape your actions. Especially when those actions involve murder the one thing you’re supposed to be excelling in but also the one thing you shouldn’t be doing to other students. Sorry Chico. Clearly, a student at King’s Dominion can’t drop off the face of the earth without there being some questions, and this week’s episode of Deadly Class, “Stigmata Martyr”, deals with the fallout of last week’s worst Vegas trip ever.
A month has passed since our loveable band of misfits have returned from Vegas with a lot more blood on their hand than when they left. Their trip comes with a heavy cost as rumors begin to swirl about the whereabouts of Chico and who might be responsible for his disappearance. This instantly thrusts Maria to the front of the line as suspect number one, and King’s Dominion has some questions. The first rule of murder school is you don’t murder fellow students, and it seems that Maria has the most to gain from Chico’s disappearance. After an intense interrogation by Madam Gao, who happens to be Master Lin’s sister (!!!), it appears that King’s Dominion believes Maria had nothing to do with Chico’s disappearance/death. But if we know anything about King’s Dominion it’s that nothing is ever that easy. Six episodes in and nothing is as it seems. Master Lin has secrets, like a family that is very much alive, and clear favorites while Madam Gao thinks these kids are being coddled which is not how I would describe this curriculum at all. King’s Dominion and its info structure is as big a character as Marcus or Saya. For every door that opens up to a Valhalla of confiscated items, there are hundreds of other doors closing in our face obscuring the hidden agenda of this school. Yes, they are training assassins but what is the true purpose of the Rats in a school filled with Legacies? Clearly, Madam Gao wants students like Brandy, who comes from a lineage of monsters, to get the attention and credit they deserve, but at what cost? Dividing the teaching staff? Carving A’s into foreheads will do that. Or burning down the structure from the inside? Madam Gao’s goals don’t seem to be that different than Marcus’s, and suddenly Master Lin has a problem on his hands. Could Gao be leading a revolt within the school? Lin has shown weakness by letting teachers live. What would happen to King’s Dominion if that was exposed?
While the seeds of division are being planted within King’s Dominion, “Stigmata Martyr” is an episode that belongs to Maria and how she’s coping, or not coping, with the death of Chico. Maria Gabriela de Faria, who has been spectacular as Maria all season, really shines here as we get a full understanding of who Maria is. It would be easy to classify her as another “crazy” girlfriend who celebrates one month anniversaries and shoots arrows at boyfriends when jealous, but there is some serious depth to Maria that has been hiding under the surface. Exploring her backstory with another breathtaking Wes Craig inspired animation sequence lets us know that Maria might not be that different from other Rats. Watching her father get shot in the gut, by child Chico no less, and crucified for stealing a piece of bread to feed his family is extreme. Not to mention watching her mother burn alive and being recruited into a cartel because she has a cute face and is unsuspecting is going to leave a mark on anybody. Suddenly Maria’s relationship with Chico becomes more complex as we learn she had been a hostage not only to his embrace but the cartel. Her desire to see Chico dead doesn’t stem from him just being a crappy boyfriend but what he represents to her life. The loss of family soaked in the blood of innocence lost. Deadly Class has done an excellent job in building the Maria character and making her more than just face paint and craziness. Maria Gabriela has become one of my favorite aspects of the show as clearly she understands who Maria is and has excelled at bringing her to life.
Sympathetic backstory aside though, Maria does need to get ahold of herself. Refusing to take her meds when she knows she suffers from being bipolar is a gamble that the group cannot afford at the moment. Their innocence seems to be incredibly fragile, even more so after Marcus’s call from F-Face at the episode’s end, and if one member of the group can’t hold it together they become a liability. Saya knows this better than anyone and tells Marcus he needs to step up and reign Maria in. Considering that they’re now secretly dating the responsibility falls on his shoulders. Here’s the thing though, Marcus doesn’t seem to be the best equipped for the job. For starters, I’m not sure how committed to Maria he is. Sure, he’s into her but it feels kind of disingenuous. Using the concept that she killed for him as an excuse to date someone isn’t really the strongest case to be made. There should be some actual feelings and emotional there too, but Marcus is a bit of a mess and has often displayed this season that he sometimes keeps his head up his rear. Then there’s the Saya of it all. Marcus clearly is enamored with Saya and her mystique and its most definitely affecting his perception of his current relationship. And that’s why Maria tries to shoot him with an arrow!
One thing for certain is the group needs to pull it together. Maria is an emotional mess as she is dealing with feelings of guilt and redemption, but she’s also a ticking time bomb. The cartel has put her in charge of finding Chico’s killer and that’s another red flag for me. I’ve got a weird feeling that both King’s Dominion and the cartel know who’s responsible and the walls could be closing in for Maria. The death of Chico has opened the door for a new pecking order in King’s Dominion bullies as both Brandy and Viktor step up to be major a-holes this episode and could be potential allies to Madam Gao. Then throw in the fact that F-Face knows everyone involved in the Vegas trip, who Chico was, and has Chico’s severed head on ice and maybe the walls are closing in on everyone. F-Face wants to be famous, love that Phil Donahue obsession, and we know he has no problem killing people… like at all. The hierarchy at King’s Dominion is an obstacle but F-Face is a problem and one that will have to be addressed immediately. The group can’t afford to have him mailing Chico’s head to the cartel.
Some other quick thoughts before I leave you-
- I one hundred percent agree with Willie’s opinion of Superman. Don’t at me… or do.
- Billy is kind of lost in the sauce with the death of his father. His attempts to woo Petra have now reverted to the playground tactic of being mean to the girl you like. That’s sure to backfire because Petra can spew venom better than anyone in school.
- Petra might also be my spirit animal.
- I was happy to see the comic shop make an appearance in the show as it involves one of the funniest/most disgusting parts of the comic.
- I’m kind of torn on the Master Lin backstory. In the comic, he’s just an evil figurehead. Here in the show, he’s sort of sympathetic. The inclusion of a secret family is interesting and there’s no way that Gao allows them to survive. Maybe it’s their deaths that brings about the evil and sinister side from the comic? Either way, Benedict Wong has been awesome in the role and the more we have of him on screen the better.
- Saya. Can. Catch. Arrows. Out. Of. The. Air.
- That sure was an interesting reaction by Shab after getting saved. That might be something to keep an eye on.
There you have it Geeklings, what did you think of this week’s Deadly Class? Do you think Maria will be able to keep her emotions in check or is she a liability? How nervous are you about F-Face knowing everything? Can Master Lin handle a faculty uprising? Sound off in the comments. If you’d like to talk more Deadly Class, show or comic, you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. You can also find me there every Wednesday night live Tweeting along with the episode. I’ll see you future disruptors of America next week with a brand new episode review!