A talking severed head. A serial killer on the quest for a burrito. A cartel thirsting for revenge. The world’s grossest swirly. With three episodes left in this first season, Deadly Class seems determined to keep the pedal down as the road map to the finale begins to take shape. While it’s easy to dismiss “Rise Above” as a transition episode you can’t ignore the magnitude of the episodes’ events. Las Vegas changed everything, not just for the students involved but for King’s Dominion itself. Suddenly there are forces knocking on the door looking to destroy the long-standing traditions/structure of the school, and unbeknownst to the parties involved, all these forces are connected.
This all starts with Chico’s death. Chico’s death exposed a weakness within King’s Dominion. A school that trains assassins suddenly lost a student. And not just any student. This wasn’t a Rat, no, Chico was a legacy coming from a very strong cartel. A cartel that isn’t going to just sit by and let the son of their leader go missing. Putting Maria in charge of the detective work is one thing, but one has to figure her ability to solve this murder is limited. For starters, she’s a student in a school what could she possibly learn. Then there’s the little nugget that she’s the reason Chico has gone missing. Hard to point a finger at yourself especially when you know the consequences are a bag of death and suffering. Chico’s father will have none of it as he stops by King’s Dominion to present a not so veiled threat to Maria. Take some action we’re on to your phony misery. Reluctantly she does, killing the cartel’s main suspect and most likely starting a turf war within the halls of King’s Dominion. Suddenly, there’s another dead student as Master Lin reign is at its weakest.
Being a fan of the comic, I’ve had to do some adjusting to the depiction of Master Lin. In the comic, he’s cold and calculating. A figurehead who runs a tight school and will not burden problems. He’s always one step ahead of everyone but when it comes to the show it almost seems that Master Lin has grown a bit soft for this world of killing and deception. Anyone who has read the comic knows the idea of Master Lin getting soft seems sort of absurd yet here we stand. Two students are now dead. The cartel has seemingly infiltrated his hallways seeking retribution for their missing son. And his sister… his sister is picking at the cracks in the wall.
The fact that Lin even has a sister is still mind-blowing, but then again so is the fact that he has a secret family. With their recent reveal one had to assume that they would come into play sooner rather than later and Lady Gao is here to make sure she holds all the leverage. It is clear that Gao wants to run the school her way, a way that seems similar to Lin’s style in the comic, and her discovery of Lin’s family is a major card to hold. Of course, she’s going to use it as leverage to chase her brother out, and I’m not convinced that she won’t kill them to make a point. Clearly, she has her eyes set on Lin’s daughter, but here’s the thing, is it possible that Lin is playing everyone. I think that’s what’s been bothering me the most about Master Lin I think we’re supposed to believe he’s soft and past his time, but what if he’s more calculating then we give him credit. The discovery of his daughter seemed all types of sloppy. Like blatantly so. What if he’s orchestrated a number of things in order to call out his enemies and then with one strong hand re-establish his dominance over King’s Dominion? I’m starting to believe this is the direction we’re heading.
I’m not saying that he planted the idea of killing Chico in Maria’s head because we know that’s been there since she was a child. I am saying that he’s fully aware of what happened in Las Vegas though. He wouldn’t be a deadly schoolmaster if he didn’t and everything that is currently happening with Maria and the cartel he has a hand in. I would also bet he knows about F-Face having Chico’s body and he’s letting that play its course. This is a school after all and these students are supposed to be learning. What better experience then hands-on experience? Don’t think for one second that his pet serial killer, played fantastically by French Stewart, isn’t going to give these kids up. Just because the gang fed him a burrito and some ice cream doesn’t mean the Scorpio Slasher is loyal to them. He’s Lin’s pet and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lin kind of inceptioned the idea into their heads to use him to find F-Face. Why else let this lunatic be a guest speaker in a classroom?
As far as F-Face goes though, he’s the wild card. Clearly, he’s something Lin hasn’t planned on but is still using to his advantage. It is clear that there is a war between the F-Face family and Marcus’s gang brewing, and it makes sense. In the mind of F-Face, Marcus has stolen his celebrity by taking credit for the burning of the children’s home they once shared. Something Marcus has never asked for but hasn’t shied away from. Hell, that’s how he got into King’s Dominion in the first place. F-Face strives for that notoriety, having people kill in his name as he’s trying to build some perverse murder legacy. His possession of Chico’s head is his trump card to the big time. He now knows of King’s Dominion. He knows of Chico’s connections to the cartel. He knows just about everything. By the way who is his mystery insider? That’s why he has to die. Marcus needs to tie up these loose ends to protect his friends. Master Lin needs him to tie up these loose ends to remind us that even if we don’t think it, he’s in full control of everything.
Some quick thoughts before I leave you-
- French Stewart is dazzling as the Scorpio Slasher. It is clear that he’s having a blast with the material and he’s eating up all his scenery. He owns this role and I’m curious to see what they have in store for him next. There’s no way you can keep this character on the sideline.
- Speaking of having fun this episode, Michel Duval as Chico’s head was a blast, and yes I’m aware of how strange that sounds. But Duval played Chico’s head as F-Face would perceive it and added a perverse kind of levity to the episode. Plus, it was good to see him back for an episode.
- Maria in the club was amazing. From the Day of the Dead paint with her hair down to her ability to think on her feet. She’s trapped and she knows it but she’s still a force to watch out for.
- Curious to where Willie’s romance takes him. Comic fans might be raising an eyebrow but it’s nice to see someone have an enjoyable time this episode.
- Billy getting stuck in a puzzle room was a nice little touch that helps expand the mystique of King’s Dominion.
- Seriously, the worst swirly ever.
- After that animated sequence, I was left kind of wanting a full Deadly Class animated episode. Anyone else?
There you have it Geeklings, another episode in the book and things don’t seem to be getting easier for our cast. Do you think Gao has the upper hand on Master Lin? Did Maria just start a turf war? Can Marcus get to F-Face before it’s too late? Sound off in the comments. If you’d like to talk more Deadly Class with yours truly, comics or show, you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. I’m there every Wednesday night live Tweeting along with the episode too so feel free to join in. I’ll see you future disrupters of America next week with a brand new episode review!