More often than not season finales seem to collapse under the weight of expectations. Sometimes it’s a matter of too many loose plot threads to connect and other times the hype machine works against a show where there’s no way to make everyone happy. Then there are the instances where it all just falls flat, those are the worst types of finales. If a show wants to nail its season finale then they need to be loyal not only to the in/narrative but also the audience. You’ve built up this relationship on trust and appreciation, now isn’t the time to turn your back on those who support you. Season finales should be the reward for watching all season. Exceeding expectations or bringing genuine surprises is the gift of the season finale and it’s what keeps your viewer coming back the following season. You make people addicted to your payoff and hopefully, the buzz brings in new viewers. That’s television making 101. “Sink With California”, Deadly Class’s season finale, not only tremendously adapts Rick Remender’s comic but it brings this first season to an explosive conclusion. An episode that doesn’t waste any time with exposition or delaying the inevitable, but instead dives head first into the chaos; shattering relationships, lives, and changing the game for season two. What more could you want out of a season finale?!
Heading into last night’s finale we had two major storylines to focus on. There was the dissolving of Master Lin’s power and his loss of family and the student’s attack on F-Face Manor. What “Sink With California” does so adeptly is allowed both of these storylines to breathe on their own before allowing them to connect in the final tension-filled moments. Each storyline explodes with action, quite literally with the opening, with callbacks to a number of themes that have been running throughout the series since day one of school allowing the season to come full circle. Our students are learning, and while they aren’t the Avengers, they’re applying their lessons to real life scenarios showing their growth as assassins and soon to be killers. Unfortunately, King’s Dominion doesn’t have them properly prepared to deal with their emotions as it’s what repeatedly fail them in the real world.
By attending murder school it’s easy for us to forget that our characters are still adolescents who are just coming out of puberty. The very concept of becoming a trained killer seems so very adult that it’s easy to overlook matters of age, but what Deadly Class does so excellently is allow the characters to remind you themselves. Through their actions and through their words we are reminded that these teenagers have a lot of growing, and hopefully, living to do and “Sink With California” does this so beautifully without beating us over the head with the information. Deadly Class has invested a great deal into these characters and allows them to stand on their own, and if that isn’t the very definition of growing up I don’t know what is.
Emotions run rampant throughout this finale and almost cost a number of characters everything. Marcus chooses the moment before they attack to try and talk to Saya about what happened between them. Billy repeatedly tries to make a move on Petra when things begin falling apart. Maria seems willing to let Saya die, if not get seriously injured, for sleeping with Marcus. Even F-Face gets in on the act as he confesses that Marcus was his only friend. These emotional outbursts are all terribly timed, with maybe the exception of Billy…maybe, and just goes to show how much further these teens need to travel. Something tells me you can’t be a successful assassin if you can’t put your emotions aside in order to finish a job. That’s how you end up dead and numerous times throughout the assault on F-Face Manor our cast of characters pushes the limit of their mortality. Look at the fight between Saya and Maria, two friends who have been falling rapidly out of favor for the last few weeks. While it seems that that fight was a long time coming maybe we could have picked a better time for it? The objective should have been surviving and retrieve Chico’s head not try and kill each other in a house filled with deadly hillbillies. The sequence was fantastically shot and the right amounts of emotional and brutal, but come on ladies! Do better! Is Marcus really worth this?
The answer would seem to be no, but maybe? Marcus is a narcissistic, highly self-involved, emotionally tattered individual. A person who constantly self-sabotages because he doesn’t believe in the idea that he can be happy. Or maybe he just doesn’t know how to be so he mopes and listens to The Smiths and believes the world can only throw darkness his way. That’s why he sleeps with Saya. What right does he have to be happy with someone when everything is all so fleeting. Marcus believes life is a Smith’s song and he fails to understand that in a relationship there are other parties involved. His discussion with Maria is a road map for all the wrong things to say to someone. “I didn’t ask for your love” or stating a relationship is an “obligation” shows your lack of respect for the other person in the relationship. In a moment that should have been a confession and explanation of how things got effed up, Marcus again chooses to make things about himself. In the light of actually accomplishing what they set out to do in killing F-Face and getting Chico’s head, Marcus still can’t find the resolve in their actions. He must push away happiness and by doing this, he pushes Maria right into the crosshairs of El Diablo.
The cartel spends the majority of the episode chasing after Master Lin, but it’s Gao who hands them the victory. Using her brother’s secrets against him, Gao plays her trump card in Shabnam to learn the location of the group and sends a page to El Diablo with the location. What follows is Gao’s victory as her broken brother, unable to defend himself or his daughter, loses everything. His daughter is to be sent off to be trained. His wife dead. His power within King’s Dominion at its weakest as all his planning and scheming leaves him broken and bleeding on the floor of his office. His relationship with the cartel ruined over his lies. It’s Gao’s cunningness and control of her emotions that lead to her victory as she hands Maria over to El Diablo with the rest of the Rats expendable.
Maria has arguably been the most up and down character this season, and after her flashback, it’s easy to imagine why. Her conversation with Marcus helps to drive home the point that she knows she’s lost and broken which isn’t something that’s easily admitted. All Maria has been searching for was someone who could possibly understand those emotions and if Marcus had been able to pull his head out of his ass, he might have understood that. They both made mistakes but there’s this light and darkness between the two where maybe they’re exactly what they need to survive life. And at the worst possible moment both her and Marcus walk out into a trap set by the cartel with Chico’s head in their hand. In a moment where they need each other the most, both Marcus and Maria couldn’t be any more fractured. Adding to the tension is Lex who seemingly is the sacrifice for their sins as he shot in the chest most likely killed.
Season one ends with a massive cliffhanger and the death of a fan favorite. Our characters are divided with Saya leaving to focus on herself, Willie on the run, and the rest at the rendezvous waiting for what comes next. Maria and Marcus stand on the edge of despair and we have to wait to see if they’re able to survive it. What more could you want from a season finale?
Some quick thoughts before I leave you-
- Deadly Class went all in on the violence and vulgarity this episode and the results were outstanding. I haven’t seen a chainsaw scene that upsetting since Scarface. Lex and Marcus get reactions of the night.
- Saya seems to be on her own now having renounced Maria and the rest of the group. What comes next for her? One has to believe Lin is going to blame her to some degree for what happened to his family. Will Saya be able to focus on her family and studies when the Head Master is out to get her?
- Where does Lin fall now? Is he still in charge of King’s Dominion or did Gao’s power move just push him out? Really curious to see where his story leads.
- Petra, Billy, and Lex… that hug. This group has not only expanded their characters outside the comics but has also become one of my favorite aspects of the show. But Lex man… the pain in my heart is real.
- That fight with Maria and Saya was incredible and ripped directly from the comic. The whole episode pretty much was. The loyalty to the source material can’t be ignored.
- Anyone else kind of feel for F-Face? Like, for a minute?
- I told you not to sleep on Shab. Dude is a power player.
- The soundtrack…The. Soundtrack.
There you have it Geeklings, season one of Deadly Class is complete and outside of New Comic Book Day, my Wednesdays feel empty now. Now we wait for the season two pickup which I think seems likely considering the social media following and how ratings have increased weekly. On top of that, we need to know what happens next. If you can’t wait that long I highly suggest you pick up Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s graphic novels and prep yourself for next season. You won’t be sorry. Outside of that, it has been an absolute blast covering this show with you guys. Live Tweeting every Wednesday night with you and the cast has been an amazing experience and just a lot of fun. This cast not only get the story they’re telling but love it, and it shows. I’m happy to see a story I love so well represented. In the meantime, you can find me here at Fan Fest covering Doom Patrol, writing about comics, and soon to be reviewing the final season of Game of Thrones. If you’d like to talk about the finale or Deadly Class, in general, be sure to throw me a line on Twitter @iamgeek32. Here’s to doing this again for season two. Until then future disrupters of America, thanks for a kickass season!