Deadly Class season 1 premiere recap: Reagan Youth


Deadly Class introduces us to the dark and bloody world of King’s Dominion.

It’s 1987 and San Francisco houses the best school for elite assassins. Deadly Class is an adaptation of the popular comic book and the pilot does a decent job of bringing the story to the silver screen. The SYFY series doesn’t shy away from the violence seen throughout its source material. From the opening scene, the show makes it clear this isn’t going to be a watered down version of a school full of killers.

Benedict Wong plays Master Lin, the headmaster of King’s Dominion, the school at the heart of this story. He’s strict and astute, who expects his students to meet his expectations or suffer the consequences. A pretty blonde student, Brandy (Siobhan Williams), passes a note to our protagonist and narrator, Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth), and receives a cane to the face for it. Lin continues on about his lecture with no care for the crying and bleeding girl. However, her tears quickly dissipate and Brandy casually licks the blood off of her lips like it’s nothing. Marcus is horrified, but even more startled by the note which informs him he’s going to die.

Flashing back to the beginning, Deadly Class takes us to Marcus’ life before King’s Dominion. He’s living on the street after allegedly burning down the boy’s home he had been staying at. Based on his narration, it’s hinted that he was severely abused there but had never intended to hurt anyone. Nevertheless, he’s now a wanted criminal and scrounging for food on the streets. He solemnly informs the viewer that all he’s ever wanted was the “mundane sh*t” like a loving family. However, after the incident at the boy’s home, he now believes that he believes to suffer.

More from Syfy

While he might be guilt-ridden, Marcus is also frustrated with his current situation. He specifically blames Ronald Reagan for his predicament, because his administration cut funding for mental health facilities. This decision released a myriad of patients, including the woman, Barbara Salinger, who jumped off a building and landed on his parents. It’s a cruel twist of fate and Deadly Class spares us from seeing the live-action reenactment by using comic book drawings instead. We see a young Marcus witness his parents’ death and the utter despair which has plagued his life.

It’s a smart use of story-telling to include the art by Wes Craig, the illustrator for the comics. Throughout the pilot, we can see Marcus doodling in his notebook, and it shows us how he copes with the world. His only possessions seem to be his notebook, the clothes on his back, and the only family photo he has. The cruel leader of the homeless camp, Rory, where Marcus sleeps stole it before beating the kid for fighting back. At least he finds the still lit roach from a guy passing by and is able to get high.

DEADLY CLASS — “Reagan Youth” Episode 100 — Pictured: Maria Gabriela de Faria as Maria — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

Unfortunately, it’s cut with something Marcus gets overwhelmed at a festival for Dios de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). He’s entranced by a dancer, who uses her hand fan to easily cut down some cops after Marcus. A young African American kid is able to convince Marcus to run while another uses his skateboard as a weapon. Just as Marcus thinks the cops will get to him, a woman on a motorcycle shows up to take them all down easily. As she finishes them off, the two boys are able to throw a hood on him and abduct him.

The kids tie him up and all judge him based on his homelessness status. Master Lin appears in the nick of time to try and convince Marcus to join the school. However, he’s not very interested in signing up for anything at the moment. He storms out and tries to return to the camp. Sadly, the police are already there and swarming the place. With no home left and no prospects, Marcus decides endings his life is his best option.

He climbs to the top of the building where Barbara Salinger had jumped. Just as he’s getting prepared to jump, the woman from the motorcycle interrupts him. This is Saya (Lana Condor), who kisses him to stop him from jumping. Marcus is immediately smitten and decides to return to King’s Dominion with her. She takes the ride back to walk him through the ground rules about the school. The main rule is obvious: don’t tell anyone the location of their school. As for the others, no one seems to care that much about them. “No disobedience, no drugs, and no sex” but the dancer from earlier, Maria (María Gabriela de Faría) just laughs the last one off.

DEADLY CLASS — “Reagan Youth” Episode 100 — Pictured: (l-r) Luke Tennie as Willie, Lana Condor as Saya, Benedict Wong as Master Lin, Maria Gabriela de Faria as Maria, Liam James as Billy — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

In the headmaster’s office, Master Lin gives us a little more backstory. His grandfather came to America to live out the dream but he eventually founded this school. Lin calls it creative problem solving and a way to give the weak the power to rise up. With nowhere left to go, Marcus decides he has nothing left to lose. He gets clean clothes, a shower, and a new set of weapons to learn from. However, we can see in his shower that his body is covered in different scars. We would be surprised if Deadly Class doesn’t explore his dark history.

This isn’t going to be a walk in the park since the kids at school don’t seem to like him much. The African-American kid from earlier, Willie (Luke Tennie), bumps him in the hallway while Marcus makes an enemy out of Maria’s ex-boyfriend, Chico (Michel Duval). She invites him to join her gang, the Soto Vatos because his Nicaraguan roots mean they’re the safest bet to back him up. Marcus doesn’t want to join a gang but he might not have a choice.

Deadly Class now catches up to the introduction, with Marcus leaving Lin’s class after the note accident. He goes to self-defense, where we get to see the green haired skater again, Billy (Liam James), who’s happily joking around. He seems to love anarchy and is incredibly aware of his place at this school. During lunch, he informs Marcus that the kids without connections to the criminal world are called rats. They all have to stick together because they’re at the bottom of the food chain at King’s Dominion.

DEADLY CLASS — “Reagan Youth” Episode 100 — Pictured: Siobhan Williams as Brandy — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

During their poison class, Billy convinces Marcus to distract Viktor (Sean Depner), the token Russian student. He hits on his lab partner, Petra (Taylor Hickson), who also helps out Billie with poisoning Viktor. The poor guy begins loses controls of his bowels during class while Billy laughs hilariously. Up on the roof, called the Graveyard, all of the goths and punks hang out so at least Marcus has found some friends. Although, none of them believe Marcus is going to be able to kill Ronald Reagan like he wants to.

Meanwhile, Saya walks into the bathroom to find a tearful Maria unable to open a bottle of pills. It sounds like she says it’s valproate, which can be used to treat bipolar disorder. Maria doesn’t respond, either way, she just grabs them and takes off. Before Saya could follow up, Marcus comes running in for help. He admits that his “murderous reputation” is actually fake since he didn’t burn the house down. However, Saya doesn’t have much interest in helping him. She encourages him to run after revealing their kiss from before was just a way to get him to come with her.

As Marcus goes to run, he meets Maria in the hallway. She’s now sporting a black eye and she tearfully insinuates Chico did this to her. This is all a little fishy considering she didn’t have them a few minutes ago during her quick talk with Saya. Nevertheless, it convinces Marcus to go confront Chico in the courtyard. He has nothing to lose, so what’s the worst thing Chico could do? Marcus is prepared to die but if Chico kills him then he’ll get kicked out of school. Before either can do anything, Lin interrupts and the whole fight is put on pause.

DEADLY CLASS — “Reagan Youth” Episode 100 — Pictured: Benjamin Wadsworth as Marcus — (Photo by: Allen Fraser/Syfy)

Willie picks up Marcus, who’s back in his street clothes and ready to go back to the streets. The two agree to team up that way Willie can pass Lin’s class. They were given the assignment to kill someone who deserves it. Marcus volunteers Rory, and the two are on their way. Deadly Class even gives us an amusing debate about what’s better: indie or superhero comics. It’s funny because the Russo Brothers are producing this show, but their love for X-Men makes us hope they are interested in doing the Marvel film adaptations.

However, when push comes to shove, Willie isn’t able to shoot Rory. He’s never killed someone and he can’t go through with it. The two boys run when Rory spots them however Willie gets cornered. Marcus is able to get the drop on him so the two can escape. However, he’s overcome with anger looking at Rory’s face and he beats the man to death. They set the body on fire, and Marcus offers to do “tough assignments” like this for Willie in the future. At least it looks like he has his first true ally.

On the outside of the school, Marcus shakily lights a cigarette as he grapples with the crime he just committed. Maria interrupts him, no longer sporting a black eye. She admits it was all just makeup as a way to trick Marcus into killing Chico for her. They share a kiss, but he knows this is a bit too complicated for him to deal with at the moment. He closes the episode hanging out at the Graveyard with Billy and the others getting wasted. What else could he want? He has a bedroom (which is clearly just a janitor’s closet with a bed), clothes, and a few friends.

Next. Deadly Class: How SyFy adapted the violent 80’s set comic for TV. dark

Things are definitely going to get more complicated though, with Master Lin giving Saya a picture of Marcus. Apparently, he’s part of her assignment still and looks pretty torn up about it. Overall, this is a solid adaptation for SYFY. There’s a lot to unpack in this premiere, but it did give us a good first look at all of the characters. However, since this is a school for murderers, we have to wonder if everyone will be making it through this season alive.

What did you think of the Deadly Class premiere? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!