'Deadly Class' review: King's Dominion is no Hogwarts but Marcus and Saya are still magical to watch
Syfy's 'Deadly Class' airs tonight and the show is committed to portraying raw violence with unfiltered teen angst at its extreme best
Already hailed to be the Hogwarts for assassins, King's Dominion is now the hub of reference to describe a 'hell of a high school experience.'
No one particularly warns us about the trials and tribulations of being a high school nobody. Harry Potter wasn't warned, in fact, Hogwarts was his getaway from a rather awful family but he was already a hero when he set foot into the wizarding world. However, our protagonist, Marcus Lopez Arguello (Benjamin Wadsworth), is actually a nobody in a world that isn't magical at all. He is a homeless orphan boy with no superpowers who agrees to join King's Dominion only because he has nothing to lose. After all, "Happiness is the absence of pain."
View this post on Instagram
Though the tragedies are too real and connected with real life, the fact that it is based in the 1980s gives us the kind of escape we need, in a way. For a show that has already been subjected to backlash for glorifying teen angst and violence in school, it is a good thing that it is not based in the current scenario where gun violence is an epidemic in the country.
The producers of the show cautiously deviated from this particular aspect of Rick Remender's comic of the same name and avoided brandishing guns on the school premises. However, the opening scene of the pilot episode wastes no time to set the premise of the show: who would you kill?
Our dear boy Marcus, who is not homeless anymore after agreeing to get enrolled in the elite school of the deadly arts, may be the "rat" in the social hierarchy the school entails, but he aims at killing the then President of United States — Ronald Reagen.
Master Lin (Benedict Wong), the stern headmaster of King's Dominion talks about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and how that led to the breakout of World War I. The students are the "future disruptors of America", so there's glory in spurring some destruction. So brace yourselves, 'Deadly Class' is all about the journey towards destruction — self or otherwise.
Marcus is a devastated teen, who lost his parents after Ronald Reagen deinstitutionalized mental health facilities and a suicidal schizophrenic named Barbara Salinger attacked his parents and killed them. After that, he was blamed for a fire that killed a lot of kids and ever since he has been on the run from the law and living in a neighborhood with a murderous homeless man.
Before killing Reagen, Marcus has another target — the homeless man who has already killed several other homeless people. The target is set because "some people deserve to die". Recruiting Willie, a son of a famous son of a famous gangster, Marcus wants him to do his job, but in an unexpected plot twist, tough-guy Willie turns out to be a pacifist and Marcus himself ends up ruthlessly killing the homeless man.
What's even more surprising is that he attends the homeless man's funeral and tells his daughter what a horrible man her father was, which provokes her to spit at him.
Forget spit, what drenches Marcus's face on his first day at school is Brandy Lynn's blood. Brandy (Siobhan Williams) is a neo-Nazi Southern Belle who is also the head cheerleader at King's Dominion. A typical 'Mean Girls' scene follows suit as she embarrasses Petra (Taylor Hickson), a goth girl who, like Marcus, doesn't have any affiliation to the elite fraction of the school.
But that does not mean the ones lowest in the food chain are not up for survival. Marcus befriends the "rats" and lands into trouble with Chico (Michel Duval), the leader of the Soto Vatos and the "top dog" of King's Dominion.
Maria Salazar (María Gabriela de Faría) is Chico's girlfriend, who wants him dead. She tricks Marcus to fight for her and develops a liking towards the new underdog. However, Marcus has his eyes set on Saya (Lana Condor), the best student at King's Dominion and Master Lin's ultimate confidant.
She is the unattainable woman, but Marcus develops a thing for her after she stops him from jumping off a building and kissing him to let him know he does not have to fight alone. To Marcus' dismay, it was all for her assignment, but fans speculate that Saya is in love with Marcus too.
The normal high school stuff skips what goes on in King's Dominion, but unlike teen-school centric shows like 'Riverdale' or '13 Reasons Why', what happens in the school of deadly arts is not just extreme, it's shocking. The way to teach lessons is literally to kill them, almost. "There's no room for the weak," and any hesitation to kill is punished.
Adapted directly from a graphic novel, there's deafening usage of curse words and violence. The story revolves around tragedy, an action-packed tragedy, so we are not sure what age-group the show is intended for, but if you are one who is nostalgic about school days, you will thoroughly enjoy. the episodes even though it kept shuffling between heartache and adrenaline rush. Marcus' fate may be sealed in King's Dominion, but he looks uber hot in his uniform and in conclusion, let's just say we are glad he "found a reason to live in a place surrounded by death."
Another reminder that the place is no magical Hogwarts in the Scottish Highlands, it's an elite institution tucked away behind a Chinese bazaar.