WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the fourth episode of Syfy’s Deadly Class, “Mirror People.”
If it’s one thing Syfy’s Deadly Class nails perfectly from Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s comic, it’s the nostalgia. Whether it’s the slow-burn drama of The Cure or the punk rebellion of T.S.O.L., the television adaptation transports viewers to the 1980s, when going against the grain of the Reagan Era meant something.
The series makes it biggest statement on anarchy, and the overall concept of “the other,” by using Episode 4, “Mirror People,” to paint a bloodier version of John Hughes’ 1985 classic, The Breakfast Club.
The comedy-drama is widely adored for showing there’s really little separating the social divisions of high school — the nerds, the jocks, the preps, and so on. The Breakfast Club reminded us it’s OK for the geek to want to be popular, and that deep down, even the cool kids sometimes feel like outsiders.
Deadly Class takes a page from The Breakfast Club premise when, after brawling at prom, most of the primary characters land in detention for a weekend, with limited food, because Headmaster Lin (Benedict Wong) wants them to pay the price for unruly behavior on school grounds. Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth) steps into the role of Anthony Michael Hall’s Brian Johnson as the brain who picks locks, allowing the group to rob Lin’s office for get snacks; Saya (Lana Condor) takes over as the emotional princess, putting a dark spin on Molly Ringwald’s Claire Standish; Chico (Michel Duval) fills in for Judd Nelson’s John Bender as the rude criminal; Taylor Hickson’s Petra replaces Ally Sheedy’s Allison Reynolds as the group’s basket case; while Sean Depner’s Viktor acts as the petulant athlete in place of Emilio Estevez’s Andrew Clark. Of course, there’s a wildcard in the mix with “some random kid” named Jaden (Michael Mitton), who’s there to be nothing more than a victim.
As everyone bonds, “Mirror People” takes viewers back to struggle of youth. Just like in Hughes’ movie, these characters are living up to legacies, and yearning to forge their own identities, separate from the expectations of their families or school. It’s stereotypical, but cliches aside, they just want enjoy the things kids their age are supposed to. When they do steal Lin’s treasure trove, watching the students joust with toys and Saya pretend to be Evel Knievel doesn’t feel out of place. It’s with warmth and levity, but just as in The Breakfast Club, it’s a prelude to reality, which comes in the form of Kuroki gangsters.
As the Yakuza members come for Saya, Jaden dies; Chico betrays Marcus and Saya; and Viktor and Petra are left wounded, on the verge of death. And that’s where the Deadly Class twist comes in: They’re not just fighting for survival emotionally, but also physically. Their would-be assassins represent teachers, principals, cops — everything they’ve fought against. Most of all, everyone’s vulnerabilities are exposed as we discover Viktor’s abusive background, and how a sex cult destroyed Petra’s family life.
These backstories paint them as teens in angst, scared of a world that they’re meant to change. It all comes crashing down when Saya kills her cousin Yukio, emphasizing there are no happy endings here.
Deadly Class stars Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, María Gabriela de Faría, Luke Tennie, Liam James and Michel Duval. New episodes air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.