deadly class the clampdown

“Secrets got us into this; holding onto bad feelings, not being honest, not trusting each other.”

It should come as no surprise that, in a school like King’s Dominion, where violence, backstabbing, and jostling for domination is the name of the game, that trust is very difficult to achieve. That reality becomes more evident in “The Clampdown” where the secrets of the past few episodes bubble to the surface and threaten our core group of protagonists.

Saya is forced to choose between her loyalty to her clique and friendship with Maria (and the others).

With the deaths of Chico and Yukio being a major blow to the sanctity of King’s Dominion rules, Master Lin enacts a school-wide “clampdown” in order to investigate the deaths and discover the truth. Said lockdown comes just as Saya and Maria nearly come to blows over the building tension between them; tension that includes death of Yukio in addition to Marcus and Saya’s obvious connection. As it comes between classes and students are hustled into various rooms, “The Clampdown” provides some unique pairings that shift between the serious to a more lighthearted interaction involving sex, love, and raging hormones.

As the season has progressed, Maria and Saya’s best friendship has become more and more strained. Maria’s shaky behavior—due in part to her bipolar nature—has been a major factor in that but the aforementioned connection between her boyfriend and Saya plays an even bigger part in their crumbling sisterhood. Add to it all the outside noise from other students, and the distance between the pair at episode’s end is greater than it’s ever been. Despite their differences, when Marcus tells his newfound family the truth about what happened at the boy’s home, the strife between the pair will have to be put on the backburner until Chester is dealt with.

Lin breaks Marcus, getting the truth from his student. And yet, he covers for them. That loyalty may end up costing the headmaster.

We all know how important trust is in any relationship and that’s not different than those at King’s Dominion. Say what you will about the deadly curriculum or corporal punishment, respect and trust still drives a lot of what goes on. Even the sometimes brutal methods of Lin are born of the classical structures of respect, honor, discipline, and trust. His hands-on interrogation of Marcus touches on those facts. It’s a reminder that, while King’s Dominion is preparing its students to be assassins and all sorts of violent pillars of society, it is not without a code of honor. Lin knows his student is lying and that, like everyone, Marcus has a weakness. For Marcus, it’s the fear of being abandoned once more, left alone to fend for himself on the streets, vulnerable to the predators that walk out in the real world. Lin’s methods are harsh but they work and, in gaining the truth, we also see that Lin’s motives are not necessarily in line with what the Guild would do. He covers for his students, selling El Diablo the lie that his son Chico was killed by Yukio. The latter’s death closes the loop and despite El Diablo calling for more blood, Lin is able to talk him down (for now) as justice has been served.

The loyalty Lin shows to Marcus and the others won’t be without consequences. His sister, Lady Gao, though seemingly in a better place with her brother than episodes past, still works behind his back to discover more about the students. With the unsolicited help from Shabnam, Brandy Lynn, and Viktor, she has spies that will be tracking Marcus and co’s every move. On several occasions she has voiced the prospect of what will happen if the Guild discovers the truth of what’s going on in King’s Dominion, but her motives still remain a mystery. Does she truly support her brother and wish him to succeed or is she playing a longer game, fully loyal to the Guild? There’s also that third option: maybe she has her own designs that go behind both Lin and the Guild.

When clampdown finally ends, Marcus wastes no time in addressing his core group. Maria, Willie, Saya, and Billy have become his family and the one thing Marcus cannot lose. In that, he knows he has to be honest with them and imparts the truth on what happened with Chester and the boy’s home. More importantly, the gang realizes that time is running out and they’ll need to track Chester down before he spills the truth to El Diablo. It’ll mean putting their differences aside, but their little family has a job to do and little time to do it.

Nota Bene

  • To offer a break from the serious, we were given the brilliant pairing of Lex, Petra, and Billy. We all knew that Billy was in love with her, but Lex’s own attraction to Petra (beyond the physical) was revealed. The trio’s back and forth over the will they/won’t thy threesome was stellar. The two boys’ reticence to partake played for some great laughs, as did the ultimate interruption of what was to be after the boys wasted so much time coming to terms with Petra’s demands. While it may not have happened this time around, I really hope we get to explore a bit more with these three as there is some great chemistry between them.
  • Though Saya ultimately comes to Maria’s aid, saving her from Riku, it doesn’t mend the schism between the two. They may have to put the animosity aside to deal with Chester, but the truth is they may never return to that level of trust again. It’s not just Marcus that will always fuel tension between the pair but the actions both have taken against their respective cliques. There may not be enough time to resolve it all by season’s end but aspects of their crumbling bond reminds me of the Lex Luthor/Clark Kent collapse from Smallville, albeit occurring in a vastly truncated timeline.