Deadly Class, Episode 5 Review: “Saudade”

by Rachel Bellwoar

According to, “saudade” means “a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament.” None of the main characters in “Saudade” are Portuguese or Brazilian, but the word does work to describe Marcus’ drug trip, where he finds himself questioning what his parents would think of him if they saw him now, high on acid and responsible for two murders.

Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, Luke Tennie, Maria Gabriela de Faria, and Liam James (Photo by: Katie Yu/SYFY)

Marcus’ stay in Vegas is directly lifted from the books. It’s an important episode (given the second half of the season is going to be bogged down in ensuring “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” for good) and a visually stunning one, but eventually you’re ready for everyone to stop “tripping balls” at the same time, and that’s not going to happen.

Benjamin Wadsworth, Luke Tennie, and Liam James (Photo by: Katie Yu/SYFY)

Let’s go over some of those visuals, though. You’ve got different animation styles morphing into one another;  the casino’s back wall as animation; Marcus having a Lady Macbeth moment when he thinks his hands are bloody from helping Billy kill his dad; Marcus imagining Billy as a little boy, when he’s kneeling beside his father; Marcus imagining a clown (though the importance of that doesn’t come across – on the show, a clown is just on theme with a hotel called Big Top Big Top, but in the comics [*Spoiler!] Marcus gets the balloon he’s carrying when his parents died from a clown], and later a candy bar mascot (Chocophant); and finally shadows on the road that look like drips from the book design and some of the publicity ads for the show. By my estimate, Twin Peaks: The Return is still the show to beat for casino scenes, but Deadly Class commits to portraying a drug trip. The show doesn’t hold back.

Other thoughts on “Saudade”:

Maria Gabriela de Faria (Photo by: Katie Yu/SYFY)
  • Deadly Class doesn’t glamorize acid (when we first see Marcus he’s hiding underneath the car with bloodshot eyes), but it doesn’t make much ado about Saya giving Willie acid against his will. Peer pressure is bad enough, but she took away his ability to choose and deserved a lot more criticism for it. It’s not like he could stop her once the acid was on his tongue. “Saudade” isn’t Willie’s episode (the moment with the gun outstanding) but real friends would’ve had his back.
  • Question: did Billy confront his dad without Marcus because his dad saw him and it was now or never, or because Marcus was too high to think clearly, so he didn’t want to take advantage of his inebriation?
  • While the image of Saya’s eyes in the rear-view mirror is from the comics, the perspective’s been changed from Marcus to Saya. In the comics Marcus catches her eye and it’s this question of timing. Saya was the person Marcus had feelings for, but now he’s with Maria, and even though that’s not what (he thought) he wanted, can they be happy or is he already having regrets? On the show, Saya’s visibly crying, and the image plays up the love triangle aspect. Saya has emotions but this particular display of them feels out of character and too dramatic, for everything that’s gone down.

Deadly Class airs Wednesdays at 10 PM EST on the Syfy Channel.

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