It’s the day after Marcus killed Rory. He’s noticeably shaken up but is also in deep denial. He goes to great lengths to convince himself he’s above it, but is evidently, having trouble sleeping.
At the lawn outside King’s Dominion, Marcus hangs out with his fellow Rats, hoping to score some weed to ease his thoughts. Billy judges Petra’s taste in music, while Lex acts boisterous as always. According to Petra, the school is completely dry on drugs right now. As they leave for class, Marcus hallucinates and sees a vision of Rory out in the open.
At poison lab, Jurgen Denke (Henry Rollins) teaches about a lethal poison. One that the US government is keeping for undisclosed reasons. While they’re on the topic, some kids tease Marcus about wanting to kill President Reagan again.
Marcus tries to go about his day pretending things are okay. He starts by trying to make casual conversation at the library – which fails. At that same moment, Billy returns some books – all of which, are littered with hand-drawn dicks scribbled all over them.
Marcus goes outside to smoke cigarettes. Jurgen talks to him, and shares that he is also angry at Reagan, having lost friends and a few partners from AIDS – Reagan neglecting that it was an issue. Marcus wants to do something about bullies like Reagan. Jurgen warns him that’s idealistic bullshit. Although he likes Marcus’ gumption, Jurgen gives him a warning:
Back in AP BLACK ARTS Willie talks about killing Rory. How he murdered him, and then dumped the body in a dumpster and lit it on fire, spinning the story to make it seem he did it alone. Master Lin is angry that amongst his class, only Willie finished the assignment of finding and killing a person. He says that he is going to give his students a new test and asks Willie to meet with him after class.
Moments later, the students from AP Black Arts including Maria, Chico, and Brandy, sulk in the Hallway. Each had different reasons why they couldn’t kill someone. Suddenly, the hallway starts to go on lockdown. Metal bars sealing the exits.
The hall fills with poison gas. Over the P.A., Lin gives them a riddle. This is their new test: the gang must solve his riddle and find a way into the botanical garden for the antidote in five minutes… or die.
They panic at first. Saya gives some sound advice, and Marcus picks the lock. The students get out and traverse to the botanical gardens, but also, begin to cough up blood. Marcus triggers a floor trap which causes the exit gate to slowly close, just as a pair of monk guards arrive. Having to fight more experienced fighters, the group needs to fight together and escape – working as a team.
Meanwhile, Master Lin and Willie watch on from monitors in Lin’s office. Lin is suspicious of Willie’s exploits because he doesn’t know how Willie could lift a grown man’s body into a dumpster by himself. Still, Willie doesn’t snitch despite seeing his friends potentially get murdered.
The students get to the gardens. Marcus notices each plant at the gardens has a unique sigil – and that the riddle Master Lin was giving, was about a fish. Marcus finds the proper plant but is put down by Chico before he can grab the cure. All the students collapse from poison, except Maria, who notices what Marcus was going for. She grabs the root and cures everyone yet hesitates to cure Chico. Only doing so at the very last second.
We meet Shabnam for the first time at the cafeteria. He is the prototypical 80s nerd but comes from a well-off family. He is running for class president – handing out mixtapes for free.
At the cafeteria lunch table, Lex makes fun of Shabnam for his musical tastes on his mixtape. Billy mentions to Marcus, that those who failed the poison test were revived by the monks. Shabnam sits with them in the cafeteria – much to their disdain. Shabnam decides to throw a party. Given how dry the school is, the rats agrees to join – inviting the whole school.
Saya and Maria are at their shared dorm room. Saya mentions Marcus is her secret pledge. Both girls talk about how they each kissed him, though both for very different reasons: Maria to manipulate him into killing Chico, Saya to get him to return as per her mission from Master Lin.
Saya mentions the party is a good way to take the edge off. Chico comes in and surprises his girlfriend with a night out on the town. Saya is irritated at this, as the girls made plans together, but chooses to let it go.
This takes us to the high school party episode. We see all the crews from the school hanging out. Including Saya, who rarely makes an appearance. She also brought her sword along with her.
Billy desperately wants to talk to Petra at the party, who’s rocking some serious fishnets in her gothic attire. He is incredibly nervous talking to her but Saya gives him some words of encouragement.
Meanwhile, Marcus finds the Hessian’s drug dealer (Brian Posehn) crashing the party. He has a gravity bong going.
Shabnam’s house is ruined. He complains someone shit on the wall. Brandy and Victor joke around. He asks her how much it would cost to bang Shabnam. She says $20,000. He walks off disheartened by her response.
Willie brags to his friends at the party about his kill. Marcus is in a corner, listening to his Walkman. Marcus listens to the Smiths. Willie condemns his taste in music. The two exchange back and forth, though mostly it’s Marcus suggesting to Willie to cut the charade – Willie isn’t having it.
Billy approaches Petra. Just as he’s about to go in, Lex cuts in and starts being an asshole to everyone. First, to Petra, then Brandy, and finally, even to the Hessian’s drug dealer.
Marcus calls Lex out. Moments later, he tells Saya that Billie tried to ask Petra out, but Lex ruined it for him. Suddenly, Brandy randomly throws Saya and Marcus into the closet for ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven‘. The two share an intimate moment.
But Marcus gets distracted by Willie, who boasts about killing that guy. Marcus kicks the door down and rushes over to Willie, telling him to shut the fuck up – which upsets the F.W.O. (Willie’s gang)
Marcus angrily storms off. Willie follows.
Willie confronts Marcus and reveals why he’s a pacifist: a rival gang broke into his house as a kid. He grabbed his father’s uzi in front of him and tried to defend his dad but the kickback was too much. Willie killed the gang, as well as accidentally killed his own father. Now, he’s sworn off guns ever since, which Marcus immediately empathizes with. Willie reminds him he has a reputation to protect. And to not call him out on it in front of his people. Because if he ever loses his reputation, he is dead.
Billy is manically looking for a Quaker Oats box. He noticed as a kid every house had one and believes that the Quaker Oats man looks like God – therefore every box is just God looking down on them.
Marcus believes Billy is just looking for ways to avoid talking about his feelings to Petra. With a little push, Billy goes for it, and tells her… that he’s in love with her.
It goes horribly. Desperate to get out of the awkward situation, Petra grabs a shirtless Victor and takes him upstairs to have sex. Billy feels like utter shit.
At Date night, Chico and Maria have dinner at a fancy restaurant. Maria mentions wanting to hang with her friends. Chico reminds her that everyone is an enemy. He mentions that he’s loved Maria since he was a boy and that in the end, all they have are each other in this world. Maria reminisces with Chico. They’re enjoying up until an old friend runs into Chico at the restaurant. He invites him to join them, much to Maria’s dismay.
At the party Marcus drinks alone. Brooding and self-reflective, he realizes… why the hell is he trying to be a hero for everybody? What does impressing people get him?
In serendipitous timing, Brandy makes a racist comment. Marcus’ throws his drink in her face. Saya pulls him to the side before a scene is made. She calls him out on his bullshit with Willie and the assignment, and how Marcus is hung up with guilt. He denies it – though it’s obvious she’s right.
Later in the evening, the drug dealer finally introduces his name: Dwight Shandy. They share some banter over marijuana, then hooks Marcus up with some weed – which he immediately smokes.
Finally, Shabnam returns… with 20,000 dollars. He looks for Brandy but is interrupted by Lex, who is now playing with a ridiculously large Dildo he’d found in Shabnam’s mother’s room. He flops it around and starts prodding guests with it until Shabnam pushes him down. Lex doesn’t take this kindly. He proceeds to beat Shabnam with his mom’s dildo. At least, until Saya intervenes and cuts it in two with her sword.
Marcus looks on at this spectacle, now stoned, and enjoying every hilarious minute of this. As an angry Lex storms off to cry, Victor arrives, completely naked, with some wise words of advice:
“There is old K.G.B. wisdom. Sometimes you are dildo, and sometimes, you are face.”
The cops show and break up the party. The lights and sirens bring back Marcus’ hallucination of Rory, who manically starts to laugh at him. Marcus has a breakdown. Willie grabs him and tells him that one of the cops just recognized him (Marcus is still wanted for murder). He takes Marcus in arm, and the duo hightail out of there.
After Dinner, Chico and Maria go into the car with Chico’s friend. Maria does some cocaine with Chico’s buddy in the backseat, ready to celebrate the night away. Suddenly, Chico pulls out a gun and shoots his friend in the head.
Wiping the blood off Maria’s face, Chico confesses that he knew about Marcus and her. How she tried to convince Marcus to murder Chico. Maria looks horrified. Chico threatens that even though he would never kill her because he loves her, if she pulls shit like that again… she’s going to wish he had.
The next day, Professor Lin takes Marcus to Rory’s funeral. Marcus is nudged forward to the procession. Admits that Rory stole, beat women, and hurt people. Rory’s Daughter tells him to go to hell, spitting in Marcus’ face.
Master Lin talks to Marcus. He knows Marcus killed Rory. Marcus finally admits that the guilt has been weighing on him. In a surprising move, Lin comforts him. He shows evidence of Rory’s multiple homicides. Reassuring Marcus, that he may have saved some lives by killing him. Lin tells Marcus he is proud of him, which picks up Marcus’ spirits.
Back at King’s Dominion, Lin takes Marcus to get his new room assignment. Marcus is moving in with Shabnam.
Later on, Saya gives Lin a report on Marcus. She’s been spying on him, reporting on his actions to Lin. She tells him the truth: that Marcus didn’t kill those kids at the boy’s home. Lin asks, “Then who did?”
We cut to a man with a messed-up face having sex with a goat. An officer catches him but gets hit by a ton of bricks overhead. The man tells the cop that he’s looking for Marcus.
The episode leaves us on a cliffhanger. One that’s a faithful adaption to the comic book with its introduction of a new character. This episode was also, surprisingly almost all original material.
Although this was a solid episode in building up the world of the students and the style of the era, I was also taken aback by how all over the place it was. Oftentimes, the series feeling like it was meandering – with Marcus’ brooding and intervening a little too much at times.
When I’d first watched this one, I expected some tensions between factions. It’s a little strange how hated groups could come together for a party and I wanted the series to explore that – yet it’s mostly still our core gang.
I was also surprised by some character choices. Lex is a bit of an ass to everyone at the party, yet is also Billy and Petra’s friend? Likewise, Marcus has now become unhinged multiple times now: first swinging at Chico in the pilot, and now getting up in Willie’s face at the party. His hotheaded behavior seems a little at odds with his more brooding demeanor – though a lot of it is pent up guilt.
I also wasn’t a big fan of how they portrayed the ladies in this episode. Almost all of them are either hung up on Marcus, are racist, or are getting abused. Oddly enough, Petra hooking up with Victor might have been the most affirmative action performed by a female character this episode.
Final Score: 8/10