Chico, played by Michel Duval, has been portrayed as a villain since Deadly Class' first episode. As the leader of the Sotos Vatos at Kings Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts and the son of drug kingpin El Alma del Diablo, that was kind of an inevitability. In Episode 5, the other Kings Dominion kids take a road trip to Vegas with one goal in mind: Kill Billy's dad. Maria (María Gabriela de Faría) leaves Chico behind, but he proves harder to shake than she thought.
"Saudade" marks a new chapter in Deadly Class. Literally, in part, because it marks the end of the show's take on creator/showrunner Rick Remender's graphic novel Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth. From here on out, we delve into the second chapter, Vol. 2: Kids of the Black Hole and beyond. And just like the comics, "Saudade" ends on a solemn note.
**SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers for Deadly Class Season 1, Episode 5, "Saudade."**
As of the end of "Saudade," Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth) has killed Billy's (Liam James) dad and Maria has killed Chico. Both deaths were overshadowed by some heavy backstories — Billy's dad has abused and taken advantage of his family for years and Chico's family has used Maria as a kind of pet — and both seemed to have left the Kings Dominion group reeling. Yes, Billy and Maria are now free of their abusers and Maria can be with Marcus, but what are the consequences of their actions?
SYFY WIRE spoke with Duval and James ahead of this week's episode to dig into these pivotal moments in the series and talk about what comes next.
Because Duval had read the comics, he knew Chico would die. But he also knew what the character's death would mean to the other characters. "After what they do to Chico, their lives are going to change forever," Duval told SYFY WIRE. He promises "Saudade" is not the last time audiences will see Chico, and says filming Chico's death scene and the moments leading up to it was the most rewarding experience of his career. Duval recalls falling to his knees, shivering and soaked in fake blood at the end. To his surprise, everyone started cheering.
James says they filmed that final confrontation with Chico in the alley from 6 PM until 6 AM, ending as the sun came up. "It felt a little bit surreal to actually feel like you were there in that scene from the comic books," he says. "I hadn't thought about it as much when I read the comics, but when you start thinking about what Billy has just been through and how the first thing that he does to Chico is run up to him and try to talk to him and talk some sense into him after all the violence he had seen... His first thing to do is to try to broker peace... He's still Billy, even though he has to deal with the ramifications of what happened."
Billy, James says, is a more complicated character than most people might think. Under that sense of humor and green mohawk is a kid with depth and a strong sense of morality who will remain deeply affected by seeing his dad die despite their nasty history.
The other character who will undoubtedly be affected by this week's deaths is Maria. After years of working for the Cartel and following in Chico's wake, Maria is free from his toxic influence.
"I knew that my character was there to serve Maria," Duval says. "I'm really proud of it, you know? It's time for women to shine. I grew up in a family where there was no dad — I have a sister, I have a mother... I respect [women], I was raised by them."
He adds, "And you know, what I love is that it's two women [Maria and Saya] that are not afraid to take matters into their own hands. But they're also from different cultures. We have Latino, we have Asian. So I really love that the colors of humankind are taking over the business and I love that they're women, too."
Duval says Maria was the last person Chico would have ever expected to stand up to him, so, of course, she had to be the one to stop him.
"He's just as confused as everyone in that alley," Duval says. "So he goes back to his instinct, which is killing. He's done it since he was a little kid. He doesn't know how to stop. He has to be stopped. And he's stopped by the person he least thought had the courage to do it. And that's what I really love about this story."