Deadly Class may be Marcus' story, but it's Lana Condor's character, Saya, who introduces her new classmate to the underground assassin world. She's the person who convinces him to join the Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts in the first episode. And the To All The Boys I've Loved Before star continues to play a major role throughout the show: Saya not only holds an important rank in the secret assassin school, she quickly earns a special place in Marcus' killer heart. Spoilers for the Deadly Class premiere ahead.
The new Syfy series officially premieres Jan. 16, but the network posted the pilot episode online ahead of time. Plus, Deadly Class is based on the graphic novels of the same name, so there's already a fair amount of information to be gleaned about Condor's character. Just like in the comics, Saya is a student at Kings Dominion in 1980s San Francisco. She is tasked by Kings' headmaster, Master Lin, to get Marcus, an orphan living on the streets, to come to the school. And in both the comics and TV show, Saya lets it be known from the get-go that she's a badass with her motorcycle, katana, and impressive fighting skills.
You can actually compare and contrast Saya's big entrance in the graphic novels and the TV show since Syfy provided a "motion comic" of the first issue of the comics. In both versions, Saya helps Marcus escape the cops during a Day of the Dead celebration and brings him to Master Lin, who offers Marcus a place at the school. When Marcus declines, it's Saya who convinces him to attend — and also helps to stop him from committing suicide.
When Marcus gets to the school, he learns that Saya is the head of the Kuroki Syndicate, a group comprised of descendants from a Japanese mob called the Yakuza. She's also a skilled student; in the pilot, Marcus' new friend, Billy, calls her, "part valedictorian, part prom queen — 100 percent b*tch." With tattoos up and down her arms, she certainly has a tough look, but she seems to have a soft spot for Marcus. As shown in the video below, she later takes him on as her "pledge," which means she's responsible for his actions and is essentially putting herself on the line for him.
The two also clearly have a connection. In an interview on the Deadly Class set with Bustle and other publications, Condor explained their pretty instantaneous bond. "Saya sees Marcus' pain and there's a lot that she can relate to, so even though she might not want to let her guard down, she does," Condor says. "When you connect with someone, you can't help it."
Their feelings for one another are complicated by the fact that Marcus is also romantically involved with Saya's friend, Maria. But just like their classes, the interactions between these three assassins-in-training are anything but conventional. As Deadly Class continues, viewers will see how the relationship between Marcus and Saya plays out, and we'll also hopefully learn about what has happened in Saya's past to make her so darn deadly.