The final episode of Hulu’s Class Of ’09 was released today, and it saw the downfall of the system that had become an autocratic machine targeting anyone based on their actions without the benefit of human judgment. The dream of Tayo Michaels for an equal society had been grossly misinterpreted by this system that was making decisions and assigning punishments on its own. However, the finale, as well as the overall treatment of the characters and the main storyline, seem rather haphazard and replete with plot holes. Here’s a detailed look into all the problems that the series had and a theory as to why such mistakes came to pass in Hulu’s ambitious project, Class Of ’09.
The series consisted of 8 episodes that gradually broke down how American law and governance became increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence for preventing crime and peacekeeping. At the center of the story are the four Quantico graduates of 2009, namely Amanda Poet, Hour Nazari, Tayo Michaels, and Daniel Lennix, and how they come together despite their differences to unite against their common enemy, the AI system. Additionally, the show adds multiple interpersonal moments revolving around the lives of the graduates and how they get into or fall out of relationships. The series spends more than 50% of its runtime focused on why there was a need for the system in the first place, and it’s only by the penultimate or the finale episode that they start realizing they need to take steps against it.
At the heart of the resistance against this autocratic machine are Hour and Poet, who have been best friends since their Quantico days. Hour was also in love with Poet, and the two had quietly snuggled up during the Episode 3 ending. However, we’d briefly witnessed Hour’s wife and their adopted child in the episode, but they were not mentioned or shown since then, as if they’d been completely written off the script. Similarly, nothing substantial came out of Lennix and Poet’s decision to get married. The two had been in a brief relationship as Quantico students, and it was only in 2034 that Lennix decided to propose to Poet, and she agreed. That was in episode 7, so it was logical to expect their wedding to be showcased or at least mentioned. However, this plotline was also left open, and it led nowhere. Agent Murphy was a fellow graduate of the four main characters, but you’d be forgiven for having to look him up in the previous episodes. His relationship with the others was barely explored in the earlier episodes, but when the story needed to show just how devilish the system had become, they brought Murphy in for the system to orchestrate his death. Being cut off from the story for such a long period, the audience failed to connect with Murphy, and therefore, his death didn’t bring much effect to the story other than the abject shock value. Poor treatment of the characters seems to be a common theme in the series, which also extends to the main storyline.
The system is treated as some hyper-intelligent entity that can read people’s thoughts and predict their movements, and we’ve seen how the system saved itself by ensuring Murphy was killed by the cops. However, when Tayo, Poet, Hour, and Lennix snuck into the area where the original mainframe was stored, the system sent a few drones, and that’s it! Sure, it did alert the center that an attack was being carried out, but for an immensely smart machine that can erase data and control vehicles, the system’s defenses failed simply through bullets. Moreover, if the original location was so valuable, where the nerve center of the data was stored, it seems rather odd that it was in the middle of a jungle with no guards around. Even if its location in a jungle can be justified as keeping it away from public view, having guards who can take action in real-time would’ve been a much better bet than sending drones that can be taken down with such ease. The agents had little to no difficulty in frying the system, and it offered no resistance to being erased completely and rebooted again. The main focus in the finale became the need to make the system target everyone equally without playing favorites, and starting the system afresh made the system fair, so it was shut down.
What’s odd is that until the penultimate episode, the system was being treated as a singular entity with billions of branches spreading across the nation and being able to go after whomever it considered suspicious. It wasn’t specified previously that certain people had been exempted from being targeted by the system, and that it was going after normal people. Instead, the audience was made to believe that the system was a dictatorial power that just saw crime and didn’t discriminate against the perpetrator. This sudden change of perspective, where rebooting the system would mean high-ranking officials wouldn’t be exempted any longer, and therefore, scrapping the system altogether goes against the entire story so far. If that was the only obstacle all along, why didn’t we see any high-ranking official actually escape justice because of the stipulation? Instead, it was people like Murphy who were gunned down and innocent people like Vivienne who were arrested for thought crimes.
Here comes the probable reason for this long list of plot holes and fundamental mistakes with the series, but be informed that this is only a theory, and you’re welcome to add yours. The reason behind these several plotline issues could be rushing towards the ending for lack of time. The series started with a lot of ambition and wanted to cover multiple plot points, but it soon realized that the viewership was declining rapidly and it had already used up much of its episodes with filler content. Therefore, the makers rushed to tie up only the most important loose ends and threw in an ending in a way that best explained the taking down of the system, although it was grossly haphazard. The series could have been handled a lot better, and the ending could have been made much more interesting and less anti-climactic had the makers not spent so much time focusing on the subplots. Overall, the finale was more or less a disappointment, and it could have been executed a lot better.