Class of ’09 (Series Finale) Episode 8: In its penultimate episode, ‘Class of ’09’ explored Tayo Michaels’ discontentment with the A.I.-based system he swore by. His batchmates from Quantico had already started discussing its questionable way of arresting people. This system considered people for crimes they did not even commit but were suspected of committing. After the attack on a church minister, Tayo decided to close this chapter of his life. Later on, Warren took matters into his hand and maligned Tayo’s public image.
The series finale of Class of ’09 shows the system falsely accusing Vivienne of a crime due to her anti-A.I. remarks in her non-published book. As a result, Tayo joins his batchmates to take down the system he once took pride in building.
Class of ’09 (Series Finale) Episode 8 Recap:
Episode 8: Graduation
The series finale shows the aftermath of the brutal attack on Tayo Michaels (Brian Tyree Henry) in 2025, at his house. He lives with its emotional scars and continues hoping to know the culprits behind it. Later, he meets Ashely Poet (Kate Mara) to discuss this matter. She says that if he cannot prove it as a conspiracy against him, those opposing his approach to the system will try to use it to discredit him as a worthy candidate for the director’s seat.
The discussion eventually leads to a point when Tayo shares why he wanted to join the bureau. Tayo’s father was betrayed by his racist associates from the police force. He was pulled over by those two officers and received discriminatory treatment from them. Later, these colleagues led to his father’s death but never faced any repercussions for their horrible, unforgivable actions. That is why Tayo now becomes resolute not to let his attacker break his spirits.
Later on, the two go through different possibilities of suspects behind the attack. They discuss the details of a man named Kyle Wilcox, who was dishonorably discharged from the military. However, while going through record searches, they learn that some files are sealed.
Shannon (Lindsay Ayliffe) informs Tayo about their recent decision to keep certain influential, powerful figures away from being considered suspects. Tayo’s previous actions against a bank rattled some feathers and made them come to this conclusion. He asks Tayo to consider replacing himself as the director while making some compromises to continue using his system. These compromises include making exceptions for certain people with power.
While Tayo is initially apprehensive about making that decision, he later speaks about it with Vivienne (Rosalind Eleazar). He reveals that the people who felt threatened by his system ordered the hit. Vivienne is in no mood to indulge in that topic. She is tired of Tayo investing all his time in thinking about getting ahead in work in exchange for maintaining silence against injustices.
They fell in love for the opposite of that – for being two people tirelessly asking for justice. Tayo sees being the director as a way to ensure that everyone gets that kind of justice. However, Vivienne thinks they should move out and live somewhere else that is safer. But he does not want to let go of being in charge of something that important.
On the other hand, Hour (Sepideh Moafi) decides to resign from her position at the bureau. She is disheartened by the thing she dedicatedly worked on getting stolen and being used recklessly. Poet believes that Tayo’s version of that system will put Hour’s data-driven approach at its center. Hour mentions how she did not want the agents to be just information gatherers. She wanted her system to create a better balance between the agents and the technology for making sound judgments. Since Poet keeps defending it despite her arguments, Hour leaves the apartment.
Besides Hour, there were others who were not happy with the way Tayo decided to go forward with this system. Amos (Rayl Castillo) learns that they will need to make certain exemptions of key figures from their code. It goes against considering everyone a suspect until proven otherwise. Nevertheless, Tayo makes him alter the code according to his demands.
Years after this altercation, the A.I. system enables several arrests across the country. Several crimes start going down, including white-collar crimes. That is why some influentials also call it a ‘socialist witch-hunt’. The system also considers wealthy students from elite schools as suspects for offenses such as dealing drugs. However, it also starts arresting people based on mere suspicion that they will likely commit a crime, which creates an atmosphere of terror regarding its surveillance.
In 2034, after Tayo is made to step down, Warren (Dan Tracy) takes charge of the A.I.-backed bureau. After his dialogue with Vivienne in the diner, Tayo comes to stay with her. One day, the bureau vehicle comes swarming at this place to arrest Vivienne. This is for her upcoming, yet-unpublished book that the bureau claims to prove her as a threat. In that book, she speaks against the A.I., which Warren unjustly decides to use against her. So basically, she is arrested just for her thoughts, not her actions.
During Vivienne’s trial, she makes a case for how the human judges have almost no power or authority to make a decision about her guilt or innocence. She points out how the calculations of artificial intelligence are considered sacrosanct. Lennix (Brian J. Smith) gets impressed by her persuasive approach and feels hopeful it will help her. But unlike him, Tayo believes the verdict was decided for her, even before she was arrested. In short, he knows those in power will abuse it any way they want due to his experience of working with/for them.
Tayo, Lennix, Hour, and Poet discuss what can be done to save Vivienne. Poet thinks they should shut down the system. Hour suggests breaking into the data center and changing the code. While pessimistic about whether it will work out for them, he still helps with the location of the original data center. The class of ’09 goes to reshape this system to make no exceptions or exemptions in the legal process.
Class of ’09 (Series Finale) Episode 8 Ending, Explained:
When the 2009 batchmates arrive at the original data center location of the A.I. system, several drones start swarming around to kill them. While fighting those, they manage to enter the location. They walk inside to find the place where they can shut down the servers with an EMP pulse. It provides a chance to reprogram the code so that it will not get altered, as Amos initially intended. However, right after they get out, the feds surround them. Warren questions Tayo about his actions. Tayo argues back, saying that the system will either be unbiased or off.
We get a look at the agents’ swearing-in ceremony. Everyone was emotional about leaving behind this place they turned into a home during their training days. The episode cuts back and forth between this graduation day to the days after the deactivation of the A.I. system in the future. All cases based on the earlier system get nullified with immediate effect. Poet and Tayo take charge to guide the future generation to bring them to the idealistic vision they strived to bring into the way the bureau handled things.
So, the series concludes by saying we as humans also need to do better in identifying the way we consider justice. Poet’s last speech also denotes the same. The ending proposes any single authority to be a threat to an unbiased approach, even if it is artificial intelligence. It wants the A.I. to be treated as an insightful colleague than an authority that supersedes any other judgment.