Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – How did Tayo meet Vivienne?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 31, 2023 (Last updated: March 19, 2024)
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Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – How did Tayo meet Vivienne?


Class of ’09 continues to weave a fairly intricate tale of cause and effect across multiple time periods, bringing each one closer together as we go.

This recap of Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5, “The Problem is People”, contains spoilers.

The reward for death is a plaque on the wall. Hardly seems worth it, does it?

Thus far, Class of ’09 has been good at linking its distinct timelines together thematically, usually by introducing a concept in the past – cars in Episode 3, guns in Episode 4 – and having it become relevant in the present and future, sometimes in unexpected ways.

“The Problem is People” opens with Poet and the other recruits staring at the wall of plaques devoted to agents who have given their lives in the line of duty, and the spaces reserved for those who will give their lives in the future. So, you kind of know where this is going.

Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5 Recap

And thus, back to the collapsed J. Edgar Hoover building, as Poet watches Lennix struggle in the rubble with a breathless declaration of love. Both survive, but the point is pretty clear.

In the future Tayo is asked to justify the mistakes that led to a mass shooting at an FBI training facility in Quantico and the demolition of the Bureau’s headquarters. The facts were there, but they weren’t properly interpreted. It was only by breaching protocol that the matter could be investigated. The failures were systemic.

How did Tayo meet Vivienne?

So, how do ways of looking at and doing things become so entrenched? As ever, the past holds the answers. Since it’s no longer acceptable to teach FBI trainees about abuses of power in law enforcement by taking them to the National Holocaust Museum, and since the Martin Luther King memorial isn’t finished yet, the recruits are instead taken to MLK’s childhood home.

This is where Tayo meets Vivienne, then an “esteemed civil rights attorney” working with law enforcement to tell recruits outright that the FBI tried to force MLK into suicide and this is something they should probably consider.

But this isn’t just a meet-cute. It’s framed in Tayo’s perspective because he carries the idea forward when, in the present timeline, he pushes for an implementation of Hour’s database combined with Amos Garcia’s deep-learning AI network, which is currently being used to predict consumer buying habits. His pitch to Garcia is explicitly about upending a status quo in which law enforcement and criminal justice are explicitly designed to keep people like him, like Garcia, and like MLK, in check.

The point is reiterated by highlighting the limitations of Hour’s system while there is still human decision-making involved. An attack on a synagogue seems to be thwarted, only for the hostages to be killed anyway in a particularly sinister and public manner. Tayo begins to believe that people are the lingering problem. They still have too much capacity for bias and error.

This is why Amos’s description of a binary, zero-sum system that considers everyone, without exception, a potential suspect is compelling to Tayo. There is no presumption of innocence. There is only the system.

Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5 Ending Explained

In the future, the former class of ’09 have, understandably, taken issue with that system.

Despite Tayo’s warnings, the gang, obviously led by Poet, begin to investigate the system itself. And the investigation consists, really, of simply provoking it. How it responds will tell them everything they need to know. ou

And the message is clear. When the gang meet with a senator in a church, the place is instantly invaded by Bureau drones, which burst through the stained-glass windows and tase the preacher. How did they decide he was a threat? Why couldn’t Tayo stop them from doing so?

The answers are obvious. There is only the system. And now the system is in control.

You can stream Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 5, “The Problem is People” exclusively on Hulu.

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