Tron: Uprising episode 3 review: Blackout

Review Cameron K McEwan
29 Jun 2012 - 06:59

The third episode of Tron: Uprising sets the scene for what's to come. Here's Cameron's review...

Unlike fellow movie spin-off Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tron: Uprising doesn’t have the luxury of numerous different worlds and galaxies to explore (not to mention space). This CG show has to make do with one locale – The Grid. Therefore, to ensure the success of the series, the makers have to concentrate on story and character and this latest episode is an exploration of the latter.

Blackout, as the title suggests, sees electrical malfunctions caused by General Tessler’s illicit drilling outside Argon, paralysing the city intermittently. Tron and Beck are on to this immediately, noticing the potential damage that could be done (the destruction of the entire city). A plan is hatched but it’s made problematic by an underground light cycle race (both figuratively and literally).

Involved is Beck’s buddy, the slightly naïve but likable Zed. He seems to be falling in with a bad crowd, hinted at in last week’s episode, and peer pressure begins to take his toll as he questions the motives of The Renegade (unbeknownst to him, Beck’s alter ego). By the end of the story, we’re left in no doubt where Zed’s new allegiances reside. The relationship between he and Beck will be an interesting one to watch as the latter continues to hide his identity whilst the former bad-mouths him regularly.

The Renegade’s position isn’t helped by the fact that the aforementioned Tessler, on the advice of his young officer Paige, has attributed blame for the attacks to Beck’s other persona. Indeed, the treatment of her character is well-handled as she is left on the back burner during the opening half, but proceeds to show her worth by the end over her colleague Pavel – a very comic idiot villain (and a real throwback to the eighties, it has to be said). Paige is a strong-willed woman, using both her physical prowess (we’ve seen her match and best Beck so far) but also her political cunning as she manoeuvres around her boss. Already, she is a pivotal character.

Poor Beck, though, the whole of the city seems to be his enemy (or The Renegade's anyway). His position, as you’ll probably be thinking, is not unlike that of various super heroes who get bad press and have their citizens turn against them. Like Superman he hides in open sight (with his fellow mechanics at the garage), like Spiderman he tries to deal with insecurities and teen angst (with a pep in his step) and like Batman, the system wants to discredit him.

Blackout is a slight oddity in that despite the exhilarating light cycle scenes, the visuals take a back seat to the characters of Paige and Zed - Beck too has his own superhero-esque problems to endure. Though, with Tron’s help, he seems to be handling the situation a little better than previous weeks. It feels very much like a set-up for what’s to come, rather than an out-and-out stand-alone action story. An interesting move by the production team and I hope the pay off is as rewarding as the intrigue.

Read Cameron's review of the previous episode, The Renegade - Part Two.

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