There’s something about the slightly modulated voice of Tricia Helfer that gets me in the mood for some glowing neon action. The two part season premiere set a pretty high bar for every episode that follows and I patiently waited a week to see how “Blackout” would stack up. If anything, well only if you count “The Rogue” part 1 and 2 as a single episode, there seems to be somewhat of a formula established since every episode opens with Beck and Tron.
“Blackout” sees Beck in an elaborate training simulation that ends with Beck’s fake de-resolution. A lot was riding on how this specific scene played out (the following scene too, but we’ll get to that). Beck failed and Tron was going to chastise him. This was the test to see if he actually accepted the leadership role in the last episode or if the show was going to back peddle because creativity is dead and we don’t need interesting plots. Uprising refuses to disappoint and Beck realizes he needs more training, unfortunately a blackout upsets Argon City and Beck has to go check it out.
When Beck asks Abel for time off, the second crucial narrative piece is set into play. Zed finally grew some balls last episode, if he back peddled we would be left with this show’s annoying supporting character that we all hope will eventually get killed off. Again, Uprising stays strong and we see Zed bragging to Beck about the incredibly fast new lightcycle he built for the dangerous race through the tunnels underneath the city.
The blackout was caused by a massive drill Tesler deployed to tap into the energy wells deep beneath the city. Greed often breeds oversight and if Tesler does tap further into the well it will cause an explosion that will devastate the city. Tron gives Beck a bomb to take out the drill and the only thing in his way is Pavel, tasked by Tesler to defend the drill since Paige has failed to live up to expectations. The race against time is two-fold for Beck as the drill is above the tunnels the race runs through.
Zed’s fellow racers play dirty and soon he’s the only one left, though unexpectedly the episode takes a different turn. Beck plants the bomb and manages to stop the remaining racers with little effort. The second half of the episode changes into a race between Beck, trying to keep the plan on track, and Paige, trying to stop it. The bomb detonates and they have to escape a wall of flames rapidly forcing its way through the tunnel.
Beck’s kind heart refuses to stop and he saves Paige several times during the escape. Instead of killing her, he drops her safely outside the tunnels. We now have another interesting seed, like Cutler last episode. Paige may eventually turn on Tesler, as Beck clearly is trying to help people in his own way. She doesn’t see it yet though and is not only attempting to recruit Zed to build lightcycles to help hunt the renegade, but turns the drill explosion around and pins everything on Beck’s head.
What “Blackout” leaves us with is a very Batman or Spider-Man vibe with Beck hunted on both sides of the equation even though he’s just trying to help. I don’t see it turning into some sort of superhero story, but the themes the writers are playing with are certainly working towards creating an interesting narrative experience in the Tron universe. Uprising remains excellent and shows no signs of stopping, this is definitely one of the summer shows you should be watching.