It had to happen; almost every show has at least one. Mystery Science Theater 3000 had it in the theme song, and even Firefly, one of my favorite shows, had it. That’s right, boys and girls, it’s time for a flashback backstory episode. The subject of this familiar format is Paige, right hand of General Tesler and master of the anti-renegade task force. After seeing her old musical, uh, “instrument” she remembers the past and, becoming trapped on an island with a renegade, has plenty of time to reflect.
It turns out that Paige wasn’t always the hardcore military badass we’ve grown to fear and have strange sexual power fantasies about (wait, is that just me?). She used to be a medic who loved to dabble in the musical arts. I don’t know the name of the instrument she was playing, so I’m dubbing it the light-synth. Paige absolutely loves playing her light-synth, though her friends don’t really approve of it, especially because she wasn’t programmed for music.
Showing how Paige became who she is isn’t the only purpose of the flashback. We also get some insight into programming and the Iso War. Paige helps Quorra in a fight (Olivia Wilde reprises her role and gives another fantastic performance in the Tron universe) and then takes her and her friend back to the clinic Paige and her friends opened to give them some medical aid. When Paige plays the light-synth for Quorra, she is floored with Paige’s talent. Successfully doing something you’re not programmed for is a big deal, and one that Quorra sees promise in.
Conversations reveal that Clu’s propaganda against the Isos was vile. Most citizens think that their rabid programs will try to derez them at a moment’s notice. They’re treated like a viral outbreak that needs to be quarantined and eliminated. Paige finds out that Quorra is an Iso in a cliched scene during combat training when Quorra’s sleeve slips down, revealing her Iso mark. She’s shocked confused. Then the alarm sounds.
The Isos are discovered, and Quorra knocks out Paige. Quorra’s friend asks why she would do that, as she’ll never trust Isos again, and Quorra responds “but she’ll be alive.” Paige is awoken by, and then attacks, a group of soldiers. General Tesler breaks up the fight and questions her. He shows her the trial of death and destruction the “isos” left in their escape and offers her a job at his side.
This whole flashback sequence is in between a scene where Paige and Beck find themselves trapped on a collapsing island and forced to work together to survive. Beck slowly starts to win Paige’s trust, but the island collapses further, and the last thing she sees before plunging into the water is Beck speeding off, which he did to rescue her. Tesler gets to her first, but she believes Beck abandoned her, which is exactly what Pavel did at the start of the episode. It is shown that Tesler murdered Paige’s friends when they turned in the Isos.
We’re are still being constantly shown what a nice guy Beck is. If anything, that’s how he’s going to assemble his army. He’s not killing people and only trying to fight back against tyranny. I’m not sure what the turning point is going to be though. As it stands, only Beck, Tron, and Cutler are in the army. He may have some of the public opinion, but that won’t win this war.
“Isolated” gave us a very unique insight into Paige and further reinforced my theory that she will eventually turn on Tesler after he is exposed for the glorious tyrant that he truly is and join Beck in his fight against Clu (that is going to fail in the end, sigh). It was a good episode, but it seemed to lack the punch that the last few have had. Things seem to be heating up, and the next episode can’t come soon enough.