[Editor's Note: This article contains spoilers for "Price of Power."]
Tron: Uprising, for some reason, seems to be one of the only shows on the Disney family of networks (maybe with the exception of Gravity Falls), that actually treats children with respect and has absolutely no problem with letting you watch multiple characters’ brutal murders on screen every episode. Sure, programs only break into pixels and not piles of blood and gore, but when you think about it, it’s still just a disturbing.
“Price of Power” opens with Beck chasing down Shaw (no, not the crazy scientist from Prometheus), a mad scientist who created a weapon of unbelievable power for General Tesler. This small, disc-shaped weapon fits into the identity disc and essentially grants the user Matrix-like superpowers, but at a cost. Beck gets the weapon from Shaw, but the drug like addiction it causes leaves him frantically grabbing for it while Beck tries to pull him up a ledge. His frantic actions wiggle him out of Beck’s grasp and he falls to his death.
Before I go any further, I must point out what my co-host of TV Book Club pointed out to me. The plot of this episode involves Beck, who is voiced by Elijah Wood, trying to destroy a circular weapon that grants the user incredible power but warps their mind in the process, all while being hunted by dark forces who want it for their own gain. He also has to destroy in the fires of Mt., I mean with a high intensity laser.
Even with the obvious plot similarities, this episode is absolutely incredible. When Beck uses the weapon it leads to the most exciting actions series thus far in the series. Paige sets a trap for the renegade that Beck falls into. Faced with dire odds, he uses the weapon and unleashes a brutal counter attack against the soldiers. Paige chases him in a lightcopter, but she continues to be a terrible pilot and is quickly defeated.
The weapon immediately starts to affect Beck’s mind and turn his eyes a fiery red. He goes on a direct assault against Tesler and we see the return of Tesler’s stretchy hands, which I’ve been waiting for since the prelude. Abel, who is delivering a tank to Tesler, is hurt during the fight and Beck saves him and flees. It isn’t until he argues and almost attacks Tron that Beck realizes what the weapon is doing to his mind.
The way the weapon twisted Beck brought the series into yet another dark corner I never expected. When Pavel steals it right before the laser destroys it, his true character seems to come out. Pavel always seemed maniacal and truly evil, but the real depth of it is revealed in this episode. We are also treated to a third spectacular fight scene to round out the episode, ending on Pavel lamenting the destroyed weapon when it fixes itself. His insane laughter left a very unsettling feeling and so much potential for the next episode to pick up on.
I don’t know if it’s because Uprising is animated or because it’s on Disney XD, but I the tone it takes. It is surprising and not only gives this prequel a right to exist, but continues to solidify its place as the best Tron property so far. The creators have confirmed that Tron will turn to Rinzler by the end of the season and that there are several big moments in the coming weeks. If the events that have transpired so far aren’t big moments, Uprising stands to get even better.