WARNING: This is a full episode recap, so if you wish to avoid spoilers, please watch the episode before reading this.
Last episode, heroes Beck and Cutler triumphed in the arena and as a result, henchman Pavel ordered them to battle one another to the death, with the winner winning his freedom. Knowing of Cutler’s military background and desire to fight for freedom, the less-driven Beck tells Cutler to kill him so that he can carry on the fight. Cutler refuses and Beck forces his hand. The two battle using their light discs. Beck has the advantage, but hesitates, allowing Cutler to turn the tables. General Tessler mutters “Finish him,” and Beck braces for the kill shot, but Cutler forfeits. Cutler tells Beck that he is the better fighter and if they want to defeat Clu, Beck is the one that is needed.
Tessler prepares to derezz both, but Paige intervenes stating that he promised the audience that one of the fighters would be set free. Tessler announces that Beck will be set free but that Cutler will be derezzed at the end of the next cycle. Cutler is jabbed by a guard and his military arm band falls off. Beck scoops it up as Cutler is dragged away, urging him to keep up the fight and to find Tron.
Tron emerges from a healing chamber and tells the wallowing Beck that his friend is still alive, therefore he hasn’t failed… yet. Beck steals a disc enhancement from his garage. He briefly encounters Zed but tells him he can’t help him. Beck combines his two discs and disguises himself as The Renegade a.k.a. Tron.
Able notices that his Encom 786 baton is missing. Mara offers to help Zed locate Perl, the theif.
Beck successfully frees Cutler and jacks their Recognizer, the big M-shaped prisoner transport vehilce, but Pavel notices and orders an attack. Beck crashes the ship on top of a building and the pair even go to the effort of getting their guards off of it before it slides off the edge and explodes. Paige tells Pavel she’ll have to clean up his mess… “again.” She attacks and recognizes Beck/Tron. (I wasn’t really sure who she thought he was– whether she recognized him as The Renegade or as Beck from the arena.) Cutler activates a turbine that blows her away and the pair escape.
Perl gives her boss the Encom 786 but he calls it a piece of junk. In a nice bit of continuity, Perl says that Kevin Flynn had one exactly like it. Since it’s “worthless,” the boss jumps in and takes it for a joy ride, leaping over a pit of blue fire and smashing into some boxes. Zed and Mara are spying, but Perl and her cohorts discover them.
Beck and Cutler fight Tessler’s men and race up a rising draw bridge. Having learned his lesson from the beginning of last episode, Beck tells Cutler not to hesitate as he leaps across the ravine. Cutler does hesitate slightly, but when he leaps across, Beck grabs his hand and pulls him up.
Perl and her gang rough up Zed and Mara before she tells Zed how pathetic he looked at the club. Mara slugs her, yelling “That’s my friend you’re talking about.” Zed then grabs the Encom 786 baton that Perl dropped and pair use it to escape. Perl’s gang chases after them.
Beck and Cutler are almost home free, when Paige cuts them off. They duke it out and Paige has the upper hand. Beck grabs a dazed Cutler and grabs onto a rising cargo unit. Paige follows, leaping onto other units. They fight and sever the cables holding it up. The unit falls and crashes, but the three combatants jump free. Despite their battered states, paige still wants to battle.
Zed and Mara are racing from the biker gang in the same area. Zed drops a containment unit and blocks their pursuers. They turn around and go the other way, running into Paige, knocking her for a loops and knocking the riders off their Light Cycles. Mara exclaims, “That was awesome!” as Paige grabs Perl by the arm. Perl snaps, “Let go of me before I…” Paige kicks one of her companions over and says, “Trust me, you really don’t want to finish that sentence.”
Beck and Cutler escape in a watercraft, but Tessler locks onto them and attacks. Beck manuevers the craft well, evading most of the ray blasts, but their ship does take some damage. Pavel swoops in inside of a similar craft and rams them, fusing the fins of the two ships together. He leaps onto their ship and he and Beck battle with their Light Discs. Beck knocks Pavel into the water, then Tron arrives in a submarine-like ship and cuts the two boats apart. Beck and Cutler board Pavel’s craft, since theirs was damaged. The damaged ship runs into Tessler’s craft and explodes.
Beck and Cutler part ways. Cutler tells Beck, whom he still thinks is “The Renegade” that he wouldn’t be there without Beck. Beck says he’s met him and he said the same thing about him. He gives him his military armband and asks him to spread the word about their uprising. “Tron lives!” Cutler exclaims before driving off in the watercraft.
Beck returns to the garage where he finds Zed and Mara desperately trying to repair the Encom 786 before Able sees it so badly damaged. Beck asks them to delay Able so he can take a crack at it.
Beck appears to succeed and Able thanks him. Mara tells Able that Zed deserves some of the credit, but Zed takes it too far, boasting of his hard work and then knocking the bike over.
Beck tells Tron he wants to keep fighting and Tron tells him to keep training. “You’ve got a lot to learn.”
This is shaping up to be a really solid science fiction series. Since the movies are so computer animated, the transition to a cartoon series is pretty seamless, although the storyline isn’t, for the most part, that heavily tied to the movies. The one thing that gives me pause is that this show seems like it is strictly for adults. It’s very sophisticated and very dark. Characters are derezzed, i.e. killed, left and right. (Although it seems a point is made that Beck never derezzes his opponents.) The art style is also quite unconventional, resembling that of Aeon Flux, with the long, gangly bodies and stylized faces. I’m not sure a kid would appreciate it.
The ratings on the premier episode weren’t very good. I think timing may play a part, since it’s summer and people aren’t home watching TV at night as much. Perhaps it was a bad time to launch a new series. Also, it’s on Disney XD, a station geared toward kids and like I said, this series seems intended for adults. It’s too bad, because this is a strong series. I hope it catches on. Disney reruns their stuff constantly, so if you missed out, I’m sure you can catch the first two episodes (three if you count the online “Beck’s Beginning”) and get caught up. If you like science fiction action, this is worth getting onboard with!
What do you think? Comment below!