Oh how I missed you Tron. Going on hiatus since July would have been much tougher had Gravity Falls not sprung up to fill me with cartoon joy in your place. Now you’re back and I’m ready to watch my ‘children’s’ show where programs get murdered left and right and the censors don’t care because they turn into pixels. I’m ready to see even more crazy light vehicles and things that should be useless in this world but are just too cool to mind.
“The Reward” starts off by answering the age old question: “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” Yes, yes they do, and apparently General Tesler has been haunted by dreams of the Renegade breaking into his fortress and out matching him in every way. The nightmare gets so under his skin and has been happening so often that he decides Paige and Pavel aren’t up to the task anymore. General Tesler puts catching the Renegade to the people of Argon city, offering a shiny super lightcar as a reward.
With the populace now in a fervor to find the Renegade, Beck decides to take a step back and Tron trusts his judgement. Soon Argon is tearing itself apart, with citizens falsely accusing each other of being the Renegade in the hope of a reward. All the while, Pavel is infuriated that Tesler doesn’t trust him with the task of catching the Renegade and starts to plot his downfall as revenge.
We’ve seen that Pavel is a malicious scumbag before, but he continues to reveal the true depths of his depravity. When he goes as far as to frame Hopper as the Renegade, knowing full well that his accusation would never stand the test of time since Beck is still out there, and only does it because it both makes Paige look bad and may bring Clu to get rid of Tesler and let him take his place, it really shows that he cares about nothing but himself and his position in Clu’s eyes.
It’s nice to see a villain that is truly despicable in a show like this. I’m still unsure who Tron: Uprising is being marketed to and developed for. Pavel wants to achieve a higher position in Clu’s eyes and he doesn’t care who he jails or kills in the process. I have no idea whether it’s simply not pandering to children or way darker than it should be, but either way it’s great writing and I love it.
Mara and Zed confront Paige to prove Hopper’s innocence, even though he’s a jerk, they don’t think he deserves a public execution. When Paige attempts to present the information to Tesler, Mara accidentally touches him and he declares Mara and Zed accomplices and decides to execute them with Hopper. Tesler’s pompous freak-out when Mara touches him seems to reveal some deep set insecurity.
Each passing episode indicates a deeper character motivation than I expected. Beck’s rescue was incredible to watch. The show does action so well, there hasn’t been a single action scene so far that hasn’t been spectacular. “The Reward” was a strong return for Tron: Uprising after a far too long and unexpected break. I can’t wait to see what happens next.