Well, this post has certainly been a long time coming, hasn’t it? It was supposed to go up a week after my second post about TRON: Uprising, but instead that week turned into three months. (Sorry about that.) But here we are, programs! It’s finally time to see the thrilling (if incredibly unsatisfying) conclusion to this well-loved animated series. Are you ready? No? Well too bad, here we go anyway.
So what’s it about?
The short version is, a rebellious program named Beck teams up with Tron to try and get the programs to rise up and take down CLU from the inside. The long version (continued from the previous two posts) is:
The Stranger (Episode 13)
Able sends Beck to make a pickup out in the Outlands, but Beck hits storm-related traffic on the road along the way. Unwilling to wait, Beck decides to take an off-road shortcut; instead of his destination, he ends up at what appears to be a giant whirlpool that he soon falls into. At the bottom, he comes across a mysterious black monolith… which he also falls into. (Good job, Beck.) Inside, an unknown figure grabs him from behind and pulls him deeper inside.
Meanwhile back at the garage, Able is concerned that Beck hasn’t returned or gotten in touch with him yet. He returns to his office where he is surprised by Tron, who is also looking for Beck. We find out that Tron is still monitoring Dyson’s movements, and he wants Able to pass along the message that Beck should meet with Tron as soon as he returns. “Wait – you’re not setting him up against this Dyson, are you?” Able asks, to which Tron responds: “That’s not your concern.” “Beck is my concern,” Able replies, and asks to go spy on Dyson in Beck’s place.
Beck awakens in what a mysterious figure informs him is a “compressed space” – “Not quite off the Grid, but close. I just call it ‘home.'” Beck asks how to leave, but the figure refuses to tell him. It also turns out that the unknown program somehow knows Beck is the Renegade. The program assures Beck that his identity is safe with him, and that they’re on the same side. Beck, however, is still suspicious.
In Purgos, Able infiltrates a group of programs whom Dyson has recruited for a secret project. As Able enters a workspace deep under the city, he spots Dyson walking by and tries to discreetly track his movements.
In the compressed space, Beck notices the strange circuit lines on the other program’s face and asks if he’s an ISO. The program laughs and says no, but that he obviously doesn’t “fit in with CLU’s idea of perfection.” The program says he doesn’t envy Beck being the Renegade, but that “throwing rocks at CLU” isn’t going to be enough to change things. Beck replies that if he doesn’t do something now, it’ll be too late. The program agrees and takes Beck along to show him something the program has been working on.
Back in Purgos, Able slips away from his work assignment and eavesdrops on Dyson’s conversation with a guard and discovers that the mysterious project is a secret even from Tesler. Dyson catches Able spying on him, but Able is unexpectedly saved by the appearance of his work group’s supervisor and returns to his station.
Elsewhere, the program shows Beck what appears to be a superweapon that is being powered up by the storm raging outside the space. “This isn’t about freeing the Grid, is it?” Beck asks. The program responds: “Of course it is – but first, we’ll need to destroy it.” The program believes that if he destroys a big enough part of the Grid, CLU’s system will collapse.
“I won’t let you do this,” Beck says.
“Let me?” the program replies.
Beck attempts to subdue the program, but his opponent seems to know every move he’s going to make and exactly how to counter it. Soon Beck has been restrained in a part of the weapon.
“You’re not the first program Tron trained to fight back,” the program reveals. “I am.”
The program restrains himself in the weapon as well, saying that he can’t detonate the weapon by himself. He also reveals that Tron is the one who trapped him in the compressed space to begin with. The weapon begins powering up.
We cut back to Purgos, where Dyson confronts Able just as he’s about to leave the secret facility. Dyson wants to see Able’s identity disc, and isn’t afraid to use force to do so. Right as Able is cornered by Dyson and a group of guards, Tron bursts in like the big damn hero that he is and helps Able subdue the guards. “Protect the device!” Dyson orders them as he flees deeper into the facility. When Tron asks Able if he’s found anything, Able asks “Do you even know what you’re looking for?” to which Tron replies, “I’ll know it when I find it.” Just then, a recognizer of massive proportions begins rising out of the floor near them and flies away. “…Found it,” Tron says. Able admits that he was wrong and that Tron will need Beck, but Tron says that he’ll need both Beck and Able to succeed.
Meanwhile, the superweapon begins rising out of the whirlpool Beck first fell into. The program decides to show Beck “how wrong [Tron] was,” and Beck has a bizarre hallucination where Tron turns into CLU. Beck finally breaks free of his restraints and the weapon powers down. Beck and the mysterious program fight atop the crumbling superweapon, and Beck escapes while the other program falls back into the compressed space, which explodes and shatters the monolith.
Back at the hideout, Beck doesn’t tell Tron about his near-disastrous encounter with the other program, instead saying he simply got lost in the storm. Tron says he’s glad Beck made it home and Beck says that he always does, which must be why Tron chose him to be the Renegade. Tron responds that Beck is special, and Beck asks “One of a kind, right?” Tron responds, “Right.” Beck, facing the window, touches the place on his wrist where he was restrained; it reveals a circuit pattern like the one on the program who claimed to be the former Renegade. “Right,” Beck says.
As the episode ends, we cut back to the shattered remains of the monolith. The mysterious program manages to climb out of one of the pieces. He laughs.
Tagged (Episode 14)
In Argon Square, an unknown vandal hacks the video screens to broadcast the message “TRON LIVES.” A guard tries to corner them, only to be subdued by other programs wearing the same distinctive, grinning mask as the vandal. The group escapes.
At the hideout, Tron and Beck video-monitor a group of guards painstakingly trying to remove the graffiti. Beck tries to convince Tron to bring the vandals into the resistance but Tron refuses. “These programs need to know what they’re fighting for,” Tron says. “They need to be willing to die for it.” Beck insists that he wants the chance to make the decision, and Tron tells him that it’s fine if he does – but that Beck will have to deal with the consequences.
In Argon, Paige investigates a possible explosive device on a train. When the device detonates, it spreads graffiti across the whole train: “TRON LIVES.”As the vandals flee they are confronted and captured by another program who then interrogates them. It turns out to be Beck, disguised as Tron. He tells them to remove their masks, and they do so, revealing their true identites: Moog, Rasket – and Mara. Beck recruits them into the resistance and they all agree to meet again at the beginning of the next cycle.
At the hideout, Beck tries to push Tron to admit there was another Renegade before him. But when Tron asks Beck why, Beck still doesn’t tell him about his encounter with the imprisoned previous Renegade.
When he meets again with the vandals, Beck lays out a plan to have them distract the Occupation while he infiltrates Tesler’s ship to retrieve a data cube. Moog and Rasket aren’t enthusiastic about the idea, but Mara talks them into agreeing.
Later, Beck sneaks onto Tesler’s ship while the guards are distracted by the spreading graffiti below. As the vandals flee, Moog and Rasket refuse to follow Mara to the rendezvous point and instead leave to board the ship as well. Beck retrieves the data cube while Moog and Rasket work to spread graffiti across Tesler’s ship. When Beck and Mara meet up she fills him in on what happened and he tries to go alone to get the pair himself. But Mara refuses to be left behind, and they go together to Tesler’s ship.
Tesler, Paige, and Pavel discover the reflection of the graffiti on the bottom of the ship and sound the alarm. Rasket and Moog try to escape but are captured by Pavel, who takes them down to a torture chamber. As he starts to interrogate the two vandals, Beck and Mara drop in and free them. Paige tries to stop the group from escaping, and Beck tells the others to get out and begins battling her himself.
Moog and Rasket are more than willing to abandon Beck (believing he’s Tron), but Mara isn’t, and she takes down a recognizer by herself – which knocks down a whole row of other recognizers, including the one Beck and Paige are fighting on top of. The recognizers begin to explode, and as Paige emerges from the burning wreckage she sees the Renegade fleeing in his lightjet. Mara is knocked out of the ship, but Beck manages to save her life yet again.
Back at the rendevous point, Rasket and Moog back out of joining the resistance, even though they support its goals. Mara wants to stay, but Beck – wanting to protect her – tells her to leave. He explains his decision to Tron, who tells Beck he made the right choice, and that if Mara really is willing to risk everything she’ll still be there for them when they need her. We then see Mara has tagged another spot in Argon – alone.
State of Mind (Episode 15)
Shockingly, as the episode opens we see an orange-haired, red-eyed Mara defacing one of the “TRON LIVES” messages so it reads “TRON LIES.” Zed pleads with her to stop, saying she’s not acting like herself, and she responds “Either help me kill the Renegade or get out of my way!” Zed tries to stop her and she attacks him, pinning him to the ground. She raises her disc to derezz him.
Cut to “several cycles earlier,” when Mara is her normal self. She is traveling along a highway, but gets into an accident when a tanker careens off an overpass. She awakens in a hospital setting, where we see her eyes have turned red. When she returns to the garage she downplays the accident and says she’s more than fine, that she even feels “purified.” She continues acting strange but Beck tells Zed is probably nothing to worry about; Zed disagrees.
Elsewhere, Tesler and a scientist, Keller (Marcia Gay Harden) are examining other programs with eyes like Mara’s. We find out that Tesler has subjected them to Keller’s mind-control agent to make them “believers.” Keller wants no part of it, but Tesler threatens to derezz her if she leaves.
At the club, the now orange-haired Mara is trying to “recruit” Bartik and Hopper to attend a celebration being thrown by Tesler. Zed tells he she isn’t acting like herself, but Mara responds that CLU will reward her and his other loyal supporters. Zed makes a remark about the Renegade in response, and Mara attacks him, believing he knows where the Renegade is. Zed denies knowing anything and Mara, Bartik, and Hopper leave.
Beck, disguised as the Renegade, sneaks into the walled-off scene of Mara’s accident, where Zed confronts him and vents his frustrations about Mara’s strangeness and how Beck isn’t there to help him. Beck discovers a strange orange substance on Zed’s hand which apparently came from the fallen tanker. Investigating further, they discover that the vehicle was a drone, programmed to crash – and that it wasn’t the only one to crash that cycle.
They see another tanker driving by and, fearing it will crash as well, follow it on their lightcycles. A couple of Tesler’s soldiers appear on their own lightcycles to protect the tanker, but Beck manages to destroy their bikes. Zed and Beck board the tanker, but in their attempt to stop it they send it careening off the road and bail out before it crashes into the water below. However, they see three other tankers explode across the city. Beck realizes that they can stop the tankers by following the victims.
Doing so brings them to the facility Mara must have been in earlier, where they discover an antenna that is broadcasting mind-control messages to all those affected by the strange orange substance. They decide to take it down, but aren’t sure how. In the meantime, they hop on board a floating transport taking Pavel and Keller to Argon Square.
In Argon Square, the mind-controlled programs have all gathered for Tesler’s party. From the transport above, Pavel and Keller release a cloud of the strange orange substance on the crowd below. Soon, Tesler has them all chanting CLU’s name. Zed and Beck watch from above. Zed decides he can’t leave Mara alone there and – after putting on a mask to protect himself from the substance – he wing-chutes into the square. Soon after, Beck turns the transport around and begins flying it back towards the antenna. Pavel finds Beck steering the transport and they begin to fight.
Zed finds Mara in the crowd and begins pulling her away. In an alley outside the square he begs her to go back to the garage. She spots the “TRON LIVES” graffiti and goes to deface it. Zed tries to take her back to the garage but she attacks him instead.
On the transport, Keller enters the fray and helps Beck disarm Pavel, who flees just as the transport is about to crash into the antenna. Beck and Keller start running as well.
Just as Mara is about to derezz Zed, the transport hits the antenna, destroying it. Mara and the other programs snap out of their mind-controlled state. Back at the garage, Mara tries to re-code her hair back to its old color, and Beck learns that Zed’s negative feelings about the Renegade are gone.
At the ruins of the antenna, Tesler orders Pavel to reconstruct it, and Pavel responds that it won’t do any good – Keller is gone and has neutralized the pathogen. Tesler orders Pavel to find Keller and “neutralize her.” Elsewhere, we see Keller altering her appearance to help her disappear.
Welcome Home (Episode 16)
Continuing from the last episode, wanted screens depicting Keller have gone up all around Argon. However, Keller has managed to blend in using her new face. She successfully boards a train to Bismuth, but Beck confronts her saying he knows her true identity. Her disguise begins glitching and Beck helps her hide just before Paige enters their train car. Pavel boards the train to search it as well, and he and Paige begin arguing.
Keller tries to escape the train using a wing-chute but a lightcopter spots her and opens fire. Keller goes back inside the train and Beck attacks the lightcopter with his disc, knocking it off-balance and causing it to fire on the train itself, destroying the train’s braking system. Paige refuses to board the lightcopter with Pavel and continues searching the train. Beck tries to distract Paige and tells her he’s a mechanic, and she enlists his help to fix the out-of-control train.
Keller tries to follow two programs who are making their way on top of the train to an escape pod, but one is derezzed when they enter a tunnel. The damage to the engine is too extensive for Beck to repair, so he and Paige lay out another plan to move everyone to the rear cars and uncouple them from the engine. Meanwhile, Keller and the remaining program continue crawling towards the escape pod.
Beck and Paige sever the link between the engine and the rear cars just in time to see Keller leaping between the cars above them. Paige pursues her, but Beck is stranded on the rear cars. He uses his lightcycle to make the jump to the engine. Keller is sealed out of the escape pod and Paige tries to follow her, but Beck gets in the way. She pushes past Beck just as he notices an electronic map showing an unfinished bridge that the engine is speeding towards.
Paige corners Keller at the front of the train and offers to take her back to Argon, no questions asked. Beck rushes past them and uses his lightcycle to brake the engine, and they all manage to jump off just as the engine careens off the bridge and into a gorge below. As a lightcopter prepares to take Keller and Paige back to Argon, Paige asks Beck to look her up when they get back to Argon so they can hang out. Paige, believing she has saved Keller’s life, hands the scientist over to Tesler – but as soon as she leaves the room, Tesler derezzes Keller.
Rendezvous (Episode 17)
As the episode opens, Tron walks in on Beck obsessing over archived videos of Paige in preparation for a date with her. Beck insists that he can successfully recruit Paige to the rebellion, but Tron is skeptical, believing it may be a “lost cause.”
On the date, Paige and Beck go skydiving over Argon and admire the view of the city from a nearby bridge. Paige tells him it’s where she goes when she needs alone time to think, and Beck admits it can be helpful to take time to see things from a new perspective – “Even the opposite perspective.” Paige appears to be falling for Beck.
Later, Pavel intentionally incites prisoners to violence as an excuse to test out the now-regenerated weapon he seized at the end of “Price of Power.” After he’s derezzed all the prisoners Paige catches him with the weapon, but offers him the chance to return it to Tesler on his own before the end of the cycle – if he doesn’t, she’ll derezz him. Pavel goes to Purgos and approaches Gorn to get one of her codeworms – which can be used both to erase identity discs and implant false memories on them.
Elsewhere, Paige and Beck are apparently another date. Paige vents her frustrations about Pavel and tells Beck he doesn’t know “what it’s like to wear a mask all the time.” “You’re not wearing a mask now,” Beck replies. However, their romantic moment is interrupted when Pavel bursts in with guards to arrest Paige. He accuses her of conspiring to overthrow Tesler. Paige denies the charge, but when Beck tries to back her up, Pavel arrests him too.
In the prison pod, Beck offers to help break them both out, but Paige insists that only guilty programs try to escape – and that once Tesler sees the memories on her disc, he’ll know she was innocent. However, instead of being taken to Tesler, Paige is restrained in another room where Gorn’s assistant uses a codeworm to implant a fake memory on Paige’s disc which appears to show her trying to overthrow Tesler. When she’s returned to the prison pod, Beck asks her what happened. “They made me a guilty program,” she says. “Guess that means I should act like a guilty program.”
When the guards return, Beck and Paige make their escape. Beck says they should make their way to the Outlands, but Paige, seeing wanted screens with her face on them all over town, tells him she’s a lost cause and that he needs to let her go. As they ride out on lightcycles, she kicks Beck away so they become separated. Paige makes her way to Purgos and finds Gorn. But Pavel and Tesler are already there waiting for her, and Pavel shows Tesler the forged memory on Paige’s disc. “I saved your life and this is how you repay me?” Tesler asks. Paige is arrested once again.
At the coliseum, Beck (disguised as the Renegade) watches from afar as Paige holds her own against several gladiator programs. As the number of gladiators dwindle, Pavel offers to fight Paige himself. Armed with the secret weapon, he is able to hold his own against Paige and knock her into a pit below the stadium, apparently derezzing her – but instead a lightjet swoops out of the hole, with Paige and Beck on board.
Paige’s dislike for the Renegade, however, has not been tempered by her experiences. “All you did was make me look guilty!” she shouts. When the lightjet is shot down, Beck saves Paige and delivers her safely to the same spot they visited on their first date. Beck tries to convince her to join the resistance, saying she’s different from her colleagues: “We’re both trying to save the Grid – just in different ways.” But Paige still refuses to join him.
Later, Paige is trapped by Tesler as she tries to escape the city. She tells him she was framed, and Tesler says he knows who did it: the Renegade. Pavel shows Paige a forged disc memory appearing to show the Renegade trying to frame her, saying he’ll enjoy watching her suffer. Tesler rewards Pavel – for supposedly finding the guilty party (Gorn’s assistant) and returning the regenerated weapon – by making him commander of Purgos. After Tesler leaves, Paige tells Pavel she’ll be sure to “return the favor” for having her back.
Paige meets with Beck again only to tell him that she can’t continue to date him because his advice made her “soft” and made her almost lose focus. As the episode ends, Pavel meets with Gorn to thank her for her cooperation – and we see that he has disfigured her face so she is permanently smiling and unable to speak, just like her former assistant.
No Bounds (Episode 18)
As the episode opens, we see the Renegade save two programs from a group of guards – but it becomes clear that it isn’t Beck when this Renegade derezzes one of the programs for no reason. “Tell them what I did,” he tells the survivor. As he walks away a shop explodes behind him and his helmet derezzes, and we come face to face with the previous Renegade who Beck met in “The Stranger.” He laughs.
Next we see the aftermath of the explosion, which apparently wounded Mara. She says Tron did it, to the shock of both Zed and Beck. She admits that it made no sense, but she saw the evidence on the disc of the only survivor in the shop. As Beck looks out into the crowd he sees the former Renegade’s face and chases after him. “Did you lose something?” the former Renegade mockingly asks as he shakes his white identity disc. He disappears before Beck is able to capture him.
Beck rushes back to the garage, where he finds the disc half which gives him the Tron suit safe and sound. Able asks him if everything’s okay, and Beck insists he’s fine though Able doesn’t believe him. Out in the city, we now see that wanted screens for the Renegade are calling him an “assassin.” When Beck tries to put on the white disguise disc, it electrocutes him instead.
After struggling to take it off he returns to the hideout, where Tron puts the virus-infected disc into containment. Beck accuses Tron of lying to him, saying Tron knew the former Renegade was out there, but Tron insists that as far as he knew the former Renegade was imprisoned in the compressed space. Tron tells him that Cyrus – the former Renegade, and the very same program who saved him from death in the flashback we saw in “Scars – Part 2” – was a mistake, that he only cared about destroying everything rather than bringing about true change. Tron says he chose Beck because he knew he could trust him, but Beck is too angry to listen. He quits the rebellion altogether and refuses to believe Tron when Tron tells him that quitting is exactly what Cyrus wants. “Goodbye, Tron,” Beck says as he leaves, “I have to go protect my friends from your mistake.”
Beck returns to the club in Argon to meet with Zed and Mara, only to see that Cyrus is there – and has already convinced the pair that he’s a close friend of Beck’s. When they get a moment alone, Cyrus returns the disc that gives Beck the Renegade disguise – and casually tells him that he’s planted a bomb in Able’s garage. Beck rushes back to the garage, only to discover that the bomb was planted on his own lightcycle, and that he brought it right where Cyrus wanted it.
Later, Able and Beck discuss the situation. We discover that Able not only knew Cyrus – he designed the compressed space prison that held him. Able asks Beck why he lied about the situation before, and Beck responds it was to protect him – which Able says is the exact same reason Tron lied to Beck. As they argue about Cyrus’s tactics and motives, Beck realizes that Cyrus tricked him into bringing the virus-infected fake Renegade disc right into Tron’s hideout.
We see that there, the virus on the disc has spread into the hideout’s systems, cutting the power. Cyrus ambushes Tron. Able and Beck rush back to the hideout, but by the time they get there all they find is a video recording from Cyrus telling him that he’s kidnapped Mara, Zed, and Tron – putting Mara and Zed in one place in Argon, and Tron in another place across the city. He says he’s strapped explosives to Zed and Mara as well as to Tron. He gives Beck a single code key that can save either party, and that he must choose his destiny. Beck gives the key to Able, telling him to make sure Zed and Mara are safe, and that he’ll figure out how to save Tron himself. They split up.
As Beck begins to work on getting the explosive off of Tron, Able discovers that the code key Cyrus gave them is no good and tries to get the explosives off by himself. After Beck disables the bomb on Tron, Cyrus confronts them both. Both Tron and Beck try to fight Cyrus, but he easily counters them. When Cyrus realizes Beck sent someone else to save his friends, Cyrus laughs, saying Beck doesn’t know what he’s done.
Cyrus says Beck has failed Tron, but Tron replies: “No. You’re my only failure.” Cyrus, enraged, attacks him. Tron pins Cyrus down and tells Beck to go help his friends. Activating his disc, Tron says, “I should have done this a long time ago.” Cyrus responds, “You took the words right out of my mouth,” and flips Tron off of him. As they battle, Cyrus clearly has the advantage. He constantly pushes Tron to say that Cyrus is better than him. “Tell me I deserve to be your successor,” Cyrus says as he pins Tron down. “Call me Tron.” “Never,” Tron spits, grabbing the explosive and attaching it to Cyrus’s chest.
As Able removes the explosives from Zed and Mara, they ask who did this to them. Just as Able is about to tell them, the explosives begin to electrocute him. Across the city, they do the same to Cyrus, who falls into a nearby area and disappears, leaving the explosive behind. As Zed and Mara jump for their lives, the bombs Able is holding explode, derezzing him. Beck, just arriving, watches the explosion in horror. Forgetting that he’s disguised as the Renegade, Beck runs up to Mara and Zed, saying how glad he is that they’re alive. But Mara is convinced that the Renegade is responsible for Able’s death. Beck is forced to flee as an angry crowd descends upon him, thinking the Renegade is a killer.
Meeting up with Beck, Tron sums up the situation: “Able is gone. The city is against you. Your friends blame you for it all. And it’s only going to get worse.” Beck responds: “I know. And I’m ready.”
Terminal (Episode 19)
At the garage, Able’s employees gather to mourn him. Mara angrily blames the Renegade, but Zed isn’t convinced.
As Beck and Tron train at the hideout, Tron suddenly collapses. When Beck rushes to him and turns him over, he sees the scar on Tron’s face is growing. Beck rushes Tron to his healing chamber, but by turning up the power to try and save Tron, Beck shatters the chamber. As Beck rushes over to help Tron up, Tron tells him that he’s dying. He says that damage Cyrus did to him during their fight compromised his healing ability, and that he has three cycles left at the most. “You are Tron now,” Tron says. “The uprising depends on it.”
As Beck removes Able’s personal items from his locker at the garage, he reflects on the friends he’s lost. Out on the streets, Beck encounters an old friend – Cutler, the program he recruited into the resistance in “The Renegade Part 2.” Cutler warns him that CLU is coming with a powerful new weapon, but that he knows how to stop it. He tells Beck to pass along the message to Tron.
Beck, disguised as Tron, meets Cutler at the start of the next cycle. But it turns out to be an ambush – CLU repurposed Cutler. Faced down by Cutler and a group of guards, Beck tries to escape on his lightjet – only to be confronted by the massive recognizer we saw in “The Stranger.” A chase ensues, and when Beck is cornered Cutler reveals that they know Tron is dying, but that they have a machine that can fix him. All he has to do is surrender. “Meet me at the docks when you change your mind,” Cutler says.
Back at the hideout, Beck and Tron discuss the proposition. Tron fears the machine is a repurposing unit, which would extract the virus killing him – right before it rewrites his code. Beck says that if he interrupted the process before the rewriting began, it would return Tron to full strength, making him “CLU’s worst nightmare.” Tron warns him that if he fails, Tron will just become a weapon used against him, but Beck convinces Tron to let him try.
At the garage, Zed is trying to convince Mara that Tron/the Renegade would never kidnap them and kill Able. Mara admits that it makes no sense, but that even if the Renegade wasn’t directly responsible, Able’s death was still the Renegade’s fault because he didn’t save him. Suddenly a recognizer lands at the garage. Pavel emerges and announces that the garage is under military control – and kills Able’s pet Bit, just to prove how much of a bastard he is.
Later, Beck watches from afar as Tron gives himself up. After Tron is on the giant recognizer, Beck breaks inside. The repurposing process begins and Tron is healed. Just as new code is about to be implanted inside Tron, Beck gets into the repurposing room and breaks open the chamber. Tron and Beck fight off the guards and escape, and Tron unleashes his inner badass. Cutler attacks Beck, who is disguised as the Renegade, but just as he is cornered Beck opens his helmet at tries to snap Cutler out of it. Cutler struggles to fight off his repurposing but ultimately can’t, forcing Beck to let him fall to his death.
Cutler’s fall damages the giant recognizer, which crashes outside the garage. Everyone runs outside to see what’s happening. Tron is trapped under a piece of debris, so to buy time Beck takes the disc half which gives him the Tron disguise in order to draw the guards away. The crowd sees Beck fighting off the guards, and as more guards move forward they push members of the crowd out of their way. But Mara refuses to move. “If you want Tron,” she says, grabbing her identity disc, “you’ll have to go through me.” Pavel orders the guards to kill her, but Zed stands by her side. Soon other programs join in – including Bartik and Hopper. “You’re all fired!” Pavel screams as he and the other guards flee.
“The uprising has begun,” Tron says.
Elsewhere, Tesler demands to know where the giant recognizer came from, and Paige tells him it’s most likely from CLU. We see CLU, Dyson, and an entourage of recognizers and other aircraft entering Argon. Cut to black.
Wait, so that’s it?
Yes, that’s it. After the end of the first season, Disney cancelled TRON: Uprising, much to the disappointment and frustration of many fans. It certainly didn’t help that Disney seemed to be trying to set up the show to fail before it was cancelled: after airing a couple episodes on its main channel Disney pushed the show to DisneyXD, a channel which hardly any of the show’s would-be viewers even got; once there, it languished alongside Motorcity (another good animated Disney show which was also screwed over and cancelled after one season) in increasingly odd timeslots – towards the end I remember you could catch both shows around midnight on Sunday, a “death slot” if there ever was one. As a result the viewers dwindled down to almost nothing, giving Disney a good excuse to cancel the show.
But, you may be asking, why would Disney want to sabotage its own show? Well, the most likely theory I’ve heard so far is that the show was simply too expensive to produce – as I said in the first post, they didn’t seem to cut any corners while making it. That, perhaps mixed with a little bit of indifference to continuing the TRON series on Disney’s part (this was around the same time that Disney acquired the rights to all the things Lucasfilm made, and I think Bruce Boxleitner was right when he said that Disney probably lost interest in making TRON happen when they could basically print money with Star Wars media), probably encouraged them to get TRON: Uprising off the air as quickly and quietly as possible. However, the fans weren’t willing to let it go without a fight – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
How does it fit in with everything else?
As I said in a previous post, TRON: Uprising was one of many “interquels” Disney made to bridge the years between the events of the original TRON and TRON: Legacy. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it takes place, however – all that can be said for certain is that it happens sometime between CLU’s betrayal of Flynn and the time when CLU captured Tron and repurposed him into Rinzler. If I had to guess, it most likely happened sometime between the early and middle years of CLU’s reign, when he was still trying to secure his control over the entire Grid.
So why can’t TRON: Uprising fans just let the show go?
This is a fair question – after all, the show was cancelled more than three years ago; do TRON: Uprising fans really think that any number of petition signatures are still going to bring it back? (I mean, at some point you have to stop clapping and let Tinkerbell die.) But see, TRON fans are funny like that. They’re willing to cling to this series no matter what happens. No matter how much Disney pushes it to the side and tries to distract us with shinier things (“Look! New Star Wars movies!”), no matter how much they toy with our hopes, no matter how many times they try to kill the series and move on to more profitable things, TRON fans aren’t willing to let TRON die.
That’s why we sign hopeless petitions. That’s why we buy silly TRON-themed endless runner games. That’s why we comment on every social media post the official TRON pages make telling them to make TRON 3 (seriously, I think they could literally announce that they’re making TRON 3 again and every comment would still say “MAKE TRON 3!!!!”). We won’t stop fighting for the program that fought for the users.
But why cling to this show in particular? Because it was good. Frankly, it was better than TRON: Legacy. It had style. It had heart. It had good plots acted out by three-dimensional characters in a world that felt more like a living organism than the Grid we saw in TRON: Legacy. And more than that, it raised a lot of interesting questions.
Was there any chance that Rinzler was actually Beck all along, not Tron? If not, then what happened to Beck, and how did Tron get captured?
What happened to the uprising before Sam Flynn got there? Would it have succeeded, or was it doomed to failure?
What happened to all these other characters? Well, we do see one of them in TRON: Legacy. Yes, we really do. Remember that resistance leader in Castor’s bar, the one who has like two lines before he gets derezzed?
Yeah, well, he’s Bartik. No, that’s not a crazy fan theory, check the credits if you don’t believe me. He’s Bartik.
So we see what happens to him, but it raises a whole bunch of other questions in the process. Presumably he joined the resistance with everyone else at the end of “Terminal,” but how did he become such a fervent believer in it after previously being on the side of the occupation? How did he become such a high-ranking leader in it? How in the name of Flynn did he get that damn scar? We’ll never know.
And that’s probably what frustrates fans the most: all the questions that we’ll never know the answers to. Even if by some miracle Disney does make TRON 3, they’ve already confirmed that it won’t take place on the same Grid from TRON: Legacy. So it leaves all these messy loose ends that will never get tied up, which is great for the fan fiction, but not so great for the fans.
Looking towards my future posts, it’s clear that I’ve gotten in way over my head with this whole “document as many TRON things as possible” idea. The video games alone are going to take five posts to get through. And the books. Oh my user, there are books too. At least one of them is apparently just a five page long TRON-themed Christian fan fiction that you have to pay actual money to read. How does that even? Does Tron die for our sins? Isn’t that sacrilegious somehow? Now I have to know. DAMMIT.
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