Review: gen:LOCK “Training Daze”

You need a montage!

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Chase and Yaz continue training the newbies to get a hang of their Holons, which get upgraded from skeletons to obtaining their own armor. Weller explains the concepts of “uptime”, as in the time limit the pilots have being in their mechs before things get messy, and “overclocking”, an option for improving performance that limits said uptime, as well as the functions of their bio-suits and how pilots can eventually age out of the program. As they wrap up for the day, Chase tries patching things up with Miranda, but she’s still on the fence on forgiving him.

Now that they finally have some downtime, the pilots decide to get some R&R the only way they can on base: going to the “Ether”, a virtual internet, where Valentina reveals she’s genderfluid and may be leaning on becoming “Val” again. But before they can pick on a group activity, the connection shorts out due to a Union attack, their biggest since taking New York four years ago. Everyone suits up, gradually taking down the enemy forces…except everything seems a bit too easy. They soon learn why as a four-armed mech arrives to face them, heavily damaging Cammie’s Holon and requiring the combined force of the other four to fend it off.

OUR TAKE

With last week’s breather, we finally get to see the main mechs in action, which would be good timing since we’ve reached the halfway point of the season. Everyone’s slowly getting more accustomed to their own unique fighting styles and each of the similar armors has slightly different color arrangements to set them apart, which is better than if they just slapped the same on each aside from the different color. We also learn about the idea of “uptime”, which likely will act as a ticking clock in future fights and I’d bet my other foot is going to be abused sometime soon now that we’ve laid it out as a Chekov’s Gun. Also interesting is the idea that one can become too old to pilot, even with compatible minds, which might mean that we’ll be saying bye to Kazu soon. Though I wouldn’t mind that so much as it would mean not having to look at subtitles so much.

I should also bring up the reveal about Val/entina here, which I assume has something to do with the fact that her(his?) actor, Asia Kate Dillon, identifies as non-binary (as well as apparently being the first non-binary main actor in North America thanks to their role on the SHOWTIME series, “Billions”). These are two separate gender identities, mind you, but I imagine that having an actor who is already associated with an identity outside the norm likely inspired them to try something different with their character as well. Or I could be completely off-base, but the point is that it’s neat they’re trying this out for this story. I have no idea how it’s actually going to be important IN the story, but I’m willing to wait to see how.

Although there’s something I can’t seem to quite get over (besides the name “Holon” for the mechs) and that’s the acting of Chase, which may extend to his whole character if it’s not remedied soon. I’ve already said how his attitude is rather lax for his situation but it feels like “room temp” is his only setting, even in scenes that you would think would warrant a bigger reaction. Last week I mentioned the possible hinting at Miranda has moved on with a different character, which apparently turned out to…maybe NOT happen? The dialogue is unclear, but the point is that it seems like we’re just diffusing whatever conflict that may have started before it even got going. It would have been pretty melodramatic if that HAD been the case, but Chase really needs SOMETHING to drive him besides being a good soldier, otherwise, he’s just some pickled protagonist.

Oh yeah, and the enemy mech fight. Definitely a cool looking brawl, but not a whole lot more than that. I dunno, I’m just not feeling as invested in this season as I’d hoped. But we have another half to go, so we’ll see how things pan out. This is the last time I pull my punches, though.

Score
7/10

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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