[Review] Ingress Episode 2 "Escape – Past – Destiny" Begins the Chase

Niantic's Ingress is a Video Game-Anime Fusion That Works
credit// Netflix

Ingress Episode 2 "Escape – Past – Destiny" starts the major chase suspense narrative that will take over several episodes. It also ditched some of the emotional resonance from Episode 1 in favor of exposition. Which comes in the middle of two major gun fights.

Episode 2 picks up exactly where the first left off, with Makoto being pinned by Resistance Agent Jack Norman. Norman starts to question Makoto before they're interrupted by an armed group of Hulong agents who start shooting. We get to see an XM sensitive in action as Jack uses his "flash forward" ability to read his opponents moves and dodge their bullets. It's a little Matrix-y, watching Jack dodge bullets in hyper-speed, leaving blue imprints of himself behind. However, it gets the jobs done of showing us a sensitive's abilities from an outsiders perspective.

So far, we've only seen Sarah's abilities from her perspective, which allows us to "see the invisible" the way she does. We also witness Makoto's memory flashes as they happen. Which doesn't tell us much about what those abilities look like from the outside.

Sarah and Makoto use the fight with Houlong as a means to escape Jack, though he uses his ability to follow them with uncanny ease. Which then brings in the exposition of what exactly XM is, how the Ingress app works, and what "Sensitives" are. While Fuji TV, Craftar Studios, and Niantic have worked a lot of this expositon work out as action – Makoto is prompted to open the app, which leads him into choosing a side- Resistance or Enlightened- and then attacking the nearby Resistance portal to weaken Norman. However, it is still an odd dip in the narrative, an intentional slow-down point. And it cones right as Jack Norman and a group of Hulong Agents find Makoto and Sarah again.

Not only is it a bit unrealistic, but it pulls the viewer out if the action for exposition. It may help Makoto and Sarah escape from their pursuers, by timing a burster pulse from the Ingress app with some handy fire extinguisher foam, but the expository break could have been ignored altogether as it serves little narrative function other than re-establishing Jack Norman's sensitive abilities and how utterly relentless they make him. Which is information we got in the last episode and the first half of this one.

[Review] Ingress Episode 2
Credit// Netflix
When Makoto and Sarah escape, they head toward the police station, only to be stopped when their mysterious helper alerts them that the police have been compromised. They then lose connection through the app and our heroes are on their own, dodging the Resistance, Hulong, and the cops all at once.
We do at least get some of character building near the end of the episode as Makoto and Sarah react to how Hulong has spun the chase for them: that Sarah witnessed the explosion and Makoto has kidnapped her. Sarah attempts to apologize for dragging him into her problems and cut him loose, but Makoto reminds her he is a wanted man and that they're a team. He then explains his own Sensitive ability and offers to try and figure out what Sarah was doing before the explosion. This leads Sarah and Makoto to decide their next objective- finding the research facility where Houlong's experimental project started.
The final sequence of the episode drops yet another bomb, that Sarah is the test subject for Hulong's experiment, and that is why they want to capture her.
Overall, Ingress Episode 2 has a whole lot of plot to build, explain, and work through which makes it less interesting than Episode 1. After all, the high stakes moments are quickly undercut to explain and worldbuild, and the dialogue really only ever serves to move the plot along. Which is fine, it keeps the season moving, but it noticeably slows the high-paced show down despite the inclusion of multiple shootouts.

About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.

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