REVIEW: ‘Upload’ Season 2 Takes a Dark Turn

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Upload Season 2

Greg Daniels is a bit of a mad man, and I say that with the utmost respect. As a creator, he’s been behind some incredibly successful and iconic shows such as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Office, and most recently, Space Force, and Upload. How he’s able to do it is beyond me, but having been such a big fan of his, I took it upon myself to binge through Upload Season 2 (as well as season 1) to see why the show had so much buzz around it.

Created by Greg Daniels, and starring Robbie AmellUpload is set in the not distant future in a world where a digital afterlife is not only possible, it’s also privatized and incredibly lucrative industry. The story follows Nathan Brown (Amell), a young and ambitious coder who is developing a free digital afterlife software to give access to those who can’t afford it. Before he can enact his philanthropic plan, Nathan dies in a car crash and is uploaded to Lake View on the orders of his possessive and extremely wealthy girlfriend. Season 1 spent much of the time world-building, introducing characters, and laying the groundwork for the larger plot, which revealed that Nathan didn’t just die, he was murdered.

Upload Season 2 picks up immediately following the events the past, with Nathan, stuck in the 2 gig quarters, Ingrid announcing she uploaded to be with Nathan forever, and Nora escaping off-grid to live with the Ludds, an anti-technology society with the belief that the rich are destroying the earth and that digital afterlife is an abomination.

Season 2 promises even more crazy shenanigans with Ingrid now in the frame permanently it puts Nathan in an incredibly tense position. With his memories now restored, thanks to the new Lakeview update, Nathan is now aware it was Ingrid’s Father who had him murdered after he sold the digital afterlife code to benefit his family. While in the past their relationship was always been fraught with obstacles, and likely to snap sooner rather than later, Nathan could always rely on the fact that Lakeview was his personal space away from her. A space that he made his own as he bonded with Nora.

With that scenario entirely flipped on its head, it’ll challenge Nathan to search for alternative ways to spend his time and get the most out of his stay. Ingrid on the other hand is still manipulating the situation as some truths will come out about her during this season and the depths of her insecurities will be laid bare. She’s a difficult character to look past most of the time as she often comes across as short-tempered, entitled, privileged, and just generally unpleasant and spiteful. Never knowing positive love, especially familial love, it’s easy to see how she latches on to Nathan but she lacks those internal tools to handle it so just tries to control, and possess him which ultimately drives him further away.

Nora on the other hand learns about life before the digital age as she gets her hands dirty with the farming community of the Ludds. It’s an interesting turn for her character but gives it allows her an opportunity to step away from the madness of the situation she found herself in, and see the bigger picture of the natural world beyond the technological one.

Meanwhile, Lakeview undergoes some radical changes, to keep things fresh with their clients. Possibly my favorite plot exploration of the whole season, and the show in general. The parallels from our timeline to this fictional world can’t be ignored, and yes, the irony is not lost on me as I write this review about an exclusively streaming show for an online organization. To have the genius of being able to store, and host digital consciousness and then flooding it with promotions, pop-up advertisements, and the various levels of invasions of privacy are explored well.

Upload, however, isn’t Black Mirror, so while the plot gets dark it does a decent job of balancing the topics with a lot of comedy, and general goofiness. This is where the show can get very sidetracked. Trying to strike that balance between light, and witty, with littering of sweetness between characters, and the corrupt moral nature of elite businessmen is difficult in 30 minutes during a seven-episode season. Overall all of this results in the pacing feeling off for the plot, with the more serious tone doesn’t quite gel as effectively with the comedy as I’d hope for.

It’s difficult because Season 1 was enjoyable, but the direction that was taken care of just isn’t as engaging. The finale though was enticing and it lays the groundwork for a fascinating story in Season 3.

Upload is still a bizarrely funny show, and this season promises a much darker plot. With Ingrid now permanently at Lakeview tensions with Nathan are high, especially without Nora there as his angel. While the season encounters some bumps in the road, the series sets up a brilliant finale and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Upload Season 2 is available now, exclusively on Prime Video.


Upload Season 2
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Upload is still a bizarrely funny show, and this season promises a much darker plot. With Ingrid now permanently at Lakeview tensions with Nathan are high, especially without Nora there as his angel. While the season encounters some bumps in the road, the series sets up a brilliant finale and I can’t wait to see what comes next!