There’s a lot to like about Prime Video Uploadthe barely speculative AI life-after-romance from creator Greg Daniels (The office), which starts its third season on October 20th. The ensemble’s virtual versus real performances? Sharp. Production design in digital heaven? Cartoonish and absurd enough to read as camp. And the dialogue! For both the show’s human and AI characters, Daniels and the Season 3 writing team crafted some strikingly natural lines.
Still, it’s impressive Upload has become so likeable. After all, this is a show whose central drama revolves around a corporate, spam-filled neoliberal hellscape – one that is haunted so uncomfortably close on the development of our real world, which several throwaway jokes from the first two seasons have already influenced to some extent come TRUE.
If you’re caught up, here it is UploadThe Basic Robbie Amell Deal: At the start of the first season, Robbie Amell’s bro-programmer Nathan died in a freak self-driving car accident and his consciousness was involuntarily “uploaded” to Lakeview by his spoiled, rich girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards). Luxurious, very WASP-esque digital afterlife run by tech giant Horizen. There, Nathan discovered that he had been uploaded without some important memories – namely, that his accident with the driverless car wasn’t so random after all. It turns out that a mysterious Big Tech bigwig Nathan (dun dun dunnnn) murdered.
Oh, and while in Lakeview, Nathan also fell in love with his still-living, criminally underpaid “angel” Nora (Andy Allo). This “While in Lakeview” detail is crucial because in the action-packed Season 2 finale, Nathan’s Lakeview-bound consciousness was “downloaded” into a clone of his original body, which Ingrid had spent all of Season 2 – and most of it – in secret their savings – growing in a cloning lab for the rich and famous. (And Logan Paul too.)
That twist alone would have made the stakes for Season 3 irresistibly high: among other things, the fact that he’s in a living, breathing human body means that Nathan can finally make a real attempt at building a relationship with Nora. However, because Horizen keeps its workers in a constant state of precarity and fear, Nathan’s new angel, Tinsley (Mackenzie Cardwell), reveals he has disappeared from the Lakeview system in the season’s first episode, simply reboots his consciousness. This is better than risking being scolded (or worse) for dropping the virtual ball! Because Horizen’s upload management centers are run by people who reach their individual levels of self-interest and/or incompetence – a category that this season includes Nora’s estranged and morally conflicted best friend Aleesha (Zainab Johnson). this “double consciousness” similar. The situation is left uncontrolled for an ethically outrageous (if dramatically fruitful) period of time.
Unsurprisingly, the “two Nathans, one data plan” boodoggle is the primary narrative driver of season three. Not only does the romantic side of the story benefit from giving all three sides of the Nora-Nathan-Ingrid love triangle something new to work through, but Nathan’s bromance with his Lakeview girlfriend Luke (Kevin Bigley) also shifts gears a. And Nathan’s return to the realm of the living also gives the series more opportunity to explore some of the trickier dimensions of the real world that Horizen helped to build – and mercilessly still helps to create.
UploadThis season, the interest in the banal brutality of the real world goes beyond Nathan (and by extension Nora). Johnson’s Aleesha gets almost as much dramatically complicated screen time in her bewilderingly rapid climb up Horizen’s ladder of evil, and even AI Guy (Owen Daniels) gets to do some new and fascinating things as a result of it that’s genuinely real. Likewise Ingrid’s rapid descent down Over the course of this third season’s short eight episodes, “The Evil Ladder of Generational Wealth” forces her to become an active participant in humanity to a degree that concretely humbles her – a journey that Edwards undertakes with remarkable nuance .
Strong acting is the name of the game this season. Given the synthetic perfection marketed by the likes of Horizen and OscarMeyerIntel, the ensemble’s emotionally committed performances infuse every scene with a grounded, other-dimensional warmth. Even when the actors are supposed to perform classic slapstick comedies, they do so with a naturalistic feel. (No spoilers, but a banana peel at one point Is The returning regulars have created a space so worn out that the new faces just fit in. It’s a real joy to watch – so much so that you almost forget the unrelenting cruelty (and disturbingly familiar strain) of impoverished capitalism that forms the beating heart of the show. Nearly.
That is, a lot of the goodwill of this new season Upload earned by testing its ensemble through a bewildering series of narrative gaps. There is simply so much that happens off-screen instead of being dramatized, right down to Luke’s discovery of Back-Up Nathan, Nora’s break with the Ludds, and literally everything that happens to AI Guy after that [redacted]. These are important parts of the story! It is strange!
However, if you’re willing to overcome these narrative chasms – and if you can come to terms with the fact that you’re watching the kind of show whose “dystopian comedy” is frighteningly close to reality –Upload has become a truly captivating rush. But be warned: The cliffhanger that ends this season involves a fake Horizen commercial that lasts Better off, Ted‘S Veridian Dynamics advertising break gag and turn it up to 11, it’s gloomy. But in a world where… The Show can continue to be streamed The Platform and still be renewed, that’s comedy!