When Upload premiered in 2020, the world was undergoing a radical change. So it makes sense that a radical show, which merged a futuristic murder mystery with an anti-capitalist thriller and packaged it as a romantic comedy, would resonate with audiences. Close to two years later, Upload is back with a seven-episode Season 2. If you’re like us, you probably binged the half-hour episodes within a day and are now reeling over that wild ending.
Upload Season 2 initially picks up where the first season left off, with Nathan (Robbie Amell) stuck in “Two Gig” slums and Nora (Andy Allo) off to save her dad. But within the first episode, months pass by as Nora joins a cult-like anti-technology group in the woods, called the Luds, and Nathan returns to the virtual highlife of Lakeview after his girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), “uploads” to join him in digital heaven.
The six episodes that follow lean heavily on the show’s darker themes. Diving deep into surveillance, intellectual property, income disparity, and other social issues while unraveling a malicious plot that extends far beyond Lakeview. (Don’t worry, it’s still a comedy too.)
On the surface, Upload’s world, where economic inequality persists even when you’re dead, seems downright dystopian, but show creator Greg Daniels doesn’t see it like that.
“There's a lot of fun and coolness to the technology,” Daniels tells Inverse. “But it's also not a utopia, where technology is the only thing that's going to make everything better all the time.”
As Upload Season 2 reaches its heart-stopping finale, we see how technology has the capacity to both doom the world and save the day. Here’s what the cast and creator of Amazon’s most self-aware sitcom have to say about the journey so far and their hopes for Season 3.
Major spoilers for Upload Season 2 ahead.
Upload Season 2’s ending, explained
By the end of Episode 6, Nora and Nathan uncover the truth about Freeyond, a free alternative to Lakeview based on technology developed by Nathan. Turns out, wealthy Conservatives are rolling out Freeyond in strategic swing states where poor Americans will choose to upload, thereby forfeiting their right to vote. (It’s a bit weird, but it makes sense in the context of the show.)
Meanwhile, in a last-ditch effort to save her relationship, Ingrid reveals that:
- She’s not really dead and only pretended to be by using a high-tech immersion suit.
- She’s been re-growing Nathan’s body so he can be downloaded into it and live in the real world with her again.
The revelations don’t have the effect Ingrid hoped. Instead, when Nathan learns that his girlfriend didn’t actually upload for him, he breaks up with her instantly.
“There was just a big perspective shift from Season 1 to 2,” Robbie Amell tells Inverse, “And it gives this guy a little bit more confidence and free will.”
“It is the big huge blowout episode.”
Nathan then decides to download his digital self from Lakeview into a real body. (Downloading in Upload is dangerous, with one human trial ending with an exploding head. But recent tests on pigeons show some success.)
It works — sort of. Nora and the Luds successfully download Nathan and escape the lab to continue their mission. Nathan and Nora finally get to physically touch and share an intimate night together. However, the following day, Nathan wakes to discover his nose is bleeding. Before we can even wonder if this is a sign that his time is running out, the episode cuts to black. It leaves us with a massive cliffhanger by letting Nathan’s fate hang in the balance, effectively raising the show’s stakes to a whole new level.
“One of my favorite shows ever is Game of Thrones. And the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones was always the strongest,” Amell says. “What Greg did with our season, it almost feels like it is our penultimate episode. It is the big huge blowout episode. And then the next episode is the next season.”
But will there be another season? More on that a bit further down.
Upload Season 2 cliffhangers explained
Along with Nathan’s bloody nose, Season 2 concludes with many other surprising loose threads.
Aleesha’s narrative arc this season revolves around whether she will take a promotion and pay raise at Horizen, thus selling out to her corporate overlords. In Episode 7, her boss shows Aleesha (Zainab Johnson) what her life could be like with a six-figure salary and luxury apartment. It’s an attractive offer for Aleesha, who has to work multiple jobs to make a living, despite that meaning she would have to officially be on Horizen’s “leash.”
“That's a decision that most people are facing,” Zainab Johnson tells Inverse. “The more you move up, the more you find out, and then the choices are like, ‘Well, what do I do with this information? Do I keep it to myself? Do I expose it? How does me changing in this professional world affect my personal relationships?’”
Aleesha reckons with all that, and by the end of the season, she agrees to take the promotion. When asked about what made Aleesha choose to take the job, Johnson reveals that there was one scene they never got to shoot, which showed where Aleesha lives.
“I remember reading that scene and thinking, ‘Oh, wow, she really needs this. She needs this change.’ Who knew that she was struggling?” Johnson adds, “Knowing that about Aleesha is really what influences her to make the decision.”
Meanwhile, Horizen Angel-in-training Tinsley (Mackenzie Cardwell) notices that Nathan has disappeared. She asks a coworker for advice on finding him and is told he probably fell into a glitch and needs to be restored via backup. Without letting anyone else know, Tinsley starts restoring Nathan, meaning that another (digital) Nathan will be in Lakeview.
Speaking of another Nathan, Ingrid is still not over their breakup. We see her collecting what we presume are strands of Nathan’s hair in one final scene. It seems nothing will stop Ingrid from using his DNA to regrow his body.
“She's completely underestimated for sure,” Allegra Edwards says about her character. “By the end of it, my heart breaks for her. I felt like some people owed her an apology. She's paid literally financially but also just sacrificially. And I think she's owed more than she's given.”
Will there be an Upload Season 3?
With so many unanswered questions, the Season 2 finale does more than its fair share of setting up the story's next phase. While Amazon Studios has yet to announce if Upload will be getting a Season 3, the cast and creators remain optimistic that they will return to this universe.
“I'm hopeful about Season 3,” Greg Daniels says. “It's really important to continually expand the world, learn new things, and have new surprises for the characters. We really believe in them as real people, and we try to come up with satisfying adventures for them. So I've got plenty of ideas for Season 3, should we get one.”
The cast also has plenty of ideas for where their characters could go next season.
“We got a little taste of this in Season 1, where they went to the travel agency and saw glimpses of other afterlives,” Edwards says. “I'd love to visit other afterlives and just different brands and versions of what that could look like.”
“I'm hopeful about Season 3.”
Johnson knows fans are interested in whether Aleesha will start a romantic relationship with Luke (Kevin Bigley), Nathan’s best friend in Lakeview.
“Kevin and I were always talking about that. I'm along for the ride,” Johnson says. “If it's a love, if it's a rivalry, if it'll be a long-lasting friendship, whatever it is they're starting to discover about one another, it will just deepen that.”
And for the series’ star Andy Allo, she was happy to see Nora “stepping into her power” in Season 2 and hopes she can continue doing that in Season 3.
“For Nora, it’d be amazing just to have her blow it all up,” Allo says. “Let's tear down everything about the Upload, and then let's build it back up, and she goes real hardcore. I don't think that's gonna happen, but it could be interesting to see how it affects her relationships with everyone.”
Even if Nora doesn’t burn it all down, the show, like Amell suggests, is in a pivotal moment. Whatever Season 3 brings — if it does happen — will undoubtedly shake up its world. Hopefully, though, it’s not too explosive for Nathan.
Upload Season 2 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.