If the future is what it looks like in Amazon’s Upload series, it is already scary. The rich run the corporation that owns our digital lives, and humans have turned into modern slaves. The government and private sector have easy access to anyone’s personal data and, therefore, those can be used against them if they ever have any violent thoughts against capitalism. Additionally, there are recorders and cameras everywhere, so your private life is not really private. And with so many privacy laws around, we have only become much more vulnerable.
Upload revolves around a young and charming programmer named Nathan Brown, who gets murdered because he was working on a free afterlife program. The irony is that his long-time girlfriend, Ingrid Kannerman, waves the money wand and uses her father’s influence to get Nathan’s consciousness uploaded to a Disneyland kind of simulation called Lakeview, developed by a corporation named Horizon. Being in a digital fairyland, Nathan soon realizes that 27 is not the age for one to die when he has not accomplished anything to cherish in his virtual afterlife and there begins his digital-existential crisis. As the series unfolds, he gets deeply involved in solving the mystery of his own murder, which has a deep conspiracy at play. So, without further ado, let’s take a detailed look at the events of Upload Seasons 1 and 2 and what we can expect further.
How did Nathan die?
Nathan takes his girlfriend, Ingrid, home for the first time to meet his family on Thanksgiving. From the looks of it, it is quite evident that no one likes the super rich and snobbish Ingrid, and even Nathan has second thoughts about her, but he fails to break up with her, as arguing with Ingrid can be traumatizing. Nathan believes it is best to keep the relationship casual until he has hit something big. He is working on a free virtual afterlife with his business partner, Jamie, and they’re currently pitching their project to various companies to gather funding. However, before Nathan can achieve anything substantial in life, his self-driving car hits a truck on a fateful night, which wounds him severely. Nathan is quickly taken to the hospital, where it is suggested that he will survive the accident, but Ingrid forces him to choose the Lakeview virtual afterlife. Inside the consciousness upload chamber, Nathan’s head is destroyed, but the rest of him is stored to be used in the future. His body is going to play an important role in Upload Season 3, so it’s something that’s worth mentioning.
How did Nathan meet Nora?
Nora Antony is a designer and customer service representative at Horizon who handles clients in Lakeview. After Nathan’s death, she designs his avatar for the virtual world and uploads his consciousness into it so he can enjoy the rest of his afterlife without feeling any discomfort.
Through Nathan, we find out that Lakeview is like a virtual resort where you have to pay for everything. None of it exists in reality, but it’s more like The Sims, the only difference being that you are not operating your avatar but instead living inside it after your death. However, thanks to Ingrid’s family having unlimited data in the virtual world, Nathan doesn’t face any financial crisis initially. In short, Ingrid pays for all his luxuries, but it comes at the cost of Nathan losing his independence and becoming a slave. There is nothing much to do in the afterlife either, so Nathan gets bored pretty soon. The only thing that he enjoys is spending time with Nora, with whom he eventually falls in love. Nathan decides that he needs to break up with Ingrid but can’t do it until the end of Upload Season 2 because, well, if you know Ingrid, then you know her. She isn’t one to back down so easily.
Why was Nathan murdered?
Nathan and Jamie were working on an app that would allow people to upload their digital consciousness and build their own digital afterlife, which they could pass down to their friends and family for free. For the same thing, corporations like Horizon were charging huge chunks of money from people who could afford it, and therefore, Nathan’s program had the potential to destroy a 600-billion-dollar-a-year industry. They were pitching their project to different investors, and Ingrid’s dad, Oliver Kannerman, was one of them.
During the upload, some of Nathan’s memories were damaged, because of which he wasn’t able to remember the meeting with the potential investors or crucial details about his own app. However, later, Nora helps Nathan recover his memories, and in one of those, he finally finds out that he had made a deal with Oliver, according to which he was about to sell a copy of the program to him behind Jamie’s back. Now, Nathan doesn’t remember whether he sold the copy or not, but in the real world, a new company named Freeyond is created which has its links to David Choak.
Later, Nathan finds out that his Lakeview neighbor, David Choak, the owner of the second-largest private company in the world, had been working with Oliver and had sent his henchmen to kill Nathan. It wasn’t revealed until the end of Season 2 why David and Oliver wanted to kill Nathan, but most likely, it has something to do with Freeyond, a program similar to Nathan’s creation. It is possible that the third season of Upload will shed more light on this mystery and the actual reason why Nathan was murdered. As of now, we only have our suspicions and a shady conspiracy.
What is Freeyond trying to do?
During their field trip to New York, Nora and Nathan find out that Freeyond has only one retail store in the city, and that, too, is in Queens. Upon further investigation, they came to the conclusion that Freeyond is targeting poor people and, therefore, has opened hundreds of retail stores in the swing states, which means that David and Oliver are probably trying to influence the upcoming elections. It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, as David Choak had already told Nathan in Season 1 that he had influenced American politics for a generation. So, it is possible that he might continue to do so even after his death. The plan here is that he wants to kill and upload poor people who don’t align with his political ideologies. As uploads can’t vote, the entire process would rig the election, and his favored political party would win the elections without any competition whatsoever. I am not sure about politicians, but businessmen like David Choak are really smart.
How Does Nathan Come Back to Life?
By the end of Season 2, Nathan and Nora were certain that David and Oliver stole Nathan’s code and turned it into Freeyond so that they could influence American politics. The corporate moguls were about to kill thousands of innocent people, and the only way to save them was to stop Freeyond at all costs. Nathan had put up a backdoor in his program that could only be opened through his retina, but his digital avatar didn’t have his human eyeballs. They met a dead-end until Nathan found out through Ingrid that she had been growing back her human body. It is pointed out here that Nathan’s entire body wasn’t destroyed during the upload, and Ingrid might have taken it into custody to do these experiments as she was obsessed with Nathan and was thinking of starting a “real” family with him for which she needed an actual body.
Nevertheless, Nora and Nathan devised a plan to steal his own body, which Ingrid had stored in a facility in Los Angeles. Nora took the help of her ex-boyfriend, Matteo, a senior member of the Ludds. In the Upload Universe, Ludds was an activist group whose members were against digital uploads and believed in the old ways. The anarchist group planned violent attacks on the virtual servers and their members so as to destroy the capitalist corporations that were exploiting people in the name of the afterlife.
Nora, Matteo, and the team arrived in LA and infiltrated a regenerative storage unit where Ingrid had kept Nathan’s body. Somehow, Nora convinced Ingrid to let them take Nathan’s body and download his consciousness into it, as he was the key to saving millions of lives who were about to be killed by the Freeyond program. Soon, Matteo downloaded Nathan’s consciousness into his body, and here he was: the hero back in his body, ready to flirt with the heroine. Well, actually, that was the end of Season 2. Nathan didn’t save lives or whatever. He just kissed and slept with Nora, and that was all. So, even if the show had high stakes, it is purely a romantic comedy at the end of the day; therefore, we didn’t expect any big showdowns from the beginning.
What Can We Expect in Season 3?
At the end of Season 2, we find out that Nathan’s nose starts to bleed as he looks at himself in the mirror of the hyperloop. The nosebleed is a direct reference to a failed download experiment that took place in Season 1, where we saw a subject named Rupert Tilford downloaded into his clone body, developed by Oscar Meyer Intel. Seconds after the reinsertion process, Rupert’s nose started bleeding, and his head exploded. The same thing had happened with hundreds of pigeons, upon which the process was repeated. In short, humanity hadn’t perfected the download process, and Nathan could blow up too in Upload Season 3 if the creators want it to happen. However, there is one advantage in Nathan’s case. His downloaded body is not a clone; instead, it is a regenerated version of himself, which means he has the chance of surviving it, and if it happens, Nathan will become the first successful download in human history.
Additionally, at the end of Season 2, Tinsely, the new temp who has replaced Nora, tries to restore Nathan’s digital consciousness from the backup stored on the Horizon servers. It means when the restoration is complete, there will be two Nathans in the world, one living his life to the fullest in the real world and another being controlled by Ingrid in the virtual world. The two Nathans are indeed going to bring new conflicts and crises to Season 3, and it would be fun to see which one of them would ultimately survive in the end.
Other than that, there has been an ongoing investigation regarding the murder of David Choak’s assassin, whom he had sent to kill Nathan and Nora. It is quite possible that one of these Nathans will be charged with murder if the creators haven’t forgotten to cover this storyline in the third season. However, the most important question is: Would Nathan be able to stop Freeyond? Will we be able to find out the real reason behind his murder? And will he be able to put David and Oliver behind bars for exploiting innocent people? Well, maybe the third season will have the answers that we yearn for.