With his consciousness downloaded into a new body and saddled with the knowledge of how he came to be an upload, can Nathan prevent evil corporations from unleashing more harm?
Robbie Amell and Andy Allo
Story: Downloaded into a clone body that Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), had been clandestinely regrowing at a lab, Nathan (Robbie Amell) heads off with Nora (Andy Allo) to uncover all the dirty work that Horizen has been up to, not only within Lakeview, but also the free upload programme, Freeyond. Ingrid, though, gets another shot at romance with Nathan, when tech support at Lakeview finds Nathan missing from the system and reboots him from an older version – one that does not remember breaking up with her and hooking up with Nora, or knows of the larger mission at hand.
Review: After 8 episodes of Upload Season 3 that does not leave the viewer any wiser than at the start of it, it would only be fair to say that this show has outstayed its welcome and how! Having Nathan back in the real world seemed like a very exciting proposition, even though, this avatar likely had only limited shelf-life – 30 days, to be precise. That’s a lot of time on hand to figure out what’s really going on with Horizen and its free counterpart, Freeyond, as well as for Nora and Nathan to throw some romance into the mix.
Right at the start, Nathan and Nora realize the sinister plot behind Freeyond – it is being used by politically-driven agendas to get rid of opposing votes by supposedly giving the underprivileged access to a digital afterlife. Once uploaded on to a hard drive, these poor souls remain there, what with Freeyond not having the bandwidth to accommodate any of them and that the plan was always to just destroy the drives in a fake terrorist attack and blame the Ludds for the ‘terrible loss’. Of course, Choak is at the centre of this evil machination, but there’s little that Nathan and Nora can do other than working their away around to hand-deliver the precious hard drives of those who had already been uploaded to their kith and kin.
It is somewhere around this point that the writers of Upload decided that this is about all the effort that they were going to put into furthering the plot and that the rest of the season would just be a lot of hogwash. A lot of time is devoted to Ingrid, one of the few characters on the show who has actually had some development, and her relationship with rebooted Nathan, who has less body fat and is, therefore, more ripped than real-life Nathan. I have never quite understood why humour in America often revolves around the end point of the digestive track and some of its functions, but it makes its way into Upload too, as Nathan in his new body discovers he has trouble in that department.
There’s never a sense of urgency, even when Nathan suffers multiple nosebleeds, and be potentially moments away from having his head explode, or that Aleesha’s (Zainab Johnson) boss and new girlfriend Karina (Jeanine Mason) is part of the evil corporate machinery at play at Lakeview. It’s not entirely all downhill for the show that had a promising start in Season 1, but the bright spots are few and far between, like, for instance, giving the AI assistant Guy (Owen Daniels) a better understanding of what is to be human. And while I have been a fan of Nathan and Nora’s chemistry, it’s beginning to feel like a tape that’s been playing on loop for too long. In fact, Ingrid’s relationship with rebooted Nathan is on better footing and she is firmly enroute to being a better human being.
The season has, of course, ended on a cliffhanger about the fate of both versions of Nathan and the promise of a fourth season. But if we are really going to get there, the showrunners and writers ought to do a watch-through of all three seasons and not only figure out how to stitch up all the loose ends, but also step on the gas and do more story-telling than peddle more fluff.
Verdict: It took all of four weeks for Season 3 to play out, but if you were to whittle it down to actual plot points, we didn’t need more than a fortnight or four episodes. Such a waste of time and talent. From someone who loved Season 1, I’ve gone to not being excited about the show or a prospective fourth season and that’s a shame. Here’s hoping they get their act together and do a better job next time.