blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Upload (2020) s02e05 – Mind Frisk

After last episode teasing the return of Nathan and Nora (Robbie Amell and Andy Allo, respectively) chemistry, this episode delivers. The episode also works to disentangle them from their ill-suited love interests, with Allo having a potentially relationship-ending argument with her boyfriend, Paulo Costanzo. Costanzo’s thrilled at the success of their cyber-terror attack on the digital afterlife, and Allo’s not sure about deleting sentient data.

During their argument—which has some more great material with Josh Banday’s sex robot crushing on Costanzo—they have no idea what else their attack has wrought; as a direct result of the hack, the U.S. government (off-screen) has changed the law to allow the digital afterlife company to read the thoughts of its customers. And to put them up online if they’re spicy enough.

Spicy enough meaning Kevin Bigley’s sex dreams about Zainab Johnson are going to make her a real-world celebrity whether she likes it or not. The company’s thrilled with these changes to privacy laws, including Andrea Rosen, which makes her a lot less likable. Her cyber-peeping on Bigley has been one of the show’s running gags, but now she gets to more forcibly intrude on him (when she screen caps his showers now, he hears the snapping sound). It’s gross and ghoulish. “Upload” sometimes doesn’t seem to realize how unlikable it makes its regulars.

Once Allo finds out about the mind-reading upgrade, she realizes the bad guys will soon be able to discover Amell got his memories back. It’s particularly problematic since he was murdered for corporate espionage reasons, so they’ve got to work together to stop the mind-reading software from going live. Along the way, they’re going to flirt, be adorable together, and uncover another clue in his murder.

Amell has time to hang out with Allo all episode because girlfriend Allegra Edwards is busy raising one of the virtual babies. She hasn’t told Amell she’s doing it, and Karens her way through the interview process with Rosen. Throughout the episode, the virtual baby ages, always with some variation of AI guy Owen Daniels’s face. It’s creepy but amusingly.

It’s kind of a busywork plot for Edwards, but it’s amusing and eventually somewhat touching. The subplot also allows Vic Michaelis to do something besides being drunk and horny; Michaelis is Edwards’s (dead) grandma, living in the virtual afterlife too, and they have a scene talking about parenting.

This episode’s the first time Amell’s gotten to really do any character development in season two, which is nice—it’s a tad late (there are only two episodes left after this one), but it works out. Amell’s got so much more potential, as a character, with Allo around; with Edwards, the joke is he’s suffering her obnoxious behavior (and profound deceit), and—despite last episode apparently introducing depth to Bigley—there’s no character development with him around either.

With Allo, however, Amell gets to do some development. And it makes all the difference.

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