This episode very much does not feel like the penultimate episode of the season. Most of the episode is character development and relationship arcs, with Andy Allo and Zainab Johnson taking Robbie Amell and Kevin Bigley on a field trip to New York City. Despite it being the near future and there being human-to-AI conversion software—not to mention actual cloning—Allo and Johnson are still stuck with iPads hung around their necks with Amell and Bigley looking out.
The procedure makes little sense given the show’s technology—seriously, no one brings back Google Glass?—but it’s clearly just a way to keep Amell and Bigley present in scenes. It’s also nonsensical Allo—now a star bug hunter in the programming department—would be allowed to be Amell’s guide.
Those hurdles aside, it’s a pretty darn good episode. Allo and Johnson haven’t gotten to hang out much this season—most of their scenes are talking about boys no less—and their trip will bring some building issues to the fore. Johnson’s gotten multiple promotions and is shining in the company. She sees a future not requiring her to work two full-time jobs for a crappy studio apartment. Her experiences aren’t corresponding with Allo’s, who might not be a full-blown Lud revolutionary, but she and Amell are trying to rock the foundation of the digital afterlife thanks to the latest development in their murder investigation.
In the previous episode, Amell and Allo found out his odious rich guy neighbor (William B. Davis) had him killed for potentially witnessing something related to the freeware version of the digital afterlife. Suddenly, this freeware afterlife is opening in five days, meaning Amell and Allo have to rush to figure it out. Davis is downloading into a robot to go to a meeting in New York; Allo finds out, hence the field trip.
Meanwhile, Allegra Edwards has her post-virtual baby evaluation to see if she and Amell can have a “real” virtual baby, not the NPC version. But first, Edwards has to get through the evaluation with Josh Banday, Mackenzie Cardwell, and Owen Daniels. There are some great lines about Banday the incel. It’ll be another strangely touching arc for Edwards and entirely unreal AI guy Owen Daniels, one of the season’s most consistently successful subplots.
In the real world, Edwards also gets a visit from mom Teryl Rothery and brother Lucas Wyka, who are mean to her, but there’s a decent punchline to the whole season. Also, potentially some actual character development for Edwards. Though much like the iPad technology in the A-plot, Edwards needing to be evaluated for a paid software add-on seems a little unlikely.
Then again, when Allo and Amell discover Davis’s evil plan… it’s entirely based on current-to-2021 events. Though I suppose if “Upload” were more thoughtful about its future, the show wouldn’t rely so wholly on Amell and Allo’s charm together.
Good acting from Allo, Edwards, and Johnson. All of Amell’s scenes (until the end) are basically video calls, so he doesn’t have much to do. Ditto Bigley, who’s entirely support, though he gets some funny stuff and a decent, sincere moment for once.
And then the cliffhanger reveal’s a genuine shocker.