Either “Upload” decided to be just another 2022 show and play chicken with its renewal post-reduced Covid-19 lockdown season, or they ran out of time to shoot the whole season. As a result, this episode feels like a great mid-season breakpoint, not a season finale. It’s got three massive cliffhangers, one semi-resolution to an outstanding arc, one big whiff instead of a resolution, and one natural character development moment.
It’s a slightly longer episode than usual—closer to forty minutes than thirty—because there’s just so much to do, starting with Robbie Amell and Andy Allo coming up with a plan to foil the bad guys’ plan. That plan involves shifting the voting demographics in swing states, which is entirely shoehorned into the show; it’s a contrived crisis, starting last episode.
They need to get Amell’s retina scan to save the United States, basically. Except Amell’s dead and his avatar in the digital afterlife uses templates when you zoom into the eyes close enough. Though there’s a great scene with Allo gazing into Amell’s eyes, and who cares if the plot’s contrived.
Luckily, as the audience found out at the very end of the previous episode, Allegra Edwards has cloned Amell so she can reinsert his personality into the brain. Of course, Amell knows nothing about it, but Edwards is going to reward him with the information once he signs on the dotted line for having a creepy virtual baby with her.
Except, of course, the process for reinserting personalities into clones results in the subject’s head exploding. This subplot also seems a little rushed, like if they’d had a couple more episodes to the season, it wouldn’t feel so abrupt. They’ve been testing the procedure on pigeons, which leads to some funny (but, you know, not nice to pigeon) scenes.
But in addition to Edwards’s cooperation, they’re also going to need help from the Luds. Allo has to convince the Christian fundamentalist terrorist pastor Peter Bryant, and she’s not getting much help from now ex-boyfriend Paulo Costanzo. But she does get an unlikely supporter in fellow double agent Josh Banday, who thinks Allo’s really cool, actually.
There’s also some danger for Amell’s mom, Jessica Tuck, who’s going to have herself uploaded into the forthcoming freeware afterlife so she can hang out with him. Also, because she’s so poor, it makes more sense to stop existing. Amell doesn’t know anything about it, but it’s the first life-or-death stake in the episode. It’s not the last, which is kind of a big swing for a sitcom, only they did the same thing last season and then spent most of this one ignoring that shift.
The only people with regular arcs are Zainab Johnson and Kevin Bigley. Johnson’s boss, Andrea Rosen, wants to promote her one more time, which means bigger bucks and a much better living situation. It also means Johnson will have to commit to the very likely (but still nebulously) evil company.
And then Bigley’s just excited for Edwards to ruin things with Amell so they can bro out.
It’s a tense, dramatic, occasionally wonderful season finale. With three big cliffhangers and no resolutions if they don’t get a renewal.
There are some great scenes for Allo and Amell, some funny ones for Costanzo, and a lackluster finish for Edwards, who deserved more after the season she’s had.
Even with the limited opportunity for Allo and Amell charm this season, the actors still manage to deliver and up the charm. They’re delightful together. Also, “Upload”’s got a solid supporting cast who deserves to finish some character arcs.
I really hope Amazon renews it.