Friday, May 1, 2020

REVIEW: 'Upload' - Nathan Experiences a Jarring Death Before Joining a New Afterlife Program in 'Welcome to Upload'

Amazon's Upload - Episode 1.01 "Welcome to Upload"

After a self-driving car crash, Nathan is uploaded to Lakeview, his girlfriend's family's digital after-life, where he meets his customer service rep, Nora.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Amazon's Upload.

"Welcome to Upload" was written by Greg Daniels and directed by Greg Daniels

Imperfect hair causes a full blown existential crisis here. That is the humor found in the premiere of this new afterlife comedy. Nathan is a vain individual. He is distracted by his beauty when he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. It doesn't matter if he is dancing with his niece or driving a motorcycle on the highway. Moreover, he's in a relationship with Ingrid largely because she is insanely hot. It makes sense to him because it's all about the physical attraction. He is essentially living a carefree existence. And yet, he dies in a car accident. Most people are surprised by that detail given the prevalence of self-driving cars in this take on the future. However, Nathan was proven to be reckless in hacking his vehicle so he could drive it himself. Now, there is absolutely the sense that something more is going on with him. His car didn't see the truck right in front of it on the road. Some of Nathan's memory files have been corrupted and then they are erased from Nora's system. It all offers the sense of mystery to propel the story forward. It hints that a conspiracy is happening beyond the simple question of what humanity can expect after death. This world presents a new take on the concept. For those who can afford it, they can escape to an afterlife paradise where they can essentially live forever. It's a program designed for the wealthy and privileged. Everything within this system costs money. The charges can quickly add up. Nathan is only given the opportunity to upload his consciousness to the program because Ingrid believes it's the only way that their connection can stay alive. She projects a sense of authenticity and nuance to this relationship that isn't there in the slightest. She invites herself to Thanksgiving dinner with his family. She believes that he is pulling off these grand gestures that prove just how much he cares about her. In reality though, it's just a fantasy she believes in because she comes from a privileged background of expecting those to begin with. She perceives things to be moving at a different pace. That confuses Nathan. But he isn't willing to say no to her because the sex is great for him. That may be all that he cares about. And yet, his entire life changes because of her. He can't say no to her even though it means his head disintegrates right in front of her and his mother. That's a horrifying sight. It highlights how this is essentially a brutal procedure. It's not the luxury that it is advertised as. The company itself is just looking to make a profit. It catalogs all these human lives and doesn't really care about the quality of the service. When Nathan arrives, he quickly realizes that the imperfections are insanely annoying. It may be nothing more than service level pleasantries. That too fuels Nathan's spiral. He believes he has made a grave mistake. He didn't have to end up in this place. He is presented with an out and feels like taking it. That seems like a sensible option to him. Nora intervenes before he completes that action. She can speak passionately about the imperfect details helping this fantasy feel more like reality. Sure, it may be completely far-fetched to believe that these conscious minds could ever be implanted in human bodies to live in the real world ever again. That may be especially difficult given this artificial reality they will have lived within for awhile. Ingrid may not even stay devoted to Nathan. It's agonizing and it's tragic. But it may also offer a way of keeping these connections no matter what. For Ingrid's grandmother turning 100, that may come at the end of life and an unwillingness to let it end. For Nathan, it's jarring and unexpected because death wasn't suppose to happen yet. He is given this new opportunity. His memories don't line up with what he used to be though. He has to grapple with that. It will take more than some quick fixes Nora can make on her screen though. He will have to be carefully monitored. Nora is up for that task and willing to break the rules. But it's also abundantly clear that the show suggests some kind of grand romantic dynamic between Nora and Nathan simply because they come from two different worlds but have to create an immediate sense of intimacy and vulnerability in this new environment.