Cyberpunk Review: Upload Season 2

upload season 2 review

Upload Season 2 Review

Well folks, one of the few Cyberpunk content that we had to look forward to coming into this new year of 2022 is finally out. Upload Season 2 was released on March 11th, 2022, and I’ve already binge watched the entire season. So here are my thoughts and comments on Upload’s second season.

Upload Season 2’s Shorter Run Time

The first thing I noticed right off the bat is Upload Season 2’s shorter total run time. Season 2 is only 7 episodes long, compared to season 1’s 10 episodes and at 30 minutes per episode, this definitely left me wanting more. However, Robbie Amell (who plays Nathan Brown, the main character) explained the creator Greg Daniel’s new approach going into this second season was that it took them longer to shoot. ”

“It took the same amount of time to shoot seven as it would have to take to shoot 10. So just with COVID restrictions, testing, having to group people into different bubbles, it was just more than anything, it just took longer,”–Robbie Amell

If they were filming this during the height of one of the many COVID-19 pandemic waves, I really couldn’t notice–the quality definitely didn’t suffer because of it. So I guess that makes sense that it would have taken longer to shoot and create. Amell also mentioned “Story should dictate episode count, episode count shouldn’t dictate story” (referencing show creator Greg Daniels). If that’s true, then it made sense for them to finish Season 2 where they left it, since the story they tell does in a certain sense end nicely during the finale. Except…it’s also very much a cliffhanger, making me already clamor for season 3.

Where Upload Season 1 Left Off

The end of Upload Season 1 found us with Nora leaving the city to go live off the grid, free of technology, while Nathan is trapped in the poor section of Lake View (a 2 gig room) for a month after Ingrid tells him she just uploaded (meaning, killed her body in order to upload her consciousness into the digital world of Lake View.)

Upload Season 2 Review: Characters

One of this show’s strengths is definitely the likeability of the characters, and how interesting they are as well as how many there are, too. I liked how this season still had us pining for Nora and Nathan to get together, their chemistry is palpable as ever on screen and while they spend a lot of the season apart, the scenes they do have together are very cute. Ingrid plays the role of annoying, obsessive, quasi-villain well here (she’s even less likeable than in season 1, but also is given a lot of depth and dimensions this time around) while Nathan continues in his quest to find out exactly how and why he died. We spend some time with the Luddites, a somewhat Amish-style anti-technology society as the true opposition to Horizen, the corporate company that runs Lake View. A new character to join the roster is Matteo, a young fellow Luddite who becomes interested in Nora, and Tinsley, a new temp at Horizen who works under Aleesha and develops an interest for Nathan. Luke is still hilarious as ever as Nathan’s Lake View best friend. AI guy actually is given more of a role here, not only consoling and showing some human moments (which is surprising considering he’s a program) but also we get to see the human who sold his physical likeness to Lake View in order for them to create AI Guy in the first place.

Upload Season 2 Review: Plot

In Upload Season 2, we begin with Nora and her father joining the anti-technology collective of the Luddites while Nathan tries desperately to reach Nora and tell her that he loves her back. But after Nora goes tech-free for long enough, Nathan starts to think the he will never see her again. As Nora starts to develop feelings for the new Luddite she’s working with, Matteo, Nathan will have to fend off being in Lake View 24/7 with Ingrid, as she just uploaded for him, which causes him to feel immense guilt for not being able to reciprocate her feelings after she made the ultimate sacrifice. It turns out Nora’s connections and knowledge of the inner workings of Horizen were just what the Luddites needed to strike back against the corporation, something that Nora struggles to internalize. While Matteo sees most tech and the corporate company of Lake View as terrible, Nora still feels connections to that old world and sees it in a more nuanced light. Nonetheless, she decides to use her previous experience with Horizen to infiltrate the company for the Luddites, while at the same time assisting Nathan with his investigation on discovering the circumstances surrounding his death. A lot of the questions this season begins to ask remain unanswered, however, so get ready for a pretty big cliffhanger at the end of the season.

Upload Season 2 Review: Cyberpunk Elements

Upload Season 2 undeniably goes darker than Upload Season 1. The series introduces a new technology that can record the thoughts and dreams of the residents at Lake View, which they then make hilarious, but the privacy concerns are still very relevant and valid, especially in our modern day society. The season addresses income inequality again, as it did last season, but it also adds a fun “Robin Hood” element to a couple of the episodes, which felt very Cyberpunk indeed in the way that it was executed. Also the anti-corporate Luddites were fun to watch, seeing how they went about their anarchist agenda.

Final Verdict for Upload Season 2: 9/10

The only reason why I’m giving this season a 9/10 instead of a 10/10 is that we simply couldn’t get deep enough into the story and the characters with only 7 episodes. The ideas of new tech presented are fun and refreshing, as always, and the wide variety of characters, who are very well-acted, have a lot of heart in them and are very likeable (well, most of them anyways). The humor and ingenuity is excellent, which allows you not to mind as the plot slowly gets around to figuring out Nathan’s “murder”–at least you’re laughing along the way. If you liked this season, make sure to catch the end-credit scene of the last episode for more fun digital antics with Luke.

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