She went off the grid for a little while, he ended up in a diaper, and they both are getting chances to play different versions of their characters.
The first season of Upload, Greg Daniels' futuristic comedy, ended with its hero (Nathan, played by Robbie Amell) running out of data in the digital afterlife and being grayed out and paused — right when his former girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), showed up there, telling him she uploaded for him. It was quite an emotional cliffhanger because he was in love with his afterlife "angel" Nora (Andy Allo), who he feared was in danger because he had been digging into the circumstances around his own death and learned he was murdered because of technology he was working on. It was made an even bigger cliffhanger by the sheer amount of time that passed between seasons.
Although Prime Video renewed Upload for a second season only a week after the first season launched in May 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the delivery of the second season. The cast and crew went back to work on the show in January 2021 and wrapped in April of the same year, with the second season finally being ready for release on March 11, 2022, almost two full years since audiences first set eyes on Nathan, Nora, Ingrid, and Horizon — the company that houses Nathan's virtual world.
"What's cool is even though there was a lot of time between seasons, there was this sense of — even in your subconscious — the character is still there. It's still living," Allo tells Metacritic.
And that proved to be essential because Season 2 picks up immediately where Season 1 left off, with Nathan only now regaining enough data to reanimate, and Nora going off the grid to protect herself.
"I love that it's an immediate cut from the end because I think that we owe that to the people that watched the first season — you can't jump cut away from that," Amell tells Metacritic. "He's unfrozen and he's like, 'Where's Nora? I have to tell her I love her. She might be in danger.' And he quickly realizes that he needs to play ball in this world because without Ingrid he doesn't have any way of trying to contact Nora [and] he's stuck with the person who brings out the worst in him, who he now feels indebted to."
Nathan and Nora start the seven-episode second season of Upload apart, but soon enough begin working together again to try to get to the bottom of the mystery around corporations controlling the upload process. As they do, their feelings for each other can't be denied, despite the fact that Ingrid is desperately planning her future with Nathan — and her plans are not just limited to a virtual world.
Here, Metacritic talks to Allo and Amell about the second season of Upload, including the biggest challenges and changes for their characters, the scary political themes, and their characters getting to meet each other in real life.
Nathan and Nora are in very different places in the beginning, both physically and emotionally, with Nora going off the grid in the Luddite camp and Nathan stuck cohabitating with Ingrid. Andy, how do you feel the new physical world she was in affected the sides of her you got to explore?
Andy Allo: She's very self aware [but] she is very dependent on technology. Having her dive into the Lud camp, and stripping away all that stuff she has gotten used to and dependent on allows her to settle. I think it allows her to get to know herself in a different way and to gain a different perspective on the Luds, on technology. She still has that love for it, and she sees the use for it, but also now the beauty in life without it, so it only further allows her to see balance in both worlds.
Robbie, dive into the relationship with Ingrid in Season 2. You said he feels indebted to her, but she also invaded his privacy by moving in and redecorating without even telling him she was planning to do this. And she's not being truthful about how she's there. How suspicious did you want him to be of her?
Robbie Amell: I don't think he cared. I think it was more, "I'm on board with this to try and find Nora," and by the time he realizes that she may not want to be found and he can't find her — I think it's about two months on the show — life has taken its course, and now he needs to look at things as, "Well, where do I go from here? I used to love this person. Maybe there's something there. I should see it through because if it's not there, I need to be finished with it." But then he sees Nora and everything changes again.
What do you feel are your characters' biggest challenges in Season 2, especially in terms of balancing all they have going on?
A.A.: I think one of her struggles was the reasons why she does things. She wants to help, she does believe in things that are great, and so, when she gets to participate and contribute with the Luds' mission, and then [thinks], "OK, well, I'm getting kind of sucked into this thing. Am I doing it for the right reasons? Why am I doing it? Am I doing it for myself?" She starts to see where her values and her beliefs don't quite line up with their mission, and what's cool is getting to see her own her voice and seeing the opportunity she gets at with her new job in Horizon and really starting to believe, "Oh my gosh, wait, I can be good at something. And I don't have to be this double agent all the time." She's building confidence in something she's good at, which is really cool to witness and experience with her for acting challenges. And I think you know that always embodying a different character is tough!
Yes, having another Horizon employee use Nora's avatar for a bit is a really fun part of the story, but it has to be complicated to pull off from an acting perspective.
A.A.: It's a lot of fun. I did it in Season 1, but this time was a little different because Tinsley has these different mannerisms, and the actress, Mackenzie [Cardwell], created these really fun moments. There was a moment in the dinner scene where Nathan sees her, where the director took me aside and was like, "Maybe a little less. I'd like to bring some Nora in." But I had just gone full Tinsley, and it was fun to find the balance with her.
And Robbie, the challenges for you, especially when it comes to Nathan's growth as a person and what he is learning about how the technology he had such a hand in is being used for terrible things?
R.A.: The Freeyond stuff is so dark, but also grossly topical. Greg does such a good job of shining light on problems that are tough to talk about in a way where there's humor behind it, but you're also going, "Damn, that's very real and very gross." I liked Nathan starting off [in Season 2] with the whole Robin Hood thing, and I'd like to see it just continue to ramp up.
There's a very pivotal meeting at the end of the season where Nathan and Nora are reunited in a new and special way, and it's all very layered because of the "He was dead" factor, as well as what the dangers to come are with both their plan and the technology used to download him out of Horizon. How did you guys work through the emotions of that?
A.A.: There's such a gravity in that moment when they finally meet in person. But also remembering it's still a comedy, so you can't show full drama. I had to remember that because it is such a dramatic moment of my meeting you in real life, your flesh, but remembering, "We're gonna do comedy." Robbie and I didn't have a lot of scenes together until this very end. So, when we were shooting those scenes — these very pivotal scenes — that really feeds into, "OK, this is going to be awkward. This is going to be weird" and using that. It was almost, "Oh hey, stranger," which is so perfect for that moment. We had such a huge respect for it, and just as a fan of the show, when I read it, I was like, "Finally! Yes! I've been waiting for this!" So getting to just experience it on all those different levels, it just comes naturally.
R.A.: The separation at the beginning was interesting because, because of COVID, we also weren't seeing each other outside of shooting. And then I finally have the scene with her, and it's been so long, I've missed her, I'm so excited to see her in real life, and that makes all of that so much easier. It was that butterflies moment where you know that this is something that people who have been watching the show have been waiting for. I felt like this was such an important moment to deliver for the audience, but also for these characters. And then the download side of things — I love the pigeon's head exploding; it's such an amazing visual. And Greg, the king of cliffhangers, a nosebleed in the final scene; I was like, "This is awesome! This is so messed up but so great." It just sets such great expectations for an exciting third season.
Especially in the vein of how many characters — or versions of Nathan — you may end up playing, Robbie, given what Ingrid is doing at the end of Season 2 —
R.A.: And being rebooted, yeah. It's awesome and horrible at the same time.
Which is also what I imagine it was like to play an unconscious body being pulled out of, essentially, a bath, at the end of the season when Matteo (Paulo Costanzo) and Nora come to get Nathan in real life.
R.A.: It was a Top 3 weirdness day of filming I've ever had, for sure, and that was an entire day because the whole time they're doing their scene around me in the tank, it's me [in the tank]. I'm just laying there. I've got a little hammock holding my head up. It's enough to cover my ear so I can't hear what's going on until Allegra screams in her monologue. And I'm just trying to look dead and then luckily enough, I had spent a little time with Paulo because he did Designated Survivor with my wife [Italia Ricci] and I was like, "Look dude, I'm just gonna try not to laugh. So, grab me, throw me around." I wasn't worried about getting hurt in it. He was like, at one point, "When I move you a certain way, slap me in the face." And I was like, "OK sure." And then at one point when he had my ankles up around his head, I was just trying not to laugh. That was all there was to it. I was essentially in a diaper. I have a very weird job.
Get to Know Andy Allo
Other notable television shows Allo has appeared in include Black Lightning (Metascore: 79), Chicago Fire (49), and The Game (31).
Get to Know Robbie Amell
Other notable television shows Amell has appeared in include The Flash (Metascore: 75), Revenge (67), Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous (66), The X-Files (65), and The Tomorrow People (50).