WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Upload, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon’s Upload is a very intriguing concept for fans of technology and for those who are obsessed with what happens when you die. It deals with virtual life after death, with a coder named Nathan (Robbie Amell) being placed in a digital afterlife called Lakeview. It’s a hotel version of heaven, and one of many America in 2033 has running as part of a big industry, which admittedly exposes the class struggles of society.
Not many can afford to be sent to a lavish afterlife, but the first step, of course, is being sent to the cloud. So let’s look at exactly how people’s consciousness, and well, it seems their souls, are uploaded.
Nathan dies in a suspicious car crash in the premiere episode, aptly titled “Welcome to Upload,” but before he passes, his body’s taken to a Los Angeles hospital as he’s mortally wounded. His lungs are punctured and his vitals are failing, which inspires his clingy and obsessive girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) to send him to Lakeview, owned by Horizon. However, the process is tedious and just like filling out paperwork when one’s admitted to the casualty ward because Nathan has to look over a bunch of release forms and decide if he wants to risk the operating room or go to the Upload Center.
If one can’t afford a heaven, they’ll just be stuck on a hard drive but luckily, Ingrid has money and wants him in Lakeview, as she knows she’ll basically own him and can store him there until she dies. Interestingly, if one’s vitals improve, the upload can be canceled, but the process happens so quickly, as Ingrid’s rushing it, Nathan’s quickly put in a gown and strapped in an upright position like a lab rat. Here, it gets a bit nastier as we see a neural fan above his head and Ingrid at a window looking in, sort of like a last goodbye.
The orderly asks Nathan to look at the window, or a spot near it, and then the shock of the series happens. The fan, once the shutters sync up with one’s brainwaves and assimilates the mind properly, incinerates from the neck up, rendering a headless corpse. Nathan’s body then falls forward into a white receiving unit and causes Ingrid and his mom Viv (Jessica Tuck) to scream as the latter had only just arrived. As the body falls, it’s a bit graphic because we see a bit too much of Nathan’s private parts as he topples over. The body’s kept for cloning and regenerative purposes, as various companies are working on creating copies of people so one day they can download their minds back in, making people immortal.
As for the completion of the process, Lakeview’s designers then use old pics and videos to generate the avatar of the person upon death. These customer care agents known as “angels” then wake the people up and get them acclimated, with lessons on everything from how to eat, poop, urinate, and socialize. It’s way nicer than the disturbing scenes that precede.
Created by Greg Daniels (The Office), Upload stars Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards, Zainab Johnson and Kevin Bigley. The series is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Season 1 of Amazon's Upload may be a comedic take on the afterlife at the hotel called Lakeview, but the actual uploading process is very disturbing.