Upload Season 3 Finale Breakdown: In this exclusive interview with Director Sarah Boyd she breaks down the key moments of the final 2 episodes.
Upload Season 3 has come to an end, and in true Upload fashion, has left fans on a massive cliffhanger. There were several major reveals spread out over the course of the final two episodes, as well as lots of key moments that are sure to have an impact on what comes in the next season.
Warning: Major spoilers for Upload Season 3 Ahead!
This season has had a lot of ups and downs in terms of what Nathan, Nora, Ingrid, Luke, Aleesha, and … Nathan number 2 … have been through. Just when things seemed like they might turn out okay, disaster strikes and the Nathans are swept away. We are left with the fact that one of them has been destroyed. But which one?
We caught up with Director Sarah Boyd to breakdown the pivotal moments of the final two episodes of Upload season 3. She reveals what she was most excited about when reading the script, why she wanted to be involved with Upload in the first place, and what it was like directing both Robbie Amell and Andy Allo as two different characters. Yes, we also asked which Nathan that is at the end of the Upload season 3 finale.
Upload Season 3 Finale Breakdown With Director Sarah Boyd
Mama’s Geeky: What was it about Upload that make you want to be a part of it?
Sarah Boyd: I was a fan of the show from the beginning. In the middle of lockdown in 2020, watching the episodes, and being so thankful to laugh. I really just enjoyed the smart satire, this futuristic technology that’s both horrible, like self driving cars, and especially ones that murder you. But also, that’s great, consent video cameras while you’re about to hook up with someone like so funny. But also really trenchant commentary about society and the future. So I loved it from the beginning and was really happy to to get involved in season three.
Mama’s Geeky: One of my favorite things about this season is the two Nathans. What was it like directing Robbie as two different versions of the same character?
Sarah Boyd: He’s put a lot of thought into the two characters, how he wants them to be different. It’s clear just from any two people having different experience, are going to have are going to evolve differently. And so it has that kind of sliding doors moment, where like, did she get on the subway, or not make the subway? Similarly does Nathan have a memory of this or that or the other thing, and now he can make new memories. Then they really do start to diverge and become completely different people with lots of commonalities. He doesn’t drastically change his body or anything, though they allude to the fact that he may or may not have more weight or less weight, but in an identical twin situation, sometimes you can tell them apart, sometimes it’s really hard to tell them apart. I think that they have just the right amount of commonalities. And then he made them different enough.
Mama’s Geeky: In Upload season 3 episode 7, we get to see Ingrid in Nora’s avatar, which was great. I feel like Andy had fun getting to play this different version of herself as well.
Sarah Boyd: Andy had a blast doing that. It had been teed up in a prior episode of the season before, where Tinsley was Nora’s avatar around the dinner table. And so we knew the ways in which the show was going to play with that. Sometimes even finishing sentences, sometimes just just seeing Andy’s body, but clearly it’s someone else. So Andy watched the scenes when Allegra was filming the bathroom stuff. She watched and literally took notes, and we discussed it together. Like I said, this is what I love and why, and she’s like, oh, yeah, and I love this, and I could do that.
We had filmed Allegra’s stuff first, which was helpful. So when we were there, many, many moons later, when we were there, filming her avatar stuff, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. And look, they know each other and they know the characters so well by now that she was doing her version of how she imagines Ingrid would pretend to be a more seductive version of Nora. Everyone’s doing versions of what they think a person would do, which made it really fun.
Mama’s Geeky: Now that we are in Upload season 3, do you feel the actors are bringing a lot to the table in terms of how their characters would act and what they say?
Sarah Boyd: I would imagine that they did from the beginning, but I don’t know for sure. Everyone takes these roles to heart and they know their stuff. They have wonderful flexibility and ability to make changes. With comedy, there’s a lot of broad comedy, a lot of bizarre wackadoodle moments in the show, but there’s also a lot of grounded, really heartfelt moments. And so that’s a roller coaster and finding the exact shades of the color to paint is what we do each day that we come to work. We play and we try things out and sometimes we go too far and sometimes we pull back and sometimes we want to push back again and make it bigger. So it’s an adjustment
Mama’s Geeky: There are a lot of big reveals in these final two episodes of Upload season 3. Which ones were you most excited to shoot when reading the script?
Sarah Boyd: Well, you’re most excited, I think, to realize that Nathan’s not going to die. That’s a significant one. But the tone of that ending of the climax of of Episode Seven was really tricky, because at the same time that these two characters are super elated and happy and relieved, there’s a giant explosion, and there’s carnage down in the plaza. And so, in a what’s ultimately a comedy, it’s hard to imagine. It was hard for me, when reading the script, to imagine what Greg had in mind, what he was thinking about, the exact way to pull that off. And so we talked a lot about it in prep. And it came into play with regards to how much of an explosion do you see.
How much blood or death or whatever. Is it just implied? Is it maybe just some damage, but not a lot of dead bodies? I think we’ve found a sweet spot where we could have both those things coexist. We can have the happiness and relief that they felt, and then it was that turn that’s actually part of the comedy. That dark comedy, right, but comedy nonetheless. The Blue Man solo, that’s so funny and he was a great, physically flexible, creative performer, and so he had a lot of fun just going to town on what that might look like down in the plaza. Only a small fraction of his awesomeness was shown because there were so many funny moments.
Mama’s Geeky: I was going to ask about him because he was great. How much did he film? Was there a lot cut?
Sarah Boyd: Yeah, we filmed a lot. And it was funny because he had his little head cap on to cover his hair so he couldn’t hear very well. So I would be like, Let’s go again. He’s like, what? I had to run up to him. And he’s extremely tall. So I was like, looking up at him.
Mama’s Geeky: One of the things I love most about these Upload season 3 episodes is that Luke and Aleesha finally get their kiss.
Sarah Boyd: That was a sweet moment. I love moments like that, where they come up innocently and then the characters realized there was a loaded moment to it. But then they don’t want to deal with it right now, so it quickly changes. That’s what I was going for, was that it was that moment and again, we did different versions. Some that were much more harmless and casual and some that were, never one that was terribly significant, because it’s meant to just be a quick little exuberant thing. But yeah, they both have a moment there where they’re like, oh, that was something. It’s probably more for Luke, obviously, because we linger with Luke.
Mama’s Geeky: Yeah, he’s obviously liked her from the very beginning. One of the things I found interesting was the dynamic of the Betta commercial cutting in with new Nathan being hunted down.
Sarah Boyd: It was clear from the script that they were meant to be intercut, how intercut was going to be found in post in the editing room, but we knew the gist and we knew the kind of ad it was going to look like. It being the finale block, we didn’t actually have the time or the schedule to shoot most of that stuff ourselves, so a lot of that is stock footage. Some of it was filmed, because there’s some that was very purposefully filmed, but it helped us be a little more flexible in terms of the action side, the Lakeview side of it. Then of course, anytime you can put ironic juxtaposition of two things tonally that makes things so great, right? So there’s a everything’s rosy, everything’s perfect, and you see that everything’s a shit show.
That was another thing when reading the script. I was like, wow, this is a big ambitious ending sequence. Okay. And it was just a small, quick little sentence. And I was like, we have to really robustly tell this story. So I made elaborate storyboards and we talked to visual effects and the stunt folks about how to physicalize some of the superpowers.
Like when he grabs the guy and throws them over the building. We also talked about how that needed to be done practically. We needed to actually have a stunt person go up in the air, because if you do theater, you can in a show like this, you can get a little more two dimensional and a little more cheeseball. But if it’s too cheeseball, then it doesn’t have that realism that is so useful and effective on the show. So we did fight for having a real stunt pull of a real actor, and then visual effects takes over obviously, we don’t send them off into the unknown.
Robbie did his own stunt when he did the jump kick. He was very committed to doing that himself. We had prepared that it would be a stunt double, so my angles were such that it wouldn’t be clear necessarily. But he’s like, No, I’ll do it. It’s like, okay. He went and did it a couple times himself.
Mama’s Geeky: I’ve got to ask you — do you know which Nathan it is at the end of Upload season 3?
Sarah Boyd: If I did, would I say? Fifty-fifty change. If you flip a coin, you might be right.
Mama’s Geeky: I loved the filming of that though, with everyone flipping out and Nora focusing on asking which Nathan he was. Was it always her that was going to ask?
Sarah Boyd: It was always her because of course, Ingrid has to have a massive, giant reaction. So she’s out there shrieking. And you know, you can see Nora going, oh my god, Oh my god, Oh my god. How wonderful right? What a great way to propel you into, unfortunately having to wait for a while, for the next season. But it was so lovely to watch both these relationships develop and you really started to care for each of the four of them. And to now think that one of them is gone is is pretty upsetting. I admit it. It’s upsetting.
Mama’s Geeky: This show has always been great at leaving fans with a cliffhanger, but this one… I was finally liking Ingrid.
Sarah Boyd: She was able to have her own sliding doors version. Right? She was able to have a second stab at it and try to do better. And so she did. She evolved really nicely. And then we get to know her more, I think and it was really nice to see that side of her character.
Mama’s Geeky: Well, I can’t wait to see which Nathan survived. Even though I feel like I am going to be devastated either way. Do you think you’ll be back for Upload season 4?
Sarah Boyd: I would love to be, it was wonderful. Just a wonderful group, the crew and cast, just a big happy family. And laughing every day is a pleasure. So it’s a fun way to come to work. It was a lot of work. It was a lot of prep that needs to go into it and to get ready for some big moments. And visual effects on the show, we really do ask a lot in such a short period of time. It was great. It was a wonderful experience.
About Upload Season 3
Upload is a sci-fi comedy series from Emmy-winning writer Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation, King of the Hill), set in a technologically advanced future where holographic phones, self-driving vehicles, AI assistance, and 3D food printers are the norm. And, forget about dying – instead, you’ll be “uploaded” to a virtual reality afterlife, and enjoy all the comforts of a world-class resort. Provided you can afford it.
In Upload Season Three, Nathan has been duplicated. While “download” Nathan is reuniting with Nora, a Horizen customer service rep realizes he is missing from Lakeview and restores a backup “upload” of him. Now more than ever, Nathan, Nora, Ingrid, Luke, Aleesha … and even A.I. Guy, struggle to find a balance in their careers, technology, and love between the real world and the virtual reality “after-life.”
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.