‘Pantheon’ Episodes 1-2 Ending, Explained: What Is an Upload Intelligence?

Pantheon

Welcome to the Ending Explained for the first two episodes of Pantheon, the new animated series on AMC+. Actually, Pantheon is the first animated series for the network, and like most of the network’s shows, Pantheon stands out as one of the best shows in 2022. The animation itself might not be as excellent or showy as in other shows by the same studio, but Pantheon compensates for this fact by creating wonderful characters, having an amazing story, and also having a wonderful cast of voice actors.

Pantheon is based on some short stories written by Ken Liu. Ken has gathered quite a following in the fantasy and science fiction world by being one of the most talented writers working today in the medium of literature. He is also a wonderful translator and brought us the fantastic Three-Body Problem in English. His work is finally recognized with an adaptation of a couple of his works. The result is a science fiction tale that rivals the best TV series out there when it comes to ideas and execution.

RELATED: ‘Pantheon’ Review: Ken Liu’s Writing Jump to the Screen in This Amazing Sci-Fi Show

The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Pantheon. Read at your own risk.

What Is An Upload Intelligence?

The series jumps through many points of view. However, there are three main ones that we are going to follow for the rest of the series. The first one, and most important so far is Maddie. Maddie is a young teenager who is not doing so well in life. She is being constantly bullied by her classmates at school, and she recently lost her dad to an incurable illness. Maddie has fallen into a clear depression state, and only something huge might help her come out of it.

Maddie remembers how her father wanted her to connect with her mother, but the relationship is strained. However, one day, Maddie starts receiving messages from an unknown address on her mother’s old laptop. These messages in emoji form are confusing, but Maddie and her mother discover the messages come from David, her late father. Apparently, David was part of a project to scan and upload the entirety of a human mind. A sort of digital immortality.

Pantheon

Maddie’s mom searches through her friends to discover that the project was never to preserve David’s mind, but only his highly advanced intelligence so that the company could harvest his fruits even after his death. However, this uploaded intelligence could only function by using emotions as motivation, so the more parts of David were installed into this digital version of him, the more he transformed into the David who was alive.

Maddie later discovers that her father is not the only person who has been enslaved digitally after their death. Maddie meets Laurie Lowell, a financial genius who also became a slave just like David. However, Laurie manages to escape and now travels through the internet. Laurie helps Maddie get her father back. However, the company is not happy with these developments and they for sure will be making some moves on David and his family in the future.

Who Is Caspian, And Why Is He Important?

The second main point of view in the show comes from a teenage boy named Caspian. Caspian is highly intelligent and can solve the most complicated math problems as if they were nothing. He is usually bored with his normal life and spends most of his time online. One day, he sees Maddie’s post on a forum. The post details the events of her situation, and Caspian becomes interested in the matter. However, in a twist, we see that his parents are not who they say they are.

It seems like Caspian’s parents are working for the same company that enslaved David. They are more like monitors than parents. They report each of Caspian’s movements to Waxman, the leader of the company doing this enslavement. It seems Waxman is waiting for something to happen with the Caspian. As a way of triggering this eventual happening, Caspian’s parents act as if they were in an abusive situation. However, Caspian reacts very little in the face of these events.

Pantheon

Throughout the first two episodes, the episode is clear to mention and shows a man called Stephen Holstrom. Stephen is the founder of the company, and he is seen as a tech visionary. Waxman says that he promised Holstrom to perfect the UI technology, no matter what it takes. It seems like a farfetched theory, but Caspian could be the key to that. He might have Holstrom’s mind implanted, and Waxman is waiting for that personality to wake up.

The last point of view is from an Indian tech genius called Chanda. Chanda works for one of the most important communications companies in India. He is approached by some competitors, but he refuses the offer. However, his boss doesn’t see it that way and scans Chanda’s brain and puts it inside a server. Chanda is dead in the physical realm but alive inside the servers, and he is exploited as he is put to work endlessly. Chanda will clearly escape, as Laurie and David did, but when he does, he might not be such a pacifist.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.