Warning: This post contains spoilers. PLEASE WATCH THE SHOW!
Black Mirror is a British sci-fi anthology show that Netflix has since picked up. It began in 2011 and was created by Charles Brooker. It’s a collection of stand-alone dramas where each episode is self contained.
Each episode features a whole new cast, setting, plot, and even universe. Some fans theorize that they all take place in the same universe but Brooker has said they’re not connected. Although you can make your own decision on that.
Black Mirror is about the dark side of a technologically advanced future. It explores the possibilities humans can draw up with technological power. It’s often been compared to The Twilight Zone.
Since this post is addressing those who have seen Black Mirror already I’m assuming you’re as emotionally distraught as I am after watching it.
Granted, I’ve only seen season 1 and the first episode of the second season but that’s enough. For the sake of length I’m going to focus on the three so far that have messed me up the most.
3.”The National Anthem” Season 1, Ep. 1
This episode messed me up. I was thinking about it for days afterward. I wanted to vomit thinking about it.
The thing about this episode is that this is something that could definitely happen today. A princess getting kidnapped, the prime minister being forced to do an act of public humiliation in order for her safe return – all of it is plausible.
Michael Callow faces pressure from the party, the palace, the people, and his wife. What gets me is that they definitely could have avoided the outcome.
Do DNA tests really take that long? And why didn’t the princess try to send a message that the severed finger wasn’t hers? Why weren’t people stationed outside so that they could see when the princess was released? Is it fair that they omitted the part of the report where the princess was released 30 minutes before the broadcast? SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL BRITAIN?!
Honestly, this episode made me hate everyone. I was disgusted by humanity in those moments.
I honestly couldn’t begin to imagine the trauma Callow had to endure. It was sick. And then his wife hates him for it? That’s some bullshit.
2. “Fifteen Million Merits” Season 1, Ep. 2
Okay, so the universe in this episode is fucked. Like, you live in a cell where you are relentlessly bombarded with shows. You have to spend “merits” to skip them. If you’re low on merits you are forced to consume everything that pops up.
The only way out seems to be to ‘compete’ on a talent show. Then apparently you live a more luxurious life and maybe get to see the outside world.
Bing and Abi’s little relationship is cute. He really wants the best for her. And then his good intentions lead to her degradation.Honestly, how messed up is that.
This universe gives me so many questions. Why are people forced to be on bikes all day? How did this come to be? Who enforces these rules? What happens if you try to escape? Is escape even possible? Is the forest in the final scene real? Do ‘celebrities’ not interact with each other? Does government exist?
I think it was these unanswered questions that made the episode all that more striking. I still wonder what will be their ultimate fate.
1. “Be Right Back” Season 2, Ep.1
What’s so interesting about Black Mirror is that the time setting is so ambiguous. You have hints of a highly advanced technological future, with very advanced AI and phones, but you still have remnants of today.
This lets us shift the focus to the plot. Which made me cry.
Martha is grieving her deceased lover when she finds out she’s pregnant. Her friend informs her of a service that lets you ‘talk’ to your loved one. It analyzes all the things they have ever posted to simulate how they would talk.
It gets creepier as she moves further into the program. She goes from texting to speaking on the phone to actually having a clone of him.
Of course the clone doesn’t have the exact personality that Ash does. But what’s so creepy is his human-like demeanor.
I like the parallels between her natural life giving process (pregnancy) to the artificial life she’s given Ash’s clone.
Ultimately, it’s not enough for her. It’s too fake. So she commands it to jump off of a cliff. And then he starts begging for his life after she unwittingly tells him to do so. The we skip forward and see she’s been hiding him in her attic for years.
The story was so heartbreaking on many levels. I could just imagine being in her shoes. Losing someone you love would be devastating. But could we honestly resist the temptation of ‘bringing’ them back to life?
I guess we’ll see in the future.