Television

Black Mirror (Full Series 3 Ending Thoughts)

So I’ve recently finished watching every Black Mirror episode (including series 1 and 2 but they’ve been out for years so I’m pretty late on that) over the course of a couple of weeks and I, well, aside from predictably loving it and kicking myself for taking way too long to get on board, really felt quite affected by ‘San Junipero’ and ‘Shut Up And Dance’, for opposite reasons. Light review because I’m not sure quite how to tear into them but I’ll just put down my thoughts. Complete spoilers for this whole series below so do not read unless you’ve watched it and because of the nature of the series potentially controversial discussion.

San Junipero really stood out because I, having also watched series 1 and 2 very recently, was at this point really well aware of the dark shit the show would try and pull and was completely ready for… something bad to happen and that it didn’t but that it ended up being an hour of television where everyone was a good person, the technology was good (and unlike most Black Mirror shows hope for our future instead of darkness, there’s no catch, the technology is great, it’s amazing, everyone can live in a paradise forever if they so choose, that’s the human dream!) and it went so hard against the previous Black Mirror formula that it struck me very hard that I want it or something like it to happen by the time I’m old enough to be in danger of needing it. I’m still thinking about it and will probably tear/majorly choke up whenever I hear ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ from now on. That song playing at the start of the episode when you didn’t know what was going on and coming around to suddenly appear in the ending scene was emotional play on a master level. Probably one of the best single episodes of television I have ever watched. It has made me try and think back to my life history of watching TV to try and put together a countdown of single best episodes from all series. That is something I might do in the future.

Shut Up And Dance was the best of the dark ones because of how desperate and f***ed up it felt through what is essentially anonymous vigilantism – and of course the twist which was one twist I didn’t see coming even if I did have a suspicion about his worry about just being caught masturbating, and then it ended up that the person I had been supporting and sympathising with through the episode was a pedophile. I stand in the ‘lock up child abusers and find rehabilitation for those stricken with this disorder but don’t hurt anyone’ camp on that issue and it seems (as far as we knew) as though Kenny was the latter – although he obviously by watching child porn was complicit in the hurting of children which does invalidate my previous point. Point is I didn’t lose all sympathy for him, even if I lost most of it, as the method used was so unnecessarily cruel, but I did have a moment of horror as the whole episode’s light turned on me and previous characters interactions suddenly had a spectre of shadiness and darkness thrown over them. Completely in contrast to San Junipero, it ended in a dark place where no one gets out well, none of the characters are good people, and that nothing is being done to stop this sort of thing continuing to happen. Basically those two complement each other very well by taking the mood to each extreme – and right next to each other in order as well, it was quite good for mood that San Junipero was straight after Shut Up And Dance (indeed I went straight onto SJ from SUAD) although the ending of San Junipero would have been amazing as a series finisher – for the driving off into the sunset vibe.

Hated In The Nation was also pretty great, partly because I’ve loved Faye Marsay in everything I’ve seen of her and she was excellent here but this one did feel like a pretty great crime drama as well as a little bit of a political thriller, like with The National Anthem but focused on the detective team and addressing something I’ve always been concerned about, the anonymous online hate, and why I dislike using social media – hence why I don’t often post much on Twitter. That and I find it impossible to be concise and end up spending several tweets to talk about one tiny thing. On a similar note, something like this but from another angle, focusing on gutting the people who group people and attack them as groups, your anti-SJWers, your anti-PC crowd, the anti-feminists, anyone who’s anti something (words cannot express how uncomfortable it makes me seeing people express anonymous hate online towards anyone, even when I find targets I think are totally valid I often hold back because I really dislike mindless hate), would be something that another Black Mirror episode could go into because that’s where I think the tone has shifted now, it’s less a focus on a hate target of the day and more of a focus on forming up into groups and belligerenting the crap out of all the other groups – if you’ve ever seen a 4chan group, a mudslinging reddit thread, most youtube comment sections, anything related to the US election or Brexit, ‘political correctness’, anything that seems to marginalise anyone in the tiniest fashion, you’ll know what I’m talking about, that long internet backdraft based on stubborn people convinced they are right because they’ve only ever paid attention to their own echo chamber. And also take life far too seriously. I’d like to see a Black Mirror episode taking on all of that in the future. Still, Hated In The Nation was pretty well-paced and used a believable future weapon.

The other three, Nosedive was uncomfortable to watch because of how fake everyone was being, I think if that was everyday life, more people would get sick of fake niceness and people would start rating gadflies higher and everyone becomes a dick and then the circle continues. But again, relateable and had a great point to make. Playtest and Men Against Fire were a little predictable with the triple fakeout for the former (would have been better if it ended on the double fakeout with his mom still having the same disease his father did). And for the latter, I saw everything in it coming a mile off, even if it had a good point to make about war, it felt too much like I was watching someone play Call Of Duty at times and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others.

But that aside, they weren’t bad episodes, and overall this was an incredible series to flesh out a very valuable TV series for the modern world, I look forward to future installments.

 

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