The third season of Black Mirror again lives up to it’s reputation of giving us a series of stories which showcase the process or path of failure we maybe going on. Every story is sad yet satisfying in a very odd way. Every episode left me kinda disturbed. I had to take huge long breaks before beginning another episode. It is tough but interesting. So allow me to go through every episode of Season 3.
EP 1, NOSEDIVE – This is the future of Instagram. Nowadays everywhere we see people putting photos of what they eat, what the see, what they shit. You are showered with likes and comments from like minded people and before you know it you loose your grasp on reality. Now, what if those very likes become your currency. Your likes accumulate to an average rating and that average rating is basically your means of livelihood. Lacie, the protagonist is very ambitious while his brother doesn’t care so much about his outer persona or what people think. Lacie wishes to increase her rating by attending her childhood friend’s wedding and giving an emotional speech which would garner her the ‘wows’ and ‘awws’. Through a series of unfortunate events she learns the dual-life she is trying to live. Bryce Dallas Howard is exceptional. That fake laugh and the uptight nature so that nobody can notice her vulnerability is just scary and sad, giving the character more weight. Even though, the pacing is a bit off but the concept is worth the watch.
EP 2, PLAYTEST – For me this was the 2nd best episode of this season. This brings the dark side of virtual reality. This left me disturbed enough to have nightmares. Wyatt Russell plays an American tourist who is on his last leg of his world tour but falls short of money to make his trip home. He takes the advice of a girl he hooked up with, to take part in an experimental game which is still in it’s beta phase. What follows after that is just beautiful. I am a fan of the cinemascope aspect ratio. It just transports the whole feel to a new level. Though the ending can be anticipated but the way they pull the rug off your feet to reveal the twist was just amazing. Some have made comparisons to Inception, but Inception had more than 2 hours to establish the plot and even give believable characters. This is done in a span of 42 or 43 minutes and the result is pretty laudable.To summarise the episode, it brings back horror in a modern package.
EP 3, SHUT UP AND DANCE – This episode can be termed as the most uncomfortable episode in the history of Black Mirror. It had some funny moments and they were funny enough to make you comfortable. Then, came a moment, so hard-hitting that you are just thrown off balance. This shows the perversion of human kind under the visage of a internet Id and how easily you can be exploited because everything you do is connected to the Internet. If somebody gets the key to your door, your secrets will just come tumbling out. The shaky, awkward Kenny falls into a similar situation. Initially, we think that just how harmful could it be , he was just wanking. The real question was what was he wanking to. Through a series of events, an anonymous group makes these perverts do various tasks, makes them believe they have a chance at redeeming their sins but ultimately find out they were just being trolled. We have Jerome Flynn a.k.a Bronn who is as believable as the cheating husband, as he as a sword-wielding knight. The ending does feel justified and deserved.
EP 4, SAN JUNIPERO – San Junipero is basically the cloud where you can upload your consciousness and live in there for all eternity. You may say it is the closest you can get to happen. Many have rated this episode very high, but I didn’t like it. It was way too slow and boring. The plot, even though interesting, was executed in a very mundane way. It is about two lovers, one who wants to stay in San Junipero with her lover forever and her lover doesn’t, because she knows that all eternity is not a good premise for eternal love. I am not a fan of love-stories anyway, so this episode just felt short to fulfilling my expectations. Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, don’t do anything exceptional but are believable enough but I think as the twist was revealed way too early, the one of the two outcomes became obvious. Still a good enough addition to the whole season.
EP 5, MEN AGAINST FIRE – The absolute abomination of modern warfare. We hear how men in the army are pushed and shoved into a strict regime and are brainwashed so that when they face the enemy they do not hesitate. We have seen many movies depicting war veterans, who cannot adapt to normal life because they were so used to that life. Now, substitute that with brainwashing in the literal sense with the help of a chip implant, which governs what you see,what you hear, everything. Our protagonist, Stripe accompanies his troop to hunt down, what they call roaches, who appear to be an amalgamation of a vampire and any monster from your worst nightmares. Through a strange device which flashes a green light into Stripe’s eyes and his implant starts to malfunction. When his eyes literally open to what they are actually doing he is shocked. The reveal is truly horrifying and it made me think that this something that might just take place. It is the last stage of what a dictator can do to get rid of immigrants. Yes, you know what I am talking about.
EP 6, HATED IN THE NATION – The finale and the best episode of this season. This was like an amalgamation of Hitchcock’s ‘Birds’ with a modern day spy thriller. It was probably 89 minutes long, and I was still left wanting for more. One on side, it was orgasmic and on the other side it was sad enough to make you feel guilty for that orgasmic feeling. Again filmed in cinemascope, this episode shows the ultimate level of spying by the Government on the people and the perversion of Twitter. Whenever somebody writes or does something horrible and is universally hated, a hashtag emerges and the celeb is dead within seconds without a trace. A veteran officer and a rookie team-up to find the clues that can lead them to this mystery murderer. I can go on and on but I insist to just go and watch this episode again, because I am going to do the same.As usual, there are no stand-out performances but the premise is the stand-out performance and probably some extraordinary acting will be a distraction from the plot. Just go watch it. It’s amazing.
FINAL THOUGHTS– The season did have it’s lows but when a finale is that good, you can forgive the lows. Look out for the little hints in Playtest, there are lots. There is a certain level to the cinematography that is used in throughout the series, without looking artsy or pretentious. Black Mirror can be touted as the best thriller shows in modern day t.v. Apart from being a great show, it also successfully turns the mirror at us, to see ourselves and make us reanalyse our actions before we get to the point of no return.