Black Mirror Season 5
The Beautiful, The Ugly, & The Meh
By Jeremy Joven
Published Jun 2019
The jury is out on the latest installation of Black Mirror, Netflix’s future-tech centric series now on its 5th iteration. Last season’s hit and miss episodes had undeniable gems like the critically acclaimed “Black Museum” and the stellar performance of what’s her name, who looks like Jessica Chastain? (Just kidding... Bryce Dallas Howard) among some disturbing tech-nightmare centric stories we’ve grown accustomed to, which in contrast to this 3 Issue season is non-existent. Many viewers and critics found the episodes to be dull and lacking substance in pursuing the thesis of each tech challenge presented. But guess what? I’m okay with that. It doesn’t have to be a dystopia, nor a paradise of lies with layers and layers of secrets and disguised to express the inner troubles of society, amplified by the comforts of technology. Sometimes, a story can just be a story. Striking Vipers Episode 1 (SPOILER ALERT) about two lifelong hetero male-friends finding themselves in VR having passionate-intense-fucking sessions as characters of a beloved Street-Fighter-like game. The episode didn’t explore any part of the game’s VR source or the ramifications of the reality-transporting game, instead it delved into today’s most in-vogue cultural topic among heterosexual couples on television; challenging monogamy norms. There’s homosexuality or pansexuality, or technosexuality involved but whatever, this story was good! The actors Anthony Mackie & Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, portrayed thier confused roles with passion, it was hard to distinguish for me at least whether they are closeted adults or just victims of a new reality in the fluidity of sexuality in the virtual world. This problem is not novel, it’s been happening since people started falling in love via AIMs. You might find yourself thinking, is this a better version of Moonlight? Yes, look at the cover art… even that implies maybe it is not a coincidence at all? That being said, the episode’s approach to the complexity of relationships intertwined with the game and reality, fidelity and more was to incredibly entertaining. You can sleep well after watching this episode not afraid of a Roomba with a knife... though some bros might dream about their bros... in Chun-Li outfits. SMITHEREENS Episode 2 is our very current reality where Social Media has taken over every aspect of life. Even in death. Andrew Scott, the memorable actor who played Moriarty in a most spectacularly-creepy fashion (BBC Sherlock) had another outstanding role to give you the creeps. He stars as a creeping car-hailing app driver, stalking a social network startup HQ for access to the company’s CEO, played by Topher Grace. It’s a long seemingly unending episode with not much tension even though there’s kidnapping and gunshots involved, the real interesting parts plays out in the portrayal of the Tech Elites and the inept Police force by contrast. The power the networks have over us, like “God Mode” and more... the implications of signing privacy releases on apps really shines here. Are apps to blame for the downfall of society? Is the wheel? Is fire? How far do we go back... in any case the episode didn’t dive deep into the role of Silicon Valley, or was anyone truly held accountable. Black Mirror is no longer mirroring future possibilities it is mirroring our fate as of today. Rachel, Jack, & Ashley Too Episode 3 about a dissatisfied pop-star under control by evil aunt and the rise of her AI, well, I get all the hate. I get that people would squirm just because it has Miley Wrecking-Ball Cyrus, but to be honest with you, she did great. It is the fantastical, almost Lifetime/ABC Family style of teen angst slash family drama appeal that ruins everything. Especially considering the corny and satisfactory ending. Yes, the audience is jaded. Yes the audience wants tech’s evil potentials to be exposed and discussed with Black Mirror episodes... but this barely makes the grade for CW Shows only because the forced emphatic is he story hopes to achieve just doesn’t cut it in our seemingly emotionally-sensitive and positive world. All in all these 3 episodes of Black Mirror stack up nicely in the collection thus far. Sometimes you can get a message across without going too deep. Read the room, can society really handle more than that right now? At least it’s better than GOT finale. *All images are property of Netflix. Use for editorial purpose only.