Black Mirror
Start writing a post
Arts Entertainment

'Black Mirror' Has Its First Mediocre Season With Season 5

It was three episodes of re-hashed material.

'Black Mirror' Has Its First Mediocre Season With Season 5

In December Netflix surprised viewers with its release of the first ever interactive episode "Bandersnatch" from the popular series "Black Mirror".

"Bandersnatch" quite literally crossed boundaries with its episode, as the message was relatively thought-provoking and a choose-your-own-adventure television show had not been something that was ever offered before. It was a fun experiment and showed that "Black Mirror" is a constantly evolving program that is willing to take risks with its story-telling.

However, with the release of season five (if you can even call it that with its three episodes) we can see that "Black Mirror" has grossly back-pedaled.

Warning: Season Five Spoilers Ahead.

The first episode "Striking Vipers" stars Anthony Mackie who plays a character that is in an unfulfilling, both romantically and sexually, marriage. After years of not seeing each other, Mackie's friend, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, shows up and gives Mackie's character a virtual reality fighting game for his birthday. The two are able to play together online by choosing their character, and then becoming that character in the game, and using their thoughts to control it.

And it goes probably how you would expect it to when Abdul-Mateen's character chooses a female character and Mackie chooses a male: the two have sex. Multiple times.

To be fair, this would have been a great plotline, if executed correctly. Two men who use a virtual reality game to explore their own desires/love and sexuality but by using technology to still navigate that heteronormativity that they desperately want to cling on to for normalcy sake would have been extremely compelling. However, the episode ends with the pair finding out that they are not attracted to each other outside of the video game realm, as exemplified through them meeting up to kiss and deciding they didn't like it. Despite this, they continue to meet up in the video game at designated times throughout the year where Mackie's wife, played by Nicole Beharie, gets to go out and have affairs on her own as well.

Obviously, the ending isn't too pleasing for a variety of viewers simply because the two male characters end up deciding they only desire the other in a heteronormative way and the entire episode revolved around cheating, which can be damaging and contributing to pre-existing gay and bi stereotypes. Additionally, the only other episode to feature an LGBTQ+ relationship also included the use of virtual reality technology in season three's "San Junipero", which can imply that these relationships have no 'real' and physical intimacy (which is an obviously damaging trope to be continually having).

The second episode is titled "Smithereens" and seems more like an episode of "Criminal Minds" than "Black Mirror". Was it thought-provoking? No. Did it seem like a re-hash of an episode you've seen from any given television series at least once? Yes.

"Smithereens" is centered on a character played by Andrew Scott who works for a taxi app. He's slowly slipping from sanity, and eventually loses it and kidnaps his customer (Damson Idris) at gunpoint. Idris's character, however, is an intern for a social media company and Scott's one demand is to speak to the CEO of that company (Topher Grace) or else he will kill him.

The episode is long and drawn out, and plays out just how you think it would: Scott's character is guilt-ridden after using the social media app while driving, getting in an accident, and thereby killing his fiancé. Although the message of this episode is clearly referring to contemporary culture being obsessed with apps and social media to the point where it's difficult to even put it down for a minute and focus on something like driving a vehicle and ultimately having to pay the price for that, it's something that's been done before by other networks.

Yes, it's a commentary on modern culture. But it's something that we've seen over and over and over again, and "Black Mirror" did not bother to change the narrative in the slightest.

Lastly, there was the anticipated Miley Cyrus episode "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too". The episode follows a lonely teenager (Angourie Rice) who is a die-hard fan of the pop-music star Ashley O (Miley Cyrus). When a new A.I. doll made to look like Ashley O comes out, eloquently names Ashley Too, Rice's character immediately purchases it and finds a new friend in the doll.

However, it turns out Ashley O is on a downward spiral in her music career and wants to change her music style and appearance (which may be a nod to what actually happened with Cyrus' career). After a fight with her manager, who also happens to be her aunt, she's placed into a chemically-induced coma so that her aunt is able to control her career, gaining complete access to her brain to make the A.I. doll, and using her unconscious mind to produce music that will sell without ever having to deal with her physically.

In an event that still isn't totally clear and doesn't make too much sense in the grand scheme of things, Rice's character and her sister are able to figure out how to get the A.I. doll to unlock the entirety of Ashley O's conscious and the three of them are able to put a stop to the aunt's evil ways.

Was it a bad episode? Not really, but it definitely seemed like a movie that Disney Channel would have made and "Black Mirror" has done this type of narrative before with "Black Museum" in season four. It's nothing we haven't seen before.

Was this all around a bad and unwatchable season? Not necessarily, but it did seem like a quick effort to put something out there after the release of "Bandersnatch". The writing was not as compelling as it normally is, and each episode seemed like a re-hash of a prior one. Right now it seems like the show is running out of ideas on what to say about modern culture, and hopefully, some better and brighter ideas are able to surface for season six.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments