Spoiler warning! This article contains spoilers for "Black Mirror" season five.
"Black Mirror" just released their fifth season on Netflix on June 5 with three episodes. I decided to watch "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too." I saw advertisements on social media about this episode and heard about it from Miley Cyrus, since she plays Ashley.
The episode follows a girl named Rachel who is new at her high school. She doesn't have any friends, but she is a huge fan of Ashley O. We first see her watching Ashley's music videos at lunch.
We're next introduced to Rachel's home life. She has a sister named Jack and a dad who I don't think ever has a name introduced. There's tension between the sisters, but it seems like a sibling quarrel to me.
One night, Rachel is watching Ashley on a talk show when she announces that there'll be a new doll on the market, Ashley Too. This doll can talk to you, encourage you, just be a friend when you need it. This hooks Rachel and she immediately wants it for her 15th birthday.
When Rachel receives the doll she is over the moon. She starts talking to it all the time, just like she would a friend. Jack becomes annoyed by Ashley Too since she hears Rachel playing with it all the time.
This leads to Jack hiding Ashley Too from Rachel in their attic. Rachel soon realizes that Ashely Too is gone and gets angry at Jack who says that it wasn't good for her to have. Their dad tells Jack that she'll buy Rachel a new doll, but that never happens.
While this storyline is playing out, there's a different one happening with Ashely O. It seems as though her career is crushing her and she wants to escape. The episode alludes to Ashely suffering from mental health issues, but it's never stated.
Ashely is feeling pressure from her aunt, who is also her manager, and everyone else around her to create a new album. She does write a song, but her aunt thinks that it's too dark for her audiences.
Later on, we see Ashley in her dressing room before a show. She is being given medication by someone on her team. It's to help with her mental health, but once they leave the room, she spits out the pills and stashes them along with other medication that she hasn't been taking. People on Ashley's team show her aunt footage from a camera in the dressing room. She sees Ashley hiding the medication along with a notebook.
A night or so later, Ashley and her aunt have a meal together. They're talking about life and how Ashley is doing in general, but then her aunt reveals that she knows what Ashley has been doing with her medication. She also reveals that she's gone through her private notebook and laptop. Her aunt has drugged Ashley's food with her stash of medication and that send Ashley into a chemical coma.
Six months later, after Ashley has slipped into her coma, Rachel has the news playing in her room. At this point, Jack has retrieved Ashely Too from the attic for a sad Rachel. While the news is on, Ashley Too hears it and learns of everything that has happened to Ashely within the last six months. The robot has a malfunction with this information and breaks down.
Rachel and Jack then plug Ashley Too into their dad's computer and they are able to see the robot's brain activity. They somehow hack into Ashley Too's brain and break a firewall, letting the robot have full control of their A.I.
Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too devise a plan to save Ashley O from her team. While this is happening, Ashley's aunt is getting ready to launch a program that would let Ashely O live eternally.
Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too are able to wake Ashely O from her coma and stop her aunt's plan. Ashley then goes on to create the kind of music she likes with Jack playing alongside her.
I enjoyed this episode since it had a happy ending. The good people win in the end. I feel like lots of "Black Mirror" episodes end depressing. I've always felt uncomfortable after watching them. From the episodes I've watched, the main character always ends up in a situation that makes you feel unsettled. In this episode, Ashely O was able to break free and create the music she wanted to.
This episode also brought light to the issue of mental health in Hollywood. We know that people struggle with it in Hollywood, but it's never quite talked about. I think that this episode opens up that dialogue.
This episode drew me in from the beginning and left no questions afterward. It was well directed and had the right amount of suspense. I truly only watched it since Miley Cyrus was one of the main characters, but the casting was great. I wish that they had developed Miley Cyrus' character a bit more or at least dove into it more intensely, but the episodes are already so long I don't know how they would be able to do that.
Overall, I'd show this episode to my friends if they wanted to see what "Black Mirror" was all about. While this episode isn't as dark as others, I feel like it's a good way to get your feet wet.
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