Sunday, October 23, 2016

Black Mirror Season 3 Review

Ok if you've been living in a hole under a rock then you haven't heard of Black Mirror, which is slightly disappointing but never fear! I'm here to let you know you can turn your life around and watch it on Netflix. There are now three seasons out and the third one was recently released. In short there are six episodes a season with six very different stories. They don't connect or relate so you can watch any episode you like but you might as well watch them all. It's very interested because Black Mirror sort of calls out society for how it's going and I love it. So, let's get into the third season. (Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD)

I was super excited to see that the third season was out. I've been waiting for it. I understand that it does take time to come up with the stories that they do and to get things just right with the visuals and the script. You have to keep things interesting and you want to keep people on their toes. I'm going to break things down by episode and give my opinion on everything. Here we go.

S3E1 - Nosedive takes us to a world where everyone gets a rating based on absolutely anything and everything. Everyone has the technology on their phone and even placed on their eyes to view people and their score. The highest rating one may receive is five stars while the lowest is one star. This obviously drives society as we follow Lacie giving high scores to people she interacts with in hopes to receive a high score back. Those in society who have a high score receive benefits such as discounts on nicer housing or better options for flights whereas those with lower scores are banned from entering buildings and receive poorer service with something as simple as renting a car. We see Lacie suddenly go from someone people easy interact with to a leper once her score is cut in half due to her freaking out about getting to the wedding at the airport because the flight is cancelled. She gets poorer service and it's all for something as simple about being upset over a flight being cancelled. After the whole disaster of a wedding that she finally gets to but ends up in jail for making a fool of herself at she decides not to give a fuck anymore just as her lovely new truck driving friend told her because it's better to be honest rather than fake.

My Thoughts - I loved this episode because it is a blatant attack on society's current view of social media. So many people now worry about their follower and like count rather than the real and honest interactions that they can have with the people around them. We put people on a pedestal who are deemed famous because they only post the good bits on social media and get positive attention and interaction from it compared to someone who just posts about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Seeing that someone could give a one star rating to a complete stranger on the show for doing absolutely nothing wrong was eye opening as well. The opinion of a stranger isn't what should matter. They don't know you like your friends and family so their opinion should mean nothing. All in all I hope Lacie has learned her lesson as well as the viewers that ratings don't matter and mean nothing unless you let them take over your life. How many amazing friends and opportunities have been missed out on because Lacie was so stuck on getting a higher rating? Think about that for yourself as well. 

S3E2 - Playtest introduces us to a man who is traveling around the world searching for adventure while avoiding phone calls from his own mother. We find out that his father had Alzheimer's and recently passed away so he doesn't know how to deal with his mother and is avoiding her. While in London he finds out about a new video game experience and volunteers to be a test subject for it. He ends up getting more than he bargained for though.The test goes all right for him playing whack a mole and he gets to go further with the beta testing and moves into a giant abandoned house. With his earpiece in he describes what he sees in the house as the game takes his fears and makes them real. A giant spider and a bully from school don't seem too bad but he is pretty creeped out by them. Suddenly there's a giant spider morphed with the face of the bully from school and then he's attacked by the girl who suggested he volunteer to play the video game! He shouldn't feel any pain but he does and that's when things become worrisome. After yelling to stop he's given instructions to go upstairs so he can exit the game but once there he is told there is no escape. Suddenly he starts to lose his memories and forgets who he is along with where he is. This backtracks to when he is starting the next level of testing and he gets to leave. We see him arriving home and finding his mother in the house trying to call him but she doesn't recognize him. She keeps saying she has to call him but he's upset because he is standing in front of her so there is no need to call. We hear his phone ringing and are brought back to him in the room first testing out the game. That's when it ends with him being pronounced dead after lasting in the game for one second and his last words being "mum" because his phone was ringing and that was of course his mother calling once more.

My Thoughts - In short his fear is obviously losing his memories. His father suffered from Alzheimer's and he fears that he too will lose his memories so the game pits that against him as we see him lose his memories at the end and his own mother forgetting who he is. I wasn't expecting the inception level items within his video game experience but I loved it none the less! If anything this episode was showing the power of the brain where even though in the test he only lasted 1 second his mind worked at such a rapid rate to have time pass and experience a multitude of levels within his gaming experience that his mind created. I can only imagine what the real take away from this is meant to be but never trust the latest and greatest things to be something you need to experience because it could be deadly. Also don't avoid things because you never know what you'll miss out on because it will be too late.

S3E3 - Shut Up and Dance gives us a young man named Kenny who seems to be just an average every day sort of guy. He has a job, argues with his sister, and uses his laptop to get him off. That seems fine and dandy until he receives a message saying he must do as he is told or else the video will be released to all of his contacts. What is that video exactly? The one his webcam recorded of him when he thought he was alone in his room. Kenny starts receiving instructions to go to a location and pick up a cake, which seems easy enough. The other man tells him that once he completes the tasks then he will be in the clear of having the video released. Kenny then has to deliver the cake to another guy and then go with the guy and rob a bank. Things are getting to be a bit much but he doesn't want the video released. He robs the bank and takes the money to a location and is told to fight another man to the death. Basically things escalate rather quickly. You find out that the man Kenny goes with to rob a bank has been cheating on his wife so that of course is something he doesn't want people to know about. You know that the man he is fighting with to the death watches child pornography. Instead of fighting the man to the death Kenny pulls out the gun he used earlier to rob the bank and tries to shoot himself just to end it all. Too bad the gun is empty and so the other man lunges at him and the fight begins. We see the man who is cheating on his wife complete his task thinking he is in the clear returning home to his wife and kids. He gets a text message of the troll face and then walks in to his wife to see her watching the video. She begins to freak out on him. We go back once more to see Kenny stumbling out of the woods as he too receives a text of the troll face and gets a call from his mum freaking out over the fact that his sister was sent a video of him watching child porn and asking him to say it isn't true. In the final moments he is surrounded by cop cars and is left standing in disbelief.

My Thoughts - This episode gives us the ultimate question of what would you be willing to do to stop something you've done from getting out and being known by everyone you know. Honestly I don't know what I'd do in this sort of situation. I mean, it would depend on what I'd done and currently I don't have anything as terrible as the characters we were introduced to going on so I think I'm rather safe. The troll face being sent was hilarious. U MAD BRO? I bet everyone who was texted by the number certainly was because everything they had done was for nothing and their secret was out and in the open for everyone. They of course did some illegal acts so that then they had a very serious charge rather than just child pornography or cheating on a spouse because those land harsher sentences in the current justice system. I kind of feel like this was a bit of an anonymous hero using their tech powers for good to get people who have done bad things to pay for it. Whether or not that is a good thing can be argued because the anonymous hero may have a different code of conduct for what is to be deemed right and wrong. 

S3E4 - San Junipero has us follow Yorkie, a young red head in the 80's searching around for something to do. She makes a friend in Kelly, who is obviously a party girl who knows her way around the dance floor. The two start to enjoy the night but Yorkie becomes a little too uncomfortable and tries to leave. Kelly invites Yorkie to come back to her place but Yorkie is unable to accept mentioning that she is engaged. The two are obviously romantically interested in each other but things just don't work out due to the timing of it all. Suddenly Yorkie is now in the 90's trying to find Kelly but to no avail. Then once more in the 2000's and you find out that they can jump time periods. If anything this is a bit of a slow burn romance episode as the two finally do get together but you find out that their younger selves are only a persona put on thanks to technology. The Yorkie and Kelly we see are actually older women practically on their death beds. Thanks to some new technology they can live in a virtual word even after they die or they can just choose to die. We reach the difficult decision when Kelly talks about her husband and her daughter that have all ready passed on and how unfair it would be to just die and leave them. Then we find out about Yorkie's terrible past with her parents hating the fact that their daughter wasn't heterosexual and then an accident caused her to be quadriplegic. Yorkie and Kelly get their happy ending though as they both stay in San Junipero even after they die so that they can be together.

My Thoughts - The time traveling threw me off at first because I didn't quite understand how it was happening but this is a very interesting way to view death. Kelly was obviously worried about seeing her husband and daughter again because if there was something after death she didn't want to stay stuck in the world of San Junipero where she would never have the chance of seeing them. Yorkie on the other hand hasn't had much to live for because she is a quadriplegic who practically had her life taken away after the accident. San Junipero is a way for Yorkie to experience life like she always imagined. I like that this episode brings up the question of what happens after life? What happens when we die? Is there something more or is there just nothing? Do we choose to stay in the world we are comfortable in (if that's an option thanks to technology) or do we just accept death and wait to see what happens then? Either way it's a real trip to think about what you'd be giving up or maybe what you wouldn't. Who knows?

S3E5 - Men Against Fire shows us a world where soldiers like Stripe are sent out to help fight Roaches. What these Roaches are isn't very clear at first as they are only said to have raided a village and ruined the food supply. That is because once roaches touch something it is infected and the fear of more Roaches appearing comes from that. Stripe goes on a mission to find these roaches only to discover a man who is housing them where he lives, which seems quite mental when you see what the Roaches look like. Their faces are something straight out of a horror movie and they walk on two legs and have two arms just like a human. When Stripe is makes his first kill one of the Roaches has a strange device that sends out a high pitched sound. Stripe finishes the mission with two kills, which earns him a bunch of praise, but suddenly his tech isn't working as well as it should. It's the future so he has visual displays appear in front of his eyes no matter where he is looking. This gives him information on the mission briefings and things of that nature. He goes to the doctor only to be told all of his tech is working smoothly and the psychiatrist agrees that everything is fine. Stripe can shake the tech problem but goes out on another mission where he sees that his fellow soldier is about to kill humans. He stops her from doing so only to get injured in the process. The people he saves take Stripe to an underground hideout and explain that he sees them for what they are. The Roaches are actually people deemed a threat to society because of their DNA and medical history. People in the military see them as roaches because of the tech implants they received. When Stripe questions how Roaches appear to those not in the military the answer is that the people don't care that they are seen as human because they are lepers, unwanted in society. Now that Stripe knows the truth they are ambushed and the people (Roaches) he saved are dead. Once back with the military he is in solitary confinement given an explanation that he signed up for what he sees in the world. This is his duty. Stripe hates knowing that he has been killing humans this whole time instead of the Roaches that he has been seeing. He is given an ultimatum. Either he can return to the military and forget everything he has seen and heard recently or he can watch the video of him killing humans on an endless loop. In the end we see Stripe left at an abandoned and worn down home but in his eyes he sees the welcome home banners and the woman he loves waiting for him on the porch.

My Thoughts - I don't know why but I can so see the government using some kind of technology to weed out those with weak DNA because of possible diseases they can carry or any other health impairment that wouldn't be "ideal" to use to help repopulate the planet. Yes it's a bit dystopian but such is life. Either way I loved the social dilemma this episode brought up. Stripe could have done the right thing, he could have just stopped working for the military but then he would have to watch an endless loop of the scared humans he killed rather than the Roaches he thought they were. He'd know the truth but be trapped in his own mind until he likely went mad. The other alternative is in no way better as he continues to live the lie of Roaches taking over without actually knowing the truth about the Roaches and following orders blindly. I'd love to say "Be the hero and suffer so you don't have to kill innocent humans!" but at the same time I don't know if even I could. Is it better to live in bliss while living a lie? Or be tormented because you know the truth?

S3E6 - Hated in the Nation has us following a detective named Karin as she is assigned a new partner named Blue to investigate the death of a woman who wrote an article that was deemed offensive and clickbait by the online community. The pair have to work to try and figure out who killed the woman only to discover that the woman killed herself but only because she had gone mad. Something was inside her head that she was trying to get rid of to stop the pain. As the duo investigate more they discover that a robotic bee was in the woman, which is completely unheard of because the robotic bees are only supposed to pollinate flowers so why would one be in a dead woman's brain? Next a rapper is killed during an MRI scan and that's only because a robotic bee shoots out of his eye! Karin and Blue figure out that the people dying are those that are receiving a massive amount of online hate. They try to save who could be the next victim thanks to the popular #Deathto going around but sadly fail in the end. Blue is tech savvy enough to discover origins of the #Deathto and finds the video explaining the person with the most votes at the end of the day will die after 5pm before the game begins. Things go to the extreme when suddenly he prime minister has the most votes and could be the next one killed by the robotic bees. Karin and Blue work with the creator of the robotic bees to try and figure out who hacked the system and follow the clues left behind. When they have the encryption code needed to stop the system from running they realize there might be consequences to ending the game because there is a list of everyone who has ever used the hashtag. Another agent with them decides that the prime ministers life is more important and has the encryption key run. That's when the robotic bees are back in their control, or so it seems before they start to attack everyone who has ever used the hashtag, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It ends with Karin in a court hearing about the events that transpired and Blue seemingly going (likely committing suicide). Then we see the man who started the whole #Deathto game drinking in a bar and Blue is there watching him. She texts Karin saying she found him and the episode ends with Karin deleting the text.

My Thoughts - The idea of using robotic bees for pollination is very pertinent to today's society because we are having issues where actual bees are just disappearing and they are very important for us to continue to eat the foods that we do enjoy. Without bees we would lose a great majority of the food that we see all over the world. To then take that to the next level was great to me because having such a massive system of video cameras all around the world that people wouldn't suspect is even more devious. Great job government. Add on another level by involving social media and hashtags to give the robotic bees the ability to kill people who have the most votes at the end of the day is just mind blowing. One would never think that the government is viewing them in such a way and everyone likes to believe that some great things just can't be hacked. The twist at the end of having all of those who used the hashtag end up being killed by the robotic bees themselves is in a sense a form of justice. Sadly the one detective who used it just to lure the culprit out died but hundreds of thousands of other people died because they decided to participate. I think this is a bit of an attack on the whole excuse of "I did it because everyone else was doing it" when it comes to social media. Just because everyone is trolling/bullying/harassing someone doesn't make it right for you to join in. That sort of mob mentality is very dangerous. In a sense it was only fair for those who used the hashtag to cause the death of some people to have their lives ended as well. A sick sort of justice I know but sue me. The ending with Blue finding the culprit who hacked the bees in the first place gives me some hope but to just end there kills me! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! 

Alll in all I loved this season. I'm probably going to go back and rewatch the other two seasons just because I can. Thanks Netflix. If you haven't seen the show seriously get on it! It is worth the watch. If you have seen the show what is your favorite episode this season? What are your thoughts on what happened? Do you agree with me or are you on a different page? Let me know in the comments below! (:

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