Gazing into Black Mirror

Gazing into Black Mirror

Do you ever feel something unsettling about our technological advances or our growing dependence on technology? Do you like TV shows where every episode is roller coaster of eerie and mend bending situations? Then you will love Black Mirror. Every episode of Black Mirror stars an entirely different cast in a different setting. You could essentially put all three seasons on shuffle and not skip a beat. Besides technology, the only common themes shared in episodes are the feelings they invoke in viewers. Each episode is as beautifully horrific as the last, like a train wreck you can’t tear your eyes away from.

The first episode of season 3 couldn’t be more relevant in this day and age. In this world, everything is controlled by your social media rating. If you get a lot of 5 star ratings then life is good. If your score begins to drop below 3.5, you might not be able to get a date, rent an apartment or even enter your office building. Lacie is a lovely and intelligent girl who’s sitting at a 4.2 rating. She is desperate to raise it to a 4.5. Every interaction she has with someone, she compliments their social account and rates them highly, hoping they will do the same for her. She meticulously bites a cookie then places it next to her coffee for an exquisite photo which results in lots of 5 star ratings but she never actually enjoys the snack. Sound like anyone you know?

Lacie is so absorbed in this social world that she loses sight of what it means to truly live outside of a screen and soon the same world she idolizes begins to turn on her. Lacie is asked to be the maid of honor to an old friend, Naomie, who just happens to have a 4.8 rating. If Lacie can attend the wedding and wow the crowd with an amazing speech, her rating will rise and she can finally be happy. Can you think of anything sadder? But things don’t go exactly as planned and with one stroke of bad luck after another Lacie soon has a 2.6 rating. Naomie calls to inform her that she can no longer attend the wedding due to her low rating. The enraged Lacie attends the wedding anyway. Her once perfect pink dress is now covered in dirt and grime as she steals the microphone and tries to deliver her speech. Her ratings plummet instantly. She is eventually arrested by the police, has her ranking system removed and is thrown in jail. In the last scene, she catches the eye of another prisoner who bears a resemblance to her past and current status. This man looks like he was once a high rank but fell from grace just as she did. The two begin to hurl insults at each other, finally expressing themselves freely and without fear.

The similarities between Lacie and many snapchat users or instagrammers that exist now are striking. They try so desperately to be popular or unique but at the end of the day, most of them are incredibly lonely. Black Mirror will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable. But, as we enter the new year, an episode or two of this show might help you look at your life differently and make you hesitant to be so dependent on technology.

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