Black Mirror Season 5 was released on 5th June, 2019. It falls into the science fiction genre and is still an anthology series. It is created by Charlie Brooker and stars Anthony Mackie, Andrew Scott and Miley Cyrus in the lead roles in its three episodes. Read the review by Review Monkey below.
Keeping in mind that this review may contain spoilers for Black Mirror Season 5. To some extent, I understand people’s frustrations with the new Black Mirror season. But at the same time, I think it’s completely unfair for it to get the hate it has gotten.
The thing about Black Mirror Season 5 is that this is definitely the lightest season of the otherwise very dark TV show. And that is mainly the reason why people tended to dislike this latest season so much. And I think that’s just not right.
I get it, sometimes we have huge expectations from something this brilliant. Black Mirror from the very beginning has been a standout TV show with nothing like it being aired. It has always dealt with the worst and the terrifying consequences of technology and every episode being its own story, it is a very unique experience every single time.
And that is what people who are disliking Black Mirror Season 5 need to understand. Every Black Mirror episode has its own style, has its own story, has its own vibe and deals with a different aspect of technology. Personally, I think the new season does that very well. Lighter in tone doesn’t necessarily mean it has lost its touch or is bad in any sense of the word.
Lightness in tone aside, I think the biggest issue with Black Mirror Season 5 is the bar the show has set for itself for the past 4 seasons. The new season had been hyped so much, because obviously, its Black Mirror and it was definitely on everyone’s most anticipated seasons of the year list. Everyone wanted something mind-blowing all over again but you can’t do that with every episode or season.
I think that if Black Mirror Season 5 had come in the middle somewhere and not after so many seasons, people may have binged it and they might have actually liked it. But since it was so awaited and everyone had extreme expectations for it, the three episodes that came out felt, to many people, underwhelming which I completely understand but I will never agree with it.
The first episode of Black Mirror Season 5 is called Striking Vipers and stars Anthony Mackie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as two friends who begin having virtual sex in a fighting game.
We all love playing fighting games with our friends to blow off some steam from time to time. They give us a chance to let go for a while and just beat the absolute shit out of the other person. It is also known that especially the main characters in fighting games are usually very attractive visually and depicted as these perfect human beings with perfect bodies.
Who here hasn’t had a casual conversation with their friends about wanted to have a relationship with a hot girl in a fighting game? They are usually in very revealing clothing and as disgusting and weird as it sounds, I know I have had that conversation more than just a couple of times.
So when 11 years later, the fighting game becomes a virtual reality experience and you feel every sensation in your body that your character is supposedly feeling, things have a chance of going to the sexual side. Danny Parker (Mackie) and Karl Houghton (Yahya) choose Roxette and Lance respectively while playing Striking Vipers X in the first episode of Black Mirror Season 5.
The two chosen characters are sexually attractive because that’s how the developers have made them and when they start fighting and actually having physical contact with each other, things escalate when they kiss and it all turns sexual. Of course, the people playing the game freak out and start too question their actual sexuality and I think, as stupid and weird as it sounds, it is a very complicated thing that makes you think about how people would react if all of this actually became a reality? Because we are pretty close to it here in 2019.
The Black Mirror Season 5 episode is well acted, well directed and deals with an issue that has crossed our mind but noone really talks about it. Special shout out to the game design in this episode because it is just beautiful, the levels and the characters and all of that still makes for a very uncomfortable but entertaining hour of Black Mirror.
Then comes the second Black Mirror Season 5 episode which is without a doubt this season’s best. It stars Andrew Scott as Chris, a ride share driver who works for the app Hitcher and is called Smithereens. One day, he picks up Jaden, played by Damson Idris, from the social media company called Smithereen. Believing that he is an important employee, he abducts him at gunpoint.
What follows is an intense and excellent hour of Black Mirror when Chris finds out that Jaden’s just an intern and we find out why Chris is doing what he’s doing. And this is where Black Mirror Season 5 shines the most.
All Chris wants to do is to talk to the CEO of Smithereen, Billy played by Topher Grace and tell him that it was because of his app that his wife died in an accident. We all do it while driving, whether we like to admit it or not. We like to unconsciously check our phones for notifications, oblivious to the fact that just a millisecond of a distraction can lead to a fatal accident.
The fact that Chris could’ve checked his phone after the drive and could’ve saved his wife’s life in this way is shown and acted so amazingly by Andrew Scott that you really sympathize with the guy and start to think about refraining from this unhealthy habit.
At the end of this Black Mirror Season 5 episode, it is also shown that people care about something as long as it is happening and the moment it stops being “Trending” on social media, everyone moves and noone really, genuinely gives a flying shit about anyone else.
If that’s not a very sad and horrifying concept shown in a great way in this episode, I don’t know what is. Personally, this is the best Black Mirror Season 5 episode for me out of the three.
The final episode of Black Mirror Season 5 is called Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too and it is where Black Mirror is, arguably, at its lightest even though it deals with something that is still pretty terrible.
Miley Cyrus stars as Ashley Ortiz, a pop singer who is being creatively forbidden to do what she wants to do by her manager. I will admit that a lot of this episode gets very cheesy, especially when Ashley’s replica doll Ashley Too comes into play but this concept is something that takes place in our world.
We have all heard of artists getting limited or forced by their labels to act a certain way and this episode just takes it a pinch higher. Ashley is given prescribed drugs to act right and when she doesn’t follow her manager’s orders, she overdoses and goes into a coma.
This Black Mirror Season 5 episode also shows how in this day and age, you can replicate anyone’s face or voice and make use of it even if the person is no longer around. Even in real life, we have seen holograms of artists who have passed away and that is something that can be misused and is a very scary idea.
And that is what Black Mirror Season 5 does. It shows all these terrible ideas and concepts and consequences of technology in a lighter manner than usual Black Mirror and I feel like that’s alright since it still makes me think about how far we will take technology in real life. That’s all Black Mirror is supposed to do just like it has been doing for all these years.
Although Black Mirror Season 5 is definitely not the show’s best, it is still 3 hours of great television that is still unmatched by its peers. I liked it. I don’t get the people that didn’t.
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