Black Mirror, episode one

I’ve watched the other episodes of Black Mirror and liked it a lot. I ended up spending a lot of time thinking about the plots and honestly, it creeped me out on a number of instances so I was pretty excited to see what they would come up with now, especially because the season consisted of twice as many episodes as usual.

“Nosedive” opens with Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) jogging through a neighborhood. She is messing around on her phone and has headphones in. She passes a group of joggers and greets one of them. Back at home she gets ready for the day, while using some kind of tech contact.

She disrupts her brother Ryan’s (James Norton) virtual reality game to remind him that the realtor is coming by the home they share. He tells her he has a new place lined up already and she (maybe) lies and tells him she is checking out a few places during lunch. She leaves and he goes back to his game.

On her way to work she stops for coffee and spends the wait on her phone watching videos. As she takes a seat at a table we see that everyone is interacting via phones, and they are rating on another while they do it.

She rides the elevator with Bethany “Bets” (Daisy Haggard) and they spend the ride consulting one another’s profiles and making small talk about what they see, cats and work. Once at the office, she’s busy checking her rating when a coworker named Chester (Kadiff Kirwan) comes by to give her a smoothie. She’s shocked to see he’s rated 3.1.

Silence falls upon the room. She awkwardly takes one and gives him a rating boost. When he walks away another coworker fills her in. Chester and his boyfriend broke up. Everyone is supporting the ex so Chester is in danger of dropping all the way to 2.5. Lacie receives a few down ratings, presumably as a result of interacting with him.

Ryan calls to tell her that the couple that came by is taking the place so when Lacie sees a new apartment, with a life simulation that she’s a fan of, she doesn’t hesitate to talk prices. It’s a bit too much for her though. The woman showing her the apartment tells her that she would qualify for a discount if she can get a 4.5 rating. Ryan mocks her interest in the apartment complex.

The next day Lacie goes to meet some sort of lifestyle coach (Demetri Goritsas) about getting her rating up and says that it will probably take about 18 months. She doesn’t want to wait that long so he suggests getting upticks from higher rated people. On her next run, she spends her time giving five star ratings to a woman named Naomie (Alice Eve) who is a 4.8 herself.

Lacie spends much of the day making an effort to get up votes and her coach tells her not to try too hard. She posts a picture of a stuffed animal named Mr. Rags and gets a five star rating from the mysterious Naomie. Later that night she’s making herself a fancy snack, and Ryan is making fun of her, when Naomie calls. Apparently they were childhood friends and now that Naomie is getting married she wants Lacie to be her maid of honor.

Once the call ends, Ryan asks what that’s all about. The way he remembers it, Naomie was never very nice to his sister but Lacie defends her. After meeting with her coach, Lacie calls the real estate lady and transfers the deposit on the fancy apartment.

She rehearses her wedding speech for Ryan and he calls bullshit on the whole thing. He tells her he misses just having normal conversations instead of all this competing for ratings stuff. She calls him an embarrassment and then leaves, bumping into someone and getting down votes on the way to the taxi.

Once she gets to the airport things take a turn for the worse. She gets a down rating from the taxi driver and then her flight gets cancelled and she argues with the employee, resulting in several down ratings and a double damage warning. She is forced to leave the airport and has to rent a car to drive to the wedding.

While she’s on her way, Naomie calls and Lacie gives her an update on the trip. Naomie asks her if she should find a replacement but Lacie assures her the she will be there on time.┬áThe rental car battery dies and Lacey has to stop to recharge it. Unfortunately, because her car is an older model, the plug doesn’t fit and she doesn’t have an adapter. She tries to hitchhike and though she gets a few down ratings she ends up getting picked up by a truck driver named Susan (Cherry Jones) who is rated 1.4.

They chat about ratings and Susan reveals that she used to live for ratings. She was a 4.6 at one point but her husband got cancer. She tried everything she could to use her high rating for better treatment but it didn’t help. He still died and she decided to say “fuck it” to trying to be nice and happy and started being real.

Lacie can’t do that. It’s not that she doesn’t have anything to lose. It’s more that she hasn’t even gotten anything worth losing yet. She ends up falling asleep. Susan drops her off about 30 miles from where she needs to be, but it’s along a bus route so she should be okay.

While in the truck stop restroom, she overhears some girls talking about a convention for a popular sci-fi show that will be in the same town and talks her way onto their RV. During the ride, they interrogate her about the show and that gets interrupted by Naomie calling.

She tells Lacie not to come, that her new ranking puts the whole ceremony in jeopardy of dropping. Lacie is shocked to find out that it is just about numbers but Naomie tells her to “cut the shit” because it was about numbers for both of them. Lacie vows to come anyway.

The RV owners overhear the whole conversation and kick her out. She drinks a thermos full of whiskey and tries to flag down a car. When that doesn’t work, she opts to try and borrow an all terrain vehicle from a guy under the highway.

At the wedding Naomie and her husband are getting all sorts of up votes for their ceremony. Lacie makes it to the resort and finds it blocked with barbed wire and armed guards. She falls into some mud and then changes into her bridesmaid dress before sneaking in.

She crashes the ceremony and tries to give her speech only things don’t go as planned. She ends up not giving the speech she planned and going on a diatribe about the years they’ve known each other and how terrible Naomie really is. Oh and she ends up getting down voted to zero.

The police come and lock her up. She ends up taking off the bridesmaid dress and when she looks across to the next cell she is being watched by another prisoner (Sope Dirisu). They exchange insults until the episode comes to a close with them both screaming “fuck you,” while finally smiling of course.

I thought this was a good episode. I thought it was very timely with the whole social media thing and I basically wanted to punch everyone for smiling all the time. The best part of this was obviously the truck driver because she just doesn’t care.


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