Black Mirror, episode four

It’s 1987 and there is a beach town that is bustling with action after dark. There is a movie theater, crowds of people milling about and cars up and down the block. One girl is walking by herself along the sidewalk while another named Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is being followed by a guy named Wes (Gavin Stenhouse). They make their way into a dance club and the loner girl follows. She keeps to herself but ventures far enough inside to find an arcade.

She starts playing bubble bopple and a young man approaches her. He makes small talk and invites her to play a car racing game. She says no and makes her back into the club, gets a soda and sits at a table. She’s not alone for long though. The girl from earlier, Kelly, joins her at the table and instructs her to follow her lead. Wes comes over and pesters her. Kelly scares him off by telling him her friend is sick, like six months to live sick. He backs off and they make introductions. The girl on her own is Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis).

They make there way to the bar and get a round of drinks while Kelly critiques Yorkie’s appearance. She appreciates that Yorkie is authentically herself and doesn’t try to fit in. The song changes and Kelly wants to dance. Yorkie tries to say no but Kelly insists and they head out onto the floor together. At first it’s fun but soon Yorkie freaks out and flees. Kelly follows as soon as she notices and finds her in a back alley in the rain. She apologizes for pushing her to dance.

Yorkie was upset because everyone was staring at “two girls on the dance floor.” Kelly tells her that its a party town and no one is judging. They talk about their parents and Kelly asks Yorkie what she’s always wanted to do but never done. “So many things” she responds. They have two hours until midnight so they can get up to all sorts of things. Yorkie panics. She has a fiance named Greg. She can’t do anything outrageous. Kelly asks her to go to bed with her. Yorkie says she can’t and that she has to leave. She starts to walk away but pauses and when she turns around Kelly is gone.

One week later

Yorkie is trying on clothes and listening to music. She is trying to decide on a look. Kelly is driving into town. She parks and Wes is there waiting. He wants to be with her but she says that their time together was just sex. She heads inside and is sitting at the bar when another man approaches her. They are dancing when Yorkie shows up. She watches Kelly from afar. They make eye contact and Kelly excuses herself from the guy to go to the bathroom. Yorkie follows her and tells her she doesn’t know how to do this. She wants Kelly to make it easy for her. Kelly asks her if she wants to get in her car. The are driving back to Kelly’s place chatting when she swerves into the other lane and almost gets in an accident. They make it back to the house and sleep together.

Afterward Kelly asks her if she’s ever slept with a woman before. It was “awesome” according to Kelly and Yorkie admits she’s never slept with anyone. She then asks when Kelly knew she was into women. Kelly tells her that she’s into men too. She was married to a man for a long time but she was always attracted to women too. She just didn’t act on it. She loved her husband and he chose to leave her so now she’s passing through and she’s going to have a good time while she’s in San Junipero. She looks at the clock. It’s nearly midnight. She tells Yorkie that time is almost up and Yorkie says that they should just lay there. Midnight strikes.

One week later

Yorkie is in the club looking around and drinking. She is looking for Kelly but she isn’t there. She asks the bartender and he suggests checking the Quagmire. She asks what that is. She heads over there and its a much rough scene than the club. She makes her way through. She can’t find Kelly but does stumble upon Wes. He recognizes her and they talk about finding Kelly. He tells Yorkie to try a different time, the ’80s, ’90s, he saw her in 2002 one time. He says she’s worth it.

One week later

It’s 1980 and Yorkie back at the club. She walks through. Checks the arcade. No Kelly.

One week later.

1996 finds Yorkie walking into the club and even out to Kelly’s house but no sign of her anywhere.

One week later

It’s 2002 and Yorkie tracks her down. Kelly’s playing video games. As soon as she sees Yorkie she tries to get away. Yorkie follows her and confronts her. Kelly tells her she owes her nothing. It’s about having fun. Yorkie thinks she should feel bad or at least feel something. When she leaves, Kelly punches the mirror. The shot pans down to her hand, which isn’t bleeding and back up to the mirror which is fixed.

Kelly runs outside, looking for Yorkie and finds that she’s sitting on a rooftop nearby. She tells Yorkie about not doing “feelings” and that she wasn’t prepared for Yorkie, for wanting something… Yorkie shuts her up by kissing her.

Afterward, the pair is sitting outside Kelly’s house in robes. They talk about Yorkie’s pending nuptials. The fiance really is a good guy and Kelly being sick. She was told she has three months to live. That was more than six months ago. Yorkie asks if she is going to stay in San Junipero when she dies. She says no, when she’s done she’s done because of her husband. He died two years ago and was given the option to stay in San Junipero but he didn’t do it.

They talk about meeting in real life and Yorkie is opposed. She doesn’t think Kelly would like her. Kelly plays the dying card. She wants to say hi. The clock strikes midnight.
An elderly lady is helped into a van at an assisted living facility. It’s Kelly. She is taken to see Yorkie who is in a facility of her own. She seems to be dead. She can hear Kelly but not physically respond at all. On her way out she meets a nurse named Greg (Raymond McAnally) that is glad she came to see Yorkie before she crosses over. She’s basically on a San Junipero trial run. He tells Kelly about Yorkie being quadrepalegic. She came out to her parents when she was 21. They fought and she fled and got in an accident. That was 40 years ago.

They talk about the San Junipero system. Nostalgia therapy it’s called. Kelly asks about the wedding. Yorkie needs a next of kin to get euthanized and a spouse would override her family. Kelly asks him to hook her up to the system. He gets her five minutes.

At the beach house Kelly tells Yorkie she met Greg and he seems great but… she proposes. Yorkie accepts. The wedding is help the next day and Yorkie is unplugged shortly thereafter.

Young Yorkie is sitting on the beach by herself. She takes off her glasses. Kelly is making her way back into the assisted living facility. She’s hooked up to San Junipero. Her younger self finds Yorkie right way and they get dressed up and drive around. Yorkie is so happy to live there now. She wants Kelly to come too when she dies. Kelly won’t though. They argue about it. Yorkie just wants to share this with her but Kelly has made up her mind. Yorkie brings up her husband and Kelly smacks her. She was with her husband for 49 years and Yorkie can’t understand that.

Kelly tells her that they had a life. Joy and sorrow, happiness and suffering, that they felt as one for 49 years. They had a daughter and she died at 39. She tells Yorkie she pitied her and her sales pitch for this place won’t work. Kelly gets in her car and speeds off. She crashes the car but doesn’t get hurt. Yorkie is there to help her up but before she can, midnight strikes. Yorkie is alone in San Junipero and elderly Kelly is in her home.
There’s now an oxygen tube helping Kelly breath but she’s still alive. Time passes. She tells her aid she is ready for “the rest of it” while they watch the sunset.

Yorkie gets in her car and starts cruising. She’s on the open road.

Kelly dies. Her coffin is lowered into the ground.

Yorkie pulls up at the beach house and blows the horn. Kelly comes out and gets in the car. They head to the club and dance while robots move their consciousness around in a lab.

I thought this was a great episode. Yes it deals with death. Yes it has sad moments but on the whole it is much lighter than what Black Mirror usually is. It had cool music and weird clothes and was all told just a lot more fun. I thought that Mbatha-Raw and Davis played off each other really well. It was a great episode.


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