Black Mirror, episode six

A woman is waiting to be called into an office. She’s summoned to talk about the events of the previous May. She starts her explanation.

The woman is walking alone down a sunny street. It’s May 15, day one. She gets inside and uses a remote to turn on lights and open the blinds in the house. She takes out some food as though to prepare a meal before opting for chips and sits in front of the television to watch the news.

Another woman is walking alone. She gets home and is stopped by a man delivering baked goods. He confirms she is Jo Powers (Elizabeth Berrington) before handing her the cake. She takes it inside and talks to her husband. She reads the comments on her article.

The woman from earlier is watching a late night talk show. The interviewee is being nasty about a kid. She gets a call to a crime scene. She gets there and meets “her shadow” Blue Colson (Faye Marsay). She introduces herself as Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald). They find out from Nick Shelton (Joe Armstrong) that the victim is Jo.

The crime scene is gruesome. Neighbors called it in. Her husband was found unconscious. they look for CCTV. Karin thinks the husband is a suspect and says they will question him when he wakes up. In the meantime she drives Blue home. She used to be in tech crimes. She cracked a case of child murders and it changed her. She wanted to get out in the field and help.

Karin and Nick are going over security footage. No one really suspicious is spotted. Blue is going over more information. They talk about the Powers likely relationship and Karen admits she is divorced. The husband wakes up. He says that Jo did this to himself.

Karin and Blue argue after the fact. Toxicology is looking into it but Blue just doesn’t think the husband seem like the type. They go to follow up on a lead, the woman that sent the death to Jo Powers cake. She’s part of a group that crowd sourced the money for the cake. They give her a warning and move on.

The husband will be discharged the following day and Karen says they will bring him in and arrest him. They talk about who the Internet hates that day. A performer named Tusk, the one from the late night show earlier that was ripping on the kid.

Cut to Tusk (Charles Babalola) getting ready to leave after a show. He starts screaming and grabbing his head. He’s rushed to the hospital and while in the MRI machine seems to be having a seizure. When the doctors pull him out they find some sort of tech bug has killed him.

Karen and Blue report to the ME’s office and Jo is on the table. The ME found some sort of tunnel from her ear into her brain. He followed it and found a tech bug in her head too. It went right through the pain center in her brain. She was in such agony she would probably have done anything to make it stop, even cut her own throat.

They head to see the company making these bugs, these ADIs (autonomous drone insects) and to ask a few questions. They meet the head of the company and Rasmus Sjolberg (Jonas Karlsson) and talk about what these tech bees do. They replicate themselves to form hives and apparently kill people on occasion.

Rasmus says that a malfunction must have been the cause but that a hacker is highly unlikely. Karin points out that that is not impossible though. Blue starts talking in tech to him about what could have happened. They track near the Powers house and find that one did in fact go missing in the area at the time of Jo’s death. It tried to jump hives only there wasn’t another hive to transfer to. Rasmus keeps looking while Karin and Blue head back to the office.

Karin is worried about jurisdiction now but a man named Shaun Li (Benedict Wong) enters. He wants to talk about the case because he’s got another of the same. Tusk. He shows Karin footage of it. He wants her bee to analyze but she says it is evidence. It shows a pattern. Blue is looking into the social media stirrup of Tusk and Jo. She’s tracing the #deathto.

It’s pretty dark. It turns out it was started by a bot account, with a photo of bees naturally, and is polling people everyday. Whoever gets the most hashtag votes dies at 5 p.m. and then it starts again the next day. On day three a woman by the name of Clara Meades (Holli Dempsey) is in the lead. She took a selfie pretending to pee on a war memorial and people are upset. Shaun and Karin want to protect her. Blue tracks her.

Clara is at home watching the hashtag when he phone rings. She ignores it her roommate answers when her phone rings. It’s Karin calling Clara. Karin tells her to close the windows and stay where she is. Blue calls Rasmus to monitor the situation and they roll out. Clara watches police swarm her street. Rasmus lets Blue know that there is a breach.

Karin goes in and gets Clara. They take her out of the city to a safe house. They plan to keep her for one night. Shaun calls in while Karin, Clara and Blue head into the house. A bee crawls along the back of the car. It flies to the window and walks along there. Blue and Rasmus are on the phone when he loses a whole hive, thousands of bees. The phone cuts out. Rasmus looses the whole system.

Shaun is outside on the phone when the bees start to swarm. The women try to hide out but the bees keep finding ways to break their defenses. They barricade themselves in a windowless bathroom. They cover the gap in the door, and the key hole but one gets in through the fan and gets Clara, with Karin and Blue watching the whole thing. Once she is dead the bees stop. All is quiet.

Karin is on the stand again. She’s talking about seeing bodies before but Clara was the first person she saw die. She was right there. Blue took it hard.

Blue and Karin watch them load up Clara’s body. At the office, Shaun, Blue, Rasmus and Karin talk about what could be hacking the system. It’s proof of the government spying. Blue is sure the tech uses facial recognition. Rasmus doesn’t know how to get the system back. Blue asks if he can check the log of an individual bee and he says yes. She heads off to analyze the bee that kills Clara.

News coverage is going nuts about the hashtag and the current top of the board is the chancellor, Tom Pickering (Ben Miles). Karin and Nick talk to a few people about the issue but it doesn’t turn up anything. Shaun goes to present information to Tom and turns out arguing about how to proceed. Tom wants to shut down social media. Shaun wants a safe house.

Karin and Nick are still doing interviews. They bring in Tess Wallander (Georgina Rich) who talks about how people on the internet hated her. Blue gets some distressing news as Karin’s interview goes on. Tess tried to kill herself. Her flatmate Garrett Scholes found her. He had worked on the ADI project. Turns out he sent Jo a manifesto as well.

Shaun authorizes destroying a hive to clear space for Tom. It seems to work out, until it doesn’t. The bees go after the soldiers. Blue finds selfies in the manifesto and they realize that he wants them to broadcast this stuff. Well Karin won’t do it. There are tags on the photo though because he took it with a phone. They track him to near where the bees were made.

They enlist Rasmus and start trying to sort through the information that they’ve come across. It’s a list, a monstrous list of names. Everyone that has used the hashtag. Garrett wanted people to be responsible for what they said and by making the players the targets he is doing just that. Shaun shuts down the whole system and it looks like it worked until moments later it becomes very apparent it didn’t.

Bees swarm places where hashtag users are. Garrett (Duncan Pow) packs a bag and changes his appearance before heading out.

Karin is still answering questions about all that happened. She says that no one needs reminding of what happened. She’s asked what became of Blue. Karin says she took it hard. She tried to reach out but didn’t hear back. Months later her belongings were found on a beach. The theory is she killed herself.

Karin is thanked for her testimony and heads out. Shaun is seen entering behind him. Garrett is walking arund in his disguise in a different part of the world and Blue is hot on his heels. She texts Karin to let her know.

This was probably the creepiest episode of the season. They all seem like they could absolutely happen but this doesn’t seem so far off at all. Like it could happen tomorrow. I’m paranoid now walking around outside in case there are fake bees after me.

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Black Mirror, episode five

A woman is walking through a front lawn on a windy day, only its not real. It’s a man’s dream. The man, Stripe (Malachi Kirby) is woken up in boot camp to deal with a roach problem. As they load up Raiman (Madeline Brewer) and Lennard (Kola Bokinni) mess with him a bit.

In the town, the locals explain what happened. They are scared and their food has been destroyed. They get a lead on where the roaches might be. An eccentric loner with religious tendencies has a habit of befriending roaches. They think he has helped them. They move in on his house.

The man, Parn Heidekker (Francis Magee), is reluctant to let them in but does so eventually. Medina (Sarah Snook) talks to him while Stripe and Raiman search the house. They move through slowly, toward the attic. Medina tells him that she understands that he respects the sanctity of life and she does too. That’s why they need to be killed off, to rid the world of their sickness instead of letting it breed.

Stripe comes face to face with a room full of roaches, mutated humans. He and Raiman fight them, with her chasing the ones that flee. He gets into it and really beats on the dead body. Afterward he’s a little wonky. Medina calls for them to torch the place as they head out. They make their way to the van boasting about their kill count.

The dream girl is back, Stripe twitches in his sleep watching her. At the range the next day he and Raiman talk about the roach that got away. He hears a high pitched noise again and it messes with his shot. Next is push-ups and the noise is back.

Medina asks Stripe if he is feeling okay and he says yes, just a little off. She sends him sick bay where he goes through a few tests and receives full marks. The doctor recommends he go talk to Arquette (Michael Kelly). They talk about the mission at the farm house and then about how he feels, emotionally. It doesn’t seem like anything is wrong and Arquette tells him to be proud of himself.

He’s dreaming again. Having sex with the girl this time only something goes wrong. He starts twitching and something glitches. He wakes up and looks at the rest of the unit. Fast asleep, all of them have their hands twitching.

They are back in the village helping. They get another lead and head out. In the field, they don’t find much. Medina reaches out to base and gets the call to fall back. As she moves, she’s gunned down. It’s just Stripe and Raiman now. They move in on the roach but Stripe hears the noise again. He’s running disoriented. They make it to the building and find schmantics for the laser tech he saw at the first mission.

They encounter some humans, some alive and some dead before they reach the roach nest. It’s not all roaches though. Humans are there too and Raiman just goes nuts, opening fire on the whole places. When she reloads, he jumps in to stop her and they fight. He hits her in the face and she shoots him. A few minutes later he gets up and leads the humans out. She comes to and watches them run away.

He passes out driving back toward base. The woman helps him. She’s surprised he can see them. She tells him the army implant is what makes him see roaches. They aren’t real. It’s just hate. Raiman is on the trail. The woman explains that the roaches started ten years earlier. They were doing testing and decided some people were roaches. She used to be Catarina (Ariane Labed). Now she’s just roach.

Raiman is closing in. Catarina is still surprised that he can see her, actually see her. Raiman drops in and kills Catarina and her son before knocking Stripe out. He’s locked in a cell and Arquette comes to visit. He talks about the device he found in the farm house. Arquette is impressed with the work the roaches did but Stripe is adamant that the roaches look just like everyone else.

Arquette says of course they do. They are still bad and need to be wipes out though. He gives a history lesson about WWI. Soldiers used to aim over the enemies heads because they didn’t actually want to kill anyone. So training changed until a new breed of tech was invented. Now it blocks out senses so that soldiers only see an enemy, and open fire. And it is not forced on anyone. The soldiers agree to it.

He shows Stripe his agreement video. Predictably, Stripe freaks out. He goes after Arquette, who flips a switch and makes him blind. He lays out Stripe’s options. Reset. Incarceration. Stripe doesn’t want the chip so Arquette shows him a log of what he did at the farm house. He wants it to stop. Arquette doesn’t stop it. He tells Stripe to say the word and get a reset.

Stripe, in full dress uniform, gets out of a car. A woman approaches him, It’s the girl from the dream. He’s actually in an abandoned yard alone.

This was sad. I feel so bad for Stripe and the roaches. What year is it? Way back in the 20th century implies a distant future but I’m not so sure that’s the case. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be all that far into the future for that to happen, the tech or the prejudice.

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.

Black Mirror, episode three

We see a woman in a parking garage. She is pacing and panicked. She keeps checking her phone.

A teenage boy, Kenny (Alex Lawther), is doing dishes and cleaning tables at a fast food restaurant. He takes a break and chats with his coworkers in the alley behind the place, chatting about a girl. After work he rushes home to go online. He’s sister, Lindsay (Maya Gerber), borrowed it without asking and now it has a virus. He downloads an antivirus to clean it up.

The next day he changes the lock on his door. His mother leaves for a date and tells him to keep an eye on his sister. They both spend the evening in their rooms. He spends the time looking at pictures and jerking off.

Afterward he goes to get cleaned up he finds a message on his computer. An unknown messenger has a video of what he just did and they will post it online if he doesn’t give them his phone number. He does, and they tell him to wait for a message with more instructions.

The message comes the next day just as he gets to work. They tell him to get to an address in 45 minutes. It’s nearly an hour away. He tells his boss he’s sick and rides his bike as fast as he can. He arrives and gets a message to wait. He does and a man on a moped (Ivanno Jeremiah) turns up. He’s also following orders from messages and tells Kenny to listen to the instructions after giving him a box.

Kenny gets a message to confirm receiving the package. He sends it back and they send him another address to drop the package off at. Along the way, he opens the box and discovers its a cake. When he tries to deliver it, the man won’t take it. Kenny texts back and they tell him what to say to get in the room.

Once inside, he explains the situation to the man named Hector (Jerome Flynn), who then gets a message and gets roped into it as well. Kenny sends a picture to them of Hector and then gets another assignment. He has to go with Hector via car to a new location.

Along the way they stop for gas and run into Karen (Natasha Little), who knows Hector through their children. She asks for a ride and he agrees. Along the way, they receive messages that they are going the wrong way and that they need to hurry up.

They make it to the next place and receive more messages. They dig through the cake and find a hat, sunglasses and a gun. They find out one of them has to rob a bank while the other is the getaway driver. By default, Kenny has to be the robber and he freaks out.

He goes through with it, wetting his pants in the process. When he gets outside, it appears Hector has driven away but a few moments later he comes flying back up the road and Kenny jumps in the car.

They make a getaway, while abiding all the traffic laws, and when they get to the drop point they receive separate instructions. Kenny has to bring the money to a drop point and Hector has to destroy the car.

Kenny walks into the woods and finds a man (Paul Bazely) standing there. He’s been instructed to set off a drone and then fight Kenny. The winner gets to take the money as a prize. Oh and the fight? It’s to the death. Kenny tries to kill himself with the gun from the bank robber but it doesn’t work. The man tackles him.

Hector makes it home and checks on his kids before going to his bedroom. They sent the information about his rendezvous with a prostitute to his wife. The other people were ratted out as well. Kenny apparently wins the death match and is walking out of the woods when his phone rings. It’s his mom. Police are at the house. Those pictures he was looking at in the beginning were kids. The episode ends with him being surrounded by police cars on a wooded road.

You had to assume this wasn’t going to end well for any of these people. The threat to expose their sexual depravity wasn’t going to be enough to get them to stop. I mostly just feel bad for these people’s families. On the whole, this episode wasn’t as good as most of the others.

Black Mirror, episode two

Cooper’s (Wyatt Russell) backpack is packed and he’s leaving on some sort of trip in the pre-dawn hours. He quietly escapes the house and gets into the waiting car. His mom calls but he ignores it. On his flight overseas, the plane hits some turbulence and he is asked to turn off his handheld video game. He complies and notices the little girl next to him seems a bit freaked out. He goofs around to put her at easy.

We see a montage of various European locales that Cooper has visited before we catch up with him on a double decker bus tour in London. He asks a few questions and is later eating and going through a dating app on his phone. He gets a match with a tech writer Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen) and meets up with her in a pub.

They talk about his travels and she says that this must be a trip about finding himself. He agrees but says its also about getting away from his family, and that its coming to an end. He’ll be back home next week. She says that that’s not much time.

The next morning they wake up together and banter while she makes breakfast. His mom calls and he ignores it. He explains the situation to Sonja. He was taking care of his dad the year before when he died. It had been a long time coming but was still tough because his father was his best friend. He doesn’t know how to relate to his mother. Thus the trip.

Later, when trying to take money out of an ATM, he gets denied due to insufficient funds. After a few calls, it seems that someone has been using his card elsewhere in the world. He doesn’t have the money for a ticket home. He calls up Sonja for a place to crash and explains his plan. He’ll use an app called Oddjobs to try and make some money. He responds to a listing from a gaming company looking for thrill seekers. Sonja explains that the company is huge in the gaming industry and are said to be working on some super secret project.

Cooper gets to the company’s complex and is greeted by Katie (Wunmi Mosaku). She leads him into a room to sign some paperwork and acknowledges that there is a small medical procedure involved, something similar to getting your ears pierced. The signature page from the contract is missing so she leaves the room to get it. Copper quickly jumps up and takes a picture of the tech she left in the room.

Katie explains the system as not so much virtual reality but more layered upon reality. He agrees and inserts a “mushroom” chip into the back of his neck. Then she starts to run some tests. She sets up targets on the table and uses a computer to create a version of a whack-a-mole game. The mole is a projection though. She can’t see it.

The mole waves a white flag to end the game and Cooper explains what the game was like to Katie. She tells him that that was the demo and she’d like him to try the beta version. She brings him to meet the creator, Shou Saito (Ken Yamamura). He and Cooper discuss games before he is asked to try the new horror game they are working on. It uses the player’s actual fears, via the mushroom chip, to make it more frightening.

They update the chip and then take him to another building, which he recognizes as a house from other games he’s played.Katie explains that there is no objective in this game. He merely has to last the night in the house. She will be watching from the control room and nothing he sees can actually physically hurt him. She leaves him to it.

He explores the house and gets a glass of wine, though he finds out from Katie that it is non-alcoholic.He talks about missing his phone and tv which Katie explains is kind of the point. It sets the mood for the 19th century, which is what they were going for. He starts to read and after a few moments Katie points out that his heart rate spiked. He says it’s because of the spider on the floor but there is no spider. It’s part of the game.

He crushes it and notices the light is now on in the painting of the house. Not only that but there’s a man in the window. When the painting man leaves, Cooper hears noise upstairs. He wants to believe it is old pipes but soon enough a creepy man appears and he resembles a bully from Cooper’s past named Josh Peters (Jamie Paul).

Katie points out that Cooper is being more talkative, which is a trait people tend to have when they are afraid. He opens a cupboard door looking for snacks and acknowledges that Peters will be behind the door when he closes it. It’s a Peters/spider combo which is just terrible and while he’s discussing it with Katie the comm system goes out. He walks back to the main room and there’s a banging on the door. He opens it to find Sonja.

She’s come to tell him that he is in danger. He keeps poking her and she tells him they have to get out of there. He doesn’t believe her. He thinks she’s being paid to be part of this but she contends that he is danger. The app he used has led to five other tourist disappearances.

He questions how she tracked him down, since he doesn’t have his phone and she takes out a knife. Sonja points out that she led him to the job. She tells him she hacked his credit card, that he should have called his mother when he had no money instead of her.She attacks him and he fights her off but not before being stabbed. He fights her off by ripping her head off.

Then Katie comes back online. There are no traces of the fight and he isn’t injured at all. She tells him this shouldn’t have happened, that there is no physical sensation and he calls stop. He wants out of the game. Katie talks him through the house so he can find the access point. He reaches the door and opens it, though he feels that there is something behind it to mess with him. It appears to be a bedroom and he asks Katie where the access point is.

She tells him she was “fucking with him.” There is no access point. They wanted to test if he would blindly follow instructions and he did. Katie continues to question him and he discovers that the chip is overwriting his memories. He won’t remember himself soon enough. He’ll end up just like his dad.

Katie and lab techs rush in when he tries to cut the chip out. She tries to override it but she can’t. The tech won’t let her. It has destroyed his mind. The techs drag him away.

Cooper wakes up in the chair where the loaded the chip. He was only in the simulator for one second. None of his experience in the house was real. He takes the money and flies home. He sees his mother, who insists on calling him while he is sitting right there.

It’s a glitch in the system. He was never involved in the game at all. His phone caused interference when it rang before he even played the mole game. The chip short circuited his brain, causing all the synapses to fire at once and kill him.

I liked this episode but was terrified of it. I don’t do well with horror at all and this was choke full of it. It would probably do really well as the plot of a movie. Russell was amazing as Cooper, completely convincing as a terrified guy but if I never see anything like this again I’ll be okay with that.

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. The 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.