“I can sign you up”
Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror was one of the best three part series I had seen in 2011 when I watched it so it was no surprise that I was more than excited for this (hopefully same) mix of creepy imagery and emotional stories. This series kicked off in a very different way to series one’s The National Anthem in both tone and ideology. Where The National Anthem was a terrifying look at peer-pressure from Twitter and a satirical look at how it would affect the country Be Right Back tonight’s instalment and series 2 kick-starter was a lot tamer.
I don’t know if I have just become used to the show after the first series and so the creepy future ideas just don’t creep me out as much or if this was just a little lacklustre but the only way I was really effected by this episode was the character relationships rather than the idea itself. The designs for the technology were beautiful and I really want a phone, along with the majority of other tech she has in the episode in my life, it is the features like this that make the show feel way more complete than other attempts similar to this idea.
What is most strange in Be Right Back is how Brooker and the cast themselves help make this bizarre future feel and look believable to the audience and that is what makes the production on the show look so good in comparison to others. Domhnall Gleeson does well to give a severe amount of unease to the audience as the Ash replicant and the dead-behind-the-eyes emotionless copy really does enough to make you wonder what you would do. We feel the struggle Hayley Atwell faces in the episode through this where she obviously can’t live without him and we finally see this on ‘Lover’s Leap’ where she eventually can’t make a decision of what to do about the soulless replicant of her ex-boyfriend.
In some respects because of this I feel this episode looses a little respect as it almost feels like Brooker himself gave up trying to finish the story as it were with an ultimate twist or decision and in the end becomes Atwell’s character and sticks him in the attic because he can’t make a decision either. Unlike previous episodes there weren’t any consequences which I liked previously in series 1, there was a question of morality and if the concept was ‘right’ and should be played with and the idea itself of everything online being used after death to create another ‘you’ is a mind boggling and slightly sinister one but then nothing compared to the real sadness we saw in series one finale The Entire History of You where it all becomes so frustrating and emotional by the end that its just hard to watch.
This episode is a good watch and a long stretch ahead of most the mundane outputs on a lot of channels and it may seem I’m being harsh but I just have to compare it to the already very high standard set by series one and this just wasn’t ‘as good’ despite me ending up just imagining the pain the characters must go through as well as asking if I would do the same and I guess, the majority of people probably would no matter how twisted it seems.
Next week we see Lenora Crichlow take on a part in the dark future series and I hope we at least get the same level there but I am half expecting it to be much better despite the trailer giving very little away.