Netflix’s Black Mirror Season 5 touches new elements like gender fluidity, social media acting as dopamine for us and last but the best episode touches celebrity independence issues in the best way possible.
The first episode, Striking Vipers, is diaphanous but efficacious. It shows the story of two college friends Karl and Danny who meet after eleven years on Danny’s birthday. They used to play an online game together, which has now become a totally immersive online game, where you can feel every sensation in real-life through online avatars, even the orgasms. Danny is a successful family man and Danny was enjoying his life by getting laid with a younger woman. But Karl knew that this isn’t permanent. He was acting like a playboy but all he wanted someone was to actually love him. After weird sex between Karl and Danny in the first game, they started enjoying this virtual orgasm thing. Slowly, the real life is lifeless for them and the online-life is the only thing they enjoy. But this started affecting there real life commitments and relationships.
This episode is one of those which fall under the vulnerable yet hard-hitting category. It doesn’t have an emotional impact nor it aims to move you by heart, the only motive of such episode is to make you see the possibilities of the future or target the well-established credences of the current time. The pursuit is to show you the great idea rather thinking about whether you got affected by it or not.
Anthony Mackie as Danny is brilliant but Yahya Abdul as Karl steals the show.
The second episode, Smithereens, is the only weak episode among the lot. Predictable, with no major twist and turns whatsoever. The only good thing about the episode is Andrew Scott’s performance or probably this episode was only made to show how strong this Moriarty can be in other roles as well.
The plot is set around grieving man, trying to calm down his mind and searching people who work under this Twitter-like app headquarters, only so he can find someone from the company and force them to make a call to the owner of the company.
Though weak and shorter in premise, the episode still highlights a few points which we can still feel in our time and that is ignorance, people today are so consumed in their social life and care about everything only for a moment and shuts the door of general humanity after the incident gets over. Also, it highlights the rising dependence of general compassion on artificial intelligence, these days.
The final episode, Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too is well-paced and certainly the best episode of this season. It has got all elements of a dreamy teen drama like - a shy girl with no friends and is fancied by the celebrity and everything shown on media. A sister who likes to play rock music because her mother used to love vintage rock bands, a father investing his major time in finding the life-changing discovery in the field of rodent-free science. And a pop-star who is dissatisfied by her music but forced to continue the same genre just because it fetches more money. Miley Cyrus, the singer and former child star who become famous by playing the character of Miley Stewart, regular schoolgirl in the morning and a sensational singer by night in Disney’s Hannah Montana. Ashley is dominated by her aunt to make catchy pop songs according to the trend only rather than concentrating on improving her art. Now the episode is all about how a shy teen with a malfunctioned AI doll and a badass sister saves a celebrity.
Her aunt launches AI doll with the help of Ashley whose motive is to make you more connected to the life of Ashley. But what it really does is that it estranges you from the people around you. Also, it forces you to ruminate about the hidden realities of celebrities and question their fumigated images in front of the world. Miley Cyrus gives an outstanding performance by portraying a celebrity who is striving in between depression and subversion. Angourie Rice as a shy and delicate teen gives a top-notch performance.
All things said, Black Mirror Season 5 by Charlie Brooker touches convincing unique ideas. Every episode has a different agenda and effect on your mind. Also, the creators have taken a more convincing road to developing characters and the premise first, rather than scaring the shit out of you by showing some random technology upgrade through the dystopian theme of the show. Some of the episodes of different seasons feel a bit rushed sometimes but this time Charlie has used the perfect combination of story development and time usage.
Acting - 4 / 5.
Direction - 3.5 / 5.
Script - 4 / 5.
Cinematography - 4 / 5.
Background Score - 3.5 / 5.
FINAL VERDICT - 4 / 5.