Black Mirror Season 5: virtual relationships, a taxi gunman and a doll with a brain

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Black Mirror Season 5 provides us with new technology and allows us to take a glance into the dark mind of series creator Charlie Brooker.

Smithereens: the strongest of the trio sees a Uber-style taxi driver take an innocent intern hostage.

Black Mirror Season 5 has been a long time coming, with interactive movie Bandersnatch taking the usual season slot in late December. Black Mirror is a series that keeps on giving, with each new season providing us with exciting stories, characters with depth and the threat and impact of technology upon our lives now and in the future.

Warning: contains mild spoilers for the plot.

Striking Vipers: ★★★★

Striking Vipers was an exciting Black Mirror episode, reflecting the real-life impact virtual reality can have on a person’s life and their relationships. The episode follows a couple of friends who play a VR game called ‘Striking Vipers’, and although both in relationships the virtual reality tech paves way for them to start their own ‘sexual’ relationship (sounds strange I know). The ending was a typical Black Mirror powerful ending where both friends made compromises to their normal lives so that they could continue to use the technology.

Smithereens: ★★★★★

Smithereens, the most suspenseful episode of the trio, focuses around a man who kidnaps an employee of a social media company, and holds them at gunpoint until he can speak to the CEO of the company over the phone. Andrew Scott gives a brilliant and captivating performance as Chris Gillhaney and is the key to the success of this episode. His acting range allows for the audience to end up sympathising with the gunman rather than loathing him, which is a credit to the episode. Typical Black Mirror.

Sing Along with Ashley: a combination of the freakishly realistic technology and Miley Cyrus’ acting performance makes episode 3.

Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too: ★★★

Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too consists of popstar Ashley O (Miley Cyrus) releasing a doll that contains part of her brain and follows the star herself as she struggles with living the celebrity lifestyle. It also follows a girl called Rachel who relies on the doll to help her through her teens. The episode is lighter in tone in comparison to typical Black Mirror episodes, although it does consist of some darker undertones. The episode does lack an intense aspect and other than a twist midway through is fairly bland in story and character depth. Miley Cyrus’ performance however is the saving grace in this episode.

The Verdict:

Season 5 of Black Mirror provides all the parts of a typical season that we love – interesting stories, captivating performances and the frightening risk of technology. The smaller number of episodes this season has allowed for more interesting story telling and development of interesting individual stories that are all very different to what Black Mirror has seen before.


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