My Love-Hate Relationship with “Black Mirror”

Marcus Witherspoon ’20, Opinion Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story


“Okay what the f**k?!” is the general phrase that comes to mind after I finish an episode of “Black Mirror”, the Netflix original series. Described as “chilling” and “mind-bending,” although I think “f**ked up” and “dear God why?” are more fitting descriptions, the show focuses on specific cases in which advances in technology push the limits of human ethics. Some of these advances are virtual reality games that physically feel real, blackmail through hacked computer cameras, devices that allow consciences to be implemented in other people’s consciences, being able to essentially bring back people from the dead by using their social media and physical appearance to learn what they were like and upload it to a fresh body that updates constantly, and implementing a chip in someone’s head that allows a person to track them and see what they see and be able to censor things. Crazy sh*t right? The show usually has you rooting for someone or just feeling terrible for them, and eventually takes a hard left and destroys your emotions.

In the episode where virtual reality games feel real, you’re rooting for this guy who’s testing the product because he needs money to go back home. The game is going fine and you think it’s fine right? Dead wrong! This man’s mom calls him while the testing is happening, messes up the signals in his brain, and is dead in .04 seconds. G*dd*mn it Netflix! The whole episode he was ignoring her calls and wanted to go home to see her, but no. Got to get the body bag ready. How about the episode where there’s blackmail? Poor Kenny gets blackmailed by a random number saying they saw him masturbating through his computer camera. Big yikes. The whole episode the kid is given ridiculous orders to follow including robbing a bank and having to fight a man to the death, only to learn that he was looking at pictures of little kids. WHAT THE F**K KENNY! I was rooting for you and now I have to write an explicit email to the writers of “Black Mirror” to give me my hope for humanity back.

But all the episodes can’t be that bad right? How about this. A man’s wife is in a coma and he has the ability to upload her conscience to his own so she can see, feel, and hear what he does. Aw how nice, she can live again! Hard left. She starts nagging and he wants to get her out of his head, so he upgrades to a pause mode and un-pauses her on the weekends so she can see their son. It works for a little until it doesn’t and guess what, they take her conscience and put in it a f**king teddy bear and give it to the kid. Now she is trapped in a G*dd*mn Build-A-Bear that the kid eventually gets tired of like all toys and she (the bear) ends up in museum, forgotten. Oh, c’mon man! You take someone out of coma and give them life again only to eternally f**k them over by putting them in a bear that will never see the light of day again. I’m going to skip the one where a wife brings her dead husband back via a new body with social media/picture uploading because it is just so G*dd*mn f**king depressing. And the final example. Imagine your child goes missing when they’re young and it makes you think about a tracking device? Okay not too weird. Now take that device and let it be able to have you see what your child sees. Oh boy. What is privacy you ask? It’s a foreign concept at this point. When her daughter is young, the monitoring is not too crazy because she’s so innocent and learning the ways of the world. Now imagine this. You’re a mom or dad and chilling on the couch with a nice cup of whatever and you think, “Hmm let me see what my 15-year-old daughter is doing.” NOPE. In this episode, mom tunes in and sees her daughter mid-f**k with an older guy named Trick (also terrible). Dear God, why? Tune in again in about a week and you see her snorting lines with Trick. Nice. Good. Mom also find out daughter is pregnant (because the device can do that too because you know, “Black Mirror”), slips her a pregnancy termination pill, daughter finds out, beats the s**t out of mom with the device, and runs away. At this point I don’t know what parenting is, but I know I never want to have a kid.

All in all, “Black Mirror” is a fantastic show even though it makes me question technology and the ethics that come along with it. Are we advancing for the betterment of society or will we be plunged into a tech crazy world where values, ethics, and compassion are tossed out the window? I don’t know the answer, and frankly I hope I’m not around to find out. However, you can make your own judgements while watching the show.

Happy binge watching.