Black Mirror: San Junipero
October 26, 2016 7:12 AM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

In the resort town of San Junipero, two tourists meet and feel a connection. Shy Yorkie is scared of her feelings towards Kelly at first, and turns her down - then has second thoughts and returns to San Junipero to find Kelly again. But San Junipero is not your average resort town.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
And now for my personal comment - If y'all thought that Nosedive ended on a hopeful note you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

And I thought this was absolutely lovely. It not only handled a slow reveal of the nature of San Junipero, but it also balanced that with some great unfolding of the relationship between Kelly and Yorkie.

And who'da thunk it, I now get a warm fuzzy over Belinda Carlisle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 AM on October 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


Best episode of the season, and I think if Charlie made a movie out of this, he could have easily sneaked in a Best Original Screenplay nom. I hope Netflix submits this one for the Emmys, because he totally deserves it.
posted by lmfsilva at 7:33 AM on October 26, 2016 [8 favorites]


It was beyond lovely.

I watched this one to clear my brain after noping out of playtest, and it was the perfect antidote. What I didn't realize was that san junipero was maybe supposed to be the antidote for both playtest AND shut up and dance.
posted by mochapickle at 7:39 AM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really liked Mackenzie Davis's costume and styling in this episode, possibly more than I liked her styling in Halt and Catch Fire.
posted by theraflu at 8:06 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


The episode is also going over big in the LGBTQ community ("wait, it's not just a same-sex relationship, but it's a bi-racial one? AND one of the characters is bi? AND they get a happily-ever-after? HOT DAMN!")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on October 26, 2016 [20 favorites]


It's worth considering whether "your soul is now an asset of the TCKR Corporation" is actually a happy ending.
posted by theodolite at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2016 [18 favorites]


Black Mirror typically makes me feel incredibly anxious so my husband watches it when I'm not home, but I happened to be in the room when he started this episode and I was immediately pulled in. I loved it unabashedly. I kept waiting for something terrible to happen - for one of them to be a dude in real life, or some kind of sexual violence, or something. Instead I got hope and a happy ending. (Even then I was looking - you can't see the little sensor things on Kelly's head when she dies, does that mean she didn't go to San Junipero and Yorkie just created Kelly for herself the way you can change your clothes?)
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2016


Yeah, but assuming there is no afterlife, "your soul is now an asset of the TCKR Corporation" seems like a decent alternative to oblivion. Even when they inevitably someday shut down the server farm, at least you had some time to enjoy and explore things you didn't get to in life.

(I am aggressively pushing away the idea that this tech is related to the White Christmas cookies and turning off the simulation could lead to a conscious eternity of nothingness. Nope nope nope, these people got a happy ending and nothing will go wrong.)
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:29 AM on October 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


Even then I was looking - you can't see the little sensor things on Kelly's head when she dies, does that mean she didn't go to San Junipero and Yorkie just created Kelly for herself the way you can change your clothes?

But you do see a moment during the credits when there's that "chemical going through tubes into the arm" moment again, like there was with Yorkie.

Although - I should add that I initially read your comment as a speculation that Kelly had created a copy of herself, and sent the copy to go live in San Junipero with Yorkie. Which would have also been a lovely outcome - the "real her" dies the way she had agreed with her husband that she would do, but the copy is there to make Yorkie, her late-in-life love, happy as well. Both the marriage to the husband and the marriage to Yorkie mattered, and it would be a way to acknowledge them both.

But the fact that we're speculating about things on such a high character-development level is itself bloody fantastic.

I realized just now that there are literally no bad guys in this whole episode. No one we meet does anything maliciously - the worst thing that happens is that Kelly blows off that guy Wes, but even there it's not an intentional snub, she just wants to keep things light, and she's up-front about that. We're set up to dislike Yorkie's "fiance", but then we find out that he's a really good guy who's trying to help her. Literally everyone we meet here is a regular person with a complicated backstory who is trying to do the best they can given their issues, and that is profoundly human.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:34 AM on October 26, 2016 [42 favorites]


I didn't think you could sum up "2002" with a single font but boy was I wrong
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on October 26, 2016 [22 favorites]


Such a great episode!

the "real her" dies the way she had agreed with her husband that she would do, but the copy is there to make Yorkie

I thought something like this would happen when she crashed her Jeep and woke up with Yorkie right there, but then it turned midnight and she disappeared to go back to the home. Tease!

The director of this episode, Owen Harris, also directed the episode "Be Right Back" (previously).
posted by rhizome at 9:50 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


The director of this episode, Owen Harris, also directed the episode "Be Right Back" (previously).

That makes sense, I always cry during that one too. The scene at the lover's leap when the lady screams 'NOOOOOOO'.

I knew from the beginning that it wasn't the 80's. The future-shock horror scenario where you miss the bus to the exam because you DOUBLED your tetris high score? Not so compelling. At the bar, the glasses are fake, and Yorkie explains she doesn't need them, they just make her more comfortable. Shortly before the dressing room montage where she tries out a bunch of new looks to impress Kelly, but ultimately decides on a less 'Amish' version. Little hints here and there. Later on we see you can just snap your fingers and be in a wedding gown. I would be married to so many pizzas if that were possible. The illusion is broken by that point however.

The best portrayal of the importance of same-sex marriage I've ever seen. I want to make every hold-out watch it Clockwork Orange style. You have to show me. I want this more than anything but I don't know how! How awful it must have been for same-sex couples when it was illegal. It still is here. 'You have to show me' made me think that maybe Yorkie was really a guy exploring their own gender and sexuality.

The romance was beautiful.

The 'eternity together' optimism is a lovely thought, but holds the same flaws as cryogenics. I presume 'eternity' means until your bank account runs dry. Or maybe you have to enlist as an extra to pay your way. That could turn into a Groundhogs Day scenario. Though they did mention you could make it stop. But who is 'you' anyhow? A massive datadump? And I know from experience that data isn't immortal. Ask any CD you bought in the Ei ei ei ei ei ei ei ei ei ei eighties.

Through watery eyes I saw this one was written by Charlie. Dust off the mantelpiece Brooker, you're going to need room for an Emmy.
posted by adept256 at 12:04 AM on October 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Although - I should add that I initially read your comment as a speculation that Kelly had created a copy of herself, and sent the copy to go live in San Junipero with Yorkie.

I think the bigger question is if there is any difference between the two. Materialism says no.

The strangest takeaway for me is how hopeful people seem to think this ending is; I find it just as horrifying. What happens when the corporation gets bought out? If there's a bug/virus that turns it into White Christmas? No thank you Charlie. Give me oblivion & sweet dreamless sleep.
posted by iamck at 1:39 PM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The episode is also going over big in the LGBTQ community ("wait, it's not just a same-sex relationship, but it's a bi-racial one? AND one of the characters is bi? AND they get a happily-ever-after? HOT DAMN!")

Which probably makes it even more meaningful that the soundtrack included a sample from Meshell Mdegeocello's song "Nova" (currently being used as the theme song to OWN's new drama, Queen Sugar).

I really liked Mackenzie Davis's costume and styling in this episode, possibly more than I liked her styling in Halt and Catch Fire.

I laughed as soon as I realized where I recognized her from. Hope she's not afraid of getting typecast!
posted by fuse theorem at 1:47 PM on October 27, 2016


I listen to SF short fiction podcasts sometimes while falling asleep, and seem to remember one with this basic story. Probably in Escape Pod or Lightspeed. Or perhaps I'm having some twisted and appropriate deja vu?
posted by joeyh at 2:14 PM on October 27, 2016


This was my least favourite episode for fully half the running time, but then got good and then got better and better and better.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:20 PM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


From Charlie Brooker on Twitter:
Kind of distraught no-one’s noticed the cheeky placement of the arcade game 'Time Crisis' in San Junipero yet.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:09 AM on October 28, 2016 [11 favorites]


What a complete mood shift from Shut Up and Dance.

Turbid Dahlia- Exactly my feelings. At first, I was thinking "This is very slow, and there's not much technology", but then I fell in love with Kelly and Yorkie and the whole concept of the time travelling afterlife. Plus there's an actual lesbian and an actual bisexual in an interracial love story.

I kept waiting for the cruel twist and then it never came.

San Junipero fits in with my (non-technological) beliefs in the afterlife.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:31 PM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, lovely. Surely this should be up for a Hugo next year, shenanigans or not.

It's funny the way Charlie had to go all dark to basically get some decent science fiction on TV.

And my wife says this one is very like 90s anime, if you're interested. And that she apparently almost bought a Dance Dance Revolution platform.

But, yes, lovely.
posted by Grangousier at 1:24 PM on October 28, 2016


> The 'eternity together' optimism is a lovely thought, but holds the same flaws as cryogenics. I presume 'eternity' means until your bank account runs dry. Or maybe you have to enlist as an extra to pay your way. That could turn into a Groundhogs Day scenario. Though they did mention you could make it stop. But who is 'you' anyhow? A massive datadump? And I know from experience that data isn't immortal.

We've already had a number of episodes that play a lot with perceived time in simulations — mainly thinking the Christmas episode — so I think the conceptual apparatus is in place for understanding the San Juniperans as having a phenomenological experience of immortality even if the underlying data in itself can decay.

Skepticism about the hope that humans may be able to some day fix death is so baked into our culture that it feels very liberating to watch a well-crafted story where we beat the old fucker, or at least hold it back for a good long time, where everyone gets to be young and happy and free and in love for as long as they want, that it's not all obliterated at the end, and where moreover it's good that we've made all this possible.

It doesn't matter that cigarettes don't taste right and it doesn't matter that it's really all happening on a tiny button in a data center. It really doesn't. It's easy to imagine worlds where the products of our intelligence go horribly awry — after all, we're living in one of those worlds.

But it's important to imagine how we might use our intelligence to produce wondrous joy.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:22 PM on October 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


okay and also can I just rave a little while about how great a name "San Junipero" is?
  • It's totally plausible as the name for a Californian town...
  • ... but also sort of not. Junipero Serra was only recently made a saint, and so naming the town San Junipero gives the place a sense of not just unreality but also ahistoricality.
  • But also, the stretch of Interstate 280 that runs down the San Francisco peninsula and through Silicon Valley is called the Junipero Serra Freeway, and there's just a ton of other things in the area named after Junipero Serra, and so on a sorta intradiegetic level it totally makes sense that "San Junipero" would be a name that a Silicon Valley tech firm would reach for when trying to figure out what to call their imaginary city.
agh. I can't get over this episode. I expect I'll have "Heaven is a Place on Earth" stuck in my head for the foreseeable future...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:15 AM on October 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


And Juniper trees are evergreens.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:26 AM on November 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


Charlie's made a Spotify playlist to go with the episode - does this link work?. I guess you have to be logged in to listen to it, though.
posted by Grangousier at 12:25 PM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the first episode this season I full on LOVED. Oh I loved it so much. It was also the first episode where I was upset when the credits started rolling. I was like "NO NO IT IS NOT OVER NO." That is the hallmark of great TV. I would easily and happily watch a feature film length version of that.

Oh so many feels. As someone who is mobility impaired, York's pleasure (particularly dipping her toes in the rain early on) was something I immediately picked up on. It was something I connected with and thought was a beautiful part of a stunning story-partly because not only was it "an actual lesbian and an actual bisexual in an interracial love story" but also an actual disabled lesbian. Kudos Brooker.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:29 PM on November 3, 2016 [15 favorites]


Just to add a little to YCTAB's point about how great the name San Junipero is, junipers are not only evergreen, but incredibly long lived. There are junipers in the Sierras that are over 3000 years old. Also, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought of Juniper Networks. Uploaded to the cloud, sounds like Heaven.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:10 PM on November 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


If, during this episode, you wondered about whether a person who's been uploaded to San Junipero post-death is really still a person and not just a simulation of that person, then here are some interesting Wiki articles on that exact philosophical problem.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:16 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here are a few bitter chasers for anybody who found this episode a little too hopeful:

Welcome to Life - the singularity, ruined by lawyers

"New Hope for the Dead," by David Langford
posted by Rhaomi at 7:38 PM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, wow, count me among those mystified by how anyone could ever find this episode hopeful. Seriously, heaven is just like Earth, but without children or old people? Just a shitty soft-focus actualization of whatever desires or nostalgic memories you already have? Presumably no science except the science you know already, no books except the ones you've already read (if you make your environment with your mind, where would the external information come from?), no animals or plants except whatever half-assed versions you can create out of your own memories? Nothing outside yourself to learn or know or work for or be challenged by, just "having fun" videogame-style?

Where there's apparently no way out to any sort of wider world? (Kelly tries this after the fight, but finds the road blocked.)

Where you can spend eternity switching off between club-dancing (to a conspicuously looping soundtrack)**, driving back and forth in your car, trying on new outfits, and sitting on a shell-less beach by an ocean that leads nowhere? Where the one thing offered in compensation is the opportunity to wallow forever in limerence, the exact part of a relationship where you know the least about the person you're with?

I thought Kelly's speech at the 3/4 mark was a pretty convincing indictment of the whole enterprise ("like those people at the Quagmire, trying anything just to feel something"), and was looking forward to Booker busting out some new argument or twist that'd resolve everything. Still can't figure out whether the rom-com ending was the show backing away from its own realizations, or a next-level dark commentary on how, realistically, if it were available we'd totally all be cowardly enough to choose that hell rather than actually face up to death.

**The song conspicuously repeated was "Lean on Me", which seemed important. In this world, you're not leaning on anybody, you're just choosing playmates to have fun with for however long you feel like it. And this is "lovely"?
posted by Bardolph at 4:34 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Presumably no science except the science you know already, no books except the ones you've already read (if you make your environment with your mind, where would the external information come from?)

....Where exactly is it that you think books come from here? They come from inside people's minds here too, so for someone who always wanted time to write their own book, and unlimited resources to publish it, San Junipero is probably crawling with options for new books. And movies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:46 AM on November 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


You're right, I guess there would be plenty of fanfiction and memoirs. But don't books of science and philosophy and history and math-- and even good novels and poetry-- all involve some amount of disciplined contact with the hard edges of things, outside the author's private wishes and desires? In an entirely volitional universe, I don't see how you'd get much literature worth reading. Seems more like it'd be more like hanging out on a Greyhound on a long trip: people are happy to endlessly share their own stories, but it's seldom a pleasant experience for the listener.

I actually got the impression that the lack of real sharing or contact between the inhabitants of San Junipero was an inbuilt feature of the system. Otherwise, wouldn't you immediately have slippery-sloping conflicts down to a Hobbesian condition of nasty mutual antipathy? Like, in a world where Jane can only be happy by people reading and liking her book, but Jim demands the right to not read Jane's book, how do we keep Jane away from Jim's doorstep? For that matter, what now happens to that broken-hearted dude from earlier in the episode that was seemingly hunting for Kelly across the decades? He desperately wants to be with her; she doesn't want him, and now she lives there full-time. Who enforces her liberty, or stops him from pursuing her?

I remember reading a similar afterlife fantasy where this problem was solved by just allowing people to move away from each other when they got in each other's way, with the result that the entire world was this nearly-empty diffuse infinity of atomized individuals who had mutually quarrelled and moved on. But within the closed world of San Junipero, I don't see how you'd solve it unless the system is designed so people mostly just focus on dancing and don't allow themselves to think too hard about things.
posted by Bardolph at 5:22 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Obviously if you subscribe to the Afterlife Premium Season Pass you'll have access to new books, movies, and music created in the outside world and licensed for use in Afterlife.

He desperately wants to be with her; she doesn't want him, and now she lives there full-time. Who enforces her liberty, or stops him from pursuing her?


Didn't they specifically reference a way of blocking someone? Like "are you going to Red Button me?!" or something. I can't remember the exact term but it implied you can block someone from contacting/seeing you.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:39 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously, heaven is just like Earth, but without children or old people?

And without being locked-in or comatose. And without being controlled and limited by your next of kin who hate you for what you are. And being able to talk to people who aren't medical workers or your family that despises you.

Presumably no science except the science you know already, no books except the ones you've already read (if you make your environment with your mind, where would the external information come from?), no animals or plants except whatever half-assed versions you can create out of your own memories?

I don't see any reason to presume these things. There's no indication that the residents make the environment from their minds, only that they can change clothes instantly. If they were making the environment themselves, you'd expect it to appear as a hazy, always-shifting dreamscape instead of as a more or less fully-realized town that seems consistent from one visit to the next. There's no indication that they do or do not have institutionalized access to external information, but even if they don't have virtual tvs that can tune to real-world channels and virtual bookshelves with external books they can still talk to visitors and learn about what's new that way, and just-as-presumably-with-no-evidence-at-all demand new things of the system.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:45 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


The SJ principle as I see it is that these people can hop around not to different years in general, but to specific times in their own lives. Presumably, children would be restricted to more recent years and the elderly would choose years further back in their own past than someone in their 20s.

The thing about Kelly's speech is that it doesn't account for Yorkie having been a quadriplegic for 40 years and comatose (I forget if they mention for how long), and thus probably a bit hungry for "just feeling something." Yorkie is in the unique position of being able to visit years during which she was alive, but not able to experience them.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on November 25, 2016


Spotify users: San Junipero Soundtrack
posted by rhizome at 11:20 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, we're all agreed that the giant bicycle powerplant from "15 Million Merits" is maintaining what's left of the TCKR Corporation's afterlife datacenter, right?

As well as standing alone perfectly on its own merits, I think this episode highlights the possibilities in an anthology series that keeps revisiting the same themes in similar but distinct ways. It allows us to ask the question: What makes "San Junipero" a happy episode when "White Christmas" was such a nightmare?

Well, it's how people are using the tech. Give the tech to people who see others as tools to be exploited? Yeah, you get a dystopia. Give (almost) the same tech to people who want to humanely solve elder care problems? It's quite nice, actually.

So much about Black Mirror is about the evil things that can be done with technology. It's only fair to have one episode out of the whole bloody mess that shows some of the good as well.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:17 PM on April 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


This is how ridiculous I am: I think I'm going to make watching the San Junipero episode an Easter tradition.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:02 AM on April 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


Challenge accepted. This time, next year. Fanfare, be there.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:48 AM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Next year in San Junipero.

wait that's Passover, not Easter...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:14 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I see what you did there.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:20 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is how ridiculous I am: I think I'm going to make watching the San Junipero episode an Easter tradition.

If you want to do this as an Easter tradition whatcha need to do is start with Good Friday and watch "The Entire History of You" and "White Christmas."

In all seriousness, part of what gives San Junipero power is that it's not a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode, it's a Black Mirror episode. So of course you spend the whole episode wondering how this is going to turn bad or what awful thing it's going to be revealed as or how Kelly is going to use the system to torture Yorkie but... nope. Just this once, nope.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:55 PM on April 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


it is so weird to have finally found religion. especially because I found it in a television show about too much phones.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:37 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


As iamck mentioned above, true to Black Mirror's basic theme of the pitfalls of technology, I think there is a much darker story lurking around the edges of the lovely romance here. Specifically, a terminally ill patient and a paraplegic person are both convinced to allow themselves to be euthanized, saving someone (their insurance company?) a huge amount of money.
The company uses the sales technique of allowing people to trial this VR world for up to 5 hours a week. The reason given in the show for the 5-hour limit is because spending more time in VR would cause people to blur VR and reality. This really sounds like little more than a lie by the company, to get people to fall in love with the artificial world through weekly short trials, then coerce them into giving up their corporeal body if they want to experience more.
posted by bakerybob at 9:33 PM on May 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


Great points, bakerybob. I thought similarly, which is why I continue to love this episode long after I've seen it several times. I am utterly swept up in the story, but the backside of this is very, very dark — these elderly, intersectional characters literally sell their souls to a data centre; daily transactions, units of sale. The episode scans to me like the fictionalised movie version of the Tucker Corporation; I shudder to think of what their company prospectus looks like.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:05 AM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wait, what do you mean "terminal illness"? She wasn't terminally ill, she was just...nearly 80 or whatever. And she was insisting right up until the very, very end that she wasn't going to upload herself after death because she didn't want to turn into one of the people who went to that other goth club because eternity was getting boring.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 AM on May 2, 2017


To me, the plot/dialogue heavily suggested that she had cancer and only a few months more to live.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:40 AM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not even suggested, she says outright that she only has a few months left.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:57 AM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


This episode has been nominated for 2 Emmys - Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special.
posted by unliteral at 5:24 PM on July 13, 2017 [4 favorites]


Has anyone thought about the economics of the San Junipero virtual world? I assume it's along the lines of blue_beetle's aphorism that If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

Is it also possible that TCKR harvests the creative product of its citizens? Are there limits to what you can change in that world?

It also made me wonder what happens if TCKR changes the terms and conditions on them. What are your choices? Accept or oblivion.

Also: here it comes!
posted by Start with Dessert at 7:17 PM on September 5, 2017


The "tourists" seem to regard the "locals" as NPCs, more or less. So the economic angle is that the "locals" contribute to the atmosphere of the town and provide interactive opportunities for tourists who come alone. So, in a way, they are harvesting the creative product of the "locals", because otherwise TCKR would have to hire writers and programmers to implement all those interactions.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:13 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just noticed that this info was not captured: San Junipero received two Emmy nominations, one for Best Writing and one for Best TV Movie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


What I was trying to get at is the intellectual property angle. What are the limits to what you can change in that world? If I create some art, does the corporation get to exploit that back in the real world? Would I even know if it was being used that way back in the real world? Would I care? TCKR is basically banking creative human output on a massive scale.

Why are people choosing a virtual reality? Could they choose to have their consciousness uploaded to a robot instead so they can continue to exist and interact in the real world?
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:44 PM on September 7, 2017


Just noticed that this info was not captured: San Junipero received two Emmy nominations, one for Best Writing and one for Best TV Movie.

Heaven Is A Place Where ‘Black Mirror: San Junipero’ Wins All The Emmys
posted by homunculus at 9:09 PM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I didn't like the first two episodes of the series, so I've not been watching, but I watched this tonight because of the Emmy win.

Wow. I loved it. Got tears in my eyes.

There are a number of alarming implications, but I prefer to see it optimistically.

Giving people prosthetic bodies of some sort might be prohibitively expense compared to just bits. Still, they definitely ought to be able to interact with the outside world and this could be just a transitory thing, a post-biodeath time-out and adjustment period before joining the greater society as a VR-hosted person. That's what I'd like to think. Also, eventually the people are productive in various ways and this pays for the service of hosting them. As opposed to, um, being the product.

I'm inclined to think this is the way we'll eventually go, anyway, assuming we make it long enough to develop a long-term viable version of such technology. I'd like to think that an optimistic future such as suggested by a generous reading of this episode is possible.

No one has pointed out that her reasoning about not passing over wasn't that she didn't believe it was real, or even because of her husband's decision, but rather because it wouldn't be fair to their daughter, who never had that opportunity. That's basically true for all of us about a lot of things, but I am certain that this is a common feeling of guilt by surviving parents of children who've died. It makes sense that a possible form of immortality would feel to a parent like the worst version of this.

As far as I'm concerned, as soon as the decision was made to frame this around a lesbian relationship, as opposed to the same second-chance story about two men, they absolutely had to have a happy ending. It would have been infuriating otherwise.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:08 AM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ivan: Charlie Brooker has actually said that the episode was initially going to be a cis het relationshp, and they switched it to this in a later draft. He hasn't said anything about why, but from the sense I get, they didn't really have a reason, it was just "well, why not?"

Which makes it even better, to my mind.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:45 AM on September 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Only recently got on Netflix, so I've been watching the series, and this was next up (and I noted the Emmy win just yesterday) ... wow.

I found it slightly disingenuous how everybody was conscious of the reality of SJ, but nobody mentioned it (although a Tomato Surprise in the right hands still works). I can't wait to watch it again. And note the fonts/video games.

Yorkie said she'd never been on a dance floor. Of course not!

And the robots screwing in the personal experience units to the datacentre at the end were just the reminder that, yes, you are still watching Black Mirror: we control the vertical, we control the horizontal, we pluck the heartstrings, but only occasionally.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:04 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Y'all, I've discovered a new favorite genre or Youtube videos - LGBT women reacting to this episode.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:57 PM on September 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


And this is just cute:

There's a couple who were excited about the episode because they were also a same-sex, interracial couple. But after seeing it, they realized that they also sort of looked like Yorkie and Kelly.

See for yourself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 AM on September 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


Wow, that's pretty uncanny! At least they've got their Halloween costumes sorted out for the next couple of years.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:08 AM on September 25, 2017




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