Black Mirror Be Right Back Review. Black Mirror: Season 2, Episode 1: Be Right Back was about grief and how it can effect the choices that people make. How grief is dealt with through technology was the central issue in this episode of Black Mirror.
Martha (Hayley Atwell)’s performance throughout the episode was the focus of the episode, and her responses to the drama were its anchor.
Technology capturing a person’s personality was an intriguing idea but it was done to greater effect in Caprica. Like Caprica, the recreated consciousness and personality was eventually transferred to a synthetic body yet the implications for such a process were never explored in Be Right Back.
How does society deal with dead personas being brought back to life and placed into bodies that never die? What if somebody did that with Hitler or Einstein? Personality and consciousness restoration could be harnessed and exploited to terrible effects if used by the wrong hands.
Soldier personalities could be placed into these synthetic bodies in lieu of real soldiers. A wealthy country with a small population could create a synthetic army and program it from the best soldiers and their experiences in the world.
This oversight is both the strength and flaw of Be Right Back: it introduces this interesting idea but contains it from the greater view, the world view.
Black Mirror: Season 1, Episode 1: The National Anthem did contain a world view while Black Mirror: Season 1, Episode 2: 15 Million Merits implied one and the viewer could extrapolate about the outside world from what was said. That was not present in Be Right Back.
When Martha decides that she does not want the Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) replicant, why didn’t she return it to the company she bought it from (probably one of the richest companies in the world with their synthetic skin break-through)? Was there an off button for the replicant?
Because of the replicant’s presence, instead of moving on, the replicant ensured that Martha would not.
Martha’s friend Sarah (Sinead Matthews) at the Ash’s wake, though trying to help with the online service, did Martha the greatest disservice she possibly could have. Sarah froze Martha in that moment in time, with Ash, forever.
Like a book written with forethought or one with good editing afterward, there are items at the beginning of Be Right Back that come into play at the end of the episode. One such element is the location where particular photos are stored.
Martha’s reluctance on the stairs leading into that storage area may not have been just because of what awaited her there. It may have also been because she remembered Ash’s story from the beginning of the episode and that she had done the same.
Be Right Back was a good episode for the series but it could have been so much better (along the lines of H+) if only more than one relationship had been considered during its writing.