Black Mirror: Season 3 Review
Netflix‘s Black Mirror: Season 3 was the best season of the TV anthology series thus far. It didn’t contain all of the strongest episodes for the series thus far but it contained many of them.
Black Mirror Nosedive Review
The aptly named first episode of Season 3 of Black Mirror was the third best episode of the season. When Nosedive was establishing itself and while Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) social networked, Nosedive treaded water. When Lacie and Naomie (Alice Eve) interacted, Nosedive began to come into its own.
The height of those interactions was when Alice Eve ripped the veil off her true intention behind her marriage invention and how the both of them would have been using each other that day. During that interaction, Naomie revealed herself to be the same person that Lacie’s brother reviled.
Because of how social networking and identity (like in Dave Eggers’ The Circle) were intertwined in Nosedive‘s society, everyone was fake nice and pretentious to one another. Everyone lived in fear of being socially marked down. They were all living in a nightmare of their making. Their two choices in that society: 1.) go along, and 2.) live on the fringes of society, off the social grid (a “2” or below). Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat-satire do not get better or more hellish than in Nosedive.
Howard’s most grueling acting moment and Lacie’s most infamous scene was the wedding speech. Howard played Lacie during that moment as though Lacie had become unhinged. Lacie was barely recognizable from the employed, sane, and upwardly-mobile person that she had been at the beginning of Nosedive.
A version of the social world in Nosedive is coming. Nosedive may be a warning against that perilous path. If it was a warning, it was a rather effective one.
Black Mirror Playtest Review
Playtest was the weakest episode of the third season of Black Mirror. Though Cooper (Wyatt Russell) was charismatic, goofy, and sympathetic, no real emotional connection to him was established. The viewer simply watched him and his misadventures. They didn’t have any reaction to him, even when he died.
One would think that the game developers would tell their test subjects that there was a risk of death with what they were about to experience. Not in Playtest.
The high-point of Playtest was when Cooper was isolated in a house on the game developers’ campus. During these sequences, Playtest, for a time, became a multi-room play. In that, the episode was successful (especially when Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen) showed up). Where the episode failed was that it didn’t take the Sonja build-up to a successful crescendo. Instead, the episode down-shifted with her disappearance and never up shifted again.