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Monday, November 21, 2016

Black Mirror Season 3, Episode 4: "San Junipero" and A Different Side of Black Mirror

Image result for san junipero black mirror
Season 3, Episode 4: "San Junipero"
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mackenzie Davis, Denise Burse
Created By: Charlie Booker
Network: Netflix
Rating: A+

My Thoughts:
San Juniperois an episode that seemingly suggests that Black Mirror
may be taking a brighter, more optimistic route. However, If you're merely
 looking at the San Junipero's upbeat, technicolor, exterior then you 
haven't fully understood what the episode was trying to say. Black Mirror
has had a constant M.O throughout the course of its last two seasons and
 it is that technology and humanity do not mix well. Typically in each episode,
 we learn more and more about the world around us from these surprisingly
 bleak, fictional situations, but this time things seem to be different, even if 
not by much. What's different is that this episode feels real. This episode gives 
you a clear view into what it looks like to be in love in today's times, even though
 it's set in many different time periods, because love is universal. It's the same
 regardless of where you're from, who you are and what you do. 

 Unlike any of the other episodes of the season, this episode is more about
 real life than the technology. The technological aspect is omnipresent, 
which is what you'd expect from an episode of Black Mirror, but it is not what
 drives a majority of the story like a many of the other episodes. This episode
 is more of a portrait of real life than the other episodes and it's built off of 
some basic existential questions we've probably asked ourselves once or twice.
 They're questions like:  What happens after we die? Is there a heaven? Is 
there a God? Is there chance for me to live for eternity or will I be swallowed 
by an abyss upon death? These questions are terrifying to most and are
 quite mind-shattering at best, but every time we hear about someone dying
 or go to a funeral, these are the kinds of things running through our brains 
until we can find something else to think about, but as for our two leads, it 
is all they can they think about.

This episode follows the story of two young women, Yorkie and 
Kelly, (Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who fall in love one 
night at a bar in a city called San Junipero. Over the course of their 
relationship, they do things a normal couple would do like fight, only to make
 up until they eventually fight again. But things never seem to get stale, 
especially after we find out that San Junipero doesn't actually exist. San 
Junipero is actually a virtual reality experience that offers people the ability 
to live after they've passed away. Both Kelly and Yorkie are simply testing the 
system out before it's their time to pass over, though Kelly still has her doubts
 about the system even though it's almost her time to go. Yorkie, on the the 
other hand, is ready to stay in San Junipero for the rest of her life and wishes 
Kelly would come with her, but, again, Kelly still has her doubts about choosing
 to stay in this world while her late husband and daughter are possibly floating
around in some dark abyss, as they both didn't get the opportunity to live in
 San Junipero. So Kelly's dilemma is this: should she die and stay in San Junipero
 with the woman she loves or does she die and wait for what happens next, 
even though it could possibly end up being nothing? Black Mirror constantly 
stresses the idea that technology can and is able to affect our own humanity
 to the point of no return, but here, it does the opposite. 

It points out that technology can be used to bond people together, as San
 Junipero acts as a paradise where different people come from across the
 world to live our the rest of eternity. It's not supposed to be about 
bringing people together, but technology has a way of building 
connections without ever meaning to. However, it's only a matter of time 
before our humanity begins to affect the relationships we've built. 
At the beginning of the episode, it's 1987 when Kelly and Yorkie meet
 and the setting, the cinematography, the music and costuming are all 
perfectly set to emulate that time period. During their first talk, it's suggested that something happens at midnight and once midnight comes around the screen
 goes black and a title card informs us that a week has gone by. Clues like 
this remind us that we aren't dealing with a simple love story even 
before Yorkie begins hopping through time to find Kellyafter they sleep 
together. But even so, the story still doesn't focus on the
 time-hopping or the any other futuristic elements. It focuses on two lovers
 and the eventual existential crisis that not only they will have to face, but 
we as well. While the episode does dig deep into those existential themes, 
it digs deeper  into what it really means to be in love.

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