Black Mirror – Be Right Back Review

Well, I told you I’d be right back, and here we are with the second season already! I tell you though, UK series tend to be pretty short compared to any US series. But we’re starting off with this belter of an episode.

We have a couple that is a focal point of the series – Martha and her social media-addicted boyfriend Ash. They’re in the car, singing If I Can’t Have You by Yvonne Elliman which, now looking back on this episode, is basically forewarning for the events later on in the episode. Clever stuff!

While they’re moving into their home, you have to wonder what kind of technology is going to impact their lives, and it doesn’t seem that far into the future, except for Ash’s phone addiction, leading to Martha tricking him for laughs. And, of course, strong Woohoo (this series really likes its sexual implications).

The next morning, Martha has a job come in (working from home, oh the life) and Ash has to take the van back on his own. Over the course of the day, Martha works (her artists’ canvas is an artists’ wet dream, including mine). She carries on working, worried about Ash. Of course, Ash had died on the journey. At the wake, the one we’ll call Blabbermouth Sara was blabbing on, and decides to egg Martha on about something that ‘might help’.

Up pops a timelapse of Martha renovating the house, looking into the mirror and vomiting. And it turns out Blabbermouth Sara has signed Martha up to some kind of chat service that uses a deceased person’s social media and online presence to mimic the person and send emails. Well that’s a bit…creepy. On top of that, Martha ends up with a positive pregnancy test. This drives her to communicate with the pseudo-Ash and let ‘him’ know that she’s pregnant. This starts a strange conversation with pseudo-Ash over the phone, and oh it tugs at the heartstrings.

Of course, the communication takes the social media presence, so it’s as accurate to the person as it can be. I suppose it can help bring closure for the person, but it’s used as an obsession here. It’s a learning AI here as well, so she teaches him memories that they shared together and different slang that they used to refer to things as. But it’s like an obsession that she’ll brush off other things just to keep talking to him. But of course, when she drops her very fragile phone, she has a breakdown because it just doesn’t work properly. Stupid cheap-ass technology. And she refers to it as dropping him, rather than dropping the phone.

But it just gets weird when she ends up ordering an actual functioning AI…thing, where it’s like a fully functioning AI robot thing. And oh God the uncanny valley here. I’ve referenced before that the uncanny valley gives me the creeps, but this is just weird. This is where I kinda nope out on the episode for the most part, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Then I watch the scene where she’s waiting for it to activate and is she drinking wine while pregnant the absolute mad woman?

Like, she even does the strong Woohoo with this weird uncanny valley AI thing. Like I know in terms of acting, it’s obviously not a weird AI robot, but the fact that he has to act robotic, it’s just strange. The smile…he can even grow the little imperfections where they’re supposed to be.

And very quickly, even she finds it weird and it doesn’t seem right to her. She almost ends up taking it down fully. In the end, she does what any sane person would do and keeps it in the attic for her daughter to visit.

Overall, because of the strange feeling I get whenever I see this episode, I find it kinda easy to pass on this one. But the next one is just so good! It’s just this episode is so weird…it’s just weird.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s