Black Mirror – Arkangel Review

Hey guys! We’re starting to really get stuck into season 4, and today we’re looking at Arkangel, which is a ride.

The episode starts off with the woman, Marie, undergoing a caesarian section, obviously guilty that she couldn’t do a natural delivery, and then worried about the newborn. And this sets up the entire episode really well, signalling Marie’s paranoia. Although in the next scenes, Sara, the daughter, looked too big to be pushed in a pushchair. But then Sara ends up disappearing briefly, which launches a neighbourhood search, as well as the events going forth.

The Arkangel technology that follows seems very interesting. It’s basically advertised as ‘peace of mind’ for the parents, and comes with the parental hub for the parents to oversee everything. It has health vitals information, which would be hella useful for parents. It also has a filter, where the disturbing content is blurred out – which also references Men Against Fire on the tablet.

This technology is handy when the kids are small and young. But it’s just really tragic when Sara’s grandad having a stroke and Sara not being able to react appropriately because of the filter. This in turn over the year affected Sara’s psychological development and affected her from understanding what others in her age group knew. She’s unable to comprehend what other people are saying if it involves anything traumatic. The Arkangel technology altogether resulted in psychological issues, and was actually to be banned. So Marie hides the tablet to help Sara develop properly, but you can see that she’s too attached to the device, as she keeps taking it out to observe.

Meanwhile Trick, another kid from Sara’s school, teaches her about the real world and, well, porn and violence. It just goes to show that Sara, having been sheltered her entire life prior, is easy to corrupt, and it shows later on in life when she’s a teenager, when she starts acting out by having…well…y’know, and take drugs. Marie gets paranoid, rings around everywhere, and goes as far as to pull out the godforsaken parental tablet to find out where she is. It’s also shown that there’s a ‘history’ section that is reminiscent of The Entire History of You, in its set-up and layout.

The ending is honestly very tragic, with Sara lashing out and beating Marie with the tablet, and accidentally putting the filter on. She then hitches a ride to an unknown destination, while Marie screams out for her, echoing the earlier scenes in the episode.

The whole episode is themed on the concept of helicopter parenting, where the parent employs a hugely militant watch over their kids, hovering over them like a helicopter. While I don’t have children of my own (and don’t want any), I have had experience with overbearing, narcissistic parents. I’m pretty sure if the Arkangel technology was implemented in real life, a lot of parents would opt for it, and so would have my biological dad onto me.

A lot of people had mixed reviews about it. I wonder if it’s because it hits a little too close to home – perhaps parents feel called out because they are helicopter parents? Maybe people can relate all too well to being restricted. Another take I found from my good friend Tim was that it was forgettable, which was new on me. But each to their own, I suppose. I personally enjoyed it, partly because of the child psychology. Fun fact, when I did my GCSE in Psychology, I took a special interest in child psychology, and was one of the few career paths that I was considering!

Although the thing that I feel drove most people away was the lack of autonomy that Sara had, be it via the Arkangel technology or the pregnancy termination in the closing minutes.

Next week we’re looking at Crocodile, which is another hell of a ride, with a lot of suspense.

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