Black Mirror – Striking Vipers Review

Hey guys! We’re finally into the fifth season of Black Mirror, and it’s gona back to the Channel 4 days where seasons used to be so short, before Netflix took the helm. But we got Striking Vipers to go through today!


The most common theme of this season is that the writers, for me, didn’t know where they wanted to take each episode, and the conclusions kinda felt disjointed. There’s always a mid-to-end-point that feels out of place for the epsiode, and I think Striking Vipers is the lesser of the three evils.

Striking Vipers is about a couple of friends that have an established connection with the game (you guessed it) Striking Vipers, which is similar to the likes of Mortal Kombat or Tekken, if you will. These two friends fall out of contact, as adults do, and they meet at a barbecue that Danny, the birthday man, hosts. Karl, the friend, gifts him Striking Vipers X and the VR kit. Now I love the idea of virtual reality, and I’ve dabbled before, but it’s just too costly right now.

But yeah, the whole episode’s storyline is that Danny and Karl end up attracted to each other as their characters, but not as themselves. The final resolution is that Danny and Theo, his wife, agree that once a year he can play Striking Vipers X with Karl, while Theo can hook up with a stranger.

Overall I was expecting more of an addiction to the VR technology to the point where they end up trapped and their bodies are comatose and/or dead, like in Sword Art Online. I could have expected a divorce, and both Danny and Karl looking a mess in their own homes, blanked out as they play the game and are addicted. They could have both died due to malnutrition from constantly playing the game and not looking after themselves, but this could be seen as too similar to USS Callister, so…

The episode definitely could have ended better, but I feel that they went for the best resolution that they could. It’s not a bad thing, but it didn’t feel truly like a Black Mirror conclusion. It definitely touched on homoeroticism between male friends, and it’s just something that happens. I feel like the awkwardness that men normally show in terms of affection towards each other is that fear that they could be perceived as gay. As a woman, it’s always awkward for me to see men being so awkward, but I suppose that’s just how they’re brought up.

The question it brought up was ‘is it really cheating?’, and it’s a bit of a grey area. It kinda had all the signs of infidelity, but it was different I suppose.


Next week we’ll talk about Smithereens, which…oh boy!

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