TV Review: Black Mirror – Series 2 (UK, 2013)

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Three disconnected episodes make up this incredibly visceral short series, created by the incredibly talented and thought-provoking Charlie Brooker. The series has been described by some as a tragicomedy, and while it does have hints of sharp, witty humour throughout, the show is much more bone-chilling than anything else.

A pervasive theme throughout the series is the advent of technology in our society; technology that is incredibly warped and twisted to give us something similar to what The Twilight Zone would have done back when it was in its prime.

First episode ‘Be Right Back’ had a young widow reconnecting with her husband through the use of an app. All his social media posts were collated to recreate a post-death avatar which was effectively creepy, and handled perfectly by actor Domhnall Glesson.

Brooker has infused all three episodes with a stronger and more powerful emotional blow than that of series 1. The performances are all fantastic displays of dumbfounded, ordinary people, witnessing technology in ways that are made to seem entirely possible.

Electric carving knives are out for second episode ‘White Bear’ and lead to a terrifyingly violent change from the down-beat ‘Be Right Back.’ Brooker’s second episode is all high tension and meticulous visuals. The environment is as haunting as the zombie-like ‘onlookers,’ killing with their constant need for social media use and presenting a very real black hole that technology can easily suck us in to.

The nightmarish direction takes the stories from great to brilliant, adding another disconcerting layer onto the characters’ already haunting presence.

‘The Waldo Moment,’ our third and final episode, leaves the horror at the door and digs deep into apathy and distrust as being the real source of terror. A heavily political plot tackles the dangers of getting self-absorbed and hints at a bleak human nature that is less of an all-out assault as ‘White Bear’ and more of a covert shredding of its characters. While it is less confronting, ‘The Waldo Moment’ is just as haunting and hammer home Black Mirror’s range.

One can only hope this series is picked up again and again, as not only is Charlie Brooker a masterful writer, he is presenting us with a thought-provoking show that is as necessary as it is entertaining.

Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Black Mirror was screened in Australia on SBS 2