Black Mirror | S3 E1

Black Mirror passed me by when it was first aired, but having recently been introduced to the first two seasons i’m glad i finally got to see them. But would the third season which has made the jump to netflix live up to the dark previous outings……Join Film and TV Nerd to find out!

‘Nosedive’ is set in a world where a Peeple-esque rating app isn’t just ubiquitous – it’s part of the law. A character loses his job for dropping below a 2.5 rating. At the airport, Lacie gets docked a whole point by security, and is assigned ‘double damage’, where every negative rating is, you guessed it, doubled. The show doesn’t depict quite how far this reaches, but it goes far enough to give a clear picture of a chillingly materialistic society.

At the centre of all this is Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard), a generally popular and friendly woman who is nevertheless dissatisfied with her rating, and thus by extension with her life. She wants to move into an exclusive community, but her rating – 4.2 – just isn’t good enough to get the discount she needs to afford the rent. Luckily, it’s then that her childhood best ‘friend’, Naomi (Alice Eve) – a 4.8 – emerges, and invites Lacie to be her maid-of-honour.

Nosedive excruciating to watch, but not for the right reasons. I’m not usually someone liable to cringe at what I’m watching, but seeing the desperation on Lacie’s face as she snuck in to give her speech at Naomi’s wedding wasn’t what I’d call pleasant viewing.

But it’s symbolic of the fact that she never considers the system to be broken, only that she is, right up until the end. That moment of release between her and her fellow prisoner was intentionally refreshing, yet it was eye opening just how far she had to ‘fall’ (from her own point of view, that is) before she just stopped caring.

Cherry Jones’ truck driver character was a bit too obvious in highlighting this fact. She portrays her well enough, but the way the character is written, she literally pops up, says her piece about how she used to be a 4.6, her husband got cancer, he lost his chance at recovery due to his low rating, and then she gave up on the system.

There isn’t too much of the expected ‘Netflix boost’ people were perhaps expecting of the new episodes, although back when it was strictly on Channel 4, it wasn’t that low-budget, so it’s hard to know what people might expect. There’s a superb cast of established names, yet, back on C4, we had Rory Kinnear, Jon Hamm, Hayley Atwell and many, many others. Really, what Netflix will hopefully do is boost the profile of a show that’s already made its name.

But there was something missing this time around, its not that its been americanised, after all a good majority of the first two seasons had their share of american accents and stateside locations. But it was lacking that dark undertone that the show was built upon. And although this episode takes the need to be liked in todays world to the extreme, This just felt like a bad start to a promising season.

Here’s hoping the rest of the season gets back to true form before its over.

What did you think of this episode?

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