‘Black Mirror’ takes ‘what-if’ to the next level

A still from the opening credits of "Black Mirror." (Image courtesy of Netflix)

***Mild Spoilers***

“Black Mirror” returned for a third season of tech-inspired mystery and drama.

The first episode, called "Nosedive," followed a woman named Lacie Proud sometime in the future.

In her future, people interact through their phones. They are able to share photos and posts, similar to today's technology. However, the "like" and "dislike" system is taken a bit more seriously.

Everyone gets a rating after every interaction they have with another person. That could be a transaction, bumping into someone on the street or having a 10-year friendship.

Lacie wants a 4.5/5 rating because it means she's popular and well liked, but more importantly, it helps her get what she wants. For example, car rental services offer a shortened line for those with a 4.0 rating or more. Airplane companies will find a last-minute seat for those with a 4.2 or higher. In Lacie's world, it pays to be rated high.

Lacie lives with her brother, a solid 3.7. He doesn't understand Lacie's obsession with ratings. He wants her to connect with people without caring about ratings. He asked her why she keeps comparing herself to people who only pretend to be happy. She soon tries to move out and live on her own, but she first needs to get her rating to a 4.5 to be accepted into the classy apartment community.

As usual, “Black Mirror” takes today’s obsession with technology and amplifies it, criticizes it and destroys it. The episode starts out with technology similar to today, such as snapping a pic of a cappuccino in a coffee shop, but ends with people rating a bride and a groom at their own wedding.

The first episode is much more realistic to the world today, and because of that, it affected me more than the far-fetched plots of other “Black Mirror” episodes. We live for “likes,” “retweets” and “reblogs,” and it doesn’t seem that far off to have a friend rate us for approval.

Needless to say, Lacie gets what’s coming to her, but at the very end of the episode she seems to finally snap out of it and have a real human interaction.

I watched a few of the following episodes, and as usual the anthology series style is refreshing and unique. “Black Mirror” is one of the few shows you can watch an episode here or there, or even skip an entire season, and still be able to pick it back up and enjoy it. The changing casts keep it interesting and engaging.

“Black Mirror” wowed me again, while simultaneously making me a little nervous and uncomfortable.

Rating: A-


Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.