Having caught up with the last episode of the latest series of Black Mirror, I was amused to learn that Nine Inch Nails were jumping on the marketing bandwagon, after an episode where a (real life) Pop Princess was repurposing a couple of their songs:
Head like a hole!
I’m on a roll!
Riding so high!
ACHIEVIN’ MY GOALS!
The episode felt really strange, starting as a slice of life from a distinctly average teenage girl a couple of years on from the death of her mother but then veering into pure Disney Channel TV adventure movie stuff as our teen hero and her older sister ended up teaming up and helping to bust a major criminal conspiracy that was preventing Miley Cyrus from fully expressing her love for Nine Inch Nails on stage.
It’s been an odd season of Black Mirror. After the Black Museum visit that closed season 4, it feels as if they want to shift to less bleak – dare I say “happy?”- endings, but are ending up exploring the themes underpinning their chosen stories more superficially than usual. Our two old friends getting diverted by the temptations of transgressive virtual sex in Striking Vipers X discussed how different sex feels as a man and a woman but as far as we can see never took the obvious step of switching avatar genders to find out in-game (or if they did,1 no mention was made of the attempt.2) Our grieving taxi driver in Smithereens was never destined for a happy ending, admittedly, and I did like the way they left open the question of whether the grieving mother found resolution once he got her access to her daughter’s social media posts.3 Then in the last episode we find a Disneyesque teen adventure.
- To be fair, we kept on seeing the male and female avatars going at it in-game, but we couldn’t reliably tell who was controlling each avatar.
- Not even an offhand remark about how they wanted to preserve their avatar’s cumulative stats so felt they didn’t want to switch.
- It’s entirely possible that we’ll meet her in a future story: did what she found bring her peace, or just leave her consumed with follow up questions to which she’s not likely to find an answer, until by chance she runs into one of the people her departed daughter knew and wrote about online and all she wants is her questions answered.