Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ : Episode 1, ‘Be Right Back’ Review

Charlie Brooker’s dark drama returns.

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Channel 4’s darkly satirical drama Black Mirror, written by Charlie Brooker is back for a second series. The first series placed Brooker on a par with Stephen King and Roald Dahl in the complexity and originality of his concepts and this new series will clearly not disappoint. It proves that he is more than just a comedy satirist and we can only hope he writes more drama.

Set in the future Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson star as regular and comfortable couple Martha and Ash; after moving into their new home Ash is tragically killed in a road accident. Now alone in her unbearable grief Martha’s friend signs her up for a computer programme that collects the public online information of lost love ones and creates a profile. The programme then replies to messages in the guise of the dead person, taking on their characteristics. As Ash was an avid social network and smart phone user he is the perfect candidate for the computer programme to work for Martha.

Martha is at first disgusted and upset at the notion of speaking to Ash but after finding out she is pregnant, the memories, pictures and keepsakes of her life with Ash are not enough anymore. Soon she becomes addicted to chatting online to Ash; they speak on the phone, the programme mimicking his voice and vernacular perfectly due to Martha uploading more of his personal data on to the programme. In a bizarre twist her next step is buying a life-like droid with an impression of “Ash” uploaded upon it. Everything seems ideal and wonderful, the sex is perfect if efficient, but Martha soon realises that she longs for what made Ash human, his flaws.

Brilliantly acted by Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson, the two are a believable couple.  Set beautifully and lit with a greyness that sets the futuristic scene. A thoughtful plot makes you question how far a person will go to avoid the grieving process. Black Mirror is not comfortable viewing, we are all guilty of resisting letting go of the things that cause us great pain and emotion. And this extreme notion is what Charlie Brooker cleverly taps into; giving a distorted view of a world which in essence could possibly be born in our future, due to advances in technology who knows what possibilities can be explored in the simulation of artificial limbs, organs and ultimately humans fulfilling the roles of in place of humans. Touching on interesting issues including love, grief and how our lives are being increasingly played out online. The price of immortality brings its own dangers, blurring the lines of what makes us fundamentally human.