Friday, January 5, 2018

Black Mirror Season 4 Episode 3 - Crocodile

Black Mirror (2011-)
Season 4 - 6 episodes (2017)
Watch Black Mirror Season 4 on Netflix
Created by: Charlie Brooker
Andrea Riseborough, Kiran Sonia Sawar
Watch the trailer
Black Mirror Main Page

Each unconnected episode examines the pitfalls when technology and society intersect. What happens when technology goes off the rails, creating a horrifying situation? Does technology make us happier, is being connected at all times beneficial, and does it do more harm than good? The stories are known for their harrowing nature and depressing conclusions.

The third episode of season four is Crocodile, where an insurance adjuster investigating a claim with a memory machine stumbles upon a woman's long kept secret.

I love the subtlety of this world, the roving pizza vendor, the memory machine used by insurance adjusters, and the digital identification.  It's part Minority Report on a much smaller scale.
The landscape shots are great, and there are a lot of them. This starts by examining how two lives have fractured after that. This is the emotional foundation, but the memory box seemed secondary. I like how we see the street scene in the beginning without knowing how it fits and we circle back to that. It's clever how an episode about memories pushes you to remember scenes early on that seemed innocuous only to come back in full force. I did think the episode would exploit the fallacy of memory more.
This episode has some absolute killer scenes, but overall it felt weaker. It didn't take the idea far enough. I wanted to see more about how this device changes society Mia goes from zero to crazy in no time with no hesitation. Maybe that's who she is and a commentary on how she's managed to become successful.
Watch it.

This opens with a hit and run where a man was killed. Mia and Rob cover it up and move on. Mia became a successful architect, but fifteen years later the guilt has torn Rob apart. He wants to let go of his guilt and admit what happened, but Mia isn't willing to risk anything. Mia kills rob.
Shazia is investigating a claim that a pizza bot ran into a man. She uses a memory device to delve into peoples' memories of what happened. Of course the insurance industry is where this is common. These memories can be wrong as we see, a guy remembers the jacket being a different color. Cops used to use the device, but stopped. We're not told why,  but it's not much different than an eye witness. Anytime you access a memory you change it slightly. Memories are fallible. I appreciate Shazia says up front that memories are subjective. She's not relying on one account, but trying to piece the claim together from multiple people.
I knew this memory device was going to lead us back to Mia. When Mia killed Rob she was in the hotel overlooking the pizza bot incident. Shazia is in for a trip when she looks into Mia's mind. This is a clear case of knowing too much. There are so many instances where delving into someone's mind could get incredibly awkward and in this case dangerous. While it seems to violate privacy just a bit too much, it also helps to stop people attempting insurance fraud, but when you encounter the wrong person, and Mia is definitely that, those are memories you don't want to see.
Mia isn't letting Shazia leave, and Shazia's terror was palpable. The scene was incredibly visceral. The problem with Mia's plan is that it just puts her in deeper. More people are going to investigate this and now she has to dispose of another body. It's the fallacy of trying to lie your way out. Mia is making a lot of mistakes, but that's the point. She's digging a ditch as fast as she can and that leads to mistakes, but she went from normal to serial killer in a heartbeat. I had to wonder what's wrong with this person, but she's famous and apparently she will do anything to hold onto that. Mia kills Shazia's husband and then to her horror sees a child. Will she go all the way? Is there no end?
We don't see what happened, but it's revealed through cops investigating the crime scene. Ironically, the child was blind and didn't even see her. I wasn't sure if the show was implying what I thought, but the cops are going to pull memories from a hamster. Absolutely crazy. Do human and hamster minds work the same way? Is this machine universal? How do you interface that and how do you prompt a hamster to remember? We don't see the cops apprehend Mia, but we see them enter the building she's in and there is a memory device next to the hamster. Aside from the hamster which stretches my credible belief, the conclusion wasn't that surprising. Mia was going to get caught.

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