Saturday, January 6, 2018

Black Mirror Season 4 Episode 4 - Hang the DJ

Black Mirror (2011-)
Season 4 - 6 episodes (2017)
Watch Black Mirror Season 4 on Netflix
Created by: Charlie Brooker
Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole
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 fourth episode of season four is Hang the DJ, where a dating app tells a couple exactly how long they will be together.

A lighter episode that's going to spark comparison to San Junipero since it's about a couple. The dating app appears to have no logic. While you no longer have to break up with someone, the app effectively does it for you, Frank and Amy relegate themselves to unhappiness because the app tells them to. The ending completely flips this episode. That's the kind of ending I want from this show, but it also makes this episode more of a fairy tale, something Black Mirror hasn't done before.
Watch it.

This dating app is Siri on steroids. The app tells you exactly how long a relationship will last. Is it a self fulfilling prophecy? At the same time it removes a lot of pressure. You don't have to wonder if  this is the one or whether it will work out, you know. It allows you to be freer to a degree. You don't have to worry about dumping someone. It's built in. The app also makes dates even more awkward. The app is a third wheel that must be consulted.
Frank and Amy meet through the app, first timers that they are, and the app tells them they only have twelve hours until they break up. They hit it off and regretfully depart. You have to wonder about the app's logic. Is it all random? Do people becomes slaves to the app, blindly following its instructions? This episode tackles multiple issues, online dating, self fulfilling prophecies, and app worship. Frank resolves to be unhappy in a relationship because the app promises he'll find a match and this is part of the process. It makes life easier as you don't have to confront decisions, but it's also boring, a means to an end. It's break up by proxy. With Amy we see that the app doesn't find a match, it just fills time as you count down the seconds until the relationship ends.
Frank and Amy are matched again and resolve to not look at the expiration. date. Frank does on his own and the relationship duration keeps shrinking. The app tells him, "Everything happens for a reason." It's not wrong, Frank is completely different which would change the relationship but it's hinged on the app. He suggests they ignore the system and all of a sudden people come out of the woodwork brandishing tasers. What kind of a sheltered community is this? What repercussions will Frank face for ending a relationship prematurely?
Frank and Amy get their ultimate match, not each other, but get one hour to spend with whomever they want. They choose each other. Amy comments how she can't remember where she was before the commune. Is this a clue? They decide to flee together. The app must be wrong. Inhabitants brandishing tasers confront them, but when Amy doesn't back down the world freezes.
They scale a crazy high wall. Is it literal, figurative, or something else entirely? It was reminiscent of the escape on The Truman Show.
I like this episode. The ending flips the whole thing on end. It's a bit of a fairy tale which isn't Black Mirror's style, but it drives home the percent match of dating apps home hard. This is the ending episodes are supposed to have, something that completely changes the perspective of the episode. Crocodile tried, but Hang the DJ succeeded. This is a fairy tale because a dating app, even one that has an algorithm, doesn't simulate a world, it's a number cruncher. What we've seen isn't real.

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