Season 3, Episode 4
San Junipero
Directed by James Watkins
Written by Charlie Brooker

“San Junipero” starts off slowly, with characters who, at first, seem like caricatures from a typical teen movie. Yorkie, a painfully shy young woman dressed in the drabbest of 1980s fashion, meets Kelly, a confident, beautiful, and apparently flighty partier. Their unlikely relationship starts slowly, awkwardly. You think to yourself, “Is this going anywhere? Has Black Mirror lost its edge?” But keep watching. As the episode progresses, you realize that these people are far more complex than their behavior would at first make them seem, and you are drawn into their energy.

This episode considers technology, love, and beliefs as they relate to quality of life. At what point does technology stop improving our lives and instead function as an escape from a reality we must deal with? How far do marriage vows extend? How many kinds of love can you have—and are some more valid than others? It leaves you feeling hopeful, heartbroken, and a little unsettled as you consider whether, given the opportunity to live in a paradise of your own making, you would choose it over your real life or an unknowable afterlife.

In the end, this episode is devastating and beautiful. Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s performance together is sincere, and their on-screen chemistry makes it so that this episode, while perhaps slower than others, is always engaging. Bonus: passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.

Nosedive | Playtest | Shut Up and Dance | San Junipero | Men Against Fire | Hated in the Nation

Featured Image: Netflix