“Black Mirror”, Season 3, Episode 1, “Nosedive”

[Image via Netflix]

[Image via Netflix]

Well here we are: Black Mirror, Season 3, is now on Netflix, and the first episode deals with something that nearly everyone who is reading this article knows all about: how to deal with social media. Only, how would you handle life if everything in it depended on how well you did on Facebook?

Let’s find out, shall we?

The biggest change to Black Mirror is the definite U.S. feel to everything—at least in this episode. And then means we see something that we didn’t see much of in the first two seasons on England: a woman jogging. Lacie Page (Bryce Dallas Howard) is out on her morning run while checking her phone. No big deal; you see this all the time if you’re anywhere in an urban area or nice neighborhood. But here’s where the shit get strange: in this world, people rate each other. And as you come to find out, you can’t get anything in this world unless you’ve got a really high score based upon a 5 point scale. She starts out as a 4.2, but her real dream is to get up to a 4.5. Why? Because it affects everything in her life. She wants to buy a really nice apartment, but she needs to 4.5 to get 20 percent off on the weekly rate. What’s a girl to do to get a 4.5 score? Why, start fucking kissing ass, what else?

RT: I really love the rating system. It, very quickly, shows just how shallow people can be and how it is about outward appearances and not actual talent. Really, if this episode were a social media icon, it would be the duck face or an Instagram shot of a lunch that only looks good with a filter on.

CF:  You really saw how quickly people become dicks, too, just because they can.  Every time someone did a 1 star you can see they did it as Anon–Anonymously.  Because they are fucking cowards.

RT: Exactly! If you are going to be a cunt, fess up with your name.

Everything everyone does is based upon their rating score. It’s almost as if Instagram has taken over everyone’s life, and if you aren’t getting 5 stars on all of your photos, then you are fucked. So Lacie sets out on a mission to bring up her score and wouldn’t you know it, fate intervenes. Her former best friend Naomi (Alice Eve, aka Carol Marcus from Star Trek: Into Darkness) sees a picture Lacie posted of a doll they both made when they were kids. She not only invites her to her upcoming wedding, but ask her to be her maid of honor.

Really, how can you not hate her? [Image via Netflix]

Really, how can you not hate her? [Image via Netflix]

You can tell this is some sort of fucked-up world, because everybody is cute and sweet and nice—all I have to say, I really liked pink lipstick that she wore throughout the entire episode. She accepts the offer, because an adviser has informed her that with all those high-class people at the wedding liking her maid of honor speech, she is sure to bust above the 4.5 ceiling with all the like she’s going to get and become one of the “special people”.

Pink lipstick? Check. Perkey? Check. [Image via Netflix]

Pink lipstick? Check. Perky? Check. [Image via Netflix]

In this world we see what happens to people who get down votes. One of the guys in the office where she works is screwed because he broke up with his boyfriend and everybody is pissed at him due to what happened, therefore they are giving him 1 star votes on everything he does because just like on Facebook, people can be dicks about everything. At one point he’s actually unable to get into his workplace because he’s fallen below a 2.5 likeness threshold and the doors to the the building where he works won’t open and the guards won’t let him in. But that isn’t going to happen Lacie: oh no, not a chance in hell.

RT: I still feel sorry for that guy 🙁

CF:  Yeah, he breaks up with his boyfriend and everyone shit on him.  Was not fair at all.

Only this is Black Mirror, and shit gets real fast.

It all starts going to hell for Lacie the day before the wedding. She gets done because she didn’t get out to her car fast enough, she gets a one-star vote down because she run into a woman and spilled a drink on her blouse. She gets to the airport and discover their flight has been canceled, but she’s unable to book standby on a later flight because she needs a 4.2 rating to do that, and she only has a 4.183. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with her, so she begins blowing off f-bombs left and right which security called on her ass. the dropper a full point and then set a double penalty on her, so that any down vote she gets from that point on effects her score twice as much. She tries to rent a car but because her ranking is so low at this point, the best she can get is an old electric vehicle with a Czech language interface. She runs out of juice and get a ride because everyone sees that she’s only got a 2.3 rating. (You see early on in this episode that everyone is wearing a form of contact lens attached permanently to their eyes that allows them to see the ratings of other people instantly.) Eventually a truck driven by Susan (Cherry Jones, aka President Allison Taylor from 24) picks her up and take her to within 30 miles of her destination, where she eventually hooks up with a group of cosplayers heading to a convention.

RT: I loved how quickly everything went to shit for Lacie.

CF:  And how much she tries hanging on to that old life.  You knew it was heading into the crapper fast.

RT: I guess, if this is the only way you can get anywhere in life, you do try to hang on, but, still, I’d be Susan any day over Lacie or Nay Nay.

And at this point Lacie’s day goes from bad to in the fucking toilet. Turns out the only reason her friend Naomi—or, Nay Nay, as Lacie calls her—only wanted Lacie as her maid of honor because of all the up votes she was going to get by having someone who wasn’t quite as perfect as her and her friends do this honor for her. At this point Lacie pretty much loses her shit. She starts drinking from a thermos of whiskey that Susan gave her before she let her out from her truck. She borrows a guy’s four-wheel ATV and drives to the location of Naomi’s wedding. When she can’t get through the front gate—you need to 3.8 rating at least to do so—she goes around the back and wanders through a swamp so she can climb a back fence. At least Bryce Dallas Howard learn something from chasing those goddamn dinosaurs through the jungle, as she’s wearing smart, sensible flat throughout this entire part of the episode.

RT: I hated Nay Nay to start with. I wanted to throttle her at this point. But, then again, I also wanted to shake the shit out of Lacie as well, because Susan is totally the role model she should be styling on.

CF:  There’s a certain freedom in being “off the grid” as Susan was.  I couldn’t take that the Instagram lifestyle Lacie had.

Lacie crashes the wedding party and this is where we are treated to the ultimate train wreck. Looking like an outtake from Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video, Lacie goes on this long rambling diatribe of what a pain in the ass Naomi is and how she fucked her boyfriend Greg and how she was always looking down on her. All the while this shit is happening she’s getting 1 star votes from everyone in the wedding party, and this keeps up until two security guards show and drag her ass off.

Taylor's got nothing on this crazy bitch. [Image via Netflix]

Taylor’s got nothing on this crazy bitch. [Image via Netflix]

But the episode does have something of a happy ending. Lacie gets booked and she has her eye scanning technology forcibly removed before she is tossed in a jail cell. There’s a dude in the cell across from her who’s there for some damn reason, and the episode end with them being able to just scream all the expletives they want at each another. Basically the show ends with them yelling fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck until we roll credits—or, as Rachel and I call that, “Recaping American Horror Story.”

RT: Amen sister!

As they like to say in the promotional material, this is a future that could happen but hasn’t—yet. Nosedive is the ultimate extension of what can happen with social media. There are people who live and die by what’s on their Facebook wall, what’s in their Instagram feed, or what they’re sending out the Twitter, so it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how one could become outcast if you amassed too many angry faces on your FB threads. People can be fired for what they post on your Facebook page: imagine if tomorrow you couldn’t buy a cup of coffee because your social media rating was too fucking low? That’s the ultimate proverb in Nosedive: one day too many dislikes are going to keep you from moving ahead not only in social media, but in life itself.

So do me a favor and like this post ‘cause Rachel and I—we got bills to pay, damnit! I can wear pink lipstick! I can be perky! Please like us—pleeeeeeeeeease? I need my coffee tomorrow…

RT: Yes, please like this post! I want lipstick goddammit!

CF:  I have the pink lipstick!  I’ll post pictures!  You’ll LIKE ME!!!

RT: Oh, so jelly, I don’t have the lippy yet!

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