“Nosedive” fails to meet the standards set by previous seasons
Black Mirror debuted its third season October 21 on Netflix with its first episode “Nosedive”. Directed by Joe Wright and written by Park and Recreation’s acclaimed Rashida Jones and Mike Schur, the episode was 63 minutes and featured an esteemed cast of Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve and Cherry Jones. With a successful production team, beloved cast and storyline full of insightful commentary by the show’s creator Charlie Booker, the episode should’ve been a hit. However, “Nosedive” was everything Black Mirror fans expected and disappointingly, nothing more.
About the plot
“Nosedive” takes place in a pastel, prim cut future where a five-star rating system determines societal status and treatment. Those who are “high 4’s” are typically rich, more pleasant and attractive than those who have a lower rating. Ratings are given based on virtual presence and in-person interactions. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Lacie Pound, a 4.2 who desperately tries to reach a 4.5 in order to lease an apartment in Pelican Grove that demands a high rating for its tenants.
Convinced that moving to Pelican Cove will bring eternal happiness, Lacie rekindles a friendship with her 4.8 childhood best friend, Naomi Blestlow, to raise her score. Lacie agrees to be Naomi’s maid of honor at her wedding in hopes that her speech will receive five-star ratings from a crowd of high 4’s, thus raising her score. When her trip to the wedding doesn’t go as planned, Lacie experiences the maltreatment associated with a lower rating.
Living in the shadow of past episodes
Like the other installments in the Black Mirror series, the episode is a commentary on the role of social media today and the constant need for validation from others. Although the episode cleverly addresses the entitlement acquired from rating services such as Yelp and Uber, it fails to be nothing more than commentary. The message “technology is ruining our lives” is loud and clear but the episode was missing vital dramatic beats that left viewers speechless, as seen in season one’s “White Bear”.
(Channel 4. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cftVIGtIKw&feature=youtu.be.” YouTube. YouTube, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.)
“White Bear” was practically 44 minutes of a confused woman running away from strangers with cell phones. It was revealed only at the very end that the woman was punished with lifelong capital punishment for abducting and killing a six-year-old girl. But because the episode wasn’t obvious with its themes and commentary on capital punishment, viewers were more in shock when the plot became clear and they had to decide the meaning of the episode. “Nosedive” lacked the twist or ending that makes the Black Mirror series so phenomenal.
Overall, “Nosedive” encompasses the elements of a typical Black Mirror episode, along with excellent graphics and acting. Yet the dissatisfying story line leaves audiences wondering if the rest of season three will follow the trail of disappointment or live up to the jaw-dropping drama of previous seasons.