If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: A woman interviews various people using a device that allows her to access their memories. (IMDB)
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Director: John Hillcoat
Running Time: 59mins
After two great episodes, it only inevitable that there would be a dip and here it was. This episode was about a woman named Mia Nolan (Andrea Riseborough) who is riddled with guilt after being a passenger in her boyfriend’s car during a hit and run accident 15 years prior. Nolan’s life had drastically changed since then with a husband and a son but her past did not remain in the past when her ex-boyfriend showed up feeling guilty and wanting to confess to what he had done. Once she silencing her ex-boyfriend permanently, things began to get worse and worse for her.
After the conflict, Nolan witnesses an accident involving an automated pizza truck, triggering an investigation by an insurance agent named Shazia Akhand (Kiran Sonia Sawar). What made this a Black Mirror episode was the technology which Akhand used, a machine capable to access the memories of whoever she interviewed. Of course the machine would play a more prominent role later on, however, its impact was minimal at best. As Akhand interviewed person after person, it was clear that she would eventually get to Nolan but the time until this happened wasn’t nearly suspenseful to watch.
While Akhand performed her investigation, Nolan was paranoid and attempted to live her life as if nothing happened. The problem with those were that they weren’t that compelling to watch, bordering on boring. Arkhand’s investigation was better if only marginally. It featured beautiful cinematography but ultimately, most of us will probably be waiting for the moment when Nolan and Akhand finally interact with one another as everything up to that point felt dragged out.
To the episode’s credit, this was when it became much more interesting. When Nolan’s memories about the recent accident were being accessed, Akhand witnessed her memories about the hit and run. This made Nolan’s paranoia even worse so she took it upon herself to eliminate any other potential witnesses, including one that may be a shocker. The ending shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, except for the incredibly silly way in which they got there.
Despite the story, the performances were good with Riseborough being the standout as the paranoid Nolan. Each episode so far this season has featured a standout performance. While Riseborough’s didn’t quite match up to Plemmons and DeWitt, it was still very good. It just would’ve been nice to have seen more of it and to have the story go deeper into her psyche. The almost equal focus between Nolan and Arkhand hurt Nolan as the jumping between characters would hurt the momentum with Nolan. Sawar was good as well as Arkhand, especially when she confronts Nolan.
Overall, despite the dragging and sometimes boring story, this was still a decent episode saved by some beautiful cinematography and good performances by both leads.