Arkangel

Is only in the second episode of the fourth season that Black Mirror rises again with cohesive, tight, and smart plots. We don’t have tons of special effects as in U.S.S. Callister (S4E1) but we have a coherent screenplay directed by Jodie Foster.

Ninety per cent of the story is advanced only by two actresses Rosemarie DeWitt and Brenna Harding, both of them gave a great performance, perhaps the best performances in the whole four seasons. Certainly a women’s story directed by a women was a great decision.

Arkangel goes back to the simplest premise of sci-fi, there is a technological artifact while all the rest of things remain equal in this world. The item is a guardian angel, a system that allows you to locate via GPS, monitor de vitals, and see and listen what other person is doing.

Furthermore, Arkangel recovers the art of a well written story in Black Mirror, Arkangel is an ironic tragedy in the classical way where a mother’s attempt to keep her daughter safe makes the mother loose her at the end.

Screenshot 2018-01-05 17.08.18

ARKANGEL
Black Mirror, S4E2, 2017, 52 min.
Written by Charlie Brooker
Directed by Jodie Foster
Produced by Nick Pitt.

Exposition
Marie gives birth to Sara. Three years later Marie takes Sara to the park. Sara follows a cat and gets lost for a brief period of time. Marie recovers Sara with the help of other people. Marie takes Sara to Arkangel where they inject Sara with a new technology that allows her mother to monitor everything Sara sees and listens, also she is able to monitor Sara’s vitals and know her location via GPS.

Conflict
Marie spends a great deal of time monitoring Sara for the following years. In addition, Marie also used the optional content limitation mode to censor what Sara sees and hears. This works by blurring such things as blood, fights, nude scenes, or even people arguing.

Actions
Sara is left at home with her grandparent, he gots a heart attack and Sara is not able to see what happened to him. However, Marie gets an alerta on the tablet as Sara became anxious. At school Sara cannot watch the videos other kids see, furthermore when a boy explains Sara the actions on the videos, she is not able to understand what he says.
Marie takes Sara to a psychologist because she is not able to distinguish other peoples gestures. It happens the reason is Sara did not learn how to identify specific emotions on others peoples faces due to the Arkangel. The system cannot be uninstalled, but Marie can simply turn off the tablet and stop interfering in her daughters visuals. Marie decides to turn off the tablet. Later kids at school tech Sara everything she needs to know about human emotions.

Time passes and Sara is 15-years old. Sara dates Trick and has sex with him. Marie is worried and calls Sara, as she doesn’t answer her phone Marie calls Sara’s friends. Marie can’t find Sara and turns on the tablet, Marie sees Sara is making love with Trick. Marie keeps the tablet on without letting Sara know. A day later Sara asks Trick to give her a little bit of cocaine. He agrees and lets her inhale a line, Marie sees this from the tablet. Next day Marie threatens Tricks, if he speaks again to Sara, Marie will go to the police and accuse Trick for having sex with Sara as she is still a minor. Trick stops answering Sara’s messages and phone calls, when she faces him, he says it was a mistake and doesn’t want to see her again.

Sara gets depressed and Marie drops a pill on Sara’s morning milk shake.

Climax
At school Sara vomits suddenly. She learns it was because of an emergency contraceptive pill —although it should have been an abortion pill. The doctor tells Sara that the pill worked and she is not pregnant anymore. Sara goes home and looks in the trash, she finds the contraceptive pill box. Her mother returns home and gets the tablet, Marie didn’t notice Sara was behind her. They fight and Sara brakes the tablet on Marie’s face.

Resolution
Marie wakes up and finds Sara is not at home, she yells her name on the street outside her house and tries to turn on the tablet desperately. Sara takes a lift from a lorry driver and  I’m a Mother by The Pretenders plays (hear it here).

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