Black Mirror madness has fully gripped the internet and "San Junipero" in particular is striking a chord with viewers around the world and its star.
Warning, spoilers follow.
The fourth episode of season three stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Kelly, a free-spirited woman partying in San Junipero. She meets Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and the two immediately make a connection. But after they sleep together, Kelly disappears, prompting Yorkie to search through time periods to find her. Once located, the two meet in real life—at their real ages.
Yes, San Junipero is a virtual reality plane of sorts for people who have passed away or are close to death. Kelly marries Yorkie, helps her die with peace and then ultimately decides to have her consciousness stay in San Junipero when she passes away, they are reunited in the end. It's a twist of sorts for Black Mirror, a show that typically depicts downfalls of technology (see "Nosedive" starring Bryce Dallas Howard for more on that).
"When I first read ‘San Junipero'…I read it on my phone, which is very Black Mirror-esque I suppose, and I just sort of couldn't' stop reading it. It was so beautifully written…and such a unique concept. The characters were so vibrant and it really affected me actually. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really making me think, but it's also emotional.' That's a tricky balance to pull off," Mbatha-Raw said.
The episode is being hailed for its beautiful ending and depiction of queer women. Black Mirror writer and executive producer Charlie Brooker said it was the first episode he wrote for the new season and the different tone was done purposefully, partially in response to critics.
"I was trying to reinvent what I thought the show was," he told E! News. "Hence the American setting, which is completely different, and it was to annoy some people who said, ‘I was worried the show was going to get all American now that's going to Netflix.'"
So, what should viewers take away from the episode? That's up to the viewer, Brooker said, but noted he hopes people find the universal romance and coming of age aspect as optimistic. As for Mbatha-Raw, she said, "I hope people will enjoy it, first and foremost. I think it's definitely a very fun package, it's got that ‘80s vibe, it's colorful, it's warm, the music's amazing, but also I think it also sort of has a surprise emotional sort of pull to it that hopefully will draw people in and make you think and make you feel."
There's a lot jammed into the one-hour episode and Mbatha-Raw joked she learned one thing in particular about herself from it: "Yeah, what a crazy effect shoulder pads have on me!"
Watch the video above for more from the duo, including their thoughts on staying in San Junipero for good (if it existed) and where Kelly's fabulous ‘80s jacket is now.
Black Mirror season three is now streaming on Netflix.