Black Mirror : The Problem with S3:

The Problem with S3:

Are the disappointing endings for each episode, wouldn't you agree?

I mostly liked season 3, despite the mixed bunch of episodes. But I found that the conclusions were what stopped me from completely loving a particular episode.

Episodes like Playtest, Man Against Fire, Hated in the Nation are huge examples of this. San Junipero, I personally found to suffer from the same thing (but I know people liked the change of tone, happy ending). Nosedive's ending worked for me, but I can understand why others were disappointed in that one too.

Shut Up and Dance was probably one of the few that had an ending in line with s1-2 of Black Mirror: bleak, a twist at the very end, and further probing moral questions about crime/punishment and/or technology's limits.

In contrast, the endings to Entire History, White Christmas, White Bear, 15 Million Merits etcetc are what really delivered the gut punch and made each episode stand out.

(Sorry if this question/comment has already been broached, i couldn't find anything on the first couple pages)

A rose is just a rose.

Re: The Problem with S3:

Since I don't know anything about you I'll start with this - for me a good question to always ask after feeling lost/disappointed by an ending:

How would the ending have been done better?

From there I find that sometimes I think of a way it could have been better/more satisfying but sometimes I am surprised to find I can't. That still doesn't excuse the episode but it does at least excuse the ending.

Another point is that scifi is notoriously difficult to end in a completely meaningful way, it's just the nature of the beast.

Nosedive - Glad you like this one because I think this one definitely does the job. I can't really think of a better way to end it personally. I'm not 100% happy with it but I can't really fault it at all. It's good and it fits.

Playtest - I think a simply happy ending where the episode ends at him starting a phone conversation with his mom seems good, but really if you ended it that way would the viewer ever be able to completely believe it? By that point any ending would be met with suspicion, no matter how sincere. The more I thought about the ending the more I was okay with it. It's sort of a Tales of the Crypt style ending with a bit of dark humour where 'oh if he had only called his mom none of this would have happened, maybe?' That's how I took it at least. Not perfect but it's not terrible given the material.

Man Against Fire - I think this one simply dug itself into a corner and would have required some backtracking to get out. Left with his options he didn't really have a choice and I think they handled it well in that light. Tears streaming down his face as he returned to his fantasy/dream lady with an arguably menacing expression as the image fades to black worked well for me. I think the problem lied more with the scenes leading up to it, personally.

Hated By The Nation - I do agree that I don't know what they got out of leaving the final scene unresolved, a sequel? I hope not. Outside of that the fact that they drew a very thin and loose connection between the good cop and the evil villain's motivation worked. We are a little bit like him and that was reflected multiple times throughout the episode as a running theme. The ending sort of finalized that theme. works. But yeah, don't know why it just ended - maybe to say does anyone ever win when they kill another out of revenge? Fair enough but they STILL could have ended it with that message and a not needless cliffhanger.

My thoughts~

Re: The Problem with S3:

As I mentioned, the endings have all been done better, in the previous two seasons (plus White Christmas). The endings were all much more desolate/cynical, surprising, thought-provoking, and in line with a central theme. That's what I would have wanted, and even if it is difficult, considering the past 7 successes, I think it could have been done.

I'm not a writer so writing my own ending would be a sad attempt at duplicating the magic of Black Mirror, but I'll say this:

My issue with Playtest was not the phone call. I didn't want a happier ending (as I said, I prefer the bleak endings from prior), I needed one that had a naturally planted twist. The numerous fake-outs were redundant and an attempt to be shocking that failed miserably. After the first fake ending, you could see where the episode was headed ( his tragic death) and it lost its purpose.

One of the bigger problems with Men Against Fire is the fact that the ending was too unclear, which diminished the emotional impact of the last shot. I think the second last scene is partially to blame; it played out a little too predictably, and then they tacked on an ambiguous emotional ending, which felt like a let down after a disappointing climax. I assume he chose to wipe his memory, but then his tears and return to his home made this unclear. If he didn't wipe his memory, why would he be allowed to fantasize about his dreamland; his punishment was meant to be replaying his murders.
They should have just had him wipe his memory and start again from scene 1, showing a groundhog day like scenario that made his situation depressing and hopeless.

A rose is just a rose.