Nosedive is the third episode of Black Mirror Season 3 (S03E03). It aired it’s worldwide premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. We recently reviewed Episode 1 called San Junipero with a spoiler free review as well, check that out here. Again, to set the expectation if you’ve forgotten what the show is… Black Mirror is a dark humour, sci-fi show that questions where technology could lead us – generally down a dark path. The result is somewhat depressing and really makes you think about the future.
***THIS REVIEW INCLUDES DETAILS ABOUT THE EPISODE BUT CONTAINS NO PLOT SPOILERS. THAT SAID, IT DOES CONTAIN DETAILS ON WHAT TO EXPECT.***
Insecure office worker Lacie lives in a happy, smiley, status-obsessed nightmare world.
Nosedive has an interesting premise – a future world where every interaction with every person you run into is subject to a rating system. If you enjoyed the interaction, you rate the person 5-stars. If you didn’t like the interaction for any reason (lack of content, bad smile) you can vote it less. Votes are kept entirely private until the other person has voted as well. All of these votes are tracked, and available on a public dashboard akin to Facebook. There you can vote on their photos, their status updates and more. The idea being that the entire world has gamified human interaction.
The main story arc follows Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard), a 4.2 with wannabe dreams of being a 4.5. She’s kind, smiley and tries her best to make every interaction amazing, whether it’s the barista as she gets coffee or the person she holds the door open for. We learn that she’s living with her brother in a ‘hell hole’ (which is nicer than any apartment $2000 a month will get you in Toronto). The driving force of the entire episode is that the landlord is selling the place, and she needs to find a new home.
A private (expensive) community is just what she’s looking for but it’s out of her budget. However, they have an influencer program that discounts the cost by 20% if she has a 4.5 rating. She obsesses over her former high school best friend Naomi (Alice Eve), who is blonde, stunningly beautiful and has a life people would dream of – oh, and she’s a 4.7+. By twist of fate, an opportunity arises to have a big part in her life that could generate a big bump in her score and enable her to get the place (and score) she wants.
Nosedive to the Top
This is a world where most people are painfully nice to each other and criticism doesn’t exist (besides the ratings). While it seems idealistic (considering this world currently struggles with trolls, hate and threats online) the result is that people spend time practising their laughs, their smile and their interactions. Essentially making every interaction you have phony as hell. I think most chilling is the fact that your score affects your ability to do things: what buildings you can enter, where you can drive your car, etc. Then again, we already have very similar things: credit scores, influencer marketing, etc.
The episode is far more in line with what Black Mirror should be. It’s bright and cheery on the surface but packs so many dark undertones that bleed over. There’s one particular scene in an airport that will make you laugh, cringe and fear the world. You’ll also come to love some other cameo characters within the episode. The final scene is pretty good at giving a ‘conclusion’ but does little in the way of changing the world. It’s still not as unforgiving as previous seasons were but it’s far more of a Black Mirror episode than San Junipero. A solid 7/10 for Nosedive.
Black Mirror Season 3 debuts on Netflix on October 21st, 2016. It will feature 6 episodes called San Junipero, Shut up and Dance, Nosedive, Men Against Fire, Hated in the Nation and Playtest.