Netflix is rolling out the new season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror hint by agonizing hint: First the episode titles and writer/star intel, then first-look photos, and now actual episode synopses. It’s only for the first three episodes, unfortunately, but they are some of the ones I’m most intrigued by—one a retro romp through the 1980s starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Doctor Who) and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire), another starring a sad-eyed Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) and her phone. So, with tantalizingly vague loglines that tell us more than we knew before, let’s speculate!
3×01 “San Junipero”
A sweeping love story between two dispossessed young women. Although kicking off in the mid-1980s, it soon becomes clear that time is a less than linear concept in the world of San Junipero.
So, will this basically be Charlie Brooker’s take on Doctor Who? Is this the return of Tish Jones?
3×02 “Shut Up and Dance”
A reserved teenage boy finds himself blackmailed by an unknown figure, who threatens to expose his darkest secret.
Blame it on my lunchtime reads, but my first thought was the growing practice of “sextortion”—the practice of blackmailing young women for naked photos, which are then used against them in a vicious cycle—but genderswapped. It’s more likely that this kid’s “darkest secret” is something related to his online activity. Considering that the Christmas special introduced a business wherein packs of bros coach and cheer each other on in romantic endeavors via webcam, I shudder to think what that could be.
Netflix hasn’t released any official photos for the second episode, but the Independent included this one, which certainly sets the mood.
An emotionally fragile woman becomes increasingly obsessed with achieving a high personality score on a global social networking app.
This immediately brings to mind 1×02 “Fifteen Million Merits,” in which captives of the system must cycle to earn merits that will help them move up in their dystopian society. And yet, Black Mirror hasn’t really tackled social media up until now. The closest plotline was also in the “White Christmas” special, though it was about a world in which you could permanently block people from not only your social networks, but your actual life.
I think the heart of the story will be in the examination of personality—how much the persona you craft for others’ validation does (or really doesn’t) reflect the you behind the screen. Remember, this is the episode co-written by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur, so now I’m even more excited to see what experiences and insights that Jones, as a celebrity with a healthy social media following, bring to the story.
What are your guesses and predictions for Black Mirror season 3? We’ve got until October 21 to cook up bonkers shared-world theories.