Review of Black Mirror ‘The Waldo Moment’

Neela Debnath

waldo 300x225 Review of Black Mirror The Waldo Moment

The Waldo Moment (Channel 4)

SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen Black Mirror ‘The Waldo Moment’

It’s all over before it even really began. This week marked the final episode from the second series of Black Mirror. Entitled The Waldo Moment, it was a political satire that poked fun at the public’s apathy towards the electoral process via a big blue CGI bear.

Unfortunately, it proved to be the poorest offering from Charlie Brooker this year because it was far too in-your-face obvious. I think the problem is that The Thick of It is probably the last word on Westminster political satire and comparisons are inevitable. Although the story tried to avoid this by giving a media slant it just didn’t manage to achieve its full potential. The idea of an animated blue bear running for office and winning was a worthy idea but the execution was poor.

There was also more than a little more of Nathan Barley in this episode where all the people are moronic hipsters, most notably Jack Napier (Jason Flemyng) who is the new Nathan with his lurid-coloured clothes and his ‘being a dickhead is cool’ disposition. Jamie (Daniel Rigby) is the Dan Ashcroft and the voice of reason in a world spiralling into idiocy, where everyone just laughs inanely and needs a slap around the face.

The surprise ending was a lot bleaker than the rest of it and in my mind it would be have been more interesting to start with this and reverse the chronology, so the shock would be how society reached that stage.

The Waldo Moment felt too in-your-face, it was as if Brooker was whacking the viewer in the face with one of those political placards and telling the audience that unless they do something soon all hope is lost. If a big blue bear did decide to run for office more people would be likely to vote for him. Just look at Boris Johnson who bumbled into power on the strength of his gaffes and an eternal bad hair that makes Donald Trump’s barnet look marginally more respectable.

As viewers, yes, we understand this continuing voter alienation all too well. If this is a warning about what could happen, it’s too late because it’s already happening. The Waldo Moment felt like it had been done before. I was hoping that something new would be brought to this conversation and I was left quite disappointed by the whole episode. Things only got really compelling at the end with Brave New Waldo World, it was classic Black Mirror with its bleak outlook but it could not make up for the rest of the episode. It is perhaps the weakest of the three in some ways because it is not as hard-hitting as the first two. It still has elements of brilliance but it’s almost as if Brooker ran out of steam.

All three stories are very different and everyone has a favourite that resonates with them. Out of this year’s tales Be Right Back was the one that stood out for me because it was an insular, microcosmic love story and yet there were some really interesting ideas involving death and technology. Call me romantic or sentimental but there was a real heart to this tale.

I ‘got’ the parallel between Martha putting Ash’s replicant in the attic and his mother putting old pictures of her deceased loved ones away. However I find it far more amusing to think that she only kept him as a sex toy – who wouldn’t want to live in a world where you can have a custom-made sex doll that looks like Bill from the Harry Potter films?

Saying this, White Bear was bursting at the seams with ideas, from justice to voyeurism to entertainment. There was much food for thought to chew on and digest. It was also a demanding watch which proved to be disturbing at times, particularly with the startlingly twist at the end. I loved it for its uncompromising vision of the future, it was a powerful piece of television.

Over all, compared to series one, Brooker seems to be more confident in his screen writing abilities and more comfortable writing Black Mirror. As a viewer, this trio of technological fables felt more solid than the first three. I found the first series of Black Mirror interesting enough but this time around each episode was far more captivating and filled with more details in the same timeframe.

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  • Chikayne

    To be fair, this episode was more about how the whole realm of entertaining ourselves has diluted any public political discourse that the medium of television allows, rather than the disenfranchisement of British politics. Just read Neil Postman’s ‘Amusing Ourselves To Death’ and it’s all there. Dramatically, it was lacking, and the execution wasn’t as biting as Brooker can be – but still better television than most of the tosh out there.

  • anon

    This is not a review, it’s an editorial. And please do yourselves a favour and hire a copy editor. It reads like a fan site blog post.

  • anon

    Also there are no spoilers for ‘The Waldo Moment’ in this episode. There is a spoiler for ‘Be Right Back’ however, which you neglect to warn us of…

  • Hubbled

    “There was also more than a little more of Nathan Barley in this episode…”

    Could have something to do with the fact that it was based on a story that was originally written for Nathan Barley.

  • Daniel Nailed

    Are you reviewing the review? My mind is blown,

  • sb342

    This reviewer is unfailingly awful, every week, I can’t bear it. So poorly written, vapid and schoolgirlish. It’s really embarrassing. Save her dignity and take her off the slot. And better still, give her some training. Lend her some Nancy Banks Smith to read. Good luck in your next job – writing is not for you.

  • bobbellinhell

    Like everything Brooker does it’s basically a device to create situations where scatalogical sadism can occur.

  • The Deptford Croppy

    The Emperor’s New Mirror…Mr Brooker should probably stick to verbally bitch-slapping intellectual inferiors and those who are too important to give a monkeys what he thinks because when he tries to do ‘deep’ he’s about as convincing as a duck doing Hamlet. Someone somewhere in the London meeja/hipster circle jerk decided that he was the new voice of satirical profundity and now we’re stuck with his desultory, masturbatory noodlings until he’s moved on to something else.

  • Claire-Louise

    It wasn’t my favorite episode of the show, but considering how disappointed I was with how last season ended I definetly think it’s an improvement.
    All that is, except for the ending. It just felt so…unresolved. The flash forward to the dystopian world told us nothing; Waldo’s everywhere and Jamie is homeless, but what actually makes this a horrifying reality to live in?

  • Vinzton

    Chloe Pirrie was really good

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