Review of Black Mirror ‘The Waldo Moment’
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.Tagged in: Black Mirror, charlie brooker, The Waldo Moment
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