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S04.E01: USS Callister

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Well, Landry's a dick here.

I enjoyed it; I love thinking being proven wrong when I think I've figured out where something is going which Black Mirror does to me consistently.

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For Black Mirror, an upbeat ending. I was expecting Daly to catch the ship and/or make it through the wormhole to continue to torment the crew in the main Infinity universe.

Have to call BS on the notion that the no-genitals part of the universe. If Daly can control things to the point he did, the absolute first mod he would do is allow himself to have virtual sex. I guess they wrote it that way to avoid the notion of his repeatedly raping people. 

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Jesus, that's not exactly where I thought the episode would go, not by a long shot. This show really knows when to subvert those tropes and to not be afraid to show the supposed protagonist as the actual antagonist.

Not that the real life counterparts of the trapped were good to begin with, but the fact that they can make an asshole like Walton more likable just by the sheer fact that he was cloned and put under duress and tortured in a virtual reality game? What an interesting episode all around. It's crazy how much I was rooting for Nanette and the others to escape the game. 

My worry throughout the second half of the episode was that even if Nanette destroyed the DNA, what would stop Daly from just getting their DNA again and starting all over? Nanette in the game would have had to find a way to connect with her real life counterpart and let her know exactly what was going on, and I would have also contacted the real Walton and every other real life counterpart. One of them would have stopped Daly. Of course, that would be typical of Black Mirror to have an ambiguous and somewhat depressing ending if we knew that he could just start over and do it again. But then the ending happened and that was just....wow. He couldn't even exit the game so he just died on Christmas. That is one way to ensure that he can't do it to any more people. 

What Daly was doing was incredibly sick and perverted. It's one thing to wish harm upon your enemies. It's another thing to actually clone them in order to get satisfaction out of torturing what is technically a part of them for the stupidest of reasons. For example, trapping Packer because he brought him the wrong sandwich? And then trapping Nanette because she didn't want to screw him? 

That was certainly an episode, one that I surprisingly enjoyed a lot. I know that the real life counterparts know nothing about what Daly was doing and technically, their clones are the only ones to progress (especially Walton), which I guess is the somewhat depressing part. Walton's still an asshole, but now he's lost his technical engineer, which means he has to find someone new to replace him. The others also haven't learned anything either. But hey, still an upbeat ending for Black Mirror, much more than most episodes. 

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So here's another thing: probably most video gamers have killed thousands of characters, if not millions, and done various anti-social things. 

If Daly had simply created digital superficial replicas of his co-workers to abuse, that would be no more problematic that Barclay mocking the Enterprise crew ion the holodeck. 

But he went out of his way to create digital replicas that were sentient, with the memories and feelings of his co-workers, and to torture them. I would have liked to have gotten more insight into the why, but maybe it just boils down to him being a sadistic asshole.

Also, it's sad that the genius he displayed to create a system where you could create a virtual duplicate of someone was just wasted on Daly's petty revenge.

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37 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

But he went out of his way to create digital replicas that were sentient, with the memories and feelings of his co-workers, and to torture them. I would have liked to have gotten more insight into the why, but maybe it just boils down to him being a sadistic asshole.

I think it's not just because he's a sadistic asshole, but because he could never be the way that he was in his virtual world in the actual real world. The end result was that he was too cowardly to step up and say anything, or to even do anything about it to their faces. The only satisfaction he could get for his own sake is to replicate them and torture them as his own form of punishment for....wronging him, I guess? He just had no courage and let his anger pent up and be released through his own world that he could control. Because, yeah, he was a very sadistic asshole because he wanted to be able to torture the real life counterparts but simply couldn't. So, he used his intelligence to take his anger out on them in an alternate world. He wanted to feel their sadness, their depression, their fear, and he wanted them to submit to him, just like he submitted to them in the real world. 

Unfortunately, he used his intelligence for the wrong reasons. And, like Nanette told him, he's just very sick and needs help. Unfortunately, he wouldn't take the help because he couldn't see what was wrong with him. He put the blame on everyone around him and it cost him. 

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I binged watch Black Mirror before this season started, so when CookieNanette mentioned that she had photos that she could use for blackmailing RealNanette, I was worried that she'll end up being a horrible kiddy porn person and the others would stop fighting to escape. 

Daly seems like one of those 'nice guys' who are just as bad their macho super-misogynistic counterparts. If he had the power, he'd be the same, but he doesn't so he resorts to abusing cookies instead of just standing up for himself.

I saw someone mention that this was akin to someone creating sims of their workmates and giving them bad lives. If they weren't cookie-esque, then would we feel bad about the abuse? Daly would still be a jerk, but cookies are not real people. They're just code. We're rejoicing over their escape, without feeling bad that a guy in real life died and another person is probably going to go into deep depression knowing that they played a part in it.

I'm still glad that the others are free, but there's going to be some consequences for the humans soon. Especially since there's no proof that he did anything bad, since RealNanette took everything.

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6 minutes ago, CheezyXpressed said:

I saw someone mention that this was akin to someone creating sims of their workmates and giving them bad lives. If they weren't cookie-esque, then would we feel bad about the abuse? Daly would still be a jerk, but cookies are not real people. They're just code. We're rejoicing over their escape, without feeling bad that a guy in real life died and another person is probably going to go into deep depression knowing that they played a part in it.

I'm still glad that the others are free, but there's going to be some consequences for the humans soon. Especially since there's no proof that he did anything bad, since RealNanette took everything.

That's what is so fascinating about this episode to me. At the end of the day, these people inside the virtual world are just code. They aren't technically real anymore. Yes, their DNA has been uploaded into the world, so they have the same blood, same DNA, same memories and personalities up until the point of the upload. But that's why Nanette was fine with going into the wormhole to kill themselves. They all knew that they wouldn't technically die, as they're not real anymore, but with the DNA being stolen by real Nanette, that ensures Daly couldn't do it again. They had no idea his world would be completely deleted, or that Daly would be trapped in the world and would die from it. 

I would like to think that real Nanette would show the police what Daly had in his fridge and they'd find a way to piece it together, but it's tough to say what Nanette will be feeling after she finds out about Daly's death. The ending is still ambiguous. The cookie versions are free and fine to go about the Infinity world, but real life is so different, and that portion is left open ended. 

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I actually would be interested in some of the aftermath of this episode.

The crew of the Callister got a better-than-expected outcome -- they are free and able to explore the galaxy. They may still retain the ability to contact the real world and buff up their ship and their stats, for all we know.

And in the real world, at some point, Daly's corpse will be discovered and Callister Inc. very well might crash and burn. Can you imagine what would happen if the CTO of Blizzard (the company that makes World of Warcraft) was found dead because he was playing WOW and something weird and unexplained happened?

Or real!Nanette's reaction to Daly's death and having to suspect she played a role?

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There are interesting things going on in this episode: the male entitlement, the Star Trek references... but isn't it too nice for Black Mirror? The ending was happier than I expected, that's for sure. 

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First off although  I like Black Mirror a lot it is often way too dark for me.  I thought this was one of the best episodes maybe in large part because I am such a Star Trek fan.    Daly being a loser in the outside world and a tyrant in the pocket universe he created.   In the beginning you really did feel sorry for him and thought he was the hero only to quickly learn what kind of sick villain he was.  And how petty Daly was.  Minor infractions.  Maybe real world James was jerk but did he deserve the level of torture?  Even Nannette she actually liked Daly at the beginning.  What was her crime against him?  Wandering off with James or letting Shania talk smack about him?  Or was this his version of pulling a little girls hair or snapping her bra?  If I can’t have you?????

I actually thought it was interesting that the characters on the ship were better developed then the people in the real world. Jimmi Simpson’s character was tragic as all hell when he described watching his son get spaced.   All the other characters showed the right amount of pathos to be interesting.  I really enjoyed this.  

I don’t really mind happiness for Black Mirror episodes.  Not that it was truly happy.  The characters were free of their asshole god but they still had to deal with rampaging gamers.   It’s just not numbingly tragic and depressing like some episodes are.

I haven’t seen the other episodes yet but I rate this an A.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I really liked this. I was sure they weren't going to make it out (because hey, it's Black Mirror), and I'm so glad to have been wrong! My favorite episodes have been the ones where the protagonists succeeded (or at least where the ending was ambiguous enough that I could imagine they succeeded). I was asking myself today why I keep watching this show wanting the characters to triumph when they so rarely do, and I guess episodes like this one are why.

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A happy ending in the first episode? The rest are going to destroy me, aren't they?

Man that guy was an asshole. It was bad enough when at first I thought he had made virtual likenesses of his colleges to torture, but when it turned out that they actually had their memories? Uh that was rough. Also I'm disgusted at how much he perverted starfleet principles. At that point why bother recreating the universe if you are going to shit on it anyway? I guess in his mind it was the vault of his victims for not playing along...

So did the nice lady from accounting not make it? She wasn't there at the end. At least she's dead now.

Also was that Aaron Paul as the gamer at the end?

11 hours ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

Have to call BS on the notion that the no-genitals part of the universe. If Daly can control things to the point he did, the absolute first mod he would do is allow himself to have virtual sex. I guess they wrote it that way to avoid the notion of his repeatedly raping people. 

I think that was a feature he specifically included in the mod. The real game had no such restrictions, as we saw at the end. He wanted his clean sanitised NotStarTrek-universe.

Why such a humongous asshole and sociopath didn't want sex slaves? Dunno, maybe he was asexual or maybe he had a different program for that on the side.

It also added to the torture of the people trapped inside. When he was away they couldn't even fuck or "push out a shit". Maybe that was part of the reason he did it.

6 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

That's what is so fascinating about this episode to me. At the end of the day, these people inside the virtual world are just code. They aren't technically real anymore. Yes, their DNA has been uploaded into the world, so they have the same blood, same DNA, same memories and personalities up until the point of the upload. But that's why Nanette was fine with going into the wormhole to kill themselves. They all knew that they wouldn't technically die, as they're not real anymore, but with the DNA being stolen by real Nanette, that ensures Daly couldn't do it again. They had no idea his world would be completely deleted, or that Daly would be trapped in the world and would die from it. 

That's not why they were fine with dying. They were fine with dying because death was much preferable to being tortured for eternity. Even if they were just code at that point, to them their lifes were real, just like the people in San Junipero are real.

A perfect copy of you is effectively you.

6 hours ago, DammitHardison said:

I can't wait for the Black Mirror episode about how Jesse Plemons is slowly turning into Matt Damon.

I thought this was a great start to Season 4.

He was already 3/4 there years ago. There is a reason he got the nickname Meth Damon.

Edited by Miles
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19 minutes ago, Miles said:

That's not why they were fine with dying. They were fine with dying because death was much preferable to being tortured for eternity. Even if they were just code at that point, to them their lifes were real, just like the people in San Junipero are real.

A perfect copy of you is effectively you.

I kind of see it as a little of both. I think the not being tortured is a major part of it, sure. I mean, who would want to be stuck with a sociopath like Daly? They're real in a sense, but they're also not real. That's why they needed the DNA to be taken away, as they could just be created again and again and again. 

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That was so meta I can’t even deal with it.

How did Nanette get into the apartment? Daly must have all kinds of security.

That was a very good Shatner emulation in the opening scene.

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8 hours ago, DammitHardison said:

I can't wait for the Black Mirror episode about how Jesse Plemons is slowly turning into Matt Damon.

THANK YOU! I kept thinking he reminded me of Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I knew that wasn't right!

I thought it started slow, but I loved and will rewatch. A lot of funny lines, my favorite: For he's a jolly good fellooooow! And so say OH MY FUCK!" I had to rewind that a few times before I could move on!

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13 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

Jesus, that's not exactly where I thought the episode would go, not by a long shot. This show really knows when to subvert those tropes and to not be afraid to show the supposed protagonist as the actual antagonist.

Agreed. I was commenting (aloud, to myself; yes, I'm odd that way) that it looked to be a very typical Jobs/Woz "one man takes the glory for another man's work and steals the girl to boot" story. And then it went completely off course. I shouldn't have doubted.

Is it strange, though, that I found the most unbelievable part of the show was how easily Real Nanette was coerced into breaking and entering into her boss's house? And that he conveniently left the patio door unlocked?

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I noticed one detail about those horrible impractical female uniforms: The navel was still covered! Very nice call back to the Original Star Trek where the female belly-button was off-limits.

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Was it explained how he got not just their DNA, but also a sufficient copy of their brain layout to replicate them exactly with all their memories? They didn't even seem to lampshade it with a handwavy explanation, which seemed weak, compared to White Christmas and San Junipero which covered this.

Not being able to escape from something fully immersive is indeed a problem - but it seems so obviously a problem that you'd hope there'd be some fundamental failsafe at a hardware level no matter what happens to the software. I was expecting we'd see them reaching the wormhole, but I half expected it to end with him just creating another version of them - even with the fridge contents gone, it didn't seem like it was hard to obtain it in the first place.

It's unclear why he couldn't just use a backup of the software AIs anyway, rather than having to replicate it from the DNA again (other than lazy writing - along with the unlocked patio door - to make the plot easily progress).

Flaws aside, I still liked it as an exploration of the negative side of human level AIs, and whether such things would be sentient. It was unclear if the technology he was using was generally available - e.g., were the NPCs in the game all human-level AIs? If so, the horror is that what we saw was just one mere example of what could be happening on a wide scale, including being endorsed by all the employees in that company (from intelligent NPCs being enslaved/blown up in the game, to the cookie versions of themselves that they might have at home).

Imagine if the other employees had found out - they might find it immensely creepy (analogous to him having taken photos or written out some fantasy of them), but not believe the AIs to be sentient. Maybe the full game has occasional "the AIs have tried to escape again" that they have to clamp down on (do the starships have holodecks with AI characters, that occasionally become sentient and escape the holodeck, but don't realise they're still in a game?)

I do think that White Christmas did a better job of conveying the sense of scale of such horror. For every heaven in San Junipero, there could be a computer simulating a billion sentient AIs (perhaps copies of you) being tortured for a thousand years.

Edited by mdwh
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7 hours ago, Cthulhudrew said:

Agreed. I was commenting (aloud, to myself; yes, I'm odd that way) that it looked to be a very typical Jobs/Woz "one man takes the glory for another man's work and steals the girl to boot" story. And then it went completely off course. I shouldn't have doubted.

Is it strange, though, that I found the most unbelievable part of the show was how easily Real Nanette was coerced into breaking and entering into her boss's house? And that he conveniently left the patio door unlocked?

I thought that as well. And I don't think his condo/apartment was on the first floor, so how did she get to the patio? 

This ep didn't quite work for me for several reasons, and it felt a bit long. I usually end up watching each BM ep more than once, so maybe I'll enjoy it more when I re-watch.

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An eternity dealing with gamers in a MMO with no escape sounds like hell. You just know they're going to be dodging flying penises at one point - or repeatedly.

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Can't get this episode out of my mind haha. Better than any horror out there!

So these people exist only in a game? They are not physical bodies? Like a brain in a vat?

When Nanette appears on the ship first, she is told that the controls and skills don't matter. She can press any button. Since it's all fake anyway. But later when they have the controls it seems otherwise.

The reasoning for why they wouldn't kill themselves didn't make sense. Yes Daly would bring them back but it would be a different person. Not like they would remember anything from before.

Surprising that Daly didn't have an overwrite program in case of emergency.

Why did Daly not upload his copy into the game like he did with others? Wouldn't it be easier for him to do that instead of having to travel back and forth?

Fantastic first episode. Black Mirror back with a bang.

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18 minutes ago, Luciano said:

An eternity dealing with gamers in a MMO with no escape sounds like hell. You just know they're going to be dodging flying penises at one point - or repeatedly.

But it’s still more freedom then they had before.  They are free to explore the galaxy and they have free will.  It’s no more hell then the real world really. 

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55 minutes ago, Luciano said:

An eternity dealing with gamers in a MMO with no escape sounds like hell. You just know they're going to be dodging flying penises at one point - or repeatedly.

It's an entire procedurally generated galaxy. They can go whereever they want and if they don't want to interact with other humans, they don't need to.

Edited by Miles
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That was...not what I expected at all from the first episode of a new Black Mirror season. I loved it! It was scary and existential and thought provoking, but also pretty hilarious at times, and the Star Trek references were very much on point. I loved how Daly seemed to be our likable awkward protagonist picked on by his mean boss and co-workers, and then totally turned it on its head. I thought he came off as a creep even in his first scene, but seeing how much of a creep? It was shocking. Because, looking back at it, the co-workers really weren't that bad. They seemed to avoid him and laugh at him a bit, but they weren't bullying him or anything, and considering the one woman warned Nanette to avoid him, maybe they didn't talk to him because they picked up on his weird vibes. BECAUSE THIS GUY HAD WEIRD VIBES! Even his boss/co-creator wasn't such a bad guy, and maybe he had reason to be always pissed at him? Of course, even if they were mean to him, Daly was clearly the true villain here. Besides, some of them were just there for the horrible crimes of "forgetting a sandwich" or "not smiling enough" or "didn't want to date him". Daly came off as very childlike here, hence his constant temper tantrums, and the lack of sex in his fake universe. He was really more like one of the god like children the actual Star Trek crew encountered than any of the heroes. Really, if Daly was such a fan, he should have known that his behavior is the opposite of what Starfleet and its heroes stood for, and would certainly have been horrified. I normally dont say this, but your a BAD FANBOY Daly. 

I enjoyed seeing a lot of familiar faces here, most notably Jessie Plemmons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, and Michaela Coel, but I recognized several actors here, and they were all really good here. Jessie Plemmons really does a great Shatner impression, that quickly turned VERY sinister. Looks like Landry's murderous rampage continues here, going even further than beating rapists to death, dumping a body into a river, and derailing a great show with a crappy subplot. Also loved how the version of the game that Daly started out as the 60s era TOS series, and when it was recharged, it was more like the JJ Abrams Trek films. 

The copies made here reminded me of the Christmas BM episode where Jon Hamm played a guy who pulls out a copy of a person, complete with being fully sentient, having their memories, and being able to feel pain, and forced them to run some kind of future home system by torturing them into submission. It seems like this might be the early form of that technology, that isn't used commercially, but with some private tech weirdos. Or, maybe more likely, Daly is the creator of the tech. 

BM normally have soul crushingly sad endings, so I was happy to see this one end as happily as possible. Creepy bastard Daly is brain dead (which, granted, is pretty harsh, but he was The Worst)and his victims get to live in freedom to fly around the galaxy having adventures. Its not perfect, but it certainly ends better for them than what I expected. It was almost more like an old Twilight Zone episode, where Daly is the asshole main character who uses technology/supernatural stuff to be a greedy/sadistic asshole, and dies horribly because of his hubris. I just hope that the lady who was turned into a monster and the "villain" guy died when that part of the universe exploded, and ended their awful lives. 

Great episode.

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Loved this episode and the TOS Trek touches. Jesse Plemmons, through Breaking Bad, Fargo, and now this, has moved a long way from good ol’ Landry. 

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I really enjoyed this episode, except for the ending. I like this show most when it ends in a bleak and depressing manor. 

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On 12/29/2017 at 7:40 PM, Nordly Beaumont said:

THANK YOU! I kept thinking he reminded me of Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I knew that wasn't right!

I thought it started slow, but I loved and will rewatch. A lot of funny lines, my favorite: For he's a jolly good fellooooow! And so say OH MY FUCK!" I had to rewind that a few times before I could move on!

As I was watching, I kept thinking that he looked like the love-child of both Matt Damon & Phillip Seymour Hoffman!

The creature bits were hilarious.

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After reading everybody else's nuanced and erudite interpretations of this episode, I have to add one of my own.  Like my mother always told me: Two wrongs don't make a right!

Edited by HerkyJerky
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13 hours ago, Zima said:

I really enjoyed this episode, except for the ending. I like this show most when it ends in a bleak and depressing manor. 

But I kind of got the feeling it did?  Nanette's smile of satisfaction at becoming the "Captain" at the end made me think if we revisit their ship in a few years that she might not be all that different from Daly after experiencing the power of her inherited position.

Let's not forget - she started out as a total Daly fangirl more enamored with code than people.  I think there's a reason SHE was the one to finally defeat Daly - she's the most like him.

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Couldn't they mutiny, though? She doesn't have absolute power over the world like Daly did. She can't bring anyone's kids in and murder them over and over, or turn anyone into a monster, or take away their genitals.

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21 minutes ago, Cranberry said:

She doesn't have absolute power over the world like Daly did.

Not yet, she doesn't.  But she's a genius coder like Daly.

Give her time.

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2 hours ago, Bama said:

But I kind of got the feeling it did?  Nanette's smile of satisfaction at becoming the "Captain" at the end made me think if we revisit their ship in a few years that she might not be all that different from Daly after experiencing the power of her inherited position.

Let's not forget - she started out as a total Daly fangirl more enamored with code than people.  I think there's a reason SHE was the one to finally defeat Daly - she's the most like him.

I didn't see that (though given that it's Black Mirror, that interpretation is certainly justifiable).  To me, she seemed for the first time to be embracing a leadership role that few women find themselves in.  I doubt she would forget the genuinely horrible things she saw while trapped by Daly.

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16 hours ago, Zima said:

I really enjoyed this episode, except for the ending. I like this show most when it ends in a bleak and depressing manor. 

I get that opinion but I really like that the show isn't locked into the bleak and depressing endings.  So many shows get locked into their own hooks but Black Mirror is able to write consistently good storylines and not get locked into a single hook other then "technology like everything else is inherently dangerous....but only when we allow it to be."    While someone like Daly uses it to torture people who slight him in the slightest way I don't see Nanette as anything other then the kind of Captain who would treat the people under her with respect and dignity.  

I think she finally did find her non-toxic work place she had been looking for.  

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I was glad for the not bleak ending, because it makes the show more unpredictable. If you go into every episode knowing for sure the ending will be depressing and awful, you just spend the whole time waiting for everything to go wrong. If you occasionally get the bone throw of a happy ending to an episode, it makes them more suspenseful. It hits you harder when the ending is tragic (because you through there could be a chance of a happy ending) or it makes the happy ending even sweeter (because its so rare) and either way, it makes for a better series. 

Edited by tennisgurl
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32 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

I was glad for the not bleak ending, because it makes the show more unpredictable.

Being Black Mirror, I expected the gamer they encountered after escaping to indiscriminately blow them up immediately -- after all, he was the self-proclaimed King of All Space.

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2 hours ago, ottoDbusdriver said:

Being Black Mirror, I expected the gamer they encountered after escaping to indiscriminately blow them up immediately -- after all, he was the self-proclaimed King of All Space.

But that ending would have changed the entire narrative of the story.  The crew (for lack of a better term) were better off with Daly and that Nannette was wrong for fighting for their freedom.  If they had died at the end because of some freak accident or some monster worse then Daly it just would have changed the entire story from a slave rebellion and made Daly into some sort of protective villain.  That would have been a serious cop out and not especially good writing.   Better writing is to have the crew fundamentally free at least in their own little universe.  

If you insist on a bleak ending for every episode then better ones that actually fits with the narrative would be Daly making his way out and getting his hands on more DNA and recreating the world again,  Daly winning in the end and devising a world even worse for them to live in,   or maybe even the crew actually "dying" like they planned to.  Those are all work and don't change the narrative of the story.   Getting blown up by The King Of Space makes no sense narratively speaking and would just be put in there for bleakness sake.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I saw this episode as more of a satire on social personas, with the DNA being profiles on Facebook and the likes, and these profiles/DNA being stolen but ultimately reclaimed, which was glorious. I find it interesting that some viewers related to the game or sci-fi aspect, because I would never have thought of it as the main focus, but that's the beauty of Black Mirror, we all bring what we know in what we see, don't we?    

Edited by NutMeg · Reason: because game aspect of the game was maybe overkill?
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I thought this episode was great.  USS Callister was my favorite episode of the new season.  I'm a big Star Trek fan so this was the one I was looking forward to the most and once again to the show's credit, they managed to shake up expectations and give us something entirely different.

Great serve by having us sympathize with Daly originally before realizing that he was somebody unworthy of that sympathy.  There were a few things that didn't quite work...a guy like this certainly wouldn't have programmed the no genitals thing and I don't get why he allowed people to push him around the way they did considering he was practically the co-owner of the company.  Though this guy did seem obsessed with the whole "family friendly" tone of Space Fleet and of course he was a hypocrite about it.

Really terrific performances by the cast and Nanette does a great job forming the rebellion against Daly.  I loved the chase at the end and it was very exciting.  I was very surprised that they got the happy ending, which I'm glad about because things got really dark in the middle portion.  Great episode, very enjoyable.  And hey, it even took place on Christmas Eve too! 

I think Booker said The Twilight Zone episode It's a Good Life (which just aired on the Syfy Channel) was a big inspiration for this episode which I could see.  I also saw this a dark take on the Star Trek The Next Generation episode Hollow Pursuits.  Both episode also make you wonder about the morality of something like this...making a copy of someone without their consent to be able to use them as you please.  There's definitely ethical and moral questions there especially with how dark human impulses can be.

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41 minutes ago, Chaos Theory said:

If you insist on a bleak ending for every episode then better ones that actually fits with the narrative would be Daly making his way out and getting his hands on more DNA and recreating the world again,  Daly winning in the end and devising a world even worse for them to live in,   or maybe even the crew actually "dying" like they planned to.  Those are all work and don't change the narrative of the story.   Getting blown up by The King Of Space makes no sense narratively speaking and would just be put in there for bleakness sake.  

Believe me, I don't insist on bleak endings -- that's part of what surprised me by this episode.  :)

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Not only a happier ending than Black Mirror usually gives us, but well above average for comedy, too. A Star Trek parody already sets itself up for that, but even lines like "any of the last 9 would do". 

I like that despite being a stand-alone story, it builds on the issues Black Mirror has already touched on. "White Christmas" already made us feel for a digital copy even when characters in the show's world didn't. Here they take that concept in a different direction, letting the copies diverge from the real world and thus become unique people. In "White Christmas", it was treated as a new idea that we could feel sorry for a program. Here, the show took for granted that we would - and was right to do so.

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3 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

But that ending would have changed the entire narrative of the story.  The crew (for lack of a better term) were better off with Daly and that Nannette was wrong for fighting for their freedom.  If they had died at the end because of some freak accident or some monster worse then Daly it just would have changed the entire story from a slave rebellion and made Daly into some sort of protective villain.  That would have been a serious cop out and not especially good writing.   Better writing is to have the crew fundamentally free at least in their own little universe.  

I don't think the captives dying to a random player would make me like Daly any better. But the fact that one could debate that makes me kind of wish they had. For traditional storytelling I agree there's better closure with what we got. But for Black Mirror which leaves us questioning philosophy, I might have preferred more complication than "bad guy was bad and the good guys got a good result".

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Two questions - if Daly had paused the game during the chase, would the wormhole continue to shrink, or maintain its shape? And what happened to Walton and Gillian (from marketing)? Is their code/cookie dead?

Edited by Hope

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I do think that White Christmas did a better job of conveying the sense of scale of such horror. 

Agreed - this was a good episode, but it felt like a variant on the same theme so it wasn't entirely original. 

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It occurs to me that real-world Nanette is probably going to think she was party to a murder. All she knows is that her nerdy boss was home alone on the computer, she tricked him into swapping out his neural interface, and shortly after he turned into a vegetable. So I guess this episode had a dark side to the ending after all.

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