I really don’t know why it’s taking me so long to work through this latest season of Black Mirror. Each episode is perfection, managing to blow me away on so many levels and fix itself firmly in my head for the next day or so.
For the first half hour this episode is very mysterious, with no hint of sci-fi at all. It’s 1987, and we’re in San Junipero – a party town on a Saturday night. A convertible pulls up to a fast food joint with Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ playing on the stereo. The street is filled with people all out for a good time. And then we see Yorkie, a plain looking 20-something girl with glasses. She looks out of place, like she’d rather not be there, but she cautiously enters a nearby nightclub. After playing video games in the corner of the club, she’s approached by Kelly who uses her as an excuse to avoid a guy she’d rather not be with. The two girls get on well and then Kelly asks Yorkie to come back to her place. Yorkie says she can’t, but is tempted… fade to black and the words ‘One Week Later’. We see Yorkie again, looking around the same club for Kelly. When she finds her they end up in bed together. At the stroke of midnight we fade to black and see the words ‘One Week Later’ again. Yorkie is back at the club but she cannot find Kelly. Then, one week later we’re in the same street and the same club but it’s 1980 and Yorkie looks exactly the same age. One week later and we’re in the same street again but it’s now the 90s and Yorkie still hasn’t aged. One week later, same street but it’s 2002, Yorkie looks the same!
At this point, if you hadn’t already guessed what’s going on, the hints start coming thick and fast and it’s not long before everything is revealed. This is a love story, a beautiful tear-jerker of a love story. A story about life, a story about death. And it’s absolutely amazing.