• Black Mirror season 6 episode 4: Mazey Day controversy
  • Review of Black Mirror Mazey Day episode: fan reactions
  • Exploring the twist in Black Mirror Mazey Day episode
  • Technology vs. human weakness in Black Mirror Mazey Day
  • Mazey Day episode: a departure from Black Mirror’s typical themes?
Black Mirror season 6 episode 4: Mazey Day controversy

Black Mirror season 6 episode 4: Mazey Day controversy

Episode five of season six took a risk that divided waters and sparked backlash among fans of the Netflix series

Black Mirror is a cult series that viewers have followed with passion over six seasons. In the case of the recently released one, there is one episode that generated a stir that was different from the rest. There was a lot of talk about episode one of the sixth season, “Joan is Awful,” surely because of its stars and for being the one that everyone watches before giving up or continuing with the series. But the worst luck and best marketing went to episode four, “Mazey Day,” starring Zazie Beetz. Fans screamed their heads off and everyone fell all over her. Is it as bad as they say or is it really a misunderstanding and the best of all the episodes?

Review of Black Mirror Mazey Day episode: fan reactions

Review of Black Mirror Mazey Day episode: fan reactions

The protagonist of the episode is a paparazzi named Bo (Beetz) who, in her eagerness to sell the most compromising -and therefore best paid- photo, ends up exposing a young celebrity who commits suicide in the face of the scandal. Not fully recovered from the guilt and with little money in her pocket, she believes her career as a star photographer is over. Until a colleague arrives with an irresistible challenge: $30,000 for a photo of Mazey Day (Clara Rugaard), an actress who has abandoned a shoot and is holed up at a producer’s house. Mazey, having consumed drugs and alcohol, has run over a man and fled the scene. Getting a picture of her becomes a complicated task, but with an out-of-the-ordinary payoff.

The story takes place in 2006, with an advance in technology that had already changed the work of the paparazzi, but still far from what is experienced today. Contrary to what many believe, the episode does have elements linked to the irresponsible, selfish and perverse use of these technologies. Without what today’s networks offer, the exposure at that time was increasing and the consequences were more difficult to control than they had been in the past.

But the episode has a twist that blows the board out of the water and is precisely the source of all the controversy. Viewers who follow Black Mirror always think of technology as the unifying element of the episodes, but here that takes a step aside to surprise with something different.

But is “Mazey Day” a betrayal of Black Mirror? Not entirely, since the idea of the increasingly ubiquitous photographic record was beginning to grow in 2006 and today virtually any human being has become a paparazzi. Privacy has disappeared and modesty and respect for intimacy tend to do so as well. Charlie Brooker, the creator of the series, said he wanted to insist that the problem is not technology, but human weakness that leads to the sinister and destructive actions that this season and this episode expose.

But series tend to evolve and this episode is the herald of a change. In general, these anthology fictions usually mix science fiction with horror, taking everything towards a more encompassing genre called fantastic. With technology still present, “Mazey Day” includes an homage and, at the same time, a recreation of classic horror films from the early 1980s.

The hand of John Landis can be seen in the moment in which the enormous discovery is made and also that of Joe Dante in a certain hopelessness with respect to the future. Both directors marked horror with films that showed them in places different from what they themselves would show from then on. They also took risks, just like “Mazey Day”, and in time they were valued.

This episode of Black Mirror, not for nothing the shortest and best told, shook a bit the stagnation of the series and challenged its conventions. It will get its just vindication.

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