Netflix is our New Testament

Virtual Reality, you say?

NETFLIX — BLACK MIRROR — 4th SEASON — 2017

Sadistic Vengeful Murderous Catharsis

This series is in a way outrageously disturbing. It is not science-fiction as usual, but it is science-fiction from a systematically vengeful and sadistic point of view. The six episodes have no alternative meaning and that’s why they are poignant in a way because even though we know it is going to be sadistic and vengeful, we do not know how it is going to develop and the punch line is always flabbergasting.

USS Callister is the story of a power-hungry man who is in real life servile and even humbly spineless. He is a game programmer and as such he invented a game of virtual reality in which he can be himself as he would have liked to be, dominant, powerful, a real slave owner who, in the game, is always successful and can transform the team members of his USS Callister into monsters. The interest is that the team members in this virtual reality game are real people imprisoned in this VR spacecraft via their DNA. Of course, they only are copies of their real selves that stay in the real world. But they have to submit to Captain Robert Daley or they are transformed into monsters that can be killed and revived as many times as Mr. Captain wants and what’s more he can capture the children of these team members by getting their DNA and he can torture the VR copy of the children in front of the eyes of the team members who are copies of the parents whose children’s copies are being tortured. But what happens when a new “member” is brought into the team who does not want to play the game?

Arkangel shows a mother who decides when her daughter is still young for a reason that does not justify the decision, to implant in her a sort of GPS that enables the mother to see the world through her daughter’s eyes on a screen. The mother becomes invasive and she for a short while decides to put the screen away and keep it dormant. But that will not last when her daughter is a teenager and able to have love relations with boys. I just wonder what it would have been if she had preferred girls. The mother gets crazy when she finds out one boy actually drugged her daughter to rape her. That will lead to the final crisis and both mother and daughter will get out of it deeply bruised.

Crocodile brings another mind-reading device, this time it is able to go back in time and read the memories of people. Imagine the drama that can come from anyone if they were able to know exactly how the people, they were dealing with felt about them and about themselves. You can meet very dangerous people in the street, and it is better not to know. If you can then you will panic. And the story is ending in some sort of banal conclusion that it is always better not to know what other people think of you and what they think of when they are with you.

Hang the DJ is just a crazy dating system that brings together people, always one man and one woman, no anti-LGBTQI segregation at all, of course not, but there is always a time limit that becomes a time frame that has to be respected and when it is short it is always too short and when it is long it is always too long. In this dating world, where people do nothing at all but wait for their date, date them and then wait for the end of it to have a new prey provided by the system, and the word “prey” is the only word that fits. What happens when one person falls in love with his/her date and when this date falls in love with him/her? There apparently is no escape. So welcome to permanent and recurring frustration with no compensation or escape at all. Sinister. The very end is the negation of anything human you may believe in.

Metalhead is mysterious. It is the story of some kind of animal, outside in the real world that got in a way killed or destroyed and the kid attached to it is wanting, not desiring, absolutely wanting, absolutely haunted by his demand based on his deprivation, is wanting then a replacement. Three people try to enter the warehouse where they could find a replacement. It is abandoned except that it is under the control of some mechanical dog that is — or in fact, are — but one is enough, entrusted with the responsibility to get rid of the intruders. They are AI dogs that have tremendous technical powers and psychological understanding of human beings. Wait and the humans will always end up doing what will cost them their lives. More drastically pessimistic than that you die. Not me of course. It is a show and nothing else.

Finally, Black Museum is by far the best because it reveals the real nature of humans, you know these entities that some people call men and women. Here we are essentially dealing with men who are perverts and live on the nasty suffering they impose onto other people. Imagine a VR-being or a Tussaud’s mannequin in which the experience of the highest suffering of the real man represented by the mannequin is embedded and that he could be forced to relive artificially this moment on command from the visitors of the museum. Imagine the sadistic people coming to that museum just to electrify a guilty character who was electrified and have this VR character relive entirely his suffering when he was executed. Sadistic I said. And in this case, the end is absolute and plain justice. Vengeance will come sooner or later, and it does come in the film.

In our world today, there is a deep vein of vengeful sadism in all or most people. Is there any exception? And modern means of entertainment enable these vengeful and pain-hungry perverts to satisfy their perversion, thirst, and hunger for pain, blood, suffering, torture, etc. This is deeply revealed in these episodes. But what our real concern is that these perversions are not only virtual even if they are mostly satisfied virtually. Is it catharsis? I am not sure at all because of the level reached by some people who are your next seat neighbor on a train, a plane or a bus. And catharsis requires the regular and recurring release of the violence of this death instinct in us for this very catharsis to last more than an instant, more than the length of a TV episode. It could be seen as some kind of feeding of the perversion, keeping it alive and “vital” since the subjects cannot survive if they do not have their portion of perverse fodder, their pound of fresh bleeding flesh. Are human beings becoming the perverse cows raised and fed on the bloody hay of these perversion-providers?

So, enjoy your perverted onanism on these VRTeleConference TV-episodes. Enjoy the drinks.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU