Black Mirror’s 5th Greatest Episode : Playtest
Last month our ABW community held a bracket style tournament to find the best Black Mirror episode. The tournament received hundreds of votes and comments. I will be posting some of the opinions from our members on the episodes below. While this list isn’t exactly how I would order it, I do respect the list created by the people.
Before I proceed with discussing the show, let’s do a quick summary of what the show Black Mirror is about. Some of you may have never seen the show but have heard of it and wants to know what exactly is Black Mirror. The show is an anthology that first aired in the UK. Being that it’s an anthology every episode is it’s own story with new characters. However, it was recently revealed that all of the shows take place in the same universe. A central theme of the show is technology and how it can end up doing us more harm than good in the near future. Some would call it a dark science fiction show, because on a lot of levels it is. However, it’s a show that even people who aren’t into science fiction or fantasy shows will enjoy.
Black Mirror shows the viewers how we can and are being consumed with technology. From people willing to do whatever it takes to get a few hundred likes on social media to us losing our basic social skills. It’s somewhat a modern day version of Twilight Zone. If you’re interested in checking out the show of course you can find it on Netflix.
Voted on by the members of the ABW community, the 5th best Black Mirror episode so far in the series is Playtest. For those who’ve yet to see the episode I’ll try my best to spare you of the spoilers. With that said, go watch the show! Playtest is about a 30 or so year old american man who travels abroad to get away after dealing with the lost of his father. His father suffered badly from alzheimer’s and we learn later in the episode he now feared following the same path as his dad. He meets a woman there and smashes. In need of cash, he signs up to work to at a game testing company the girl he smashed recommended. Then the fu*kery begins.
There’s many things to love about the episode as a whole. The attention to detail in this episode is phenomenal. Everything that is shown on the screen and is said to the main character Cooper plays a part. If you truly enjoy storytelling and how multiple things become linked at the conclusion then you’ll enjoy Playtest. Everything from one of the employees at the game testing job wearing a spider t-shirt to the magazines on the wall played a significant role. Even the fact that his father having alzheimer’s seemed to have little relevance in the story while watching the first half and then learn it’s been the biggest theme of the episode this whole time.
Playtest is also Black Mirror’s only episode that can truly fall into the horror genre. I watched this episode with my girl and she was screaming like Tyrese in concert (I love you baby lol). Playtest is definitely a mind blowing experience. While some love the multiple story twist at the end of the episode, there are some who didn’t enjoy it as much.
The triple twist at the end was a lil much. It had 3 different endings.
The 2nd ending woulda been better imo (ending w/ him going home to his mom)
But it instead went with the 3rd ending to get a joke off…. Saying he “called mom”
There were a few minor problems during the middle of the ep too but im not to picky about that. Most eps seem to have minor plotholes
– Goat from the ABW community
All in all it’s a great episode from a great show. I personally have it as my #1 favorite Black Mirror episode so far, but I’m not mad at our list. Well I’m lying, because there is one episode in that was voted into the top 5 best episodes of Black Mirror so far that I feel has no reason being in the discussion. I’m not going to say which episode I’m talking about because if you continue reading this top 5 countdown you’ll know exactly which one I’m talking about.
Now let’s get back to Playtest. As I stated earlier his father’s alzheimer’s plays a significant role within the story. For those who’ve watched, you’ll remember when he was trapped inside the room towards the end. The woman began to ask him simple questions about his life that he couldn’t answer. Even basic answers like his name he couldn’t answer, which is when he started to freak out. You have to remember (no pun), that the game is created so that it knows your fears and uses it against you. I also appreciate how they incorporated many different games into the episode that only gamers would recognize. Even the haunted house used in the episode was adopted from the gaming world.
Not only from an attention to detail standpoint was the writing brilliant but also on a surface level. I’ve traveled abroad. Something like what happened to Cooper could easily happen to anyone in a foreign country. You’re strapped for cash and looking for a quick way to get some bread, only to never be heard from again. If we’re being completely honest stranger things are already taking place, ie human trafficking , etc. For anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers I highly recommend this episode.
Of course it’s never too late to drop your input on this episode or the show as a whole. If you would like to join the ongoing debate come here to check it out. Let us know which episodes you feel should be in the top 5. We will most likely be dropping #4 from our list later this week, so stay tuned.