To quote 1942’s Casablanca, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” The views on finding love has changed in a technology-dominated society. We have apps like Tinder where people fill out a very antiquated biography about themselves, put on their best faces, and hope for the best.
Within this built in world, people carry around a “coach.” It’s an A.I./Siri operated tablet that oversees the system and matches people based on compatibility and variability. There’s a system in place that gives relationships an “expiration date.” This can vary from a couple of hours to five years. Amy (Georgina Campbell) and Frank (Joe Cole) meet on their date – for a twelve hour time limit. In the beginning, you can tell there was something different about this union. A genuine connection.
There’s a couple lessons that happen within the episode that make it one of the best of season four. For one, the idea of being present in your relationship despite the inevitable equation of time. When you married, there’s the part of the vow where it says, “till death do us part.” Unfortunately, nobody really knows that date. It could be years from now or it could be tomorrow.
All you have with the one you love is today. Right now. That’s why it was such a betrayal of trust when Frank decides to look at the expiration date during his second reunion with Amy. When you are aware of the mere presence of time, you are focused on how much of it you have instead of what you can do with it to make it memorable.
Secondly, it’s the relationship between fate and love. Sometimes, people are destined to be together no matter what the circumstances are. During Frank and Amy’s time apart, many microwavable “relationships” that were mostly based around sex came and went. You can especially tell the weariness on Amy’s part as physically and emotionally, she began to feel lapsed. Even with the people they encountered, everybody was looking for their “perfect match” at the end. It was never who was in front of them.
Maybe these apps do more harm than good. Regulating living and breathing people to swipes of a profile. Making us want to see if there is something better out there. Love demands something more complex from us. Thus, Amy and Frank breaking away from the system towards the end of the episode.
Usually, a Black Mirror episode displays a dysfunction with technology. Give kudos to both Cole and Campbell. The comparisons to the much praised “San Junipero” episode from a year ago not only is due to the “happily ever after” ending, but it was believable . You rooted for their relationship despite viewing “the system” keeping them apart. Ironically, the same system that was built on equations, ultimately had them together in the end.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.