TV Shows, Pop Culture

Black Mirror’s new season has me questioning our world like never before

Sometimes the line between TV and reality gets too blurred for comfort.

Arkangel instilled fear in me. It added a new element to Black Mirror that could very possibly be in our future. The way parents feel the need to connect with and protect their children, even through extreme means, is intriguing to me.

The episode begins with a mother losing her daughter. A mother’s greatest fear is losing their child and seeing that emotional moment on-screen instantly connected the viewers with the characters. I felt her pain, I felt her uneasiness. I could see her mind spiraling out of control until she saw her daughter, and held her safe.

My eyes are glued to the screen. The show has taken over my life, once again. The more I watch, the more I realize that this is possible, this could very easily happen.

When I was in university, my parents were on my case about keeping my last seen turned on via WhatsApp so that they could touch base with me and know I had been active on my phone. Personally, it felt like they were just trying to keep track of me. I know for a fact that there are parents in Pakistan that make their children download tracking apps.

Maybe it’s the need to be closer to them, to be more involved in their lives? Or maybe it’s because Pakistan isn’t the safest place to live in, especially Karachi.

Arkangel did scare me but it also helped me understand why parents do the things they do. As I watched the helicopter mom witness her daughter do things that no mother should ever witness – I also noticed her need for closeness.

Parents often don’t allow that symbolic cord to expand and that can become incredibly problematic. I know how I feel when my parents are too intrusive so putting myself in Sara’s shoes gave me a whole other level of insight that I wish I could unsee. Imagine going through your personal experiences, knowing that there was someone watching every step of the way. It’s almost as if you don’t own your own experiences, and everything around you is controlled.

Karachi is like that in some ways. People fear judgement so they tend to ignore anything they do that is unconventional. Even views that do not conform are pushed to the side. When I picture a world where your every moment is heard and seen, it makes it less special. It almost makes it redundant and that is one scary thought. I think that is what a lot of people fear in life as well – becoming redundant.

One problem I had with the episode was the censoring aspect of it. When Sara’s grandfather has a heart attack, all she sees is a blur. That’s the backlash of censoring. We witness it every day, through parental controls on the internet, or on certain TV channels. However when it comes to life – seeing and witnessing events – that is going too far.

Black Mirror has predicted the future a few times, and I’m sitting here wondering whether this is one of those times. I sure hope not.

As the episode ends, all I see is the black mirror of my dark laptop screen. I stare at myself in its reflection. Grateful that my life is as is. Grateful that Arkangel was only a 40 minute episode. Only a TV show.