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In this bonus episode, Matt reviews episode 2 from Black Mirror’s 4th season: Arkangel.
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Intro – 00:18
- Singular Timeline “Confirmed” – 01:56
- USS Callister Feedback – 08:38
- Arkangel – 12:39
Outro – 1:11:34
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One thought on “Anthology – Bonus Ep 21 – Arkangel (Black Mirror S04E02)”
I’ve been listening to your podcast for quite some time now, along with two other Twilight Zone podcast. However, I have to say that your podcast about Arkangel was one that I found a bit strange. To begin with, like you, I don’t have kids. But also like you, I was a kid at some point. I’d like to comment on both the Black Mirror episode and your podcast episode.
Arkangel definitely wasn’t my favorite episode of the new season of BM. I found it really heavy handed in trying to get it’s point across. The mother was obviously obsessive. Someone with that type of personality would be smothering no matter what sort of technology was extant at the time. That being said, there are a lot of awful things that happen to kids: bullying, sexual abuse, kidnappings, and injuries. I think the episode might have been more powerful if it showed examples of how the technology could help children as well. It’s often the case that molesters and bullies threaten to hurt children or their families if they tell. I know a woman who was being physically abused by a boyfriend she had while in high school. The boyfriend threatened to hurt her and her family if she ever told anyone he was beating her. Ever since I was in high school many years ago, kids have been dying while pledging for some fraternity. I don’t think parents send kids away to college to die joining a club. The fact is that there is so much that goes on in the life of a child when they are away from their parents. I could tell you of several instances of adults who probably wished their parents had something like Arkangel at their disposal when they were in school. They grew up to be damaged adults. You don’t need to have a smothering aren’t to have that outcome. Please don’t think that this in any way absolves the mother in the story of some of her acts. I just think it would have been a better story if the use of Arkangel created debate, as opposed to having it banned and only showing how it could be abused by a single parent.
As for your comments on this episode, I thought they were a little strange and seemingly inconsistent when looking at your comments across episodes. You comment on how damaging it could be to edit how the girl sees the world. For the record, I think hiding blood is extreme. However, in Dust, you think it’s strange that people would take children to a hanging. I’m sure (hopefully), there is a middle ground. My point is that all parents edit what their children see to some extent (and rightfully so) based on their age. Even many of the “I don’t edit what my children experience” parents wouldn’t sit down with their children to watch porn or take them to an execution.
Lastly, every once in awhile, a buzz word is placed in the zeitgeist. The word of choice lately seems to be agency. I’m not sure what your childhood was like, but I knew a lot of 15 year olds who made really, really bad decisions and paid for them later on in life. I think physicians have proven (If I’m wrong, then I apologize) that a teenager’s brain isn’t even fully developed until they are much older. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for great decisions. Also, when you state that her boyfriend was a nice guy, I thought that was a bit strange. Individuals are complex, but he was profiting off of the weakness and addictions of others. The girl didn’t seem like the type who would have gone in search for cocaine on her own from a stranger. It seems doubtful that she would have gone elsewhere for drugs. As for him thinking that cocaine wasn’t right for her, well, it’s probably not right for anyone unless they are getting it from a doctor or chemist. Since he wasn’t either and didn’t know the girls medical condition, she could just have easily have died. In real life, things don’t end up like they do in the movies. I grew up around kids who smoked weed (as did I) and those who went on to harder stuff. It doesn’t work out too well a lot of the times. There’s a reason why kids aren’t allowed to do so many things at that age. I won’t even mention the possible statutory rape with the boyfriend. Agency is a word that way overused.