"Nosedive"
Black Mirror episode
Black Mirror - Nosedive.jpg
Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) gives yet another rating using her phone.
Episode no. Series 3
Episode 1
Directed by Joe Wright
Story by Charlie Brooker
Teleplay by Michael Schur
Rashida Jones
Original air date 21 October 2016 (2016-10-21)
Running time 63 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
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List of Black Mirror episodes

"Nosedive" is the first episode of the third series of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. Michael Schur and Rashida Jones wrote the teleplay for the episode, based on a story by series creator and showrunner Charlie Brooker, while Joe Wright acted as director. The first episode of the series to be made for Netflix, it premiered on 21 October 2016, together with the rest of the third series.[1]

Set in an alternative reality where people can rate one another using their phones, and where your ratings can impact your entire life, it tells the story of Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard), a young woman overly obsessed with her ratings who, after being chosen by her popular childhood friend (Alice Eve) as the maid of honour for her wedding, sees it as an opportunity to improve her ratings and achieve her dreams. Cherry Jones and James Norton co-star as a truck driver and Lacie's brother, respectively.

The episode received positive reception. Howard's performance earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, a first for the series.[2][3]

Contents

PlotEdit

Lacie Pound (Bryce Dallas Howard) lives in a world where people can rate one's popularity out of five stars, from friends to strangers on the street. Lacie, who is obsessed with being well received, begins the episode with an approval rating around 4.2. She lives with her brother Ryan (James Norton), who has a lower approval rating and does not worry about it. Their lease is expiring, and Lacie is eager to move out to the "luxurious" Pelican Cove, against her brother's advice. In order to be able to afford to live there, she must either pay an exorbitant rent or earn a discount by having a rating of 4.5 or above.

Naomi (Alice Eve), Lacie's childhood friend, asks Lacie to be her maid of honour at her wedding. Naomi has a rating of 4.8 and many "upper class" friends and lives on a private island. Lacie believes if she delivers a perfect maid of honour speech, her rating will be pulled up to the 4.5 she needs. She goes to an airport to travel to the wedding, but is dismayed to learn that her original flight has been cancelled. The airport attendant informs Lacie that there is an available seat on another flight, but she needs a 4.2 rating to get it. Due to an earlier argument with Ryan over Pelican Cove and several unfortunate encounters with random strangers on her way to the airport, Lacie's rating has dropped to 4.1, so she is refused the seat. In a combination of frustration and confusion, Lacie causes a scene by mouthing off the attendant and security gives her a 24-hour punishment that temporarily lowers her rating by one whole point to 3.1 and all downvotes she receives will incur a double multiplier. After being asked to leave the airport, Lacie is forced to rent a car to make the nine-hour drive to Naomi's wedding.

Because of her low ranking, Lacie can only rent an old model car with controls that are in Czech. After driving for some time, the car loses power and Lacie cannot charge it as the car is so old the charging station does not carry its adaptor anymore. Lacie then attempts to hitchhike, but passing motorists are shocked at her low rating and refuse to stop, with some even downvoting her for no reason. Eventually she manages to get a ride from a truck driver, Susan (Cherry Jones), who reveals she too was obsessed with ratings until her husband was passed over for vital cancer treatment because he was a 4.3 rather than a 4.4.

Naomi calls Lacie and tells her she is no longer welcome at the wedding, as her rating has now dropped to 2.6. Enraged, Lacie gets drunk and decides to go anyway, breaking into the island and gatecrashing the wedding reception. Lacie drunkenly performs her speech at first calmly, but then starts to embarrass herself as she insults Naomi's new husband Paul (Alan Ritchson) by calling him a "jackhole". She then rips into Naomi for sleeping with her boyfriend when they were younger, and all the guests subsequently rank her down until she has a ranking of 0, though she is unfazed by this. When Paul attempts to take away the microphone, Lacie suddenly threatens him with a knife, having lost her sanity after all that's happened to her. As Lacie continues to rant about Naomi, one of the guests deliberately trips her, allowing security to arrest her. She then has the technology to be ranked removed and is jailed for her actions.

While in her cell, Lacie begins to exchange insults with another prisoner (Sope Dirisu), and their mutual anger turns to mutual delight as they realize they are free to speak to each other without fear of being ranked down.

ProductionEdit

The episode is based on an idea by series creator Charlie Brooker, who wrote a three-page outline, with Schur and Jones encouraged to write a script that was "comedic, darkly".[4]

Critical receptionEdit

The episode received positive reviews from critics. Benjamin Lee of The Guardian noted that the episode "manages to create a believable and aesthetically impressive mini-universe without the need for tiresome exposition".[5] Furthermore, Adam Chitwood of Collider noted that the "lush world and bitingly hilarious script of 'Nosedive' brings some much-welcomed levity to the Black Mirror universe".[6] Matt Fowler of IGN described the episode as "both fun and frustrating [but] it works well when you consider that the next two episodes get a lot more grounded and grim".[7] Sophie Lee of The Atlantic compared the episode to the controversial mobile application, Peeple.[8] Other reviews compared it to an earlier episode of Community.[9][10][11]

For her performance in the episode, Bryce Dallas Howard was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.[2][3]

See alsoEdit

  • "App Development and Condiments", a 2014 episode of the sitcom Community, which had a similar concept where people rated each other out of five, although the tone is much lighter and more comedic.
  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, 2003 a novel by Cory Doctorow where social reputation (called "Whuffie") replaces regular currency
  • Love Minus Eighty, a 2013 novel by Will McIntosh where one of the main characters is a social media star in a world where status is determined by popularity in augmented reality.
  • Ostracism, a political mechanism in Athenian democracy by which citizens could vote to exile unwanted politicians.
  • Peeple, a mobile application initially described as a "Yelp for People." It allows people to leave recommendations for other people based on professional, personal and romantic relationships.
  • Social Credit System
  • The Circle, a 2013 novel by Dave Eggers. The Circle concerns in part a social networking system that includes various ranking and popularity registering features for its users, including a PartiRank (or, Participation Rank) system, and 'Smiles' and 'Frowns' for users to respond to various details that arrive on their personal news feeds.
  • Super Sad True Love Story, a 2010 novel by Gary Shteyngart. The dystopian novel is set in near-future New York, where life is dominated by media and retail. Many parallels are found with GlobalTeens, the Facebook-like social media site that dominates communication, and portions of the book are presented through semi-literate messages, called teens.
  • Uber – an application, which allows passengers to evaluate taxi drivers 1 to 5.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit