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28th February 2013 09:00:00
Posted by Nick Bryan

Black Mirror: 2.03 - The Waldo Moment

Review of Black Mirror: The Waldo Moment from Channel 4, written by Charlie Brooker.
It seems like Black Mirror series 2 had barely started, yet it's already over. Never shall we see its like again, at least until the inevitable third run. Well, assuming Brooker wants to do one, it seems to be C4's most successful proper drama show in a while, or at least the one that's made the most impact on the culture. More so than Utopia, anyway.

Anyway, let's take a look at the third episode - The Waldo Moment - and see how the triad ended. This episode certainly had the most memorable concept - cartoon TV character stands in real election - could it rake in the best result? Remember to watch the episode of 4OD first if you're among the spoiler-conscious classes.

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The Nathan Waldo Barley Moment?

There's been a lot of Nathan Barley comparisons in write-ups of this episode, which Brooker probably invited by admitting in the credits that the concept was originally conceived for that show. I didn't think the similarity was that glaring, except a couple of scenes where Brooker couldn't resist including a comedy media twat.

But overall, The Waldo Moment had enough humanity to feel like an episode of the drama series Black Mirror, rather than a misplaced sitcom script. Also, like many of the good efforts in this show, it had the disturbing ring of plausibility. Give us better technology, keep pushing down the road we're already on, and yeah, why couldn't this happen? We do seem to worship satirists and mocking misanthropes far more than the people who do the donkey work and run our world, just look at the Jon Stewart in the US or, indeed, Charlie Brooker himself over here.

Waldo himself was legitimately funny enough, and his creator Jamie was more relatable than the shrieking Victoria of last week's White Bear. A decent episode, actually, with his on-screen meltdown hitting home especially.

BUT Right Back

There's always going to be a "BUT", and this week it's the ending. Much like it was in kick-off episode Be Right Back, actually, but less so. Because Brooker does let the character-based drama have its quiet ending, and on the one hand you want to commend him for not soaring over the top, but on the other, it was a bit quiet and nothingy.

And then there's the sci-fi epilogue in which the blue bear has dominated the world, and ironically that actually feels too OTT. What it needed was a more dramatic pay-off for Jamie himself, without plunging into world domination. Still, aside from the final few minutes, this is one of the better Black Mirror weeks, the conclusion of a series which has seen Brooker step back from shock tactics just enough to make some drama with real resonance.

It's a strange show, of course, because we're seeing Brooker almost learn screen-writing as the episodes progress. These scripts aren't perfect, and I think I've picked technical holes in all of them, but they're worlds apart from most of the series one Black Mirror episodes, and hopefully it'll keep improving this way in the hypothetical third run.

Black Mirror has now concluded, much like our world one day will. See more info on the official Black Mirror website, check the whole series out Channel 4 On Demand. Quickly, before we all absolutely die.