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Black Mirror season 4 episode 2 'ArkAngel' spoiler review: Jodie Foster outing isn't up to the Netflix era standard

Big Mother is watching you

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 28 December 2017 16:58

*This review contains spoilers for Black Mirror season 4, which is streaming on Netflix here*

Black Mirror has come so far now, with diverse genres, delayed plot device reveals and super-sized budgets. Some may find this to its detriment, preferring the simplicity of a Channel 4-era 'White Bear' or 'The Entire History of You', but if the show is still interested in making lower-budget, more character-heavy episodes and proving their worth, it needs to do better this.

The Jodie Foster-directed 'ArkAngel' has a straightforward plot, a child being given an implant that allows her mother to monitor her life through a tablet - tracking her location, seeing through her eyes and putting age restrictions on scenes that some may find upsetting IRL. You can glean this from the trailer and probably guess where it goes too, the mother being unable to resist continuing to use the device into her daughter's teens and meddling in those areas that tend to make parents go to Defcon 1, chiefly sex and drugs.

And that's really it. The daughter, played by the definitely older than teenage-looking Brenna Harding, goes ape upon the discovery of a Big Brother (Big Mother?) and beats her to near-death with the tablet, the mother later staggering out into the street covered in blood in an essentially shot-for-shot remake of that Skylar White scene in Breaking Bad.

Visually flat and miscast, 'ArkAngel' is fine, but is unlikely to be anyone's favourite episode of season 4.

For a more engaging riff on a very similar topic (parents wreaking havoc by intervening with their children's tech communications), check out Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children.

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