Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I was left underwhelmed by this Black Mirror episode, which was a shame as there was so much lead-up and hype about Miley Cyrus' presence in the episode. The characters felt flat and one-dimensional, and we'd seen them all before - Rachel is the fangirl new girl at school who doesn't have any friends, Jack is the alternative, moody bitch the plot needs her to be because of her mum's death. The only character that I did enjoy was Ashley Too, particularly when her limiter was deleted from her system. It was a plot twist that I was very impressed by and made me nostalgic for Get Out's marvellous concept of inserting one's consciousness to something else. The villain of the episode, Catherine, filled in a stereotype so bluntly, you'd think she was Prince Charmant's uncle in Ella Enchanted. Her character lacked the emotional depth I personally enjoy in a villain, leaving me unphased when she was caught out in the climax. While in the beginning, perhaps in the car ride or the dressing room, Catherine's behaviours hinted at a more sinister alter-ego, her arc was rendered cliche in order to squish in the rest of the character developments from the two protagonists in the hour-long episode.
The visuals, however, were stunning, and perhaps is the reason why this episode isn't a one star. Ashley Eternal was reminiscent of Blade Runner 2049's Joi, with the ability to change size, look like a real human being, and yet be completely artificial, which I thought was implemented excellently. This inclusion also through a nice plot twist, or more surprise, while viewing, as it seemed as though Catherine would just find another replacement for Ashley, such as Rachel, as she displayed determination and a strong passion for Ashley's character and morals.
It wasn't a complete waste of an hour and seven minutes, but it's a pity that such a great idea followed the cookie-cutter standards in the character department. Had the characters and plot been freshened up just a bit more, it would've served as a nice reflection on society's greed for money and the saddening reality that technology may equate to human interaction, affection, and friendship.

-A