Review: Black Mirror: S02EP03 – ‘The Waldo Moment’
So the current series of Black Mirror comes to a close with The Waldo Moment, so here is our take on the concluding episode.
The Waldo Moment begins with two intertwining stories. One focuses on Gwendolyn Harris (Chloe Pirrie), a young woman seeking to gain a reputation in the political world, having just scrapped into the role as a local Labour MP. Gwendolyn see’s this job as an opportunity to build her up on a long career ladder, coming to terms with the likelihood that her Tory opponent, Liam Monroe (Tobias Menzies), will beat her in the forthcoming by-election.
The second story strand focuses on Jaime (Daniel Rigby), a 30-something comedian behind the popular television character, Waldo. An animated blue bear that remarkably sounds a lot like Lee Nelson, and has the attitude of an adolescent teenager, Waldo amuses an audience with foul-mouthed language on a topical TV show, For One Week Only.
Though Jaime has no interest in politics, a vulgar interview takes place between Waldo and Munroe (the Tory MP mentioned earlier) and the outcome impresses the audience, viewers and producers alike. Producer Jack Naiper (Jason Flemyng) is spurred on to continue this success, by having his underlings work round the clock to have Waldo follow Munroe by all means necessary. Eventually Jaime is dispatched to a van fitted out with an LED Screen TV on the side of the vehicle, and shadow’s Monroe’s movements with puerile jokes and dark humor.
Eventually Jaime and Gwendolyn bump into each other at a hotel bar, where in spite of their different social backgrounds, a romance begins to blossom between the two. This plot line has a big impact later on in the episode, as Jaime uses his insider knowledge of Gwendolyn’s apathy to sabotage her political career on live television, and in return further Waldo’s status as an icon.
As the episode progresses, Jaime can only look on ad Waldo’s reputation grows in popularity, with a hit video on YouTube attracting interest from an American Corporation.
As with the previous episodes in the television series, Black Mirror addresses a current concern within society. Whilst there are the elements of social media at work here, with the use of Android and Iphone apps becoming more and more prominent, that is surprisingly not the biggest focus here. It is the death of politics itself. It is no hidden secret that political apathy is growing within the United Kingdom, and no doubt in other Western nations as there is no clear and clean relationship between the masses and the politicians in office.
The episode makes valid and reasonable points in that self interested politicians are just as dangerous to democracy as apathetic voters are in today’s world. Yet it is hard to sit through The Waldo Moment and feel satisfied with the overall story. It is well acted as it is well shot as we have come to expect with the series, but the characters and the plot was not as engaging as Be Right Back and White Bear. There is a lack of emotional connection between us and the victims of this episode.
Overall this was a lesser episode in the Black Mirror series, as the expectations of the previous episodes certainly set the bar very high. And even though the series may have not ended on the highest note, it still remains clear that there is nothing else on television remotely like Black Mirror, so no doubt we have not seen the last of Charlie Brooker’s work.