Black Mirror: 10 Times The Characters Were Just Plain Unlucky

2021-12-22 06:36:48 By : Mr. Reagan Ren

Most Black Mirror characters bring about their own misfortune through their own actions. Sometimes, however, characters are just plain unlucky.

British sci-fi anthology series, Black Mirror, is known for addressing the dark side of technology. The viewers are presented with horrible ways in which the tech of the future could impact ordinary people's lives. Because each episode is a stand-alone story, the number of characters across the series is much larger than in a TV show with a regular, recurring cast.

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Creator Charlie Brooker has given audiences a vision of some bleak and dystopian worlds. Throughout the 22 episodes, bad things often happen to people. Although much of the time – whether through malice or their own stupidity – the characters bring their misfortune on themselves, some characters don't deserve what happens to them and are just the victims of plain bad luck.

After the death of his father, Cooper decides to travel the world. When his credit card is compromised, he suddenly finds himself in London without any money. He takes a job as a guinea pig for a new type of interactive augmented reality software. This involves having an implant that allows the game to interact directly with his brain.

Cooper's bad luck was that a stranger used his credit card to commit fraud. Due to financial desperation, Cooper made decisions that turned out to be very bad ones. In "Playtest," he becomes trapped in a literally nightmarish situation, unable to tell reality from fiction. If he hadn't needed money so quickly, he would never have taken the job in the first place.

This Black Mirror episode takes place in a near future where social media standings govern every aspect of people's lives. The protagonist Lacie is shallow, self-absorbed, and entirely focused on getting "likes," but that doesn't make her a bad person. In fact - in a world where access to your office or applying for an apartment is dependent on your ranking - that just makes her normal.

Her bad luck starts with a canceled flight, and a minor freak out at the airport means she is docked points and incurs harsh penalties for 24 hours. After that, things really spiral out of control until she is left with nothing left to lose. She doesn't deserve it, but it all happens anyway.

In one way, Sara is already unlucky because of her mother's overprotective parenting, but her real bad luck, in this Jodie Foster-directed episode, is that when her mother eavesdrops on her teenage activities, she does so at the absolute worst times. Eavesdropping here is done through an implanted device called "Arkangel," which monitors Sara's health, vision, and hearing.

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Having stopped using the system at the advice of a child psychologist, her mother reactivates it when Sara is 15. Sam's mother witnesses her experimenting with sex and drugs. Both times what she sees is out of context and looks worse than it actually is. The breakdown of trust between mother and daughter has devastating consequences for both of them.

Matt is not a nice person. His job involves torturing "Cookies," fully sentient digital copies of human beings. However, there was one bit of bad luck he couldn't have foreseen. He runs a side business as a dating coach using a device called Z-Eyes, which allows him to observe and communicate with his shy, awkward clients.

Matt's client, Harry, meets a girl who hears voices in her head and, overhearing Harry in a seemingly one-sided conversation, she assumes he can hear them too. This results in the girl killing them both in what she wrongfully believes is a suicide pact. His client is murdered on camera while Matt can only watch, completely powerless to do anything.

Jamie is a down-on-his-luck comedian who provides the voice and movements of an animatronic blue bear called Waldo. It looks like Jamie's luck is going to change when he meets Gwendolyn, a politician, and the two fall for one another. However, she is told by her political advisors to cut all contact.

The popularity of Waldo takes off in a bizarre way that Jamie is uncomfortable with. He tries to do the right thing but finds himself fighting powers much greater than he is. Jamie is truly out of luck by the end of the underrated Black Mirror episode, which sees him living on the street, futilely raging against omnipresent images of the cartoon character he used to control.

Carrie's first bit of bad luck is falling into a coma, but things get weirder after that. Futuristic but confusing technology enables her consciousness to be transplanted into her husband's head. She can talk to him and see and feel the world through his body, allowing her to hug her young son.

It's not a great life, piggybacking inside someone else's body, but it gets worse. Carrie's consciousness is transplanted - without her knowledge or consent - into a toy monkey. She can still feel her son's hugs, but can only communicate through two pre-recorded phrases. Later, the toy is displayed in a museum, giving Carrie no stimulus at all. Although she is rescued, she can never escape her imprisonment inside an animate object.

Jaden is an intern at a Google-type company called "Smithereens." When Chris - a man with a vendetta against the company - poses as a taxi driver and kidnaps Jaden, Chris initially thinks he has a more senior employee in his car.

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This is a perfect example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Chris needed any Smithereens employee in order to carry out his ransom demand, and Jaden was unlucky that it happened to be him. To make matters worse, Chris berates him for being just an intern, as though Jaden had deceived his kidnapper in some way, rather than being the unfortunate victim of a really bad day at work.

The real Ash dies in a traffic accident at the beginning of "Be Right Back." This definitely counts as bad luck, but also means that his story ends there. For most of the episode, the Ash that the audience hears and sees is an artificial version of the real man, commissioned by his wife, Martha, and constructed from his digital footprint.

Replacement Ash does everything that he is supposed to do in order to be the man that Martha wants him to be, but - unable to handle his artificiality - Martha brutally rejects her husband's clone. Ash ends up stored in the attic, like a discarded toy, only being permitted access to his family on special occasions.

In many ways, Joe is the agent of his own misfortune. He is in police custody after murdering a man and leaving a small child to die. You could argue that such a character deserves every bad thing that happens to him. However, in the near future of "White Christmas," Joe's bad luck comes at the hands of a sadistic police officer.

He digitally manipulates Joe's perception of time so that he will experience 1,000 years for every minute in the real world. This means that Joe (or rather a digital replica of Joe, who behaves, thinks, and feels exactly like Joe) is stuck in a small cabin, on his own, unable to die, for 1,440,000 years.

A British princess is kidnapped and, to ensure her safe release, the kidnapper demands that the Prime Minister, Michael Callow, perform an intimate act with a live pig on live television. Callow goes ahead with the demands in order to save the princess's life.

There is nothing to suggest that Callow is a bad prime minister or that he has done anything to deserve the unreasonable demands that have been placed on him. He must go through with the televised ordeal because he has the top government job in the UK. The kidnapper would have made the same demands regardless of who the prime minister was. Michael Callow was just unlucky that it happened to be him.

NEXT: Every Black Mirror Season, Ranked

Emma Street is a writer who loves movies, television and tea. (She's British. Loving tea is in her DNA.) When not writing about movies and television for Screen Rant, she can be found reviewing tea at