I won’t bother talking about episode 3 of Black Mirror because it destroyed me. So we’re moving on.
“Be Right Back” (ep. 4) is brilliant. We undergo experiences like these every single day. The details differ, but everyone is pulled toward feeling closer to those who are distant. We hold old letters and photos close to our heart. We feel comforted by their valuables and belongings. The slivers of who they once were and what we shared.
Here is my personal take with spoilers: Ash was obsessed with his online presence and now Martha is obsessed with it because a shade of a person is better than nothing. And now I realize why I can’t let people go. Even if they are terrible influences, or cause me to doubt myself or even hate myself at times, my pull toward the beauty, or even the potential for beauty, is stronger than my pull toward reality. My experience is but a shade of everyone else’s. We all have our own delusions.
The lovely lighting, handsome home, and gorgeous countryside contrasts with the beauty Martha creates in her head through speaking with a shadow of something beautiful. Even when the world offers you beauty, your memory of beauty is too enticing to dismiss. When Martha breaks her phone and threatens to lose Ash a second time, it’s unbearable to lose even a fraction of his beauty. His materialization, of sorts, portrays how we make a shade appear to be real. And what is strange, but also true, is that he was mostly distant throughout their actual relationship. Ash’s shadow is the best shade of him, the shade Martha needs him to be. Once in a while, the shade slips. Reality creeps in. Clues tell us something isn’t quite right. And at the apex of ridding yourself of the falsehood, you talk yourself into keeping it. Because that tiny shade is beautiful. It’s worth the lie. And so it lingers and impacts you, even if just a little, forever.