This week on Black Mirror Friday, we talk about Shannon’s favorite episode, Arkangel. We discuss the technology, parenting, and how far is too far to go to protect your children. Spoilers ahead!
Arkangel, directed by Jodie Foster, is a statement on the ultimate helicopter parenting. After temporarily losing sight of her daughter Sarah at a playground, a mom (who is unnamed in the episode) has the girl set up with a neural implant. The implant not only tracks location, but also health and vital signs. And, most disturbingly, it has an ocular function that allows the mom to SEE what her daughter is seeing and blur it or block it out if she wants.
As Sarah grows up, she is sheltered from disturbing images such as a scary, barking dog and all kinds of violence. But she also grows up unable to recognize signs of fear or pain in others, as well as an unhealthy obsession with the things she’s been banned from seeing, such as sex, drugs and violence.
The Arkangel impant is soon banned from the market, but unfortunately, it’s not removable. As Sarah enters her pre-teen years, mom agrees to stop relying on the device. She packs away the tablet she used to monitor her daughter until one night when she finds out her daughter has told her a lie.
When she turns the tablet back on, she sees more than she bargained for and sets off a series of events that would alienate her daughter for good.
A Look in the Mirror
How far off is this technology? RFID chips exist now and are used most commonly for pets. But there has been talk of whether children could get these implants to track their location. And there are several wearable tracking devices that exist, as well as phone technology and countless ways for parents to censor what their kids see online. A company in Wisconsin has used small, implantable devices to allow workers to purchase food, open doors, log in to computers and use the copy machine.
But the actual technology to see through your child’s eyes and monitor their vital signs and health? We think that’s pretty far off. And we both agree we would never want to use this technology.
Since Black Mirror is an anthology, we’re rating every episode to help you decide which are must-sees, good to watch, or could be skipped.
Shannon: Must-see (especially if you are a mother)
Fadra: Good to Watch
We’d love to hear your feedback on any Black Mirror episode! Chat with us online @StingerPodcast everywhere.