San Junipero

"San Junipero"
Black Mirror episode
Black Mirror - San Junipero.jpg
Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis, left) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).
Episode no.Series 3
Episode 4
Directed byOwen Harris
Written byCharlie Brooker
Featured music"Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
Original air date21 October 2016 (2016-10-21)
Running time61 minutes
AwardsSee awards section.
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Black Mirror episodes

"San Junipero" is the fourth episode in series three of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. Written by series creator and showrunner Charlie Brooker and directed by Owen Harris, it premiered on Netflix on 21 October 2016, together with the rest of series three. The episode has a substantially more hopeful tone than other Black Mirror stories and garnered popularity among both fans and critics, along with many awards.

The episode is set in a beach resort town named San Junipero, where introverted Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) meets the more outgoing Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The town is a simulated reality the elderly can inhabit, even after death. "San Junipero" was the first episode written for series three of Black Mirror; Charlie Brooker wrote the episode to upend viewers' preconceptions of the show. Initial drafts were based on nostalgia therapy and designed as a period piece, featuring a heterosexual couple and an unhappy ending. The soundtrack contains many songs from the 1980s, and the sets were carefully designed to evoke the era.

The episode has received critical acclaim, with critics rating it highly in comparison to other episodes of the show. Many critics believed it to be one of the best television episodes of 2016. It won two Primetime Emmy Awards, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie, as well as numerous other accolades and nominations. Mbatha-Raw and Davis' performances were very well-received and the episode's plot twist was widely praised, along with the uplifting tone of the episode and its visual style and music.

Plot

In 1987, a shy woman named Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) visits a nightclub in San Junipero. Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a vivacious party girl, begins talking to Yorkie in order to ditch Wes (Gavin Stenhouse), a man with whom Kelly previously had sex. Kelly and Yorkie dance, but Yorkie becomes uncomfortable and flees the club. Kelly follows and propositions Yorkie, who declines, saying she is engaged. The following week, Yorkie returns to the bar and observes Kelly flirting with a different man. Yorkie and Kelly reunite in the bathroom, and they then have sex at Kelly's beach house. Yorkie confesses that it is her first time having sex, and Kelly reveals that she was once married to a man.

The next week, Yorkie returns, looking for Kelly. Wes advises her to "try a different time." Yorkie eventually finds Kelly in 2002, but Kelly rebuffs Yorkie's advances. After Yorkie leaves, Kelly follows and confesses that she is dying; Kelly had avoided Yorkie because she feared developing feelings for her. The two have sex again, and Yorkie reluctantly tells Kelly her real-life location so that they can meet.

It is revealed that San Junipero is a simulated reality where the deceased can live and the elderly can visit, all inhabiting their younger selves' bodies. Back in the physical world, the elderly Kelly (Denise Burse) visits Yorkie (Annabel Davis). She learns from Yorkie's nurse, Greg (Raymond McAnally), that Yorkie was paralysed at age 21 after crashing her car when her parents reacted poorly to her coming out. Yorkie wishes to be euthanised so that she can live in San Junipero permanently, but her family objects; she intends to marry Greg so that he can consent for her. Kelly visits San Junipero and offers to marry Yorkie instead. Once Yorkie enthusiastically accepts, Kelly authorises Yorkie's euthanasia.

During Kelly's next visit to San Junipero, Yorkie asks her to stay full-time. Though Kelly does not believe in an afterlife, she plans to die without being uploaded to the simulation. Kelly's husband Richard chose to die in the same way because of the untimely death of their daughter, Alison, at age 39. Yorkie and Kelly argue, and Kelly leaves in her car, which she crashes on purpose. Yorkie runs after her and catches up just as Kelly disappears, her visiting time over for the week.

Time passes, and Kelly decides that she is ready to enter San Junipero. She is euthanised and buried alongside her husband and daughter, and inside San Junipero, she happily reunites with Yorkie.

Other Languages
Ελληνικά: Σαν Χουνίπερο
español: San Junipero
português: San Junipero
українська: Сан Джуніперо