San Junipero

"San Junipero"
Black Mirror episode
Two women dressed in 1980s-style clothing.
Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis, left) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, right)
Episode no.Series 3
Episode 4
Directed byOwen Harris
Written byCharlie Brooker
Featured music
Original air date21 October 2016 (2016-10-21)
Running time61 minutes
AwardsSee awards section.
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Shut Up and Dance"
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"Men Against Fire"
List of Black Mirror episodes

"San Junipero" is the fourth episode in series three of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. Written by showrunner Charlie Brooker and directed by Owen Harris, it premiered on Netflix on 21 October 2016, with the rest of series three.

The episode is set in a beach resort town named San Junipero, where the 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; initial drafts were based on nostalgia therapy and designed as a 1980s period piece, featuring a heterosexual couple and an unhappy ending. Filming took place in London and Cape Town across a few weeks. The soundtrack interweaves 1980s songs with an original score by Clint Mansell.

The episode has received critical acclaim, with particular praise for Mbatha-Raw's and Davis's performances, and its plot twist, uplifting tone and visual style. It had higher critical ratings than the show's other episodes, and some critics considered it one of the best television episodes of 2016. In addition to several other accolades, "San Junipero" won two Primetime Emmy Awards in the Television Movie and Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special categories.

Plot

In 1987, a shy woman named Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) visits a nightclub in San Junipero. Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a vivacious party girl, talks to Yorkie to ditch Wes (Gavin Stenhouse), a man with whom Kelly previously had sex. Kelly and Yorkie dance, but Yorkie becomes uncomfortable and leaves the club. Kelly follows and sexually 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 have sex at Kelly's beach house. Yorkie confesses that it was 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 visit 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.

San Junipero is revealed to be 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 death of their daughter Alison at age 39 before San Junipero was available. Yorkie and Kelly argue, and Kelly leaves in her car, which she crashes on purpose. Yorkie catches up to her 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 she happily reunites with Yorkie inside San Junipero.

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