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 by Owen Harris
Written by Charlie Brooker
Featured music " Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
Original air date 21 October 2016 (2016-10-21)
Running time 61 minutes
Awards See 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 Yorkie ( Mackenzie Davis), a shy woman visiting the town, meets and falls in love with the more outgoing Kelly ( Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The town is revealed to be a simulated reality of 1987 in which the elderly's conscious minds can live, even after death, and Yorkie is a woman with locked-in syndrome who wishes to be euthanised so she can inhabit it permanently. Kelly marries Yorkie so she can legally authorise this, but is reluctant to join her due to Kelly's husband and daughter having died without joining San Junipero. However, she later decides she is ready to join, and is uploaded to San Junipero so she can be with Yorkie.

"San Junipero" was the first episode written for series three of Black Mirror; Charlie Brooker was inspired to write an episode to upend viewers' preconceptions of the show. Initial drafts were based on nostalgia therapy and designed as a period piece; they featured 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 was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa and in London, England over a few weeks.

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, though a minority of critics gave partially negative reviews.


In 1987, a shy woman named Yorkie ( Mackenzie Davis) visits San Junipero, a beach resort town. Kelly ( Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a vivacious party girl, strikes up a conversation with Yorkie at a night club in order to ditch Wes ( Gavin Stenhouse), a man with whom she previously had sex. Kelly invites Yorkie to dance but Yorkie, self-conscious and embarrassed, flees from the bar. Kelly follows and flirts with Yorkie before propositioning her to go to bed together. Yorkie declines, saying she is engaged to a man named Greg. The following week, Yorkie returns to the bar and observes Kelly flirting with a different man. Yorkie and Kelly reunite in the bathroom before returning to Kelly's beach house to have sex. Yorkie confesses it is the first time she has had sex with anyone; Kelly says she is bisexual and was once married to a man.

The next week, Yorkie returns, looking for Kelly. She spots Wes, who advises her to "try a different time". Yorkie visits 1980 and 1996 before finding Kelly in 2002, but Kelly rebuffs her advances. After Yorkie leaves the bar, Kelly follows and confesses that she is dying, and that she avoided Yorkie because she feared developing feelings for anyone in San Junipero. The two have sex again; Kelly tells Yorkie she wants to meet her in real life. Yorkie is hesitant at first, but at Kelly's urging, tells Kelly her location.

It is revealed that San Junipero is a simulated reality where the deceased can live permanently and the elderly are permitted to visit for up to five hours per week; in this reality, they have the body of a younger version of themselves and cannot feel pain unless they choose to. Back in the physical world, the elderly Kelly ( Denise Burse) visits a bedridden Yorkie (Annabel Davis). She learns from Yorkie's nurse, Greg, that Yorkie was paralyzed 40 years earlier after running her car off the road in despair when her parents rejected her for coming out as a lesbian. Yorkie wishes to be euthanised so that she can live in San Junipero full-time. However, her family has religious objections, so she intends to marry Greg (Raymond McAnally) so that he can consent to her removal from life support. During a five-minute visit to San Junipero arranged by Greg, Kelly offers to marry Yorkie instead; Yorkie enthusiastically accepts, and Kelly subsequently authorises Yorkie's euthanasia.

On Kelly's next visit to San Junipero, Yorkie asks her to stay full-time. Though Kelly does not believe in heaven, she plans to die without being uploaded to San Junipero. Her husband of 49 years, Richard, chose to die in the same way, because their daughter Alison died at age 39 before San Junipero existed. Yorkie and Kelly argue, and Kelly leaves in her Jeep, which she crashes on purpose. Yorkie runs after her and catches up to her just as Kelly's virtual body disappears, her visiting time having ended for the week.

Time passes, and Kelly's health continues to worsen. She elects to be euthanized, and is buried alongside her husband's and daughter's bodies. Her mind is uploaded to San Junipero, where she happily reunites with Yorkie.

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