In the world of Black Mirror, the highly acclaimed dystopian sci-fi anthology series, Season 6 Episode 3, titled ‘Beyond the Sea’, takes us on a thrilling journey through a fictionalized 1969. The episode introduces us to two astronauts, portrayed by Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett, who embark on a space mission aboard a spaceship. However, as with any Black Mirror story, things take a twisted turn when advanced technology resembling the show’s signature themes comes into play, leaving indelible consequences on their lives. Let’s dive into the intricacies of this captivating episode and explore its connections with previous installments.
The Plot of ‘Beyond the Sea’
Aaron Paul’s character, Cliff, and Josh Hartnett’s character, David, find themselves on a mission in outer space. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, they can also spend considerable time on Earth using robotic body doubles. By inserting an army tag-like device into a computer and sleeping on their space beds, their consciousness is transferred to their doubles, which remain inactive until needed.
The episode skillfully blends modern technology with a vintage setting, showcasing the potential and pitfalls of such advancements. Unfortunately, their harmonious routine is shattered when a group of individuals, reminiscent of a Charles Manson cult, violently invade David’s California home. These intruders consider the use of technology to be “unnatural” and end up causing a horrifying tragedy by killing David’s wife and children.
Left stranded in space without his robotic avatar and only sporadic contact with Cliff, David begins to lose his sanity. In a compassionate act, Cliff allows him to experience life on Earth through his link, connecting with his own family and rekindling a friendship with Cliff’s wife, Lana (Kate Mara). However, David’s admiration for Lana evolves into something more, leading to a tense confrontation between the two astronauts.
The Shocking Twist
The true twist in ‘Beyond the Sea’ arrives when Cliff denies David’s request to use his link one last time. In response, David resorts to drastic measures, stealing Cliff’s link and enacting a plan that leaves Cliff’s family brutally murdered. The revelation of David’s sinister actions creates a chilling atmosphere and showcases the show’s mastery in delivering unexpected and dark storylines.
Is ‘Beyond the Sea’ Connected to ‘USS Callister’?
While ‘Beyond the Sea’ is not a direct sequel to the popular Season 4 episode ‘USS Callister’, there are intriguing similarities that could potentially make it a distant prequel. Aaron Paul’s cameo appearance as ‘Gamer691’ in ‘USS Callister’ and the resemblance between the spaceships in both episodes are among the key connections. Additionally, the use of technology to transmit consciousness is a recurring theme in both stories, though their contexts differ significantly.
Considering Black Mirror’s unique interconnected universe, it is not entirely implausible to imagine ‘Beyond the Sea’ serving as a prelude to ‘USS Callister’, offering an intriguing backstory for Cliff’s character before he became Gamer691. However, this is speculative, and the narrative styles of the two episodes remain distinct, further adding to the intrigue and unpredictability of the Black Mirror universe.
Rewatched USS Callister and recognised the voice at the end (the gamer) as Aaron Paul… you don’t think… surely not… https://t.co/D75w1IoIj8
— Dan🔴 (@dannyboi872) June 13, 2023
In conclusion, ‘Beyond the Sea’ stands as another thought-provoking and gripping addition to the Black Mirror series. Charlie Brooker’s masterful storytelling and astute satirical commentary, combined with a talented cast, continue to captivate viewers with each installment. As we explore the dark side of technology and its impact on human lives, Black Mirror remains a compelling and relevant exploration of our modern world.