The fifth season of "Black mirror" seems to be the weakest. Alas!

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On June 5, Netflix released its fifth season of black mirror. In new episodes play Anthony Mackie from "the Avengers", Andrew Scott from "Sherlock's" and Miley Cyrus. Film critic Yegor Moskvitin without spoilers tells about each of the three series, which seem quite banal against the background of previous seasons.

In the new season, only three episodes, as in the days when the "Black mirror" still came out on the British Channel 4 (the first two seasons), and did not belong to the American Netflix. Each series lasts a little more than an hour — and this time is enough to turn another Charlie Brooker's feuilleton into a full-fledged film and not to tire the viewer. This time, Brooker wrote all the stories himself, and his handwriting is recognized instantly. For deceptively simple stories hide uncomfortable topics: from adultery to the responsibility of pop stars to young people, and IT-tycoons — to the state. Each story has an open ending, which the viewer can imagine both happy and tragic. Black humor again coexists in the frame with the transcendent sentimentality, and deliberate vulgarity — with wit.

Striking Vipers
The episode is directed by Owen Harris, the Director of two of the most sensual series of "Black mirror" — "San Junipero" (about the love of two girls in the virtual world) and "I'll be back soon" (about the groom, who after his death returned to his beloved in the form of a computer program). In the beginning of the story to the heroes of two comrades (one — Anthony Mackie from "the Avengers") and the girlfriend of one of them — for 27 years, three of them live in modest apartment and at night I play on the console. Is 11 years old, a couple gets married and gets a child, and their lone friend and continues to meet girls in clubs. Once he gives a birthday friend a new version of the same game from their youth — fighting game "Striking Vipers", but this time with the technology of full immersion in virtual reality. Gamers feel the same as the heroes of the game: pain, adrenaline and fatigue. Suddenly, two men, having moved into their avatars (one is in the body of the Chinese-canadian actor Ludi Lin from "Mighty Rangers", the other — in the body of a French actress with Korean and Russian roots POM Clementieff, the stars of "Guardians of the galaxy"), understand that in this virtual world can not only fight.

An equally strong history, as in "San Junipero" failed: fail and absurd dialogue, and unconvincing transformation of the characters. But this episode seems to be invented not to stun the viewer, but to leave him dissatisfied, so that he comprehended everything himself. When the game as a character of the opposite sex ceases to be a roleplaying game? How does behavior in virtual reality fit in with the traditional ethics of married life? What are the norms of the XX century is the fastest way to give up in the twenty-first century?

The episode reminds of the first two — still absolutely British — seasons of "Black mirror". Its action takes place in England, the main role is played by Andrew Scott (Moriarty from "Sherlock" and the star of the series "Stuff"), and the plot slips painful for the British theme of dependence on Americans. One suspiciously nervous taxi driver takes orders only from people who leave the office of an IT Corporation. When he finally gets the right passenger, begins a strange criminal story involving the British police and the FBI, transcontinental calls and vague flashbacks, snipers, hackers, humor and tears.

The viewer will be angered by the motivation of the hero — there were no more banal plots in the "Black mirror" yet. But the open ending and Andrew Scott's outstanding play correct this flaw. After all, if we associate with a fictional character, whom we know only an hour, our fears and hopes, then the story took place. And this hero is very difficult not to empathize. In addition, the most interesting ideas of the episode lie outside the main plot. IT-corporations in this story are stronger than intelligence services and police. Eyewitnesses of the tragedy lose interest in it faster than to the next reality show. And the nameless Manager is afraid to distract the chief from holiday stronger, than to kill the stranger. What is not a nod to the historic "Chernobyl" with a rival channel?

Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too
Rachel and Jack are two sisters who experience their mother's death differently. Jack plays Moody rock guitar all the time, and Rachel is looking for support from pop singer Ashley O, whose lyrics seem to be collected from motivational quotes. Ashley O herself (she is enthusiastically played by Miley Cyrus) is in a deep depression: a caring aunt-Manager forbids her to write Mature music, because earning on teenage girls is somehow calmer. While the star is arguing with the producer, a voice assistant appears on the market, a funny and smart doll Ashlee Too — artificial intelligence with the singer's personality. Toy is at home with Rachel and Jack — and begins to change their lives.

Another hackneyed plot, operetta villain and predictable denouement make this episode almost the weakest in the history of the series, but it has something to cling to. What if artificial intelligence, which is programmed to be friends with only one person, really can help more than his real friends? And can this relationship be considered friendship? And why does the estranged father of heroines think about humane catching mice? There don't seem to be any random metaphors in the Black mirror.

The fifth season turned out to be so lightweight that it seems not a dramatic fiasco, but a conscious move. In recent years, Netflix has gathered so many young audiences that it can move from storytelling to preaching values. Like sex education, 13 reasons why, and the recent series when they see us, the new Black mirror is an attempt to offer the viewer a new model of behavior and a new ethic in a complex world. For this attempt to be successful, the stories must be not only emotional, but apparently very simple.

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