Black Mirror is a dystopian show that relies on connected timelines, Easter eggs and a general distrust of technology. It’s a facet of the series that fans have come to appreciate and expect, digging for the less obvious twist.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for the fourth episode of the third season, "San Junipero."
"San Junipero" has been described as the most hopeful episode of Black Mirror, but people were quick to jump on the happy ending that its two main characters got. The episode focuses on a cloud-like service where people can upload a digital version of themselves to the town of San Junipero. Residents can spent five hours a week in the digital neighborhood while alive and then spend the rest of eternity living in the Heaven-like afterlife following their death.
"They have the happiest ending imaginable"
The service is intended for the elderly, but they can take on different forms in San Juniper, allowing them to live out a fantasy version of themselves. In the episode, Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), an elderly woman who’s been diagnosed with cancer and whose husband passed away, meets Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis), a quadriplegic woman who has been in a vegetative state for more than four decades.
The two meet in a 1980s-inspired San Junipero — complete with the arcade game Time Crisis thrown in, a cheeky nod to the theme of the episode — and fall in love. The only problem is that San Junipero, for the both of them, acts as a purgatory of sorts. Kelly made a promise to her late husband to leave San Junipero after she dies, and Yorkie has no desire to go anywhere else.
As Vox’s Todd VanDer Werff points out, even though the two fall in love with each other quick and fast, the lethargy that comes with any relationship starts to show. Eventually they will get bored of each other and fight, but just like we do in our own relationships, Kelly and Yorkie push that to the side and try to make it work.
The much talked-about final scene in the episode finds Yorkie and Kelly dancing with each other before it cuts away from them and shows the blinking lights of servers powering the computer-generated universe. This left many questioning whether Yorkie and Kelly made it and lived happily ever after or if they, like so many other relationships, broke up and went about their own lives.
One of the more popular reads that some fans had on the episode was that Kelly is still alive, and the version of her that Yorkie sees is the computer-generated copy. If Yorkie dies and gets to spend the rest of her life in San Junipero, and Kelly dies and moves on, the two will never be together for eternity.
"Kelly never ‘passed over,'" one Reddit user said. "The Kelly that Yorkie sees is a computer generated copy. This would be the type of mental projection of people seen in both 'Playtest' and 'Man Against Fire' - or more generously, the 'Cookie' in 'White Christmas.’"
Another fan suggested that we’ll never know if they got their happy ending or not because the ideal relationship they built with each other had only been going on for a few days.
Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, who’s keenly aware of the questions concerning the ending of the episode, has finally given a definitive answer. Speaking to Vogue, Brooker said that fans comments about the episode not having a happy ending are "bullshit."
"They have the happiest ending imaginable," Brooker said. "So it’s not a big rainbow sandwich, but what appears to be happening there, is happening there. It’s them, they drive off into the sunset together — because, why not?"
Black Mirror’s third season is currently streaming on Netflix.