THE “WHO’S YOUR DADDY?” SPEECH in (03x10) - “A Ghost Along The Mississippi”
“The only danger here…is the choice that you must make. You see I’m not your enemy. It’s true. I delivered you from this existence, I can just as easily pluck you out of it. The choice is yours to make.”
Black Mirror's San Junipero or how to dismantle the Bury Your Gays trope [Heavy spoilers]
I’ve written a little about the BYG trope before and if you
follow media critics at all, you’ll know the death toll of women in
relationships with women on TV shows in particular is seemingly ever rising.
Black Mirror is a speculative fiction anthology series known
for its grim and dark themes. Originally broadcast on Channel 4, the British
series only ran two seasons of three episodes each and one Christmas special,
but was subsequently recommissioned by Netflix. “San Junipero” is the
fourth episode of the Netflix season.
San Junipero focuses on the romance between two women: a
young shy white glasses-wearing lesbian named Yorkie and a vivacious joyful
passionate fun-loving black bisexual young woman named Kelly. In any normal
Black Mirror, you’d expect a grim ending. And with the prevalence of the BYG
trope on TV, this is an even greater possibility. But San Junipero is not a
normal Black Mirror episode.
Charlie Brooker, creator and writer of Black Mirror, is
obviously aware of the BYG trope. And he has endeavoured to shatter it to
pieces. San Junipero is a story about love between two women. But it’s also a
story about dying. And both the main characters are dying. This is clearly a
conscious decision. Everything about the episode not only alludes to BYG, but
calls for it. All the narrative justifications are there for it to happen. But
Charlie Brooker decides to show that there is no such thing as “it had to
When we first meet Yorkie and Kelly, they are two young
women meeting in a nightclub of the party town of San Junipero in the 80s. But
in true Black Mirror fashion, appearances are deceptive. San Junipero is not a
real place. San Junipero is one of the many settings in a virtual reality
program. Elderly patients in nursing homes can choose to upload their
consciousness to the program after death. And before that they can spend up to
five hours a week in it as a test-run. Yorkie and Kelly met during their
Yorkie is a quadriplegic 60+ year old woman. She has spent
her entire life in a hospital bed and
now she is nearing the end of her life, she has chosen to upload herself to San
Junipero. Kelly, also in her sixties, has been diagnosed with cancer and has been
given a few months to live. This is the first part of the BYG subversion by the
episode. The girls are dying, but they’re old women who have lived long lives. This isn’t a case of a young
woman getting hit by a stray bullet. Their deaths do not feel premature. And
they aren’t certain either. Yorkie has chosen the time of her “death”
willingly and it is not a death per se, just a passing into the virtual world
of San Junipero. As to Kelly, she has outlived every dire prognoses she has been
given thus far.
However, Kelly, who is bisexual, is still grieving her
husband’s death and when Yorkie asks her to upload to San Junipero with her,
she flat out refuses. Her husband did not go into the virtual reality program
after his death and she feels like she cannot go when he did not. This decision
leads to a fight with Yorkie, after which Kelly gets in her car and speed
drives away before crashing and lying unmoving on the road. But this is San
Junipero. This is a virtual world. Nobody dies here. Not ever. In San Junipero,
women who love women are immortal and invincible and Kelly just gets back up.
Kelly finally comes to the realisation that it is okay for
her to move on and thats he isn’t betraying her husband for doing so. The girls
go on to live together, in a literal happily ever after - and all too rarely
seen - in San Junipero.
Seeing a same sex couple both live through the entire story and
end up together would be groundbreaking enough, but seeing this in a narrative
that seemed to demand death, in a TV show that has never had a happy ending
before (one hopeful ending in episode 1 of season 3) is not just a great decision
to see, it’s an indictment of every other show who has killed their lesbian and
bisexual female characters and a way to raise the bar for all future show.
It’s worth noting that the episode also made a lot of
efforts to put forward the validity of the characters’ sexuality and diversify the
usual representation of wlw characters:
- wlw characters often tend to be white but Kelly is a black
- wlw characters are often young. The episode played with
that perception by making the characters’ youth turn out to be an illusion and
both women are actually over sixty, which also shows that same sex attraction
is not a phase. It’s a lifelong thing. Yorkie and Kelly loved girls at 20 and
they love them still at 60.
- bisexual women are just waiting for the right person to
decide their orientation: Kelly’s relationship with her husband and her budding
romance with Yorkie are given equal weight. Nobody ever assumes that maybe
Kelly was into girls all along and she was just still in the closet when she
was with her husband. There is an absolutely magnificent monologue from Kelly
towards the end in which she explains to Yorkie just how much her husband and
the forty years they spent together meant to her.
- bisexual women are promiscuous: again, the episode plays
with the perception. When we first meet Kelly, she is adamant that she is not
going to have a relationship, that she only wants harmless fun. But we then
find out that she is just finding it difficult to move on from her husband’s
death and wishes to be faithful to his memory. Her speech about him also makes
it clear that although she has always known she was also into women, she has
never even been tempted to have a relationship with a woman because she loved
her husband and was faithful to him for the entirety of their marriage.
EDIT: upon rewatching, I noticed clues indicating Yorkie and Kelly are actually in their seventies, and not their sixties as I had previously estimated.
Edit 2: Scratch that, somebody pointed out Yorkie is indeed in her sixties, while Kelly is 73. Also added a gif because it made me smile.
That Klaroline letter: In the show’s final moments, Caroline and Ric’s new boarding school receives an impressive donation from none other than Klaus Mikaelson, and with it, he wrote Caroline a letter that included a phrase that more than likely set Klaroline shippers back on their heels. “First of all I have to give a special shout-out to Carina [Mackenzie], who wrote that letter for me,” Plec says. “We have her to thank for that. And when I read it and I saw ‘however long it takes,’ I just about died. She nailed it.” In the moment that Caroline read the letter, the voiceover declared it “the beginning of another story,” though it’s not one Plec can promise they’ll tell. “I can’t make any promises for many reasons: One, because we don’t have a fifth season of The Originals. Two, because while I love the world of the boarding school and all that it represents, that would be an entirely new show that I haven’t even begun to think about, but the doors were not left open unintentionally.” Picking her words carefully, Plec says, “They’re open with a hope, not a promise.”
It took her saying it for me to realize: people admire those who change them. Like a child whose life is saved by a doctor, admiring doctors and wanting to be one. Like a boy bewitched by beautiful skills longing to be an assassin…just like i admired that teacher of ours. (S2x20)
Some of Supergirl‘s fiercest foes are itching for a rematch in the new year.
Livewire (played by Brit Morgan) and Metallo (Frederick Schmidt) are among the villains returning to the CW drama in 2017, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Metallo (aka John Corben) appeared in the first two episodes of Season 2; originally an assassin ordered to kill Lena Luthor, he was later turned into a cyborg by the not-so-good people of Cadmus.
Supergirl viewers first met Livewire (formerly known as Leslie Willis) in a self-titled Season 1 episode, which chronicled the villain’s shocking — for lack of a better term — transformation from a CatCo employee to a vengeful maniac. She re-emerged in 2016, this time teaming up with Silver Banshee to fight Supergirl and The Flash.
Executive producer Ali Adler tells TVLine that other “fan-favorite” villains will reappear this season, but it’s too early to make any additional announcements.
Caroline (Candice King) has been looked after by Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who has never really forgotten about his TVD muse[…]Mr. Williamson adds, almost as an afterthought, that a new series might focus more on Caroline, as she opens a magic school for their twins and other supernatural children. That would also allow for more to be done with the Caroline/Klaus situation.[…]I can’t make any promises for many reasons: One, because we don’t have a fifth season of The Originals,” says Julie Plec. “Two, because while I love the world of the boarding school and all that it represents, that would be an entirely new show that I haven’t even begun to think about, but the doors were not left open unintentionally.
@bbcamerica Announces Season Two Greenlight of Scripted Original Series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
BBC AMERICA announces today the second season greenlight of original scripted series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Starring Elijah Wood and Samuel Barnett, the series is penned by Max Landis (American Ultra, Chronicle) and executive produced by Robert Cooper (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe). Adapted from the wildly popular novels by Douglas Adams (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), season two will return with ten episodes and premiere in 2017.
Sarah Barnett, President of BBC AMERICA, commented, “Outlandishly different, Dirk Gently has hit a sweet spot with BBCA fans. With Elijah Wood and Samuel Barnett’s chemistry as oddball detective/sidekick duo, and our creators promising ever greater genius-weird cosmic mystery in the next case, we’re happy to announce more of this truly original and entertaining show.”