Crocodile Black Mirror Recap – Black Mirror is a Netflix series that usually packs a double whammy by combining heart-racing suspense and drama with thoughtful commentary about the ethical dilemmas that arise when humans and technology combine. The other five episodes in Season 4 delivered to one degree or another, but the episode “Crocodile” fell flat on both fronts.
Crocodile Black Mirror Recap
The episode opens with a man and a woman playfully chatting in a car while the man drives a car across a desolate countryside. Suddenly, they hit a cyclist, killing him instantly. The woman insists that they call the police and report the accident, but the man, who points out that they’ve been drinking, frantically objects. Eventually, he convinces the woman to throw the man’s body into a nearby lake, turning her into an accomplice in his crime.
Fifteen years later, we see the same woman (Mia) is now a very successful architect with a husband and child. She is living a dream life, being whisked away to expensive hotels so that she can give talks about her field. It is at one of these events where her old companion (Rob) gets back in touch. We see that while she has flourished, he hasn’t done nearly as well. He’s disheveled and upset. He found a newspaper article about the man that he killed revealing that the dead man’s wife was still desperately clinging to hope he was alive. Rob has decided to write the widow an anonymous letter detailing what happened.
Mia is aghast at the suggestion. She begs Rob to consider her life and what she would have to give up if she was caught as his accomplice in the investigation that his letter would surely open. Rob is determined to do the right thing in an attempt to clear his conscience. Mia physically attacks him in a stunningly unbelievable display of brawn, knocking him to the ground and then choking him to death. She then retreats to the hotel window to consider her next steps, and while she looks at the street below, she witnesses a minor accident where an automatic pizza delivery car strikes a pedestrian.
Mia concocts an elaborate plan to dispose of Rob’s body and seems to get away with the murder and return to the routine of her life, but an insurance investigator (Shazia) comes into play to determine who is responsible for covering the damages in the pizza delivery accident. This is where Black Mirror’s prerequisite technology comes into play. Shazia is equipped with a memory reader that creates visual and audio representations of anything the interviewee has seen, though she admits that memory is subjective. She cannot rely on any one person’s recollections and instead has to interview everyone involved, no matter how tangentially, so that she can create a full picture and recreate the scene.
Through her investigation, Shazia finds Mia and hooks her up to the memory reader. It is legally mandated that witnesses provide their statement. Though Mia works to keep her mind clear of the murder, her subconscious gives her away, and Shazia sees her murder Rob and sees the cyclist get hit. Trying to pack up and get away from Mia without tipping her off about what she knows, Shazia retreats to her car to leave, but Mia catches up to her and bludgeons her until she is unconscious.
After trying to erase the memory machine and failing, Mia decides that she must murder Shazia as well, but first, she finds out that Shazia told her husband where she was going, so she tortures Shazia with the knowledge that she will kill her husband, too. After beating Shazia to death with a log, Mia drives fifty miles to break into Shazia’s house and murder her husband with a hammer. As she’s leaving, she sees Shazia’s toddler in a crib and murders the child as well so that she will leave no witnesses.
Mia didn’t notice, however, the baby’s pet guinea pig, and the episode ends with the critter being hooked up to the memory machine, a sure sign that Mia will get caught thanks to the technology available in this world.
While the episode offers a lot of drama, it offers very little in the way of suspense or character development. None of Mia’s actions make sense. Her fear of having her life ruined is offset by the absolutely irrational reactions that guarantee her life will really be ruined. She leaves four dead bodies and three separate crime scenes, contaminating her own home, her car, a hotel room, and Shazia’s house. The show writers lead us to believe that the technological advancements will get the best of Mia, but Mia has made it pretty easy to get caught, no fancy future technology needed.
If the show is supposed to offer us insight into the natural depravity of human nature, it doesn’t pull it off. The darkness of the show as a whole is undercut by the quippy scene with the guinea pig in a way that feels like someone telling a knock-knock joke at a funeral.
An interesting premise and some meaningful foundational themes fall flat in multiple ways in this dud from an otherwise promising season.
Other episodes of Black Mirror Season 4 reviewed on TV Eskimo:
Crocodile Black Mirror Recap characters and cast include:
Mia Nolan – Andrea Riseborough (Birdman, Waco, Oblivion, Nocturnal Animals, National Treasure, Bloodline, Disconnect, Welcome to the Punch)
Shazia Akhand – Kiran Sonia Sawar (Deep State, Legends, Father Brown, Diana and I)
Rob – Andrew Gower (Black Work, Outlander, Murdoch Mysteries, The Village, Capital)
Anan Akhand – Anthony Welsh (Red Tails, Starred Up, Fleabag, Comes a Bright Day)
William Grange, dentist – Brian Pettifer (The House of Mirth, Vanity Fair, Bleak House, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Darkest Hour)