Black Mirror S3:E4 San Junipero Recap

YOU GUYS I FINALLY GET TO WATCH SAN JUNIPERO!!!! I am seriously so excited, I am expecting this episode of Black Mirror to affirm my entire life or at least make this week worth it. NO PRESSURE SAN JUNIPERO. Rolling after the break!

We open in the past, the glorious past involving The Lost Boys movie and after we pour a small one out for the hotness that was Keifer Sutherland (in his pre-Christmas-tree-humping days), we try to figure out exactly which past, as we have a preppy young woman dropped off from a 50's car.

Preppy stops to watch MAX HEADROOM on the TV as she walks the streets, I loved Max Headroom!! I dig his work on Orphan Black, too! On she walks until she hears an argument between the beautiful Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw - seriously breathtaking) in high 80s drag and Wes (Gavin Stenhouse), also in high 80's drag. The noise draws her but it's Kelly she follow into the bar.

MY GOD THE MUSIC!!! It's "C'est La Vie" by Robbie Nevil!! Who unfortunately is living proof that music videos should not have been a thing.

There's a geeky dude drinking an unfortunate-looking cocktail clocking Preppy's moves across the bar, approaching her as she's playing Bubble Bubble. He suggests a little Top Speed for some fun, but it makes her flinch and turn white so she walks away while he castigates himself for blowing it. Because he could possibly know what would upset a stranger within seconds of meeting them.

Preppy is sad and sits down at a messy table with her Coca-Cola, to be seized upon by Kelly who begs her to go along with whatever she says. Nobody says no to the gorgeous and charismatic Kelly, so next thing we know, Kelly is fending Wes off with a lie about needing to visit with old friend Preppy, who is going to die in six months.

"Five," says Preppy, getting into the swing of things. Off goes Sad Panda Wes and the ladies get a chance to formally introduce themselves.

Preppy is Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis - Canadian! And in Blade Runner, apparently), "like the dog breed." They chitchat about Wes, who isn't a bad guy, just..."last week was last week" and she met him at the Quagmire. Yorkie and I want to know what the Quagmire is!! Kelly thinks if we don't know by now, we probably shouldn't.


Kelly buys Yorkie a drink and stares at her a long minute.

She immediately tags that Yorkie's glasses are for show only but she digs that Yorkie has zero fashion sense. They're surrounded by a bunch of try-hards in stonewash denim (the 80s were a rough time for fashion) and Yorkie's simple look is pleasing to our Kelly. Her fake glasses are "authentically" Yorkie.


Yorkie chokes on her jack and coke, she's not a drinker and nor does she live in San Junipero, she's just a...let's say tourist. All our ears went waaaay up then.

Kelly drags an extremely reluctant Yorkie out on the dance floor, her protestation of "with each other?" is met with Kelly's "let's not limit ourselves" and I couldn't agree more.

Yorkie watches confident and sexy Kelly dance in the middle of the floor, but all she sees is people she thinks are laughing at her, or just supremely confident. She runs out into the rain.

Kelly finds her outside, why did she run? Yorkie really thinks people have a problem with two girls together on the dance floor, which is odd to me. Usually in dance clubs (back when I went to dance clubs), that's all you'd see, women with women. There was even a brief period in the 90s where men only danced with men, but that had to do with complicated dance moves involving holding your foot and dropping to your knee or something. Looked ouchy.

ANYWAY, Kelly deflects (and Yorkie calls her stupid in a totally endearing way), but it turns out that Yorkie has never been on any kind of dance floor at all. Kelly thinks that sounds Amish, but I had Yorkie pegged as from Footloose from the get-go.

So what would Yorkie like to do that she's never done? They have two hours until midnight and San Junipero's a party town!

What happens at midnight?

There are so many things Yorkie would like to try, so many. Kelly sliding her hand up Yorkie's thigh freaks her the eff oot, though, she's engaged! To a nice...guy...named Greg. I would bet money there is no Greg, but I'm pretty sure most imaginary boyfriend's names are Cody or Lancelot.

She turns around and gone Kelly is.

One Week Later

There's Yorkie in the same outfit, listening to "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths and then a bunch of other songs with matching outfits as she tries to find something to wear. She settled for a jean jacket and


I loved that song! I loved Terence Trent D'Arby. Black Mirror is determined to have me researching Where Are They Now? for the next week.

In fact, this whole show is difficult to take, it's so rich. Almost too much, you know, hitting too many pleasure centres of the brain at once and I just want to cover my eyes and look between my fingers in sips.

We're back at the bar with Kelly once again shooing Wes away, it was just sex, Wes, move on! No roots, y'all. She gets rid of him and is immediately hit on by a tall A-Ha looking guy who has nothing to talk about and all night to do it. She talks to him because she saw Yorkie enter and the rejection still smarts.

I NEED YOU TONIGHT BY INXS!!!! It's like an electric shock, I'm telling you, this show is gonna kill me!

That SONG! I always thought it was a dangerously sexy song, but now it's tinged with sadness because of how Michael Hutchence died. Too soon, we lose so many incredibly talented people too soon.

Kelly dances with A-Ha while Yorkie watches from across the room, I forgot how much 80s dancing involved elbows. Kelly finally relents and meets Yorkie's eyes so they can meet in the washroom.

Yorkie breaks my heart when she says "I don't know how to do this. Can you make this easy for me?" because it's so honest and vulnerable. Kelly gently touches her face and then they're in her car and headed to her place by the beach.

Kelly accidentally runs off the road on the way, laughing at Yorkie's stunned expression. Er. Then they're at the beautiful big beach house and Yorkie is looking at a picture of an Allison and then they're kissing.

Yorkie is all in, but doesn't know what to do. "You have to show me" and so Kelly does. Waves crash on the beach later as they lay separate post-coital. Not only has Yorkie never slept with a woman before, she's never slept with anyone before, not even nice (totally imaginary) fiance Greg. Kelly deflowered her! Yorkie wants to know when Kelly first knew she liked women, but Kelly likes men too. She was married, so never did anything, but she had a lot of crushes, so many crushes and same-sex attractions. Once she got to San Junipero, she decided not to wait anymore, she's passing through and on her way to having a good time.

It's 11:59

WHAT happens at midnight?

One Week Later

Yorkie is back at the same bar in San Junipero: no Kelly. The bartender directs her to the Quagmire and we find out why everyone flinches when they say it: it's your basic Cold-Hearted Snake video. Lots of black leather, reptiles, fighting and sex and fighty-sex and blood and yuck, but no Kelly.

Wes is there and strung out, he hasn't seen Kelly either but suggests Yorkie try a couple different times to see if she's there.


One Week Later

It's 1980 and Ricardo Montalban would like to sell us a car, geeky guy is playing PacMan and we still have no Kelly.

One Week Later

It's 1996 (thanks sign!), Alanis Morisette abuses the word "Ironic" and still no Kelly.

One Week Later

We're in 2002, which was a great year! I was 30! Best year of my life, at least before I had my kiddos. Yorkie has longer hair and smaller glasses, and this time she finds Kelly, who doesn't want to talk to her. This is an invasion of her privacy, and she doesn't owe Yorkie anything!

Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue plays

As Yorkie shouts: Kelly hid from her! She doesn't know who Yorkie is, what this means to her. Kelly argues that this is supposed to be fun, and right now: zero fun. Yorkie thinks maybe she should feel bad, which Kelly tries to do by punching the mirro, but it heals itself and her hand instantly. Kelly looks as confused as I feel, where/when the Sam Hill is this place?

Kelly runs outside and sees Yorkie sitting on the roofledge, not actively looking suicidal, but definitely upset.

Yorkie casually asks how many people Kelly figures are dead, Kelly thinks about 80-85%.

Wait, what? Who's dead? Kelly's lovers?

Kelly explains why she bailed, she doesn't "do feelings", she was just there to have fun and she didn't expect to meet Yorkie and like her. Yorkie kisses her and then they're back at the beach, which I'm taking to mean that there was more deflowering.

Next week Yorkie's getting married, woot! Does she have to do that, asks Kelly? He's a nice guy that totally exists and while Yorkie doesn't like that he pities her, she thinks he's on her side against her family, whatever that means.

They're talking about Kelly now, she has only 3 months because it's spread and who knows?

Wait, Kelly is sick? Coz "it's spread" sounds like cancer, although it could be a weird rash.

She'll be gone for good in 3 months, she won't be coming to San Junipero after because her husband Richard never did.

I don't follow.

He wouldn't even visit.

Yorkie muses that San Junipero is the best thing ever because without it, they never would have met. Kelly doesn't think that's true, they could totally have met in real life! Nuh uh, they're probably across the world from each other and anyway, she doesn't think Kelly would like her anyway.

Kelly pushes (I'm dying) and that's it, they're going to meet in real life.


We see an elderly black woman being helped into a car, oooh, this must be Older Kelly (Denise Burse) and she's off to meet Real Yorkie. Oh! Real Yorkie is also Older Yorkie (Annabel Davis) and she looks as though she's in a coma or is a paraplegic. She doesn't look anything like Young Yorkie, but Elder Kelly kinda does.

ANYWAY, the whole point is about their elemental selves, so I'll stop getting hung up on their corporeal manifestations.

There is somebody named Greg (Raymond McAnally), I'll be damned! He's an orderly and he's really glad Kelly came to see Yorkie right before she passed over.

Whut? I thought Yorkie was just passing through? Kelly did too, so we're off to have coffee with orderly Greg to see what's going on.

Wow. Okay, Yorkie has been a paraplegic for 40 years, she had a car accident at 21 and has been in care ever since. It wasn't just a regular car accident, it came after she came out to her religious parents as a lesbian and they shunned her.

That explains her sense of being exposed on the dance floor, dancing with another woman.

If you have religious reasons for thinking that homosexuality is a bad lifestyle choice, you should just skip the next few lines.

I know a lot of people on the LGBTQIA spectrum and I've heard a lot of coming out stories, some good, some bad, but the bad ones always seem like such a waste of important energy. Loved ones that care enough about their loved ones to tell them something incredibly important to them and the fact that some people view love as conditional is sickening to me. Love is love. You do you and I will do me and whatever happens in between is nobody's business.

Back to the show!! Now we find out what all the timing business and San Junipero even means! It's Immersive Nostalgia Therapy and a means of treating Alzheimer's but the seriously ill and dying only get 5 hours every week until they die. Otherwise I guess they're just too happy?

That's why Yorkie is marrying Greg, her religious parents won't let her die properly, but a spouse can override that and Greg is just the nice enough orderly to do it on his coffee break. Then she'll pass over into San Junipero forever after lunch when the machines are turned off.

Kelly begs for 5 minutes in the middle of the day with Yorkie, just five minutes, Greg! He accedes and she's at her beach house with Yorkie, on bended knee asking Yorkie to marry her instead. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!

So much kissing and then it's a yes and the next day it is done, they are married and Yorkie is taken off life support.

And so it is done.

Why does Yorkie cry as she dies?

Now she's on the beach in the day time, everything feels different! The beach, the sand, the water on her legs. She abandons her glasses on the beach and sits, feeling everything. Kelly heads back to her rest home and then woot! She's on the beach in a janky 80s wedding dress, didn't Yorkie want to dress up for her too?

Two janky 80s wedding dresses, yay!

Yorkie begs Kelly to stay, they could live the rest of their existences together! It feels so real!

We don't really know why Kelly doesn't want to stay but we're about to find out.

Kelly was married to Richard for 49 years, Yorkie has no idea the depth of that commitment nor do most people, I would guess. They went through everything together, including the death of their adult child Allison, whose picture we saw earlier. She died at 39 before San Junipero existed and Richard didn't want to go there if Allison didn't even get a CHANCE at a place like that.

Yorkie is desperately trying to apologize but Kelly isn't done giving her both barrels, she can't stay here in San Junipero and end up like those people in the Quagmire, fiercely trying to feel anything at all. She can not stay.

She drives off by herself, crazily all over the road, pinning the odometer until she loses control and crashes through a barricade in front of Yorkie at 11:59

Worst wedding night ever

Yorkie reaches for her, but it's midnight and Kelly is gone.

Is the Quagmire like the nursing home?

Kelly is dying.

Kelly is dying and finally, she tells her caretaker "All things considered, I guess I'm ready." "For the rest of it."


As Yorkie drives to the beach house where Kelly is waiting for her to start the rest of their lives together.

There they are, happy and dancing forever, a row of lights in one massive room full of light.

I hope so hard that San Junipero exists someday, that would be the best way to die ever and I would save up every last little bit of karma ever if I could go somewhere and dance to Heaven Is A Place on Earth for eternity. I would leave out the stonewash and shoulder padding, but I'll take the rest!

Thinking about it after the end is bittersweet; I don't think we ever found out what happened to the geeky guy, except that we know he's dying. Or is dead. Everyone we met was dying or is dead and that's just a LOT to take in all at once. Like at the beginning when Kelly said Yorkie was dying right away AND NOW THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. But sad. Ultimately happy, but still: tinged. Overall it was a candy-coated confection of an episode and I DUG it.

I love the storyline of finding or changing your sexuality late in life, people think that's a young person's game but I think you know yourself better when you're older. Plus you don't care so much about what other people think. I'm single and I'll just say I would be open to meeting the right woman, iffin she came along by the by. NOT THAT I'M READY FOR A RELATIONSHIP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Until next time! Cheers you lot!

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