Netflix recently released a new season of Black Mirror, and one particular episode has been on my mind since watching it. Striking Vipers is the title of it and it was mind blowing in a good way! I’m going to explain why.
The episode is about three people Danny, his best friend Karl, and his wife Theo. Danny celebrates a birthday where he turned thirty eight. Overall he is an all around family man. The good father, and loving husband realizes he’s been lacking excitement within this home life, but little did he know that was about to change.
During his birthday party his friend Karl (who he hasn’t seen since his birthday last year) bought him a present that literally changed their lives. Karl introduces Danny to a video game titled Striking Vipers. This is when the story gets good. Striker Vipers is a video game that gives you the ability to enter the game virtually, and do whatever you want without being physically affected. Sounds like fun, right? It was for Danny and Karl until things took a wild turn. Karl picks an avatar who is female, and goes by the name of Roxette. Danny picks an avatar who is male by the name of Lance. The two players began to fight virtually that ended in them sharing a kiss. Danny exits the game confused on what happened (they can feel all sensations in the virtual world). Eventually the two began to have a sexual relationship inside the game but the kicker is it starts to affects them in real life.
Theo, Danny’s wife wants to have another baby, but Danny has been over indulging in the game which causes inconsistencies in his marriage. It began to get so bad that he completely forgot their wedding anniversary. While waiting for her husband to arrive at dinner to celebrate their anniversary she’s been approached by a man who seeks interest in her but like a loyal wife she flashes her ring and continues to wait for her husband to arrive. During dinner Theo confronts her husband and demands to know if he is having an affair but he assures her that’s not the case and he promises to be there for her like he’s always been. At this moment Danny knew he had to distance himself from Karl and the game because it literally became too much.
Two months later Theo is pregnant and Karl is still hurt and feeling abandoned by Danny but was shocked and thrilled when Theo invited him over for Danny’s birthday dinner.
During dinner the Danny and Karl talk about the game and decide to play one last time at Midnight. Before exiting the game Danny wants to meet Karl in person because he has to know if these are real feelings they’re having for one another. It turns out they didn’t feel anything for each other in the real world only in the game. The two were so confused they ended up fighting and getting arrested, which led to Danny to come clean to his wife about everything with the game and Karl.
Danny is a happy man Theo is holding there new baby and on the night of their anniversary both Danny and Theo exchanges small boxes, one includes Theo’s wedding ring while the other includes the disc for the game. They’ve both come to a comprise for their marriage that works for them. While Danny & Karl enjoy the game Theo is allowed to have a one night stand.
Overall, I think this maybe my favorite episode because I could relate to it on so many levels. Relationships change over time and things aren’t always how they use to be. Things that helped to keep the relationship thriving in the beginning cannot always work for the present or future. Marriage is all about compromise and what works for you may not work for someone else. This episode opened my eyes to being more understanding and seeing how having an open mind could possibly make things better.