Black Mirror Reflection: For the Better

For the Better
By William Nash

The episode For the Better explores society’s inability to accept negative feelings and other people’s wishes. The technology featured is a brain implant that broadcasts thoughts on a website that allows other people to vote if thoughts need to be “corrected” or not.

Delvin McKinny is an affable teenager subjected to maximal pressures of daily life while attempting to reel in his monitored thoughts.

Other characters include Delvin’s perky friend, Billy Pellitere; Delvin’s uptight and rule-enforcing teacher, Mr. Akron; and Delvin’s attractive crush, Sarah Myatt.

In 2034, after birth, each person is required to receive a brain implant called “MonorU.” MonorU broadcasts the thoughts every person has regularly, then displays those thoughts on a social media website called BetterU.

Any person can view BetterU and vote on thoughts. Each person is allowed the option to either censor the thought or allow the thought to persist. Each voting period lasts one minute, and if more people vote for “censor” than ” ignore,” a representative of BetterU arrives at the person’s location and removes them from society.

For the Better follows McKinny, 17, a friendly high-schooler experiencing pressures of an average high school student.

As the episode begins, Delvin and Billy discuss how they voted to censor a thought someone had to call a woman a “bit*h.” Delvin and Billy both agree the thought was degrading and deserved to be censored.

On the bus, someone bumps into Delvin and spills coffee on his lap. Delvin thinks angrily and receives a censor notification. He panics until 10 more ignores happen.

Once at school, Delvin continually has negative experiences and notices the number of censors gradually increasing with each thought. In class, Delvin’s history teacher, Mr. Akrin, delivers a scathing lesson about the dangers of differing opinions.

Delvin attempts to talk to his crush, Sarah Myatt. However, Mr. Akrin interrupts him and says, “You can’t let your selfish needs get in the way of other people’s happiness.”

Delvin then wonders why his own needs are minimized compared to everybody else, and the censor vote exceeds the ignore vote until 59 seconds when ignore wins by one vote.

Until the end of school, Delvin worries that his thoughts are growing increasingly negative until Sarah approaches him. Sarah leans into him and whispers into his ear, “I saw you trying to talk to me today.”

Sarah then says, “You should have listened to Mr. Akrin. I would never waste my time with you.”

Delvin stands up and yells “You bit*h!” Censor notifications then blow up his phone, and when the one-minute voting period is over, he looks down at his score, and it is 2,300,457 in favor of censor and one in favor of ignore.

The episode ends with Delvin crying as a man in a suit puts his hand on Delvin’s shoulder.

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