Black Mirror Reflection: Modern Plague

Modern Plague
By Emily Leclair

Something I always wonder about in life is why certain things happen and why it seems we have no control over these events. One thing that constantly worries people regardless of these happenings is death – when it will come, and what they can do to change it.

My idea for an episode of “Black Mirror” includes a world where everyone is suddenly alerted by the government about a piece of information displayed on their phones, telling them when and how they will die.

The main character is a boy named Austin, who is 20 years old. He is told his time of death will be in exactly 12 years, and he will die of cancer, which runs in his family.

Other characters that directly influence his decisions are his girlfriend, Stacy, who has learned she only has two months left to live, and his uncle with whom he lives with, who just learned he has 22 years to live.

His world is completely changed. The people who know they have 20 plus years to live do not seem to change their ways of life, while the ones who have minimal time left begin to rebel against society and partake in actions that would normally be illegal and frowned upon, such as robbery and murder.

Stacy influences him in a way that makes him lean toward the rebel side, while his uncle, who he has lived with his entire life, tries to keep him in check, reminding him constantly that he does not have to rebel in order to live.

Amongst the constant pressure of his uncle and girlfriend, everyone has a timer on their phones that is not allowed to be turned off. This timer continuously reminds them how much time they have left to live, and how many people in their towns have died in the past 24 hours.

The climax of this episode occurs when Austin chooses Stacy’s side above his uncle. He is tired of staying home witnessing the deaths in his town and knowing he only has limited time to be with Stacy. He decides to join the rebel side and becomes a complete savage.

After making this decision, he wakes up one morning in an alleyway to find Stacy being taken by a group of older town members, who are members of the government removing her from society because her time is up.

The realization is the time each person was given was arbitrary, only to instill a motive for violence to increase population control. Once the government officials notice that he has observed what they are doing, they take him, and the episode ends when they insert an IV into his arm, which is implied to end his life in order to halt the spread the knowledge.

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