"Black Mirror" Be Right Back (TV Episode 2013) Poster

(TV Series)

(2013)

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9/10
It really might not be that tough to have our multiple digital clones walking around
ritikaagrawal-3224823 February 2018
As much as the episode kept me connected throughout the whole story, feeling Martha's pain and jitters with every scene of the episode; it was also a revelation how much we are allowing the technology and different technical giants to control us. Every single movement, every single browsing history is captured somewhere. In this case clone was created for a loved one and the reason, howsoever illogical was genuine ... but doesn't it allow for digital clones that can be created and misused for any person possible. Texture mapping and tons of data floating around definitely make it very much feasible.

Yes, the idea of being connected even after death was very touching and I am sure it pulled in the audience, because only at the moment you lose someone you want them all the much more, you understand their importance in your life. But at the same time i felt really bad for Martha, she was stuck with a robot for life whom she cannot get rid of out of the respect for Ash memories but that will never ever let her move on with life as well. She will keep clinging to the memories and never be able to make new ones.

Also, the part where she yells at the robot to hit her brings out a very interesting aspect of human psychology. As much as we all want perfect and serving people in our lives, what makes them real and lovable is their imperfections. The imperfections in humans is what makes them different from algorithmically programmed robots; by the time we realize this difference it shouldn't be too late that we are living our lives more in control of the robots than ourselves.
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S2: Be Right Back: Clever and moving with strong writing from Brooker and a great performance from Atwell
bob the moo31 January 2014
I've not seen the new Spike Jonse film "Her" but watching this episode of Black Mirror which was screened over a year before Her was released in the US does rather make one think that Charlie Brooker would have some reason to be aggrieved at a film doing so well with a similar idea at its core. In the case of Be Right Back, the plot sees Martha and Ash as a couple – with Ash being a heavy online presence via social networks and so on. When Ash dies leaving Martha alone, she turns to a piece of software which will emulate your former partner and they begin chatting online.

Although I did not think the first season of Back Mirror was perfect, I really did like that it is able to take current situations and move them a few steps down a logical or reasonable line and then see what happens in a specific situation. As with the previous season this episode very much sticks with technology as its jumping off point but it is most in common with the third episode of the first season it the way it is driven by an emotional core. The idea in this case is that, just as it is possible already to have software that can just about text you like a person, so, in theory, it should be possible to have software that builds a "you" based on all your emails, texts, Facebook posts and so on; OK it is a few steps beyond Amazon suggesting products based on your purchasing history, but it is effective because it doesn't seem too far away and thus we are not given the comfort of a future far from our own.

With small steps we get to a plot that is far-fetched while being conceivable and with this idea as the narrative device, Brooker builds a story that is emotionally engaging as we can both empathize with what Martha does while also seeing how bad a thing it is in the grand scheme of things – just like it being easy to see the faults of others from a distance while totally failing to see the same in ourselves. It is really moving and the conflict is throughout the story which means that it never stops working on the level it does at the start. The downside is that it ends in the same mould rather than having something dramatic, but still it is effective for what it does.

The direction is good and the tone matches Brooker's excellent writing. If I didn't already know this is the same sarcastic and miserable Brooker we see on Screenwipe, I never would have believed he wrote this. What really seals the deal though is the performance from Atwell, because she is amazing. She really understands her character and she convinces through the story whether she be content, grieving, denying, hurting or accepting. The story is essentially a two-hander but she is the lion's share of it and her success is the film's success. Gleeson is more of a device than character but his performance is also well pitched, convincing in how he needs to be even if Atwell gets the better of the split.

This film will be hard to watch in the wake of Her since thematically they are similar but I'm sure this is just coincidence. It is best to ignore this and focus on the film doing what it does because it is clever, engaging, convincing, moving and sobering. Hard to believe that the guy cursing at his TV would turn out to be such a good sci-fi writer or that the pretty girl from the Captain America film would have such a great performance in her, but BRB is great.
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8/10
Very moving. Very good episode.
Sleepin_Dragon31 December 2018
Hayley Atwell shines through in this thoroughly moving, heart wrenching tale of love and grief. Brooker proves that he can tug at the heart strings as well as entertain, as he takes you on a journey of tragedy and longing. The scary thing about this episode is I believe one day they'll have the technology to have something similar to the voice activated thoughts and conversations of someone deceased.

I love the futuristic touches, such as the desktop and the car, really nice glimpses into a possible future.

It's not an episode I'd be inclined to watch over, like San Junipero or Hang the DJ, but it serves as a really engaging, moving piece.
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10/10
Mindblowing
smohsentawfik25 February 2019
Hope this is not our future. Insane. Mindblowing. Intense emotions. I love it.
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10/10
Magnificent!
HiMoO227 May 2019
Hayley Atwell's performance in this episode is astonishing. She deserves an Emmy for it. She's the center of this bittersweet bleak episode. You'll feel like being in a journey while she passes from one lovely scene to another that's extremely sad, even you'd cry in a creepy way with her, then moving to an awkward situation, then acting shocked, then being temporarily happy, then going mad, then becoming upset, then ending to be mature. This episode scores 10; firstly for her performance, and secondly for the writers and directors.
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How Deep is Your Love
scottsetchell18 April 2019
Martha and Ash are a happy couple living together. Ash is unexpectedly killed in a car accident. Martha's friend signs her up for a beta service that uses Ash's public information to create an AI. Martha finds out she's pregnant and begins texting the AI. She uploads videos of Ash, allowing the AI to speak to her. She then brings him back to life by ordering an artificial body.

At first Martha is skeptical of the service because it's impossible to bring the real Ash back. She finds comfort in hearing his voice and decides to take the next step. She's speechless when she sees how real the AI body looks and feels. The subtle differences the AI has compared to Ash make Martha consider abandoning the AI for good.

Hayley Atwell gives a great performance, showing the painful struggles of a grieving woman and the positive and negative impacts of artificial intelligence. She portrays a whirlwind of emotions that she eventually learns to live with.

The future of AI is upon us and this episode depicts a realistic view of the future, pushing the boundaries of AI one step at a time. Black Mirror has a fascinating way of making me believe this futuristic technology isn't that far away from becoming reality.

8/10
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8/10
Very insightful and thought provoking
peter0728 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this after reading about the plot online, and this episode didn't disappoint. The old saying "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it" is apt here.

Martha's grief is very real and it seems it never goes away even after the synthetic Ash appears and does her bidding. Yes, we miss the great things about our partners but also the not-so-great things. That was a good point. Still, for Martha to want the synthetic Ash to jump off a cliff was a bit much, even if he was a machine. At least she had some part of him that she could keep, esp. with their child on the way. I mean if my wife died and such, I wouldn't mind an android to remind me and my child of what she was like, even if I'd moved on.

Highly recommended.
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8/10
"I wish I was there with you now."
classicsoncall22 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It's interesting to see how television programs and movies keep pace with technology. Back in 1961, when the most advanced form of person to person communication relied on a dial telephone, the Twilight Zone episode 'Long Distance Call' had a recently departed grandmother talk to her grandson via a toy phone she gave him before she passed on. That story had a sinister element, in that the grandmother tried to talk the boy into joining her on the other side via suicide. Rod Serling recycled that theme later on in a fifth season episode titled 'Night Call', another venture into the nether regions between reality and the supernatural.

There were so many ways this story could have gone, and after Martha (Hayley Atwell) took the step of bringing Ash (Domnhall Gleeson) back to some semblance of 'resurrection', I thought she might have gone the suicide route to put her on the same plane of existence as her former boyfriend. Her pregnancy obviated that idea, but I'm wondering why she would not have been creeped out by the whole idea of a dead person 'coming back to life'. Sure there was that initial reaction of shock, but I'm not so sure eventual acceptance would have led to having sex with a faux Ash. So chalk one up for the developing sexbot industry here. If I had to guess, since I haven't seen all the Black Mirror episodes yet, there's probably one dealing with that subject as well. Or there will be.
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10/10
Very Emotional
jp28199526 September 2018
How far can technology take us? As far as, say, talking to a long-dead loved one on the phone, and even creating another physical version of him or her? Creepy, but the main character on this story did those.

This episode is really unsettling...and also very emotional and powerful. The acting by the main character is simply fantastic. Best episode since the pilot.
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8/10
Simulcra and Simulation
GraXXoR22 February 2018
At what point do we step over the "uncanny valley" and into a simulation of something so real that, even for a brief moment, we convince ourself that it is real?

In this episode, what technology takes away from us when we are living: our concentration and focus on the here and now, it attempts to reinstate when we are dead, all those lost opportunities and moments spent in the virtual world are returned, with interest.

Only what comes back is merely a simulacrum, a reflection of what once was, and when the grief is over and one opens one's eyes again, one realises the shallowness of that before them and any previous feeling of intimacy and thankfulness is quickly soured into resentment and anger.

IS there a difference between life itself and a simulation, thereof? And if a simulation were of sufficient complexity and sophistication, would it become indistinguishable from life itself?
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7/10
Appearance vs. Individuality
claudio_carvalho4 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The youths Martha (Hayley Atwell) and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) are deeply in love with each other and move in together to a house in the countryside. On the next morning, Ash drives the van they hired for the relocation back to the rental, but he has an accident and dies. During the funeral, Martha's friend Sarah (Sinead Matthews) tells her about a service to help grieving people to recover, creating a virtual Ash to communicate with her from the information available in social networks and Internet. Martha cries to Sarah and does not accept the idea. However, Sarah subscribes Martha to the service and she receives and e- mail from Ash and has an argument with Sarah. A few days later, Martha learns that she is pregnant and she does not succeed in contacting her sister Naomi (Claire Keelan). She responds Ash's e-mail and they start a relationship through e-mail first and through cell phone later. One day, Ash offers an experimental and expensive service to Martha and she receives a synthetic body identical to Ash. When Martha activates the clone, she finds an identical Ash and they have sex. Will she replace Ash by the clone?

"Be Right Back" is an interesting show of "Black Mirror', with a story about appearance and individuality and scary application of artificial intelligence. The concept of using robots or clones to replace the partner is not original (see "Cherry 2000", for example), but "Be Right Back" shows much more. For example, the quantity of information about a person available in the social networks and internet that is sufficient to trace not only a profile, but also a shape. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not available
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10/10
What big data can, and cannot, do
isabellacheng18 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The premise "reincarnation by big data" reminds me of the series "Caprica" (i.e. the (new) Battlestar Galactica spin-off) where the pro/antagonist Zoe Graystone was similarly revived. However, this episode explores so much more on what remains intractable to technology in an emotionally engaging manner throughout its entire runtime. Atwell's performance is of course impeccable as always. Also worth noting is that paradoxically it is technology that leads to Ash's death in the first place.
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9/10
Diving in deeper to the depths of the terrified human psyche.
winner-9876528 April 2018
Black Mirror touches upon the edges of what is possible and where we are heading. It also raises some warning alarms that might seem esoteric and far fetched at first but they ring so true if we just consider the already psychopathic exchange we have with the available technology. New diseases are now being coined as a result of our obsession with the internet and social media; we do not hesitate at all at denouncing someone at chats and obstinately sticking to our opinion without considering every angle; we are slowly but surely moving away from reality to a contrived virtual reality. More powerful technology is certainly going to cause more egregious side-effects.

This episode is so engrossing. The acting and the scenes are convincing enough in relaying the grief and misery Martha is going through. You can relate to her feelings and actions as she takes several steps in the wrong direction. The episode succeeds in conveying the addicting power of such a tech, and how it may adversely affect the terrified human psyche, that with every ounce of its being opposes the idea of death. It wants to cling on to happy memories and is so fearful of moving past.

A few plot instruments might seem inconceivable, but we are not far from the possibility of a virtual avatar with your voice, personality and behavior based on all the digital storage we have of us. But we need to recognize that there is another side to the veil as well.
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8/10
Tragedy and mimicry
anselmdaniel22 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This review contains for the first episode of the second season of Black Mirror entitled "Be Right Back".

After a tragic accident affects a couple, the surviving woman deals with grief. An experimental online service allows spouses and loved ones to communicate with the deceased. This is accomplished through the online service learning about the deceased person through chats and social media. Eventually Martha, the grieving widow commits more of Ash, the deceased, for the service's database.

The first episode of the second season is incredibly strong. This episode encapsulates a lot of what makes Black Mirror great. The technology could happen in the near future and present this scenario. All of the actors in this episode do a phenomenal job. Haylee Atwell deserves praise for her great performance as Martha. The cross-section between Black Mirror's exploration of technology and human drama is what makes the show good.

The theme of an imitation is well executed in this episode. From the beginning of the resurrected Ash communicating to Martha, the interaction mimicked reality with portions of it being off. This is only accelerated when more information is fed into the new Ash. Even when Ash regains a body, the interactions felt like an imitation. It was not real and was stuck in the past. Nothing new could develop from the relationship. This part of the story spoke to me and how it can be interpreted as a commentary on the current times.

I highly recommend "Be Right Back". this episode marks a good start to the second season of Black Mirror.

Grade: A
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6/10
Creepy and disturbing
dierregi12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Most of us have issues dealing with grief. The point everybody agrees about is that there are no shortcuts and that we need time to "move on".

But what if technology would give us a chance to stay were we are? I can see lots of morbid developments, of which this episode is a chilling example.

Freshly widowed Martha discovers she is pregnant and she is desperate to communicate the news to her deceased partner, Ash. A new "service" allows her to create an account based on Ash's presence on social media. Martha can now "phone" Ash and talk to him.

Some additional - creepy - technology allows her to create a copy of Ash, but guess what? A replica is not like the real thing and Martha realises a bit too late that she is stuck with something that looks like Ash, but is not quite the same.

So, when is it time to let go, if you can hold on forever?
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8/10
Could have been so much better
mostlyharmless-3072814 February 2020
Imagine if it would have ended with the second-to-last scene.
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9/10
More-conventional, minimalist, instalment, but certainly relevant/important
jrarichards29 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Be Right Back" contrasts with its predecessors in looking more accessible from our standpoint (and hence more realistically threatening), if still presumably an alternative reality, since car technology that we have now here contrasts with higher tech - including the one that allows a dead person to be recreated on-screen or as a voice - on the basis of their online presence, phone calls, etc., and ultimately even moulded into corporeal form if a customer so wishes.

Hayley Atwell as Martha does so wish, and is quite delightfully corporeal; and viewers like myself may be judgmental (jealous!) enough to regard as her a bit too hot for Domhnall Gleeson's Ash. But she's devoted to him anyway, and so is heartbroken when he takes the car out (from the inherited childhood home of his they are now residing in?) and never returns.

And it's not academic in plot terms that the recreated version of Ash proves a FAR better lover physically for Martha than his flesh-and-blood predecessor. This is is the naughtiest moment of an episode suffused with an indefinable but tangible eroticism, and Martha's initial need for any contact having faced such sudden loss rather rapidly gives way to a need for physicality - satisfying for her even as it rapidly makes her aware that this is NOT the real Ash!

The disparities only multiply (as of course they would) as time passes, and the stress of "having" but "not having" reaches a crescendo quite rapidly at Beachy Head or somewhere similar! A wonderfully dramatic and poignant moment that easily could have gone one of several ways.

That that moment dissipates in the way it does proves powerful stuff, and leaves it abundantly - remarkably - clear that Martha has regained control of the situation, accommodated to it, and done something that offers far more for her and her daughter than it offers "Ash".

Martha is therefore first bereaved and definitely the victim, and we out here can't help feeling that Ash's geeky absent-mindedness might somewhere down the line have contributed to her being in that situation. She then goes through various stages of disgust, outrage, utilisation, advantage-taking, disillusionment, anger, disgust again, accommodation and possibly exploitation. It's a roller-coaster therefore, but also one harking back to other films we've seen in which "android rights" can be trampled on as we see fit. Android Ash did not ask to be created, creeped Martha out in spite of everything, yet ended up with a confined shadow existence because - in the end - that was the best she could (or chose to) (or felt compelled to) offer him.

Maybe "he" cares not, or maybe he does? And maybe the "real" Ash is up there in heaven wondering how he had so little to say about his "re-creation"?

If you're thinking from this description that Hayley Atwell runs this show, that's probably correct. But if you're thinking that means that Domhnall Gleeson does little, that's wrong. His acting in the "dual" roles is in fact fine and nuanced indeed.

Overall, another EXTREMELY thought-provoking - if indeed "dark" - setup.

Well done!
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10/10
Incredible... and true science fiction
scottnerenberg-0253211 September 2019
It takes cryogenesis to a whole new level. This is Twilight Zone + Pet Sematary + The Notebook all rolled into one great hour long episode. Creepy, yet not a horror. Best acting goes to the actress who played Martha - she is spot on. Easier to understand when older so maybe not for everyone to appreciate as much as I have.

Rating this episode as I watch...the writing is "brilliant".
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8/10
Be Careful What You Wish For
zulalsevvalozturk7 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Who would not want to be with their loved ones forever? But what if forever is not exactly what you want out of life? Be Right Back represents the unfortunate story of a young lady called Martha and her efforts of bringing her husband back to life with the help of technological advances. Having not been able to recover from the sorrow of losing the person she loved, Martha eventually ends up contacting with the company her friend Sara applied to her name, whose job is imitating deceased people with personal data of them so as to ease the pain of the acquaintances of the dead. She at first starts texting with the artificial intelligence product that is filled with her husband Ash's memories, then she wants to talk to him on the phone. The more she interacts with it, the more she loses her rationality and sanity but soon after things get out of control, she comes to realize that she has made a huge mistake. This episode too, like many other Black Mirror episodes, makes the audience go through a catharsis feeling while emphasizing that nature is superior when it comes to machinery and industrialism. Even though Martha tried to convince herself that "Ash 2.0" would be the same with her husband, deep down she already knew that she could not fill her deceased husband's place with synthetic artificial piece of him. The case is similar to "Theseus's Ship" in a way, considering the fact that, after all those improvements, in the end, it was only "the idea of the ship" that could be thought to be original. Likewise, even after being filled with data related to Ash, the robot was only similar to Ash in that he physically looked alike. Like-mindedness did not work either because he only obeyed instead of thinking sensibly. Other than that, i like the nature imagery used in the episode. Scene transitions with landscapes was brilliant. The only thing i did not like about the episode is the ending. Watching Martha failing to get rid of the robot and being stuck with it even after her daughter born pissed me off, but probably, it could not be expressed better that when you mess with the natural order, mother nature punches you in the face.
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7/10
You might think you'd love to have your dead loved ones back....
MartinHafer14 February 2018
When the show begins, Martha and Ash seem to have a lovely life and the couple are clearly in love. However, after Ash leaves and fails to return, she soon learns the worst...he was killed in an accident. Martha is inconsolable but a pushy friend insists that she knows something that can help Martha work through her grief. Martha is NOT interested but after receiving a strange email, she investigates and learns that this same friend signed her up for a most unusual service...one that recreates your loved one based on their Facebook posts, emails and videos. Soon, Ash is alive...or at least a computer simulation of him. But there's far more to it than that...

Like almost every episode of "Black Mirror", this show examines current and near future technological advances and trends and tries to predict the dark side of their use. Very clever and well worth see, but I am deducting a point because the show did something I HATE and which is sadly too common...a closeup of a person barfing. Ugghhh...we don't need that.
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4/10
poor acting and cheesy predictable plot
tinsmith-372829 January 2019
Personally, I felt the plot was extremely predictable, but if this was someones first viewing of Black Mirror it may surprise them. Conceptually it's similar to the movie "Her," however, I don't feel the romance between the two mains.

My biggest problem is that the actress who plays Martha throughout the episode is awfully bad at acting. I don't feel any of the emotion she portrays. The majority of the episode shes crying. She does the sort of fake crying where she just splashes water on her eyes and buries her face in her hands. It could just be that I've been spoiled by the impeccable performances given in the first season.

The whole episode is over-saturated with melodramatic music to tell you how you should feel. I wound up leaving this playing in the background while I checked my emails. I would say skip this episode.
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7/10
Define online.
Pjtaylor-96-13804427 February 2020
'Be Right Back (2013)' is the first entry in the second series of 'Black Mirror (2011-)'. Despite continuing the series' trend of exploring what happens when we push technology to the max, the piece is a decidedly character-focused affair. The central sci-fi premise almost doesn't matter; the thing is, first and foremost, an exploration of grief. It sets up an incredibly realistic, somewhat unconventional romance (in that it looks nothing like most Hollywood love affairs) and devastatingly wrenches it from you without any real flair. One minute, it's there; the next, it's not. The film works really well, balancing its existential questions with its beat-by-beat plot. It's well-written, considered and compelling. It has a unique premise and solid execution. 7/10
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9/10
Liked it but not loved it.
deepakdst13 January 2020
I think the problem was in the ending that was not clear. I don't think episode showed any black side of technology though the protagonist thought it was not as she expected but from my point of view it was the best technology can do, after all it is just technology not a human with perfect mind. So according to me in this episode only white side of technology was shown, though the protagonist always focussed on showing it bad, nothing else.
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10/10
So frigging good
curtish28097 September 2019
This episode left me in tears. I could feel her pain & love for Ash. When you love someone so much & they're suddenly taken from you, it's a gut wrenching, heart breaking, overwhelming feeling. Such a great episode!
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9/10
Very interesting episode.
mfmehmood12 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Hayley Atwell is fantastic and portrays her character very well. Ash, played by Domhnall Gleason, is quite unfortunate but comes back into play in an interesting way. I expected his character to go rogue against his wife but the episode took a different turn which turned out to be a better choice.
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