Season 5 of Black Mirror has just dropped on Netflix and the new show has a hell of a lot to unpack from it.
Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down Striking Vipers starring Anthony Mackie and giving my thoughts on the meaning behind it’s ending.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want anything ruined for yourself then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, I hope you enjoy it, now sit back, relax and let’s get into my Ending Explained Breakdown Of Striking Vipers!
Striking Vipers: Story Recap
Striking Vipers follows Danny, a man that finds himself bored at how mundane that life has become and is pulled to the wayside by the temptation that an online life tempts him with.
This comes in the form of his friend Karl, who after buying him a copy of the titular game, reminds him of the fun that they used to have together.
The game is played in virtual reality and due to the technology of it, players are able to feel all the virtual highs and lows of every impact, no matter what kind. There’s a reference to Tucker systems from Bandersnatch and the episode has clear allusions to San Junipero, though personally, I don’t believe that it matches up to the caliber of that.
Early on after diving back into it Danny and Karl begin a sexual relationship with one another in the VR world and the two become fixated on building a relationship together in this at the cost of their real world connections.
Who would’ve thought that the Marvel-DC war would culminate with Falcon hooking up with Black Manta but I guess that’s where we’re at now. I’m also sure Mantis from Guardians of the galaxy is in this too, I don’t know though if only there was some way to instantly check everything. Ah well never mind.
Anyway This game is a real Call Of Booty that feels like it should be called Striking Vipers XXX and it’s definitely one of the most sexually explicit episodes of the show that is definitely more for the hardcore players.
Striking Vipers Ex-Boyfriend
After deciding to break it off in order to focus on his marriage, we jump forward seven months to find Danny’s wife heavily pregnant and that his life has returned to normality.
Juxtaposing this Karl is miserable and clearly heartbroken over losing what apparently was the best relationship he ever had. He is trapped in the mindstate that the real world simply does not live up to the one that he created online which of course plays into society and how many online relationships often dissolve when brought into reality.
Unaware of their affair Theo, Danny’s wife, invites Karl over one night to celebrate Danny’s birthday once more and a spark once more seems to ignite between the two. Temptation as always has reared it’s ugly head in Danny’s marriage once more and the two reunite and have sex in the game as their characters.
Karl confesses that he loves Danny which puts the character into a position where he makes the two confront one another in the real world to see if their connection exists outside of the game.
The two kiss but both deny that they felt anything which causes them to break up into a fight as both realise that their connection was a superficial one and this angers the pair. They get arrested and jailed because of it.
Danny’s wife picks him up from the prison and the character confesses his affair which is when we fast forward a full year and discover the true meaning behind the ending.
Striking Vipers: Ending Explained
￼In the final few scenes we see that Danny’s marriage appears to be stable after the birth of their child and that he and his wife love each other more than ever. As a gift, Danny’s wife gives him a box containing a VR disc that will allow him to return to the game. In return, Danny gives his wife a box for her wedding ring and we see that she goes out to a bar looking for a stranger to have a one night stand with.
It’s clear that in order to have a happy marriage the two have had to make sacrifices that will allow the other to live out their fantasy. The two will get the best of both worlds and within these rules that they have constructed both have a degree of freedom.
To me the episode highlights how perhaps in the modern world, modern relationships must adapt to the fact that temptation is more prevalent than ever due to the internet, however, we must never let this subsidize a real relationship as reality never lives up to the fantasy. Danny and Karl discover this and though I’ve seen many say that they are gay, I don’t think the episode is that black and white.
Both struggle not only with their sexuality but also their identity and show that they are only able to accept certain things when they are disembodied or in another reality.
It is their avatars that they find attraction with and this metaphorically can apply to things like profile pictures and online images that have been edited and set up in a certain way to appeal purely to someone virtually. The fact is that by the end of the episode Danny and Karl manage to separate the virtual from the real and thus carry on with their life outside of the game. However, there are a lot of relationships that have fallen apart due to temptation online and this is as much an episode about accepting the reality of the situation as it is about indulging in the digital world.
The Meaning Of Karl
Karl represents those who live purely in a digital reality and the shallow lives that they inevitably end up leading because of it whereas Danny, who has connections in the real world is able to still be happy outside of the game.
There’s a lot of subtext to it and whilst overall I found the episode slightly plodding and repetitive, the message behind it is a strong one.
However, this still feels like a dud and overall it pales in comparison to Sam Junipero which dealt with similar topics in a far more entertaining manner. I felt that the episode, similar to the game world was a bit two dimensional with none of the characters really evolving all that much from how they were in the beginning.
Overall I feel this episode is highly skippable and as the first episode from the new season that I watched, it felt very underwhelming.
I doubt I’ll return to this episode and either due to its length or perhaps pacing, it feels slightly meandering.
I scored it a…
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the episode and what you took from it. Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you stay locked to the channel for more breakdowns of the season coming later.