The latest season of Black Mirror is finally up on Netflix, introducing six new stories about the seemingly bleak future of technology. Computers and smartphones have pretty much taken over most people’s personal lives because of its different perks and benefits. It’s never been easier connecting with friends and family abroad through social media, and it’s become much simpler to find and connect with new people on the internet. Online dating has acted as a useful way to meet others that share your same interests without actually having to go out and personally meet them. These apps and websites take your interests and match your compatibility with others, but sometimes the results might not always turn out perfectly.
Technology is still advancing, so there’s still plenty of room to improve these designs and algorithms. With things like virtual reality slowly rising in popularity, it wouldn’t be all too surprising if we see them used in the future dating scene. Black Mirror has never actually shied away from romance, and the fourth season provides us with another look into how technology can affect these types of intimate relationships. One particular episode called Hang the DJ highlights the possible future of dating apps and how realistic the results can actually get. The story focuses on star-crossed lovers, Frank and Amy, who try and fight for their feelings in a world where passion and devotion are calculated and heavily controlled.
Black Mirror ‘Hang The DJ’: Story and Ending Explained
The Black Mirror episode begins with the two of them meeting at a mall-like building called “The Hub” where they reveal that it is both their first time using Coach aka “the System.” We get a brief overview of what the AI is and how it dictates which partners should pair up and how long their relationship would last. The two decide to check their romance’s expiry date through their small, rounded AI device and discover that they only have 12 hours to spend with each other. After the dinner, Frank and Amy travel to their assigned house and sleep next to each other while holding hands. The next morning, they are escorted separately from the living quarters in separate vehicles.
Frank and Amy talk to Coach separately about their date and it reveals that it is actually collecting data from romantic encounters to calculate and deduce their “ultimate compatible other” for the user’s “pairing day.” From there, Amy is assigned a nine-month relationship with a man named Lenny, while Frank has to endure a year-long relationship with a woman named Nicola. Some time later, Frank and Amy reunite at a pairing day ceremony where they introduce their respective partners.
Following their encounter, both Amy and Frank begin to distance themselves from Lenny and Nicola and frequently check in with Coach regarding their remaining relationship period. Amy is the first to leave the relationship and is then thrown into a series of different flings with other people. Throughout her various dates, we see her slowly becoming desensitized to the entire dating process. Her life slowly becomes filled with nothing but lust as she continues to sleep with the men Coach pairs her with.
After Frank’s year-long relationship finally expires, Coach pairs him and Amy once again and the two promise not to check their expiry date. They begin to make the most of their time, with Amy quickly regaining her passion for Frank and vice versa. The pair occasionally discuss the algorithm of the System and try to figure out how it works. They even muse about how the entire system could just be a simulated experiment where they’re forced to date different people. However, he becomes increasingly distracted by the fact their relationship has an ending date and is eventually tempted to check it on his own. The initial expiry date is listed as five years but slowly begins to recalibrate shorter and shorter as Coach explains that his “one-sided observation” has shortened their time together.
Their date eventually stops at 20 hours and Frank spends most of their remaining time with Amy in silence before confessing what he did during their final hour together. The two argue as Amy lividly scolds him for breaking their promise, but Frank offers that both of them climb out of the encircling wall and escape the System altogether. She rejects the idea and leaves him while a security guard monitors Frank while holding a taser.
The two are left with no choice but to leave their relationship while Coach continues to pair them with other partners. Amy becomes much more exhausted with the whole process, and Frank shares his regrets with another woman. One day, Coach finally tells Amy that her ultimate match has finally been found and that they will be paired the following day. The AI also offers her the choice to visit one previous partner before the pairing day and she chooses Frank. Before leaving to meet him, Amy tells Coach to count to four before skipping the small device into the pool. This is an important note as during a scene where Frank and Amy are skipping rocks together, she asks Frank if he’s ever been able to skip one more than four times.
The lovers reunite at the same place in the Hub and discover that they only have one hour to spend with each other. Amy brings up Frank’s previous idea about the wall as they both realize that they don’t remember anything about their life before entering the System. She claims that they are undergoing a test and the only way to pass is by rebelling against it. Frank agrees and the two rush to leave the Hub before being stopped by a guard holding a taser. Amy slowly approaches him and places her hand on the weapon, time suddenly stopping around them.
Using the opportunity, the two escape from the Hub and head over to the wall’s ladder. As they begin to climb, the lights begin to shut down and pixelated darkness slowly engulfs the area. Amy and Frank then walk into a room filled with hundreds of different versions of themselves, each with a corresponding number on top. All of the Franks and Amys begin to pixelate and consolidate, revealing that everything was just a simulation. There were up to 1,000 simulations in total, with 998 Frank-and-Amy couples rebelling against the System.
Back in the “real” world, Amy is looking down at her smartphone that displays an online dating app’s algorithm. It is revealed that she and Frank have a 99.8 percent compatibility match in the real world – a result obtained from all of the simulations from all of the virtual tests. The Black Mirror episode ends with Frank and Amy sharing a smile from across the room while the song “Panic” by The Smiths plays in the background.