If you’ve not watched it, do so. Then throw up your last meal, then come back and read this when you’ve (sort of) recovered.
The third and final episode of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian series Black Mirror, The Waldo Moment was far less bleak than the previous episode.
A nice way to end the series, it tells of a cartoon character done good. Starting with a gimmick to annoy a local politician it quickly escalates into a kind of Big Brother scenario with people listening to a blue cartoon bear over an actual human being.
By the end Waldo runs the world with a great big smile and an iron paw.
Tackling politics and disengagement from the population at large and the youth in particular, it criticises politicians for playing the system and being generally terrible human beings. But it is no less harsh on the general population who would vote for and take orders from anyone, no matter how ridiculous.
In fact, it is the ridiculousness they respond to, the absolute lack of any position other than “things are rubbish.” The people love a gimmick.
It then proposes that such a symbol could be used around the world. At first it seems ridiculous, but then symbols are hugely important in every society. Waldo represents the coca cola of politics, the recognisable brand that everyone wants a part of.
Significant parts of world culture are being homogenised and standardised. It is only politics that seems not to do this, though it actually does. Through international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, pressure is placed on weaker countries to bow to the pressures and the interests of the rich. In the 21st century the idea of old colonialism is dead. Rather, things are run from a distance and those in power would prefer for there not to be a symbol against which the masses can mobilise. In that regard the episode falls behind a little.
Nevertheless, it was a great episode and a satisfying conclusion.
Bring on series 3.