After a very meta first episode Black Mirror's second episode, 'Loch Henry,' hits all the right and terrifying notes. With a great cast and a wickedly good story, 'Loch Henry' proves that Black Mirror doesn't need fancy future gadgets or gimmicks to capture its audiences.
'Loch Henry' introduces us to Davis and Pia, a couple heading to the Scottish countryside for one documentary project that ends up making a series on the murders that turned a tourist hotspot into a ghost town. Samuel Blenkin and Myha'la Herrold shine in their roles, bringing believable and fully-formed characters to the screen. The glee I had when none other than Daniel Portman AKA Podrick from Game of Thrones appeared on screen.
While the previous episode poked fun at the streaming giants, 'Loch Henry' takes aim at the obsession with true crime documentaries (I believe this includes all true crime media). It cleverly exposes the psychological toll of sensationalizing crimes for our entertainment, making us question our own morbid fascination. The line between being a spectator and an active participant blurs as the filmmakers dig deeper into the case, drawing us further into their twisted journey. How far will some go to consume and produce this content? 'Loch Henry' shows us, all the damn way.
If the cleverly place documentary shots, gloomy Scottish scenery, and acting performances don't hook you, 'Loch Henry' serves up a twist that'll leave your jaw on the floor. The breadcrumbs leading to the shocking revelation are cleverly sprinkled throughout the episode, and when it hits, it hits hard. Monica Dolan delivers an incredible performance as Janet, Davis' mother & serial murderer, skillfully yo-yos between her sweet, caring side and her dark, sadistic nature. It's a chilling reminder of how appearances can be deceiving. I would have to put this up there in the tops of Black Mirror twists, by the time I was piecing it together it was too late.
Series creator Charlie Brooker & Director Sam Miller tackles the inner workings of the television industry masterfully again in this one. He exposes the need to obtain awards and the emptiness that follows when true-crime documentary triumphs while leaving a trail of personal destruction behind. Brooker nails the industry's preference for grisly murder stories over more mundane subjects, throwing some well-deserved shade. A sensational story will sensationalize.
Black Mirror's "Loch Henry" is a strong contender for the best episode of season 6. With its gripping and dark storytelling and memorable cast, it sheds light on the dark underbelly of exploiting tragedy for our entertainment. As Black Mirror continues to push boundaries, it reminds us that it doesn't need futuristic gimmicks to leave a lasting impact—just a damn good story that'll keep you coming back for more.