Black Mirror’s Mazey Day Twist Backlash Completely Misses The Point

WARNING! Contains SPOILERS for Black Mirror season 6, episode 4 “Mazey Day.”The long-awaited Black Mirror season 6 arrived on Netflix to mixed response on June 15th, with episode 4, “Mazey Day,” earning significant backlash for its surprising twist – but these criticisms miss the point of the episode, and Black Mirror‘s overall ethos, almost entirely. The 26th episode of the show overall, “Mazey Day” tells the story of paparazzo Bo and the titular Mazey Day, a Hollywood actress struggling with a dark secret, against the backdrop of Los Angeles in 2006, a time when paparazzi culture was reaching fever pitch.

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Being set in the recent past is just one way that “Mazey Day” breaks the Black Mirror formula. However, the main talking point of the episode is its shocking twist. Across its six-season run, Black Mirror has become known for jaw-dropping twists and turns. The show’s very first episode, “The National Anthem” showed that creator Charlie Brooker isn’t afraid of shock factor and Black Mirror has kept up its tradition of unexpected twists in nearly every episode since. “Mazey Day,” however, has been criticized for its unorthodox turn of events.

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Mazey Day Backlash Explained: Why Black Mirror Season 6’s Twist Is Controversial

Mazey Day in the Black Mirror episode

While Black Mirror season 6 is full of twists, the reveal in “Mazey Day” is the most outlandish. As a result, it’s garnered a huge amount of attention including plenty of backlash. The story follows paparazzo Bo as she searches for actress Mazey Day. Throughout the episode, Mazey is shown suffering personal turmoil which leads to her perpetrating a hit-and-run and going into hiding. Towards the end of the episode, the reason for Mazey’s reclusiveness is revealed: she’s actually a werewolf. The issue with this twist is that it relies on a tried and tested horror trope rather than the type of innovative sci-fi storyline Black Mirror has become known for.

For many long-time Black Mirror fans, the werewolf reveal in “Mazey Day” feels like too much of a departure from what makes many of the show’s other episodes so great. However, this kind of criticism doesn’t account for a possible deeper meaning behind the seemingly left-field twist as well as Black Mirror‘s larger themes throughout its six seasons.

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As with any good episode of Black Mirror, there are layers to “Mazey Day.” While at first glance the werewolf reveal might seem so outlandish it’s laughable, scratching the surface reveals a metaphor that conveys Brooker’s central message for the episode. The werewolf twist is a biting commentary on the way celebrity culture dehumanizes its subjects. The baying paparazzi track Mazey down to a secluded retreat and continue to hound her even as she transforms into a werewolf before their eyes – showing how they view her (quite literally) as nothing more than an animal they can hunt, sell, and profit from.

The way Mazey is treated by the paparazzi draws parallels to the treatment of real-life celebrities during times of personal struggle, most notably Britney Spears’ publicly documented “meltdown” in 2007. Spears was treated abhorrently by paparazzi and the media at large during a very dark time in her life, and it’s surely no coincidence that “Mazey Day” is set in the same era. By choosing to focus purely on the means by which Brooker conveyed this message, and not on the message itself, the point of “Mazey Day” – a commentary on paparazzi culture and the commodification of celebrity – is almost entirely lost.

RELATED: Mazey Day Ending Explained: What Black Mirror’s Horror Paparazzi Twist Really Means

Black Mirror Is About Human Nature, Not Just Technology

An image of Bo typing on a laptop in Black Mirror and the Black Mirror logo

The biggest hang-up about the twist in “Mazey Day” seems to be that it’s facilitated by the supernatural rather than technology. Black Mirror‘s most lauded episodes, like “San Junipero” and “USS Callister,” focus on technology and its impact on humans – to the point that Black Mirror is commonly thought of as a sci-fi show about the perils of technology. In reality, Brooker has been clear that Black Mirror is less about futuristic tech, and more about human nature. In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, he is quoted as saying “It’s not a technological problem we have, it’s a human one.”

More recently, Brooker expressed frustration that Black Mirror is known as the “tech is bad” show – clarifying that the show’s message isn’t “tech is bad” but rather “people are “f***** up” (via GamesRadar). “Mazey Day” illustrates this point. At the beginning, Bo wants to get out of her line of work after causing the subject of one of her photographs to take their own life. By the end, she’s willing to take a photograph of a woman’s dead body because she knows it will turn a profit. Like all the truly great Black Mirror episodes, “Mazey Day” is a cautionary tale about human nature, a facet the ferocious werewolf backlash fails to acknowledge.

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