The Layers of Black Mirror’s Joan is Awful Explained

Reader Rating0 Votes

The Layers of Black Mirror’s Joan is Awful Explained. It’s no secret that I absolutely adore all things Black Mirror. I love the technology. I love the craziness. I love the insanity of the ideas, and the unraveling of society that happens in a new way of each episode. There’s nothing better at all than a nice, crisp, Black Mirror episode. Nothing.

Please make certain you’ve watched the first episode, of the sixth season of Black Mirror, or you will be sad. I promise. VERY SAD. The rest of this post is filled with spoilers.

Episode 1 : Season 6 – Joan Is Awful

In the technologically advanced world of Streamberry, where personal data intertwines with entertainment, nothing is as it seems. In this glorious new Black Mirror episode, “Joan Is Awful,” we embark on a mind-bending journey alongside Joan, a CEO with a life that unexpectedly becomes entangled in a web of confusion and simulation. As the story unfolds we start to find out that nothing is quite as it seems as we are thrust into a labyrinth of levels, where the true nature of reality is constantly shifting and elusive. Brace yourself for a roller-coaster ride through the depths of perception and the consequences of digital consent.

The Illusion of Control:

Joan’s discovery that her life is being meticulously recreated in real-time on Streamberry (a THINLY veiled reference to Netflix) sends shock-waves. Basically, Netflix, I mean Streamberry begins broadcasting her day a couple hours after it happens. Basically almost real time. Through the use of AI technology, the streaming service is capable of pushing her life widely to all of the Streamberry subscribed users. As her day unravels, Joan’s friends, coworkers, and husband even, begin learning just how horrible Joan is. (And isn’t that everyone’s worst nightmare??)

Later Joan realizes, through a revelation from her lawyer, that when the streaming app obtained her consent to use the streaming service, they also obtained her consent to use personal data unconditionally. And now? She’s ostracized from her husband, fired from her job, and avoided by everyone in her life… she literally doesn’t have a clue what to do next. And what she initially views as an invasion of privacy gradually reveals itself to be a complex network of algorithms and quantum computing. The only possible benefit being that the actress playing her in the show? The one, and only, Salma Hayek.

Unveiling the Simulated Reality:

Hellbent on getting revenge at Salma Hayek, her leading lady in her own part, she decides to make her actress counterpart do something so vile, the human being – Salma, not the AI assimilation of a look alike her – would finally intervene. So, Joan heads to a wedding, dressed in a cheerleader’s outfit, and defecates in the church. When the show repeats her grotesque display – Salma Hayek finds out and marches to her lawyer, who in turn marches in to Streamberry. And when she realizes she can literally do nothing about it? She heads to Joan’s house. Having unwittingly relinquished her visage as well, she didn’t envisage this going so horribly. So the duo teams up in order to take back Streamberry’s vast web of control in their lives.

The Layers of Black Mirror’s Joan is Awful Explained:

Driven by a desire to dismantle Streamberry’s operation, Joan and Hayek venture into the heart of the streaming giant’s headquarters. But what they uncover transcends their wildest imagination. The lines between reality and simulation blur as they discover that they actually do not exist themselves in the real world. At least, not in this way anyway. They are just the quantum imaginings of a supercomputer hellbent on creating real world entertainments that unspool from real life. Realizing that they might not actually exist, they try and grapple with this new reality as Joan has to decide what she should do with this new knowledge. Still not groking it? Let’s try this on for size and see if it helps:

Reverting to the Source:

Continuing on… having broken into the quantum computer server room responsible for this infinite entertainment spool nightmare… Joan realizes that she isn’t the one deciding anything at all (see diagram above). She is actually some non-prime Joan… (we later learn she’s Joan2) and seeing as though that’s the case, she actually isn’t in control of her actions. She is only the visual manifestation of the real Joan in the real world. As the layers of deception peel away, we are transported back to the source level, where the true Joan emerges as a young coffee shop owner. In a twist of fate, Joan finds herself confined to house arrest alongside Murphy, their actions against Streamberry resulting in severe consequences. Aka, their own vanquishment. Joan2’s brave stand against the company’s manipulation of reality ends up eradicating herself, but it also serves as a catalyst for change and exposes the dark underbelly of a society increasingly governed by infinite data and even more possibilities. (Can you say deep fake anyone?)

The Layers of Black Mirror’s Joan is Awful Explained Conclusion:

“Joan Is Awful” is a cinematic masterpiece that skillfully explores the intricacies of control, consent, and the enigmatic nature of simulated realities. Through its thought-provoking narrative, the film challenges our perception of the digital world and prompts us to question the consequences of our actions within it. As we navigate the bewildering levels of the story, we come to realize that our own lives may not be as transparent as we believe. Let this tale be a cautionary reminder of the power technology wields and the need to remain vigilant in safeguarding our own identities and agency in an increasingly interconnected world.

If you are interested in another movie that delves even deeper into this quagmire of visual manipulation, consent, digital identity, etc., etc., etc… then you have to check out Robin Wright’s movie The Congress, it’ll light your cerebral cortex on fire.

Edited by: CY