Black Mirror – Crocodile and Why the Heck It Reminds Me a Bit of My Bipolar

2.19.19

Crocodile

So, I have often tried to figure out why it is that certain stories and their characters resonate with me. I have found that even though the show Black Mirror on Netflix is about technology and some pretty damn serious repercussions, it could be in our very near future. I have found that there are characters in most episodes I truly seem to care about whether they acted in a positive or negative fashion. After all, so often, we act like the humans we are, and frig things up pretty badly.

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So, I took a look at Season 4, Episode 3, Crocodile.

Hold up. Let me just say that what I mainly want to do with this entry is just talk about why I like the show. In general, this particular series is a winner for me, even if not for the characters, because I identify with some of the emotions that really screw up Mia’s life, and those around her. Crappy decisions, actions and living with the consequences. Ugh. I’m not really critiquing the show. I’m certainly not saying that Black Mirror is about Bipolar, but I see parallels.

It makes me feel. It makes me contemplate. It makes me slap my palm to my forehand because I want better for these people, just as I have in my own life. I’m just a person who likes to watch TV and films, listen to music, and sometimes it reminds me, “Hey, you like what you’re hearing or seeing because it reminds you of something about yourself.”

So, as I said, I checked out Crocodile again, with lead character, Mia. When the episode starts, we are 15 years in the past, and Mia and boyfriend accidentally hit a young man riding a bicycle after they had been out all night clubbing, full of drinking and cocaine. The rider is dead, so instead of calling the police, they throw his body and bike into a nearby freezing river. Flash forward to current day. Mia is successful as an architect, with a nice husband and son. She travels to the city one weekend to give a speech at a forum. The boyfriend from all those years ago has shown up at her hotel room with news. He has decided to turn himself in; only it won’t be just himself he turns in because everyone, by law, will now have their memories extracted through a small sensor applied to their forehead while a device projects the memory visually for on-lookers, in order to see exactly what happened, all in efforts of divulging the truth. In effect,  memories can and are being harnessed. Well, poor ole Mia has to go and kill the ex-boyfriend; she has a son and husband, but he refuses to stand down. Now, unfortunately in the mix of killing this guy, there was a small accident outside on the street while she’s cleaning up her mess in the hotel room. Now, an insurance adjuster begins work on the claim of the person hit, but only slightly injured on the street, and low and behold, by looking through a series of people’s memories of the accident, Mia is seen. Facial recognition is done, and a very sweet, kind, soon to be killed insurance adjuster sets out to get Mia’s visual memory in order to close the claim. Unfortunately, once Mia is hooked up, the adjuster also sees Mia has gone all Patrick Bateman, American Psycho on her ex, and now the adjuster, her husband and her toddler must be eliminated. Had there been anything visual depicting the demise of the toddler, I wouldn’t have watched, and actually, this is all quite watchable. Black Mirror manages to do that, but it leaves you with lots going through your mind and a bunch of raw emotions. Anyway, back to Mia, it looks like at the end that maybe something good can still come from all of this when she’s watching her son sing in a school play. However, Mia didn’t realize that next to the toddler’s crib lived his pet gerbil, and there again, all CSU had to do was attach the censor to see everything that gerbil saw. And so in file the police, and we know that in mere moments, Mia will be arrested. (I do wonder if part of her won’t be relieved, as all throughout these murders she feels to be necessary, she violently vomits and cries.)

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You might ask what I relate to in this. Have I thrown someone into a freezing river? Of course not.

Not yet. 😉

My first thought went to the title and the probable correlation to crocodile tears. I mean, I think it’s a safe bet most people might think it a possibility that that’s why it’s called Crocodile. I was wondering about Mia – if her tears were real throughout this nightmare of a scenario, or if they were, in fact, crocodile tears, and I wonder that often myself, even when I’m in the middle of crying them. Over the years, somehow something has developed, most likely a defense mechanism, where I can cry, but not really feel emotion attached to those tears. The program’s events unfold due in large part to her bad decisions with drinking and a bit of drugs, which is something that often times you will hear people with Bipolar discuss. We self-medicate, especially before we even are diagnosed and know that we have the freakin disorder. And it can really wreck our lives and the lives of those around us.

But the overall driving force as I see it in this particular episode is Mia not wanting to lose her family, with her son specifically mentioned, and I have one son who I have feared losing in the past, so that immediately reached out and grabbed hold of me. It seems to take her very little time to decide to take the life of a toddler later in the show; however, and I don’t know if that in my opinion is more of a statement on a mother wanting to do anything she can to stay with her child, or a statement saying that society has basically lost its ever-loving mind and sense of decency, even if you fear losing your loved ones. Probably both.

What I am saying is this. The predominant theme and what truly reached out to me and grabbed me… what I really related to with Mia… is that she has this history and current day issue of bringing alcohol into the situation and making things worse by not thinking things through (I mean, of course she’s gonna get caught! how will that affect her family? allow these people to live!) and with making very hasty decisions, with lack of attention to detail (that gerbil again) with not slowing down and just taking a damn breath, with an ever-dwindling moral compass, and most importantly allowing her fear to dominate and dictate, she has ruined everything for herself and her family.

Like, it was gonna be ruined, but on say a 1-10 Scale, maybe a 5 kind of ruined if she just would’ve fessed up about the bicycle boy 15 years earlier (she wasn’t even driving) versus the rating of 11 now on the 1-10 scale because, after all, she’s killed like, everybody.

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Exhale.

Anyway, being overly emotional can destroy lives, and it can destroy relationships. It can destroy goals, and it can create a tremendous amount of upset and upheaval and that’s where it got me, because I have done that. I am 100% certain that just due to the nature of the beast, I’ll do it again. Then, that ending, when we think maybe just hopefully despite all this carnage, at least if Mia can be happy with her family, maybe there’s some sort of something resembling good still possible. Ah, but the lyrics. Listen carefully. She hears her son singing, “we could have been anything that we wanted to be” and later, “the decision was ours” all while police officers were filing into the back of the school looking to arrest Mia.

I have to say even though she did all she did, my heart went out to her, because I know just how far south things can go, and how fast they can do it… that’s often what Bipolar is, and does, to me. I can see both sides, even if I don’t want to be able to do so.

“It’s a blessing and a curse.” – Adrian Monk from Monk. But that’s a different show.

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Still. True that, Adrian. True that.

 

(Photo credits: Google Images)

Hope

So, talking of books about Bipolar and other mental health issues, two are by far my favorites, as they present the facts, but in a funny, we are in it together, self-deprecating humor sort of way. As well, wonders never ceasing, the author is even right here in our very own galaxy. We don’t have to go far, far away. I’m so happy she received a posthumous Grammy for narrating Princess Diarist. Please check out Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic.

 

What are your go to BP and MI books? Which do you recommend? Please feel free to share.