You accept a relationship with someone, and you find out how long you’ll be together, which is anywhere from one year to five years to, ostensibly, forever.Two people have an awkward 12-hour relationship where nothing happens, but there’s a ton of chemistry. Throughout the episode, there are hints that the world isn’t exactly real, but those lines feel so out-of-place in the script, they almost give away the whole game the first time they’re spoken.Where this one breaks down is that we aren’t given enough information about Mia to care about her. She doesn’t even get any meaningful interactions with her family.Past episodes that followed someone truly despicable at least gave us something that made us care about them. And so this episode is really just watching a bad person get worse, then get caught.Overall, this season had more episodes that were at least bittersweet if not outright optimistic.More than any season before it, this one had multiple episodes where the good people won out.
As a result, the tone is very slightly, but noticeably more optimistic.
The sci-fi aspect of the episode seems almost incidental.
It’s easy to imagine this exact same story playing out the same way without a device that records video of your memories. It looks clunky and analog in a way that you’d expect from first-gen memory-reading technology.
Maybe the best thing “San Junipero” did for the series was prove that not every episode has to.
Sometimes, it’s OK to have a straightforward sci-fi story and call it good.