Black Mirror season 5 premiere recap: Striking Vipers

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The return of Black Mirror sees Anthony Mackie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II starring as two friends who try their hand at VR gaming with surprising consequences.

The season five premiere of Black Mirror opens in a bar where Danny (Anthony Mackie) tries to pick up Theo (Nicole Beharie). When they are interrupted by their friends, the gig is up – Danny and Theo are a new couple and Danny was role-playing as a stranger hitting on her because Theo is into that! They dance and return to Danny’s apartment.

When Danny wakes up, his roommate, Karl (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) convinces Danny to join him to play a Street Fighter-esque video game titled Striking Vipers. Despite Danny’s protestations, he gives in. Karl beats Danny every time, but their game time is over when Theo appears complaining that they woke her up.

11 Years Later

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Danny and Theo are still together now with a son called Tyler. They’re living in a suburban home and celebrating Danny’s 38th birthday with their friends. Karl arrives, now a dapper older man who still can’t keep a relationship down, and presents Danny with a gift – a copy of Striking Vipers X along with the VR controller to play it with.

Gone are the wistful days of youth for Danny; he has an injured knee preventing him from working out, but Danny insists he’s glad that he is no longer on the dating scene. Karl has to do a lot to keep up with the younger generation, and Danny couldn’t be bothered. So he says, but Danny was definitely checking out one of his female acquaintances earlier at the party.

While Danny and Theo clean up after the party, Karl goes on a date with a young woman. Their age gap becomes apparent quite soon into their date, but at least Karl gets to see some action. Which is more than one can say about Danny and Theo – Theo turns in while Danny plays a silly game to bide the time.