Black Mirror Season 4’s Arkangel Wants To Destroy Helicopter Parents

Let the kid eat the damn cookie, Marie
Black Mirror
Sara is curious about the world. Netflix

Black Mirror has decided helicopter parents must be stopped, because censoring your kid from the bad in the world will only cause them to hate you.

We meet a new mother named Marie in Black Mirror Season 4 episode 2, Arkangel. While playing outside with her daughter Sara, she suddenly loses track of her. She panics, but a good samaritan finds Sara and tells Marie that the girl went down to the train tracks to chase a cat. Marie is thankful to have little Sara back in her arms.

But Sara’s safety comes first. Marie decides to participate in a program called Arkangel, which implants a microchip into a child’s see what the child sees and track their every movement. Special controls allow parents to blur things that will upset them, like when Marie sets the parental control to censor the barking dog. All Sara sees is a pixelated blob.

It works for a while. Marie keeps track of Sara on her tablet. But it quickly backfires when Sara’s grandfather has a heart attack. The girl gets scared, but her grandfather is now a blur and she can’t hear his calls for help. Marie gets a notification that Sara is experiencing trauma and removes the parental controls to see what’s happening.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent Marie from turning off Arkangel. Sara grows into a pre-teen in a censored world. She doesn’t see violence or sadness, only the good in the world. But she’s still curious about the things she can’t see. Sara pricks her finger to see blood, but all she can see are blurs. She keeps digging at her finger, but Marie stops her. A child psychiatrist tells Marie her daughter is a normal kid: what’s upsetting her is the censorship. Marie turns off Arkangel, but when Sara becomes a teenager, everything escalates.

Every helicopter parent should watch Arkangel. In theory, Arkangel could be a great parenting tool, if used correctly. Black Mirror shows us how those protective parenting instincts can go too far. It’s one thing to protect your daughter from the school “bad boy,” but Marie started to make decisions for Sara.

Arkangel argues children should be exposed to the darkness of the world. No one wants their kids to experience tragedy or pain, but those experiences shape who they are. Sara wanted to experience sex and drugs, things Marie never explained, because she didn’t have to. Arkangel made Marie a lazy parent. She relied on the technology to parent her daughter, not her emotional connection to Sara.

Despite experiencing heavy censorship in her early years, Sara still turned out to be a normal kid. Arkangel didn’t stop her from growing up, just the way she experienced the world. It might’ve also given her emotional issues, but Sara’s actions in the final scenes of Arkangel was definitely justified. Marie should’ve just let baby Sara have the damn cookies and left teenage Sara to deal with the consequences of her actions.

What’s your favorite Black Mirror Season 4 episode so far? Let us know in the comments below. Black Mirror Season 4 is streaming on Netflix.

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