The fifth season of Black Mirror hit this week featuring three new feature-length episodes including Striking Vipers, a cautionary tale of immersive video gaming.
Spoilers follow for the Black Mirror Striking Vipers episode, and you can read our full recap here.
What is Striking Vipers about
Striking Vipers starts off in the past when Danny (Anthony Mackie) meets his future wife and then, after their first hook up, ends up playing his favorite videogame Striking Vipers with his buddy Karl (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
Cut to years later and Danny has a kid and is living the domestic life. At this time, there have been a ton of new Striking Vipers games and on Danny’s birthday, Karl shows up with a present — Striking Vipers X.
This new version can be played in virtual reality, meaning no controllers and the players actually control their fighters with body movements. However, there is a new twist in the game.
In the original, the two friends had their favorite players to control and Karl always controlled a female named Roxette.
On top of the fighting in the new Striking Vipers X, there is also a chance for a little more intimate grappling. Basically, players can have virtual sex in the game and since it is virtual reality, it feels like it is really happening.
When Karl’s character makes a move on Danny’s sexually, it takes both men by surprise. However, while Karl is loving it, Danny feels wrong about doing this behind his wife’s back.
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Black Mirror Striking Vipers ending explained
Danny and Karl drift apart and then Danny and his wife have another baby. This is good because while Danny was playing the game, he was drifting away from his wife sexually and she was starting to have wandering eyes as well.
The two guys then reconnect and decide that they have to know if what they had was real or not because they both felt the passion in the game.
They meet behind a bar and share a kiss — and there is no passion there. They get angry and then get into a fight when Karl wants to keep playing the game and Danny wants to stop.
They end up in jail. When Danny’s wife picks him up, Striking Vipers insinuates that he tells her everything.
So, what does the ending that came next mean? Danny gets a birthday present from his wife and gives her one in return. She gets dressed up and goes out while he sits down and turns on the video game to meet up with Karl virtually.
The two clearly made an agreement. Danny will get to spend his birthday in the virtual reality game with Karl and his wife will go find a real-life hookup. Then, the next day, they will return to their normal lives.
Black Mirror Season 5 is streaming live on Netflix.