“Sod ‘name in lights’, you’re an app now my brother”
On the sixth day of Christmas, Black Mirror gave to me…the always welcome Tobias Menzies
It’s little surprise that Black Mirror returns to the world of politics in The Waldo Moment given how effectively it skewered its contemporary shallowness in The National Anthem. Here, the focus is larger than just the Prime Minister, centring on a protest vote movement that builds up around Waldo, a profane animated bear who interviews celebrities disarmingly in an Ali G-like manner.
Waldo’s latest victim is Tobias Menzies’ insidious prospective Tory MP Liam Monroe and when an encounter between the pair goes viral, the powers-that-be behind the cartoon decide to enter him into the by-election. But the man who voices and plays Waldo via motion capture technology is far less convinced, failed comedian Jamie (Daniel Rigby) has no confidence in himself and as the public get thoroughly behind this new anti-establishment candidate, he finds it harder and harder to disentangle himself.
It’s an amusing set-up and one that perhaps possesses a different currency now, post-Trump, than it did when it aired, but the concept is also fairly thin. Disenchantment with the political system is all well and good but to break through it, you need something powerfully ideological and I’m not sure Waldo quite has that. And its final beats overstretch the idea, leaving this the weakest of the three episodes of this series, though the first two were genuinely superb.