Charlie Brooker’s techy terror Black Mirror has always been a little close to the bone, but season 4’s ‘Arkangel’ has drawn some massive criticism for its depiction of emergency contraception.
Directed by Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster, ‘Arkangel’ upped the star factor of a much bigger season 4. as it followed Rosemarie DeWitt’s Marie as a worried mother convinced by a Big Brother-esque way to check that your children are safe. Implanted with a special chip, Marie was able to figure out that her daughter Sara was actually pregnant from a steamy encounter with a man.
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The plot took a darker turn, and one scene in particular saw Marie take matters into her own hands to slip her daughter an emergency contraceptive pill in her morning smoothie. Viewers were quick to take to Twitter (hat tip DigitalSpy) to slam the show for misinforming about emergency birth control procedures:
Not to be a total reproductive-justice warrior, but saying that emergency contraception terminates a pregnancy, as they did in @blackmirror episode “Arkangel,” is medically inaccurate & perpetuates dangerous myths about women’s health. Deeply uncool, @charltonbrooker
— Kate K. (@kateseventy8) January 2, 2018
i have an issue with black mirror: arkangel and that is that emergency contraception can’t terminate an already existing pregnancy, it can only prevent an egg from being fertilised
— rosa tiffany ✨ (@rosatiffanyy) January 2, 2018
@blackmirror Re Arkangel episode: emergency contraception can only prevent pregnancy, not cause Sara to have a miscarriage. Either you all knew better but chose to spread medical misinformation or no one on your crew has a uterus.
— Katie Perestroika (@WTFRussians) December 31, 2017
Hey @blackmirror – PLEASE correct the misconception that emergency contraception terminates pregnancy. This is a dangerous fallacy and promotes draconian laws that trample on human rights. #Arkangel #BlackMirror
— Bella A. (@GoZissou) January 2, 2018
Mainly, viewers were concerned at how the writing team could confuse an emergency contraceptive for an abortion pill. That being said, others were quick to point out that in the often dystopian future of Black Mirror, technology doesn’t work in the same way as it does in real life. For all we know, the pill that Marie slipped into her daughter’s drink could be a magic abortion pill. Still, the majority of those who noticed the issue have called out ‘Arkangel’ for not at least naming the pill as something other than an emergency contraceptive.
The Emmy Award-winning show has previously shown dark realities that tackle issues like beastiality, pedophilia, and sexual exploitation, so it isn’t exactly like there are many taboo subjects left to tackle. However, in an era of pro-life choices, it seems that such an apparent disregard for medical accuracy around a subject such as abortion has really annoyed those who tuned in. ‘Arkangel’ was branded one of the better episodes of the latest batch of six, but it seems unusual that no one from the production spotted such an issue looming. Although Foster directed the episode, it was written by Brooker himself, but it is doubtful that either set out to cause any offense to viewers.
Season 4 had its ups and down, and while ‘Arkangel’ may not have been as imaginative as the likes of the ‘USS Callister,’ it was a brave subject matter to tackle for the show. Also, having Foster on board, it was an opportunity for a particularly female-first take on the show that has given us previously women-centric Black Mirror episodes like ‘White Bear’ and ‘Nosedive.’ Sadly, ‘Arkangel’ has inadvertently rattled a faction of fans, but expect some sort of apology or explanation from Brooker to follow given the recent Twitter outcry.
More: Black Mirror: Jodie Foster Wants To Work With Netflix ‘Forever’
Black Mirror is now streaming on Netflix
Source: Various (see tweets; via DigitalSpy)