Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too is the third, and final, episode in Black Mirror Series 5, and after two disappointing episodes so far, this one also has a well-worn premise of an idolised pop star – Ashley O (Miley Cyrus – Crisis In Six Scenes), whose biggest fan is teenager Rachel (Angourie Rice – The Nice Guys), but it’s clear that Ashley’s life is far from as perfect as she appears in the media, and this is the downside of fame, since I remember when I watched the Whitney Houston biopic, Can I Be Me?, she gave it her all at the end, belting out I Will Always Love You…
…but I figured that as she would come off stage, she’ll still be doing the washing up in silence the next morning.
In this episode, Ashley Too is the name of a small electronic doll with advanced AI learning, which attempts to make the impressionable young kids feel like they’re always having a private chat with the singer, as if they’re getting to know her.
The doll is initially effective in what it does in the role of Rachel’s only friend, and the only one who seems to understand her given how Rachel, sister Jack, and father Kevin (Marc Menchaca) have been all at sea since the death of Genevieve, the matriarch of the house… but again, this is far from a new idea.
As a drama, this would be mildly interesting, but I echo the thoughts I saw elsewhere in that this series just does not feel like Black Mirror. Early on, we learn Ashley O writes her songs based on her dreams, which comes a bigger part of the plot than expected, later, and feels very much like it’s trying to be a tweaked version of the ’70s horror movie, Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins who owns a ventriloquist doll.
It also attempts to be far more humourous than it should be for the situation Ashley O finds herself in.
There’s also little depth to the characters that’s out of the ordinary, with Dad always being in his basement building the perfect mousetrap. However, there’s decent acting in both of the two female leads.
As an aside, there’s also a reference to Series 3’s San Junipero when the local hospital is named St Juniper.
Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too – the title clearly aping THAT drama, Rita, Sue and Bob Too – is now available on Netflix.
Widescreen ratio: 2:20:1
Director: Anne Sewitsky
Producer: Nick Pitt
Writer: Charlie Brooker
Music: Isobel Waller-Bridge
Ashley O: Miley Cyrus
Rachel: Angourie Rice
Jack: Madison Davenport
Jackson Habanero: James III
Todd: Greg Kriek
Kevin: Marc Menchaca
Busy G: Jerah Milligan
Janitor: Martin Munro
Dr. Munk: Nicholas Pauling
Catherine: Susan Pourfar
Carmen: Frances Sholto-Douglas
Bear: Daniel Stewart Sherman
Police Officer: Glenn Webster
Ms Walpole: Mikkie-Deene Le Roux
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.