Unraveling the Mind-Bending Conclusion of Black Mirror's 'Playtest'

Unraveling the Mind-Bending Conclusion of Black Mirror's 'Playtest'

Unravel the suspenseful ending of Black Mirror's episode 'Playtest' as reality blurs with a thrilling twist, leaving viewers questioning the line between perception and illusion

Wyatt Russell delivers an impressive performance in the season 3 Black Mirror episode "Playtest". With a twist ending that continues to be talked about, it is undeniably one of the most compelling episodes. While it explores familiar themes of human-technology interaction, the haunting finale sets it apart from any other episode. Despite being released in October 2016, "Playtest" remains one of the most impactful installments of the series. Each tense moment builds towards a satisfying and shocking conclusion.

What Is Black Mirror's "Playtest" About?

The Black Mirror episode "Playtest" centers around Cooper (played by Wyatt Russell), a young man who is coping with the loss of his father, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Struggling to confront his emotions, he avoids speaking to his mother when she calls. Desperate for money, Cooper agrees to participate in a unique experiment conducted by a company called SaitoGemu. The experiment involves testing an augmented reality game based on the classic Whac-A-Mole. Cooper eagerly agrees, putting on a device known as a "mushroom," which is attached to his neck. Initially enjoying the immersive experience, Cooper soon learns that he will be subjected to a terrifying game designed to exploit his deepest fears.

"Playtest" is positioned to become one of the most chilling episodes in the Black Mirror series. Fans who are familiar with the dark and intriguing nature of this show understand that Cooper will not find a happy ending. Tension builds as viewers are kept on edge, anticipating the inevitable wrong turn in the story.

Black Mirror is renowned for its exceptional plot twists, and "Playtest" is no exception. The episode maintains an eerie and suspenseful tone, foreshadowing a shocking twist to come. As Cooper delves further into the game, he encounters terrifying experiences, from encountering his childhood bully, Josh Peters (Jamie Paul), to facing his fear of spiders. An intense altercation with Katie (Wunmi Mosaku) escalates rapidly, only for Cooper to miraculously recover in the blink of an eye. While some may draw parallels between this storyline and the Black Mirror episode "USS Callister," the ending of "Playtest" sets it apart, leaving a lasting impact.

How Does "Playtest End"?

Unraveling the Mind-Bending Conclusion of Black Mirror's 'Playtest'

The conclusion of the "Playtest" episode in Black Mirror is both darkly comedic and gloomy. Initially, Cooper avoids calling his mother, thinking he can delay it a bit longer. However, in the end, Cooper and his mother are unable to have a meaningful conversation. Surprisingly, it is revealed that Cooper had actually been playing the game for only 0.4 seconds.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Charlie Brooker, the creator and showrunner of Black Mirror, discussed the ending. According to him, the initial intention was for the ending to be more light-hearted, but upon viewing the first cut, they realized the impact it had and how distressing it was for the main character.

Black Mirror often explores the dark side of technology, and the episode "Playtest" exemplifies this theme. Similarly, in "White Bear," the series demonstrates that characters can never truly escape the influence of the screens surrounding them. In the case of "Playtest," Cooper's ill-fated decision to engage in the game ultimately leads to the destruction of his entire life.

Brooker also discussed how the ending of the Black Mirror episode contains two unexpected turns. In his interview with Entertainment Weekly, he mentioned that when he initially read the first draft, there was only one twist, but through conversations with Dan, they decided to introduce a second twist. They thought about including a phone call at the end to add another layer to the story. Brooker found this idea amusing, as it was a playful response to the criticism of Black Mirror by Mallory Ortberg, who sarcastically suggested that the show was all about the negative effects of phones. Inspired by this, Brooker decided to embrace the concept and create an episode centered around it.

Similar to the conclusion of "Arkangel," the ending of the Black Mirror episode titled "Playtest" showcases a character facing a pivotal moment in their life and ultimately ending up in a harrowing situation due to the influence of technology.