Black Mirror Wiki

Be Right Back is the first episode of season two of Black Mirror. It was written by Charlie Brooker and was released on February 1, 2013.

Short Summary[]

After learning about a new service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased, a lonely, grieving Martha reconnects with her late lover.

Full Summary[]

Martha (Hayley Atwell) and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) are a young couple who move to a remote house in the countryside. Ash is a social media addict and compulsively checks his phone for updates on his social network pages. The day after moving into the house, Ash is killed returning the hire van. At the funeral, Martha's friend Sara (Sinead Matthews) tells her about a new online service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased. By using all of his past online communications and social media profiles, a new "Ash" can be created virtually. Martha rejects the idea outright, but Sara signs Martha up to the service anyway, without telling her. When Martha gets an e-mail supposedly from "Ash", she furiously confronts Sara, who urges her to at least give the service a try before dismissing it.

Over the following days, Martha is overwhelmed by grief and soon discovers that she is pregnant. Becoming emotionally unstable, she responds to the artificial Ash's e-mail. She starts to communicate with him through instant messaging and informs him of the pregnancy. She then uploads videos and photos of Ash to the service's database, and the service duplicates Ash's voice to talk to Martha over the phone. Martha allows herself to believe that she is talking to her dead partner, and over the following weeks, she talks to the artificial Ash almost non-stop, keeping him updated regarding the pregnancy. After Martha accidentally damages her phone and has a panic attack when she temporarily loses contact with the service, the artificial Ash tells her about the service's next stage, which is still in its experimental phase: a body made of synthetic flesh that the program can be uploaded onto.

Martha buys a blank, synthetic body from the service, and following the artificial Ash's instructions she allows the body to take on Ash's physical characteristics. The end result is an android that looks almost exactly like Ash, only missing minor characteristics such as his facial hair and a mole on his neck, which Ash corrects. From the moment the android is activated, Martha is uncomfortable and struggles to accept its existence. Despite the android satisfying her sexually, she quickly becomes frustrated by it constantly doing what she says without question, its lack of emotion (only expressing emotions when she tells it to do so), and the absence of certain habits and personality traits which the real Ash had but the service did not have information on. After an argument, Martha decides she can no longer tolerate the android, taking it to the edge of a tall cliff and ordering it to jump off. The android agrees to do so, but Martha grows even angrier, saying that the real Ash would not have willingly jumped. The android responds by begging for its own life, causing Martha to realise that she can't bring herself to get rid of it.

The scene cuts to several years later, and Martha is shown to have raised her daughter (Indira Ainger) in the country house, keeping the android Ash locked in the attic. She allows her daughter to see the android on weekends, but Martha's daughter convinces her to allow her into the attic on her birthday to give the android a piece of birthday cake. Martha's daughter reveals in her conversation with the android that she knows it does not need to eat, and merely used this as a ruse to get extra cake; it compliments her guile. While her daughter is in the attic with the android, Martha waits at the bottom of the attic steps close to tears, then after regaining her emotional composure, she climbs the ladder to join them.


  • Hayley Atwell as Martha
  • Domhnall Gleeson as Ash
  • Claire Keelan as Naomi
  • Sinead Matthews as Sarah
  • Flora Nicholson as Midwife
  • Glenn Hanning as Delivery Man
  • Tim Delap as Simon
  • Indira Ainger as Martha's Daughter

Notes and Trivia[]