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Beyond The Sea is the third episode of season six of Black Mirror. It was written by Charlie Brooker and was released on June 15th, 2023.

Short Summary[]

In an alternative 1969, two astronauts on a perilous high-tech space mission grapple with the fallout of an unfathomable tragedy back on Earth.

Full Summary[]

As David Ross is drawing a portrait of his two children, his daughter Lily reaches up to scratch her nose. David tells her that if she has to do that, she should return to the same pose afterward. Lily questions why she even has to be there, because it's Ricky's birthday. David says Ricky is her brother. David's wife Jessica enters the room, and asks if they're ready to go. David tells the kids they can get up.

Cliff Stanfield is trying to chop wood, but he's having some difficulty. He tells his son Henry that he's not used to his grip yet, and hits the wood again. Cliff brings the chopped wood into a room where his wife Lana is reading a book. He says that Henry was wondering how long it will be until dinner. Lana resignedly says that she can start on it now.

David, Jessica, Lily, and Ricky watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in a movie theater. When David and Jessica lean toward each other and hold hands, Kyle and Sally notice and watch them. Outside the theater, Kyle and Sally stop David and his family as they're leaving. They recognize David and say it's an honor to meet him. Kyle shakes David's hand and is impressed by how "real" he is. Sally touches him as well and is similarly impressed. She asks if he's sleeping "up there" right now. David starts to explain, but Jessica interrupts by clearing her throat. As they walk away, Jessica says she knows that people are excited, but they can also be rude.

Cliff prays with his family as they sit down to eat, but Cliff's place setting is empty.

David's family gets back home. Lily and Ricky race to the door. Jessica stops and ponders a van parked across the street with all of the windows blocked by curtains. David kisses Lily and Ricky good night and tells them he loves them. Jessica pours drinks while David puts on a record. David pulls Jessica into him and they dance.

Cliff and Lana do dishes silently.

Things grow more intimate between Jessica and David. As Jessica recovers from an orgasm, David's watch beeps. He apologizes and says he has to go. He kisses her forehead before leaving.

Cliff is drying a cup when his watch beeps. He tells Lana he has to go.

Cliff and David each sit in reclined dentist chair-like devices, each in their respective homes and appear to fall asleep.

They both awaken in a contoured bed on a space station and stretch.

David tells Cliff the alarm was for a minor impact, likely just debris, but there's a crack in the solar coating. They set out to repair it. Cliff takes of his jewelry and David helps him get into his space suit. David closes the door and Cliff goes outside the station. David watches as Cliff works to fix the damage.

Afterward, back inside the station, David helps Cliff remove the space suit. David asks Cliff how his new home is. Cliff says they're still settling in, but it's good. It's way out of the city. Henry's a little quiet, but Cliff is sure he'll grow into it. David asks about Lana and Cliff says she's doing well. David is surprised because Lana seemed like a social butterfly when they met. Cliff says he thinks she likes it. David asks when their next physical is and Cliff says it's Friday. David says he'll see Cliff on Friday. They part ways.

David and Cliff lie back in their space beds. They appear to fall asleep and wake back up in the chairs back on Earth.

Cliff goes to his bedroom, where Lana is reading. She wants them to have a party for the local folks, so they can meet their neighbors; just something small. Cliff doesn't think so. Lana says it'll be good for Henry to meet some local kids. Cliff just says "we'll see." He climbs into bed and lies down while Lana continues reading.

David wakes to a clattering noise. He grabs a baseball bat and goes down to the living room, where he finds Kappa, Theta, Sigma, and Epsilon. He tells them to get out of his house. They ignore him and Sigma asks if he has a penis. David doesn't answer, but threatens them with the bat if they don't leave. Sigma throws a bottle, which breaks against the wall, so David starts swinging the bat, but can't hit them as they move around and taunt him. They pin him down and Kappa cuts off his arm, revealing an electronic core. Kappa says he's nothing natural. The arm continues to move as Kappa drops it. Sigma hands Kappa a hammer and Kappa sends Theta to get David's family. Kappa hits David in the head with the hammer. Instantly, David wakes up on the station. He immediately activates the system to go back.

David wakes, hog-tied on the couch. He sees Jessica beg for her children's lives. One of their attackers just want to find out who else is machine, but Jessica says it's just David; he's the only one. Jessica shows that she's bleeding real blood. Kappa believes that she's real and that her kids are real, but it doesn't matter because he states that nothing that's happening in their home that she is fully knowledgeable is right in nature; David is sleeping in the sky while his mechanical image is walking around on Earth. Jessica shares her bed with him; Kappa says none of it is right. "Defying nature must have a cost." They have to kill her and her children while David watches. Kappa has Epsilon start the killing. Once they're dead, the cult members rub their blood on the floor. Then they pour gas on David and light him on fire.

Cliff wakes up to the phone ringing. He gets up to answer it and learns what happened to David's family and his replica body.

Cliff wakes up on the station. He gets up and searches for David. He finds him, crying, in a room full of plants. David asks to be left alone. Cliff expresses his condolences, but David just yells at him to get out.

Lana reads a newspaper article about David's family being murdered and that the gang turned-themselves in to be arrested; "They're some kind of hippie cult." Cliff comes in and tells her that David told him to get out. He spoke to Ground Control and they told him to leave David alone, as he'll be in shock. The Board says they can have protection if they feel like they need it, but they're a long way from California. Lana keeps thinking about Jessica and the kids. She can't even imagine. Cliff says they even destroyed his replica by setting it on fire. While Cliff is down on Earth, David is alone in space. They have four years left of their six-year mission. Lana asks if they can make him another replica suit, but it's not possible. Even if they could, David doesn't have anything left on Earth.

On the station, David and Cliff work out and perform their routine maintenance tasks.

On Earth, Cliff reads in the paper that David's family's funeral is that day alongside an article in which Kappa claims they were protecting the natural order.

In the space station, David watches a grainy video feed of his family's funeral as a pastor reads Psalm 23. Later, he eats his unappetizing rations alone and sits around the station.

Cliff teaches Henry to make a spear. He then shows Henry how to spear fish in a stream. Once Cliff has gotten one, it's Henry's turn, but Cliff gets an alarm called back for a serious airlock issue.

On the station, Cliff finds David in the airlock. After David won't respond to Cliff's pounding and yelling, Cliff opens the door. A nearly-catatonic David claims he's okay and that he's just checking things.

Lana asks if he thinks David was preparing to throw himself out. Cliff isn't sure, but if David were to do something like that, Cliff would still be up there. The ship relies on a two-man crew. If something goes wrong, they would both be dead. They have to come up with some solution. David is lost and Cliff needs to reach him, but doesn't know how. Lana suggests letting David use his link, just for long enough that David can take a walk in the woods and feel the breeze on his face. Cliff worries that it'll be strange for her and Henry. She says Henry doesn't need to know. Cliff's not sure that David would even want that. She suggests that he offer.

Cliff starts routine checks on the station. David slowly helps him. As they work, Cliff offers David use of his replica to visit Earth for a while. David says he thinks he'd like that.

Lana asks how she should speak to David. Cliff says David used to be talkative, but he's not easy to read anymore. He suggests just letting him reconnect to earth by taking in the air.

Cliff goes to the link to allow David to use it. Cliff asks if David is ready. David lies down in Cliff's bed and Cliff puts in his card, allowing David to go to sleep and wake up on Earth. David wakes up in Cliff's replica. He touches his face and then gets up to walk around. Outside, Lana greets him. He stumbles as he goes down the stairs and Lana says Cliff said it might take some getting used to. She asks if he'd liked to see the forest. He says yes.

Lana and David walk through the trees. David touches the leaves as they walk past. Lana takes him to her favorite spot and they sit down together. David forgot what if feels like to be on Earth. He picks up a caterpillar and lets it crawl on his hand. He starts to cry as he puts it back down and Lana comforts him.

As they walk back to the house, David frames it with his fingers. He says it's quite the home.

Henry watches them through the window.

On the station, Cliff kills time until David gets back. David thanks him and tells him his home is beautiful. It's time for Cliff to go, so David says he'll see him on Friday. Cliff lies down and goes to Earth.

David takes a sketchpad and starts drawing.

Lana is surprised when Cliff appears. Cliff thinks it worked because David seems lighter now. He asks how it was. Lana says David cried, which surprises Cliff. When asked how she responded, she says she didn't do much because she didn't know what to say.

David and Cliff go through their tasks on the station. David asks to show Cliff something. Cliff is impressed with a pencil drawing of his earth house, in great detail, from memory. He says when something's vivid, he just sees it. Cliff says if he had that picture on Earth, he'd hang it on the wall. David offers to go back down to Earth and paint another one, but with oil paints, as a thank you gift. He's not sure Cliff would want to do that, but drawing helps and he'd love to be able to paint again. Cliff asks how long it would take. David says it would take a while. He backs up. He understands that it's not fair to ask. Cliff asks for time to think it over.

Cliff tells Lana it would be just an hour, once a week, while he's doing his physical. David can set his things up in the barn. He'll get them a list of things he'll need. He's clearly been thinking about it. He asks Lana what she thinks.

Cliff sends David back to Earth. Lana asks if David has everything he needs. She thinks she got the whole list. He says it looks like it and thanks her. He asks her about the book she's reading. She thinks it's fine, but it's a bit trashy. He offers to recommend some other books to her. As she leaves, David puts on a music album and starts painting.

On the station, Cliff does his physical. When David returns, he and Cliff shake hands and trade places.

Henry politely asks to be excused from the table. He goes outside.

As David continues his painting, Lana watches him work.

Cliff exercises on the station.

David asks Lana if she's done much painting and she says not since kindergarten. He offers her the brush. She's worried about making a mess, but he says if she does, he'll just paint over it. He guides her through it. She leaves when Henry calls for her.

David trades places with Cliff again and he comments that David's painting looks good. David draws Lana.

While painting, David stops and wipes his hands. David asks Lana if she has any linseed oil because he's run out. Lana checks, but can't find anything. He asks if there's a hardware store in town and if Cliff will mind that they borrowed his car.

David and Lana drive to the hardware store. Initially David is waiting in the car, but gets out. When Lana returns to the car with the linseed oil, he asks if she wants to come so he can check out the bookstore. They go to the bookstore together.

David finds a book and tells Lana he thinks she'll like it. While they buy it, the bookshop clerk asks if he's Cliff Stanfield. He says he is. She's impressed by his replica. She heard they moved in to the old Watson place and asks how they like it. It's a great place for a family. She was sorry to hear what happened to David and asks how he's doing. David says he's holding up. Lana says they need to get going and the clerk says it was nice to meet him. Back in the car, Lana comforts David.

Cliff waits for David to return. When he finally wakes up, David thanks him again and Cliff takes his place. David continues drawing Lana.

Lana is reading her new book. She pauses and runs her finger down the spine.

Lana reads while David paints nearby. He asks her to take a look. She's flattered that he added her to the painting, standing on the porch. David puts on a record and pulls Lana in for a dance. He pulls her in close and presses his face to her neck. Then he runs his hands down her body like he did with Jessica. After a moment, she breaks away and leaves.

Henry watches as David calls out to Lana.

David finds Lana in the kitchen and tells her it's okay. She thinks she's given him the wrong idea. David promises that Cliff won't know. Lana brushes him off, even as he insists that she wants it. She yells at him for manipulating her. She reminds him that this isn't his home, and he isn't her husband. He's a guest. He says that she wants it, but she says he doesn't know her. David leaves.

In the barn, someone has streaked paint across the canvas. David turns and sees Henry with paint on his hand.

Lana hears Henry run through the house and calls to him.

David works to fix the painting. Lana comes to the barn and tells him he should go.

David comes back and Cliff asks if everything's okay. David curtly says it's fine.

Lana tells Cliff that David hit Henry for ruining the painting. They argue over it because Henry thinks the person who hit him was his dad. Cliff says he's knocked Henry on the side of the head a hundred times. Henry can be a terror. He needs someone to keep him in line. Cliff says David wants to finish the painting. He wants to let David finish the painting. It'll be two more visits tops. Then he'll come up with some excuse.

Cliff exercises on the station.

David tries to talk to Lana, but she just tells him his things are set up in the barn and she's taking Henry to the pool. David goes out to the barn.

Cliff goes to do his physical, but the equipment doesn't work.

David works on fixing the painting.

As Cliff wanders around the station, he goes into David's space and finds drawings of his family on the walls. Then he looks through a pile of drawings and finds several of Lana, including some of her nude.

David has fixed the painting. His watch beeps.

David says he got an alert and asks Cliff what's up. Cliff holds up the drawings and asks David to explain. David says it's just a drawing, like a fantasy. Cliff pushes David against the wall and says Lana's his wife. David tries to defend himself, but Cliff punches him. David says he has nothing. Cliff has no idea what it's like to be him. Everything he had is gone, destroyed. Cliff has it all and he doesn't even care. Cliff says "I care plenty." David says Lana is lonely. She's all alone and unappreciated. Cliff tells him to shut up and pushes him back up against the wall. David says he doesn't know what he has, but Cliff says he does.

Henry asks Lana how much longer they have to sit in the car. Lana says until his father's home. She starts the car and drives away. They get home and Cliff sends Henry inside. In the barn, Cliff destroys the painting. He confronts Lana and demands that she tell him what's going on between her and David. She says nothing and denies posing for him. He still thinks something happened because David drew her naked; he draws from memory. Lana says he's seen nothing. Cliff continues asking, but Lana swears on her life and Henry's life that nothing happened. Cliff knows that David wanted it, and Lana says yes.

Cliff is outraged that she still let him come. She says that Cliff knew she didn't want him there, but Cliff says she never said that. She told him that David hit their son and Cliff didn't listen. Cliff says that David said he doesn't touch Lana. He wants to know how David knew that. Lana says she would never say that to anyone. She doesn't know how David knew that but admits to Cliff that she's lonely all the time, even when he's home. They came there for him. He brought them there for himself and now they all just walk from room to room. Cliff's just a shadow, but she's here and she's real. David didn't touch her, but she wished he did. For a moment, it felt like her husband was back and saw that she was real. She wants that and she wishes he still did too. Cliff hugs Lana and apologizes to her.

Cliff and David exercise. David offers his hand to shake Cliff's, but Cliff doesn't take it. David wants to apologize because he overstepped his mark, but he promises nothing happened with Lana. Cliff knows that and knows Lana wasn't interested. David knows Cliff doesn't want him using his link anymore, but he wants to apologize to Lana in person. At the very least, he wants to say goodbye. Cliff says that's not going to happen. Lana says his visits offend her. He offends her. The thought of him returning makes her want to vomit. He's the worst kind of con man and she doesn't want him anywhere near her. She's Cliff's for all time. David won't speak to her or see her ever again.

David shaves off his beard, which has grown since his family died.

Cliff is with his family.

At the station, David watches Cliff's sleeping form.

Cliff gets called back to the station for an emergency.

David tells Cliff that the coolant tubing took a hit a few minutes ago and now it's leaking.

David helps Cliff get ready to go fix the tubing. Then he closes the airlock door and Cliff exits the module.

When Cliff gets to the location, he finds no leak or damage. He asks if David's sure it was coolant four, but gets no response. He goes back to the airlock, but the outer door is shut and David doesn't answer as he calls for help. Finally, the door opens again and Cliff enters the station. David helps him get his suit off and Cliff asks where he was. David says he was in the bathroom. Cliff is astonished that he would take a bathroom break while he was outside and says that coolant four was fine. Cliff concludes that the system is sending out false reports and they need to report it because that's not acceptable. As Cliff takes back his personal items, he notices his tag is missing. David pulls it out of his pocket and hands it to Cliff. Cliff asks David what he did.

Cliff races to his bunk. He sends himself back to Earth.

Cliff wakes up to find his replica's hands covered in blood. He calls out for Lana as he walks through the house, where blood is streaked on the walls. He breaks down crying when he finds blood pooled on the floor.

David sits at a table in the station. Cliff comes in and David offers him a seat. They're both crying.


Notes and Trivia[]

  • The theater that David Ross and his family can be seen at is shown to advertise the USS Callister program from the USS Callister episode.


Episode Stills[]

Behind the Scenes[]