Playtest is the second episode of the third season. It was written by Charlie Brooker, and was released on October 21, 2016.
Cooper (Wyatt Russell), a man living with his mother, leaves home to travel the world. He keeps ignoring his mother's calls, feeling unable to connect to her following his father developing early onset Alzheimer's and dying. In London, shortly before he plans to return home, he meets Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen). He suddenly realizes that he does not have enough money in his bank account to return back home. Sonja shows him an an app she had found, Oddjobs, which showed him various tasks he could complete for money. He sees one nearby related to a video game company, SaitoGamer. At the company's building, Katie (Wunmi Mosaku) meets him and takes him to a white room where he can test out a new technology that the company has. Despite her telling him to turn his phone off for security reasons, he switches it back on to send Sonja a picture of the technology he will be using. She asks him to sign a form and injects something into the back of his head.
Cooper plays a game of Whack-a-Mole using the 3D graphics technology of the chip and enjoys it massively. After it is over, Katie asks him if he wishes to participate in another experiment at the company, and introduces him to Shou (Ken Yamamura) who runs the company. He talks to Cooper about the new technology, which is designed to probe his brain for information and then tries to scare him, and Cooper agrees to take part in the next trial. Katie takes him to a mansion identical to one that appeared in another SaitoGamer video game and gives him an earpiece to communicate with him before leaving. After a few small jumpscares interspersed with a nervous conversation with Katie, the earpiece stops working and Sonja turns up at the house unexpectedly, telling Cooper that he is in danger. He thinks she is another hologram created by the technology, but can actually physically touch her. She finds a knife and Cooper starts getting worried; she stalks him with the knife, he turns to run to be confronted by a mutant spider and she stabs him in the shoulder with it as he yells in pain. They struggle, fall to the floor and he eventually impales her, now a skinless skull, on the knife. After a minute of intense pain, the knife disappears, as does Sonja.
Katie resumes talking in his earpiece, telling Cooper he needs to go to the "access point" in the house, as he wants the test to stop. Convinced she is just trying to scare him, he makes his way to the access point. Katie starts asking him questions and he realises he is losing his memories, to the point where he does not recognise himself in the mirror. Katie and Shou burst through the door, saying the technology has gone too far into his brain, and cannot be shut off.
He seemingly wakes up, back in the room where Katie and Shou started the experiment; Shou apologises for the terror he caused Cooper, saying that the game was not designed to go that far. Cooper returns home to his mother, who does not recognise him. She repeats over and over that she needs to call Cooper, and starts dialing his number on her phone.
It is revealed that Cooper is still in the white room where Katie took him. He experiences some sort of electric shock and falls to the floor, dead, as Katie watches. Cooper's phone is ringing. Shou enters the room, asking what happened, and Katie says that the phone must have interfered with the technology. Shou tells Katie to report the test to the database. Katie does so, as Cooper's body is being disposed of in a bag. She notes that the experiment lasted 0.04 seconds, the cause of death was Cooper's phone and that he called "Mom" as he died.
- Wyatt Russell as Cooper
- Hannah John-Kamen as Sonja
- Wunmi Mosaku as Katie
- Ken Yamamura as Shou Saito
- Elizabeth Moynihan as Cooper's Mum
- Jamie Paul as Rick Peters
- Jessica Nell as Little Girl
Trivia EditThe phrase Katie uses late in the episode, "Would you kindly open the door," is likely a reference to the video game Bioshock.
|Episodes in "Black Mirror"|
|Season 1||• The National Anthem • Fifteen Million Merits • The Entire History of You •|
|Season 2||• Be Right Back • White Bear • The Waldo Moment •|
|Special||• White Christmas • Bandersnatch •|
|Season 3||• Nosedive • Playtest • Shut Up and Dance • San Junipero • Men Against Fire • Hated in the Nation •|
|Season 4||• USS Callister • Arkangel • Crocodile • Hang the DJ • Metalhead • Black Museum •|