Bad Boys for Life
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An exquisite corpse of good ideas never fully formed, "Rachel, Jack and Ashley, Too" struggles to sew its many concepts together -- what does work can largely be attributed to Miley Cyrus' wholly committed and compelling performance.
Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too, may tell its story through a slightly different voice, but the story it imparts undoubtedly belongs in the cruel world of Black Mirror, and represents the best of Brooker's talent as a writer.
"Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too" has enough engaging material to make it the most successful outing of the show's latest season.
It's a little bit of slapstick, a little bit of drama, all wrapped in a few broad messages about predatory music industry marketing practices. It also feels particularly off-brand for "Black Mirror."
This is... a mess.
The show's take on the genre is also oddly stale, relying on a textbook dichotomy between "pop" and "rock."
A straightforward tale of good and evil, buoyed by the speculative technology and some excellent performances.
It's a fun and mildly exciting turn of events, but it feels far removed from Black Mirror. That's not a criticism.
What's amazing is the eery and sometimes hilarious meta references to Cyrus' real life. Her character and the real Ashley are differentiated by only a metallic wig, as you might remember from Hannah Montana.
Rice, Davenport, and Cyrus - two promising young talents and one of the world's biggest stars - are too talented for the middling roles they've been subjected to here.
It's a good lesson, as the smiling vagaries of empowerment feminism begin to fall away for a more urgent application of practical activism.
Paired with a late in the game rescue mission and an unsatisfying ending, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too" has nothing interesting or profound to say about pop music, girlhood, or technology.
By far my favorite episode of the season - and quite possibly of the entire series. Miley Cyrus delivers an amazing performance that seems to hit close to home for her.