Despite not bearing an iota of negativity in terms of English Grammar, the word “Paparazzi” always gets associated with something being irritating or obnoxious. And the reason for that is the usual Paparazzi culture, where a person would do literally anything to get their “money shot” of a celebrity. It is strange that it took this long for Charlie Brooker to make a Black Mirror episode out of it. Now that he has finally done it, I have got to say that he has mostly nailed it. Of course, Brooker has done it in his own style- by presenting us the movie equivalent of a peanut butter sandwich, but with a surprise addition of bacon in it. Mazey Day starts as a rather serious take on the Paparazzi culture, which soon turns into an investigative thriller, until it takes the full-blown monster horror route in the blood-soaked final act.
What Is Mazey Day?
It is actually a “who,” a Television superstar with the coolest possible name. Not much is revealed about her, but we get the whiff of Mazey being a Marilyn Monroe-esque tragedy, where her happy face is loved by millions, but nobody knows the demons she battles inside. During an outdoor shoot in the Czech Republic, Mazey- dealing with the stress of getting her character right- opts for a mushroom-filled adventurous night. That goes horribly wrong when she goes out for a drive while having a bad trip and ends up accidentally killing someone. Mazey does manage to get away, but she fails to escape the trauma and the guilt. Abruptly bailing on the shooting, Mazey holes up in a big mansion of a producer.
Who Is Bo? And What Does She Want?
Even though the episode is titled Mazey Day, it essentially centers on down-on-his-luck freelance celeb photographer Bo. While she comes off as any usual paparazzi in the beginning, the suicide of a TV star, thanks to Bo’s exposé about how the star is cheating on his girlfriend with “a man,” takes a toll on her. Despite her fellow photographers, Hector, Whitty, and Duke assuring her that it was not her fault as she was only doing her job, Bo calls it quits and takes a job as a barista.
All that changes when the news of Mazey Day’s disappearance breaks, and Bo smells of a significantly huge monetary opportunity. Getting constantly nagged by her off-putting roommate Nathan for her share of the rent, Bo jumps on the Mazey Day bandwagon to fix the financial aspect of her life. Finding Mazey Day seems to be a daunting task, given the time setting of around 2006–07. I thought this was a great creative decision to take away the help of technology, which worked in favor of the context of the story. Bo does find Mazey’s location, though, thanks to the star’s undying love for a takeaway noodle joint, from where Bo picks up her secret whereabouts. Despite staking out days and nights outside of the house with her camera-ready hands, Bo doesn’t get a single shot of Mazey. Then one day, she spots a mysterious black car pulling over.
‘Mazey Day’ Ending Explained
Muse frontman Matt Bellamy once explained that the song “Supermassive Black Hole” is about certain women being the center of attraction, which is like an endless blackhole that draws you in, and escaping from it is never an option. While the song keeps playing throughout the entire duration of Mazey Day, the ending of the episode completely justifies its use. More on that later.
The black car belongs to a certain Doctor Babich, a celebrity doctor who has arrived to admit Mazey into a high-end rehab facility. Bo follows Babich’s car and reaches a diner establishment close to rehab. But Babich’s man Friday stashes her tires, clearly following the doctor’s order. Stranded at the diner, Bo calls Hector for help, who arrives after a while. Getting stuck due to the tire mishap turns out to be beneficial for Bo nonetheless, as she gets to know about the existence of the rehabilitation center “Cedar Wood Retreat” from the manager, Clay. It doesn’t take her long to figure out what’s going on after getting to know that the whole facility has been conveniently booked by one person for the whole weekend. Without letting Hector take a break for a soda, even after a long bike ride, Bo embarks on the journey to supposedly great fortune. Upon reaching the facility, she finds out that Hector has attracted two other vultures, Whitty and Duke, thanks to a tracker placed on Hector’s bike. Seeing no other choice but to run this as a joint operation, a seemingly frustrated Bo gets on with it.
Getting inside the extensively barricaded facility seems to be a challenge for the four of them until Duke decides to try the old-fashioned way of sliding under the fences. They are soon fortunate enough to get a lot of good-quality shots of Babich and his right hand. Once the doctor leaves, the course becomes clear for the paparazzi gang to pounce on Mazey Day. Things take a strange turn when they discover an almost naked, heavily sedated Mazey Day is barbarically chained to the floor. While Hector, Whitty, and Duke act like they have found their goldmine, a rather humane Bo tries to free Mazey. Despite Mazey’s constant pleas for the group to go away, Hector, Whitty, and Duke keep flashing their cameras on her in order to do their jobs right. Bo manages to free her and even puts a pause on the inhuman thing the other three are doing, but what happens after that is something for which none of them were prepared. Nor were we, I guess. It is a full moon night, and when the moon blows up, and her light falls on Mazey Day, the beloved superstar turns into a freaking werewolf.
After being completely frozen for a while, thanks to the turn of events, Bo quickly composes herself and makes a run for her life. Hector and Duke follow her, but Whitty’s greed gets the best of him, as the vulture ends up being a mere “starter” for the monster he went hunting. Getting out of the compound doesn’t seem to be easy for Duke, as he soon meets his demise the same way Whitty did. With photographs worth a “lifetime of riches,” Bo and Hector run away and take refuge in the diner. They try to warn Clay, police officer Terry, and two other customers about “what” is coming for them, but as you would imagine, nobody buys it, and Bo even gets handcuffed by Terry for her hysterics. That hardly matters, as the werewolf doesn’t take much time to barge inside the diner and make a feast out of everyone except Bo, who hides under a table. Somehow, Bo manages to get her hands on Terry’s gun and shoot the werewolf. That seems to work as it falls to the ground and soon transforms back into Mazey Day, all bloody and bruised. Mazey requests that Bo kill her, which would practically free her from all the darkness forever. But Bo hands over the gun to Mazey and aims the camera at her. We all know what happens next as we see the glowing sign of the diner outside and hear the gunshot.
There is an obvious social commentary angle here, where Brooker and director Uta Brieswitz have taken a jibe at the toxicity of the paparazzi culture and how it takes the “human” out of people. The character of Mazey Day and the Muse song are used as metaphors for that obsessiveness that becomes the reason for doom. Mazey becomes the focal point of the job the paparazzi are doing, and no matter what, they are not going to let the opportunity go. Not even with their own imminent death approaching. There is also another side to the same coin, where Mazey literally becomes an animal after getting constantly hounded by everyone around her. Thus, she turns into the blackhole, which consumes everyone except Bo. I think the reason Bo got away is because her conscience is not dead. Black Mirror has this tendency of pardoning characters who are essentially not evil, and Bo here is one such example. Not only does she get away, she even gets rewarded with something, which will probably put an end to her being in this terrible profession.