You’re safe here. As the scene ambles on, wheeling out well-worn space adventure tropes, the tension comes from its relentless camping of these conventions, rather than the deliberately two-dimensional drama itself. It’s all too perfect. At its denouement, while three cheers for the Captain resound, Daly goes full V-J Day in Times Square with both the women on his ship, who give themselves up for kissing with the enthusiasm of starfish.
Cut to: Automatic doors open, revealing Capt. Daly in glasses, beanie and drab grey clothes that contrast his pastel-pop Space Fleet uniform. He’s in a lift. His eyes remain lowered. Where are those pseudo-steely looks into the middle-distance? He alights, tears off his hat. His hairline’s receding.
No wonder he wants to escape. As Daly enters a sterile office building, Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror’s creator) drops breadcrumbs. Ostensibly quiet and mild-mannered, Daly is the founder of Callister, Inc., a virtual-reality-cum-videogame development studio where he’s under-appreciated and mocked by his co-workers. Although he’s the brains behind the operation (Daly is the developer of ‘Infinity’, an immersive multiplayer game which seems to have revolutionised industry standards), he’s awkward and redundant. He can’t wait to get back to the U.S.S. Callister, his own personal modification of the Infinity simulator he coded.