During their panel at the fourth annual Vulture Fest, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker and co-producer Annabel Jones held court on everything from Trump to Twitter to The Wicker Man. But among the assorted digital-era doomsaying, Brooker divulged a curious detail about one of his less-bleak episodes. “San Junipero” proved a fan favorite from last season’s new crop, weaving a yarn of fragile love between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis in an idyllic plane wherein all is not as it seems. Brooker brought the high-concept romance up when asked if he ever had to leave any ideas on the cutting-room floor because they were too sad, too dark, or otherwise too extreme. He recalled one nixed detail for the assembled crowd: “In San Junipero, there was going to be a sequence in which Gugu’s character is spending some time in a kindergarten, and you realize subsequently that those were all deceased children she was spending time with. We realized that’d just be too sad.”
That’s what those in the business call a “good note.” “San Junipero” already earns the descriptor of “devastating” and then some with its depiction of a tender, precarious bond between kindred souls. A roomful of dead children may have been, to excuse the pun, overkill.