It plunges us into an immediate future in which every interpersonal encounter, however minor, concludes with the participants “rating” each other out of five on (what else?) their phone. These ratings are a kind of parallel currency: get above 4.5, and the world is yours; drop much below 3.5, and you’ll be a pariah, unable even to rent certain cars or enter certain buildings. Amid all this, we see Lacie (Howard) desperately trying to up her rating up so she can move into a trendy “lifestyle complex”, and also attempting to get to the wedding of her loathsome Naomie (Eve), for whom she’s maid of honor.
This antiseptic, pastel-colored Stepford-cum-Brave New World – in which everyone desperately maintains a veneer of niceness for fear of getting a negative rating from others – is superbly and thought-provokingly drawn, a ring of hell barely distinguishable from good old 2017. But the episode is weakened by spoon-feedingly schematic characters and a plot – heavily reminiscent of Clockwise and Planes, Trains and Automobiles – that fails to exploit its more interesting tainted-by-association potential.
When Lacie finally staggers into Naomie’s nuptials, a mud-spattered Epsilon in a sea of gleaming Alphas, you expect her to sabotage the proceedings with her speech (which she does), and you also anticipate the other guests’ instantly lowering her rating still further (this happens too). But mightn’t it have been more interesting if Naomie’s brittle and self-congratulatory coterie had also considered her suddenly infra dig, guilty of social suicide suicide by even knowing this loser? Humanistic and optimistic as the final, prison-bound moments are, they also feel long-signalled and oddly am-dram. I longed for Lucie to take her vile, snooty chum down with her, and for this slickly produced tale to end right there, with a gleam of hard-won triumph in Lacie’s eyes.