In the two weeks since Netflix released Season 3 of Black Mirror, countless tweets and Tumblr posts have been dedicated to the romance between Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) in the fourth episode, titled “San Junipero.” (Or, to put it more succinctly, queer women are losing their shit over it.)
Much of the adoration stems from the fact that queer female characters are rarely the romantic leads in mainstream popular culture and they are even more infrequently given truly happy endings. Oh, and “San Junipero” also features a bisexual woman of color whose bisexuality is overtly — and refreshingly — addressed.
“I’m just so delighted by the response,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw told BuzzFeed News during an interview for her upcoming movie Miss Sloane. “It’s really fun, but I like the fact it has that duality of something that’s emotional but also transcends the labeling of society.”
In her eyes, the reason Kelly and Yorkie’s arc works so well is because Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker didn’t set out to tell a story about queer women; he set out to tell a story about the connection between two people. “The exciting thing is the … women just happen to be lesbian and bisexual — they just happen to be that, but it’s not about that,” Mbatha-Raw said. “For me, I think the same thing about stories that touch on race or gender. I think we’re hopefully at a place where you can have challenging, inspiring stories about human beings regardless of who you are and what your sexual orientation is. To be able to have that is progress, I hope.”
While she wanted people of all orientations to fall as deeply in love with Kelly and Yorkie as she did, it’s caught Mbatha-Raw off guard that some viewers don’t necessarily believe the ending is a happy one. (Spoiler alert: After they die, Kelly and Yorkie live together for youthful eternity in the titular town.) “I guess it depends on your perspective,” she said with a shrug. “Having that kind of afterlife— maybe some people would find that disturbing. I don’t know. That’s the complexity of Charlie Booker’s writing and his genius. It’s nice to work on things that have many layers to them.”
When asked if she personally believes the women are living happily ever after, Mbatha-Raw laughed big, smiled bigger, and said, “Oh my god, come on!”