The 5th episode of Black Mirror, titled Demon 79, makes us privy to the plight of an immigrant living in the United Kingdom who has to struggle every day and face white supremacists who believe that she is taking what rightfully belongs to them. It is painful to see the protagonist, Nida, go through that kind of discrimination: her morale being obliterated every day at work; her confidence shattering into pieces; and most of all, her belief in humanity being lost bit by bit. The system was created in such a manner that it benefited white people, irrespective of whether they were racist themselves or not. Immigrants like Nida didn’t ask for much and were happy with what they got, but she was still harassed by people who made sure that she couldn’t enjoy life, even for a moment. So, let’s find out what happened in Black Mirror’s Demon 79 and if Nida was able to fight the system or if she succumbed to it.
Why Did Vicky Humiliate Nida?
Nida worked in an apparels and footwear store called Possetts, and she was quite good at what she did. Her colleague, Vicky, was always jealous of her, as she knew that most of the customers who came to their shop wanted Nida to cater to them. Vicky tried her level best to make Nida’s life a living hell, and the timid girl never used to argue with her about anything and just kept on doing whatever she was told. Nida knew that she was not in her own country, and to expect any kind of humanity from those people, who already had a stereotypical mindset, would be a foolish thing. Vicky always made faces when Nida used to open her lunch box because of the aroma that came from the food she cooked. Vicky went and complained to her boss, Mr. Duncan, and told him that even though Nida ate alone most days, the smell of her food lingered on for a very long time. Mr. Duncan tried to make Nida understand how Vicky had a problem with her and suggested that she could use the basement for her food, as nobody used to go there.
It was ludicrous how, on one side, Mr. Duncan pretended to be a man who treated everybody equally, but on the other side, he was probably more racist than Vicky herself. Not even once did it cross his mind that he should go and talk to Vicky and tell her that her behavior towards Nida was totally wrong. Instead, he sent the poor girl to eat in a basement that hadn’t been cleaned in ages. On the very first day, when Nida went to the basement to have her food, something extraordinary happened. There was a lot of discarded furniture and other such items kept in the basement. Nida got curious after seeing some newspaper cuttings in which news of some untoward deaths and disappearances were published. She cut her finger while opening the drawer of an old study table. She found a wooden chip inside it with a trident symbol engraved on it. Nida came back to her home to find out the small cuboid was actually a talisman that had magical powers. She got scared when she heard a voice coming out of it. It seemed like the voice of a spirit captured inside, the only difference being that it was not threatening in any manner. The voice was pleading with Nida to let it come out of the talisman and explain everything to her. A perplexed and scared Nida froze there, not knowing if she should listen to the voice or throw the talisman away.
What Did The Demon Want From Nida?
Demon 79 revolves around a demon named Gaap that came out of the talisman that Nida had. Gaap saw that Nida was scared seeing her original look, and so it quickly transformed into one of the dancers of the German-Caribbean vocal group named Boney M. Gaap told Nida that because she had marked the talisman with her blood, she was now bound to it, and she had to complete a few tasks to get rid of it. Gaap said that they needed to deliver three sacrifices before May Day at all costs, and failing to do so could lead to the world being destroyed. To make his absurd arguments sound convincing, he told Nida that she had to kill three human beings if she wanted to save the lives of billions of people.
Nida started hyperventilating, and she didn’t know if what she was seeing was a dream or if it was happening in reality. Gaap had the power to show people the future, and he showed the consequences of not abiding by the rules set by Satan. Nida got even more paranoid when the Gaap made her see the world burning, and she didn’t know what to do. Nida ran from her house, believing that it was all just a bad dream and that maybe she was hallucinating. Gaap came after her and kept telling her that she had to kill only three people, and after that, she could get rid of him. Gaap said that he also did not have a lot of experience dealing with such conflicts as it was probably his first mission. For him, killing somebody was not difficult, and that is why he could understand why Nida was making such a big fuss about it.
Is Nida Able To Fulfill The Condition Of The Talisman?
Nida was being pestered by Gaap to start killing, as she had limited time on her hands, and she had to kill the first person before the clock struck 12. There was a man named Tim Simons who came with his dog, and Gaap told Nida that, according to his psychic powers, he molested his 8-year-old daughter on a regular basis. Gaap told Nida that the man was a predator and that in the future, his daughter would commit suicide when she was 28 years old. Impulsively, Nida hit the man hard on his head with a brick, and he fell into the adjacent water body and died instantly. Nida ultimately started believing that the world would come to an end if she didn’t kill three people. Nida’s next target was Keith Holligan, as she knew that he had murdered his wife, and she wouldn’t even feel guilty about killing a criminal. She killed Keith, and just as she was about to leave, his brother, Chris, came back to the house.
Nida had to kill Chris, even when she didn’t want to because she couldn’t leave any witnesses. Whenever Nida murdered somebody, one line of the trident symbol magically vanished from the surface of the talisman. But after she killed Keith and Chris, only one line vanquished, leaving her and Gaap a bit confused. Gaap made a call to probably the administrators of the demonic realm and got to know that killing a person already accused of a crime wasn’t counted. So basically, Nida realized in Demon 79 that she still needed to kill one more person in order to fulfill the conditions. The hunt for the new target began, and finally, Nida narrowed it down to one name: Michael Smart, a politician fighting the election for the post of member of parliament (MP) from the same area where Possetts was located. People like Michael Smart were Satan’s favorite human beings, as through their policies, they had the potential to wreak havoc on the entire planet. Michael Smart pretended that his party would work to provide equal status to all citizens, but deep down, he was probably more racist than anybody else.
Meanwhile, police officers Len Fisher and Suzie learned from a bar owner that Nida was present the other day when Keith had come to the bar. Len Fisher connected a few dots and went to question Nida, who completely denied knowing anything about Keith Holligan. Fisher was not convinced, and he knew he would have to keep an eye out for her. Nida, even after Gaap persistently dissuaded her to leave Michael, went after the politician, mainly because she had seen what catastrophe he was capable of bringing on the entire planet. Before she could kill him with her hammer, Fisher arrived at the scene and took Nida into custody.
Was Nida Actually Seeing Gaap In Reality?
Suzie and Fisher started questioning Nida, and she told them about the bizarre encounter she had with the demon named Gaap. Obviously, anybody who heard the story would have believed that Nida was hallucinating and was suffering from some serious mental health disorders. The police officers came out, and they were just thinking about what they should do with her when they heard a sort of commotion coming from outside. It felt as if the entire world had been put on fire, and they realized that they could not do anything about it. The end of Demon 79 came off as a little confusing and strange. Nida was feeling quite anxious during the interrogation, as she knew that she had not killed the third person, and the conditions of the talisman were not satisfied. She was restlessly looking at the clock, because she knew that as soon as it struck 12, the world would come to an end.
For the longest time we also believed that Gaap didn’t exist in reality and probably represented some other notion metaphorically. But the writers wanted to take a different route, and they showed that Gaap was probably not a figment of imagination, and that Nida was actually seeing it, as whatever he said came true in the end. Gaap asked Nida to accompany him into the eternal abyss, as he knew that because he had failed in his mission, he would be cast away by his superiors and sent into oblivion. Nida agreed, and together they walked outside the interrogation room while the world was burned down to ashes.
Demon 79 was supposed to focus on racism, but halfway through, it felt like the narrative went wayward and left us with a very obscure ending. Maybe the writers would have wanted to show that there was no remedy to cure the vices of mankind and that we are all eventually moving toward our doom. Also, we didn’t understand why it was necessary for the story to be based in the year 1979, as whatever they had shown could have happened even now. Also, the end had no connection to what the writers showed us in the first half of the Demon 79 episode, where we saw Nida becoming a victim of institutionalized racism. We did resonate quite a bit with the first 30-odd minutes of the episode, and we did assume that in the end, Nida would have at least one face-off with Vicky and Mr. Duncan, but unfortunately, nothing of that sort happened. The racists held their beliefs, and the entire world faced the consequences of a nuclear warfare, though we didn’t seem to understand how those two narratives were even remotely connected.