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Chosen One Of The Day: That traumatized guinea pig from Black Mirror

Contributed by
Mar 8, 2018

I don't often wish for sequels to Black Mirror episodes. Charlier Brooker's celebrated science fiction anthology series dedicatedly delivers sharp, self-contained stories that need no further explanation. Well, most of the time. With Season 4 came complaints about one episode in particular, John Hillcoat's chilling thriller "Crocodile." Now, I didn't actually read the complaints about this episode, but I assume we're all on the same page: Gimme more guinea pig. 

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"Crocodile" follows the investigation of Shazia Akhand (Kiran Sonia Sawar), an insurance company employee tasked with using new tech to record the memories of witnesses to verify claims. But her job turns deadly once she crosses the path of murderer Mia Nolan (Andrea Riseborough). Which takes us to the episode's horrifying third act. There Mia not only kills Shazia but invades her home to murder her husband. And then, because she fears Shazia's infant's memory will ID her, Mia kills baby Ali too. But her brutality doesn't save her, thanks to one silent witness: Codger the Lodger.

It's implied that scans from this guinea pig's memory allow cops to swiftly collar Mia. So the story ends with her capture (and the especially grim reveal that the baby was blind and so wouldn't have been able to identify her anyway!). But what about Codger? Just imagine this story from this poor pet's point of view, and tell me you don't demand some closure.

Codger is in a pet store, chirping in hopes of catching the eye of a nice family and scoring a forever home. His prayers are answered when a handsome family man picks him out of the batch, rightly praising his exceptional fluffiness. Sure, Codger's feelings were probably hurt when Shazia was less than pleased at his arrival. But then he was given his special spot in the nursery, where he could chatter away at the giggling baby Ali. What a lovely home this must have been for Codger. But it wouldn't last. 

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The very night Codger was welcomed into the Akhand family, Mia committed her first murder. The next morning, Shazia's investigation began. And within 24 hours, the predatory Mia was on her scent, and in her home. So no sooner had Codger settled into his wood shavings than he witnessed the murder of his adorable baby roommate. Yet Black Mirror gives no hint of what happens to him after.

With his whole family murdered, who will take in Codger the Lodger? Will he be hounded by the press? His recollections made the fodder of enraged think pieces, whose readers are panicked about what their own pets might be witness to? Will he have to go into witness protection to avoid Mia and her potential supporters? What does life have in store for this unlikely hero who helped catch a merciless killer cloaked in crocodile tears? 

I imagine Codger being a fascination and instant celebrity, however polarizing. He'd be offered a book deal. His Twitter account would boast millions of followers even though he hardly ever tweets. (And when he does it's mostly just pics of food pellets and lettuce.) I'd like to think he finds a real forever home, and someone who can see past his fame and love him for the humble guinea pig he'd hoped to be.

Still, I'd have liked to have seen him on Oprah's couch for a special event interview. She'd stroke Codger's trembling paw through the toughest recollections. Perhaps the footage would play behind him, stunning the audience into reverent silence. Finally, snatching at a handkerchief, he'd tearfully reach the conclusion of his sad tale, sobbing, "And that poor little blind baby ... he never even saw her coming!"