Black Mirror season 6 recap guide: All 5 episodes explained

Black Mirror. Annie Murphy as Joan in Black Mirror. Cr. Nick Wall/Netflix © 2023.
Black Mirror. Annie Murphy as Joan in Black Mirror. Cr. Nick Wall/Netflix © 2023. /
3 of 5
Black Mirror season 6
Black Mirror.. (L to R) Kate Mara as Lana, Aaron Paul as Cliff in Black Mirror. Cr. Nick Wall/Netflix © 2023. /

Black Mirror season 6 episode 3 recap: “Beyond the Sea”

The third episode of Black Mirror season 6, “Beyond the Sea,” is a sad tale of loss and love. Our two central characters, David and Cliff, work together in a program up in space but get to also experience their personal lives on Earth through replicas of their bodies. Using advanced technology, David and Cliff have a device called the “link” that transports them back and forth, with their human bodies staying in space and their machine replicas living down on Earth.

With this incredible technology, they get the best of both worlds. What could possibly go wrong? Well…

David and Cliff both have families on Earth, though they live very different lives. David, his wife, and their children enjoy life by going to the movies and being social, while Cliff, his wife, and their son lead a quieter life. They recently moved to the countryside, far away from others. While Cliff’s wife Lana proposes they have a party to meet their new neighbors, Cliff isn’t excited about the idea.

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes one night on Earth when David wakes up to noises in his house. He goes downstairs and finds four people have broken in, trying to cause trouble. They shame him for the program he’s in, saying it’s not natural that his real body is sleeping up in space while a robot version of him walks on Earth. “Defying nature must come with a cost,” one of the criminals tells him. They manage to get the upper hand on David and lay his arm out on a table before cutting his hand off to see what happens. Of course, he doesn’t bleed real blood.

The group captures David’s wife and their children, to his horror, and kills them in front of his eyes. They then set David on fire, burning his replica.

David returns to his real body in space and Cliff arrives, hearing what happened. Cliff tries to comfort David but he tells him to leave him alone.

Back on Earth, Cliff talks to Lana about what happened, and they both feel terrible. He explains that the group that killed David’s family is part of some type of hippie cult and they ended up turning themselves in. Now that they set David’s replica on fire, he can’t return to Earth. There’s no way for the board to create a new one with David up in space. That means when Cliff is enjoying his life on Earth, David is up there all alone.

Cliff worries about David and struggles to figure out a way to help him, but Lana proposes an interesting idea. What if Cliff lets David use his link, so he can experience Earth — in Cliff’s replica body? Cliff is weirded out by the idea, but Lana talks him into it. If David could just experience the feeling of a breeze on his face or a nice walk in the woods, he might feel better.

On the spaceship, Cliff runs the idea by David and he’s all for it. His first time back on Earth in Cliff’s replica body is an intense one, and he ends up breaking down in tears while on a walk with Lana. Experiencing real life again while also realizing it isn’t his to keep, understandably, makes him extremely emotional.

David comes back to space and thanks Cliff for the experience, telling him it was beautiful. Later on, Cliff sees that David did a really great drawing of his house and is impressed. David tells him that as a thank-you gift, he’d love to do an oil painting of his house for him and Lana. He’ll just need the art supplies, and of course, Cliff’s link to be able to create the painting on Earth.

Cliff agrees and decides he’ll let David use his replica for one hour once a week, telling Lana that they’ll set up his art supplies in their barn. Lana’s hesitant but allows it, and they begin their arrangement.

David and Lana grow closer as he shows her how to paint and they take a trip to an art supply store. While they’re in town, they also visit a book store and David gives Lana recommendations on what she should read next. One day, David and Lana start to dance out in the barn to a song we previously saw David and his own wife dance to. They cozy up to one another and almost kiss, but then Lana realizes what’s happening and storms off. David follows her into the house as Lana’s son Henry watches from afar, and David tells Lana that Cliff wouldn’t find out if they were to do anything.

Henry ends up ruining David’s painting, to which David hits him on the head. In response, Lana tells David he should go.

When Cliff comes back home, Lana tells him what happened between David and Henry and he sides with Henry, telling her they need to discipline their son. Cliff asks her to allow David to come back to finish his painting, and after that, he’ll make up an excuse to keep him from returning. Lana reluctantly agrees.

The next time David uses Cliff’s replica to go down to Earth, Cliff looks through David’s room and finds drawings of Lana naked, which sets him off. He calls David back and confronts him, to which David acts like it’s no big deal. David tells Cliff that he doesn’t understand what he’s going through, having lost everything. He also tells him that Lana is lonely, and is unappreciated and untouched.

Cliff goes back to Earth and demands answers from Lana. She tells him that nothing happened between her and David, but he doesn’t believe it. Eventually, Lana admits that she’s felt all alone and she wishes David had touched her. She says he looked at her like a real human being, and she felt like her husband was back. Cliff is surprised to hear this and hugs her, apologizing.

On the spaceship, David apologizes to Cliff and asks if he can use his replica one last time so he can apologize and say goodbye to Lana. Cliff denies this request and lies to David, saying that Lana thinks he’s a snake and the thought of seeing him again makes her sick. Cliff returns to Earth but David calls him back, staging an emergency on the ship.

Cliff gets in his spacesuit and goes out into space to inspect part of the spaceship, but he quickly realizes nothing’s wrong. He goes back to the spaceship door to get in but David doesn’t open it, at least not first. After a few moments, David lets Cliff back in, lying and saying he was in the bathroom. As Cliff starts to put his watch back on, he realizes he doesn’t have his tag. The tag that’s used for the link device. He grows suspicious and asks David where it is, and David pulls it out of his pocket.

Now Cliff knows David did something, and rushes over to his link to get back to Earth.

Black Mirror season 6 episode 3, “Beyond the Sea,” ending explained

As Cliff awakens on Earth, he notices his hands are covered in blood. Panicked, he walks downstairs and sees blood all over the walls before discovering a pool of blood on the floor. We don’t see the bodies, but the way he breaks down suggests David killed Lana and Henry. It’s a crime of passion, with David feeling alone after losing his family and being rejected by Lana. Whatever his motivation, however, it’s truly devastating.

The final scene shows Cliff arriving back to the spaceship and finding David sitting at the table. They stare at each other without saying a word, both visibly emotional. David gestures over to the empty chair next to him, inviting Cliff to sit down. Now, they both lost their families and are truly in it together. It’s a heartbreaking ending.