It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever a shiny new form of technology emerges, humans will try to find a way to have sex with it. It's become a lot easier in the Internet age to realize some of these desires, especially given the anything-goes power of video games and virtual reality to do pretty much anything you want them to do. But, desire can be complicated, which is exactly where Black Mirror's meditative, sorta-gay, sorta-not Season 5 episode "Striking Vipers" finds itself.
Danny (Anthony Mackie) and his best friend Karl (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) have, as many friends do, a tradition. Whenever they get together, they've gotta play Striking Vipers, a fictional fighting video game like Street Fighter or SoulCalibur, in which they trade blows and K.O.s, each usually opting to play as the same character every time. Fast-forward a few years into the future, and Karl presents Danny with a gift: the new VR-enhanced version of Striking Vipers X, complete with one of those little sticky discs people in Black Mirror love to jam into the sides of their heads. (Continuing the show's commitment to a vaguely defined shared universe, the VR "disc," which you might recognize from "USS Callister" and "The Entire History of You," is made by TCKR System, probably a future evolution of Tuckersoft, the retro gaming company created for Bandersnatch.)
That night, the two men log on to play and are shunted into the game's hyper-stylized VR world, each appearing as their characters: Karl is Roxette (Pom Klementieff), a female martial arts fighter, and Danny, as always, is muscular open-vest-wearing Lance (Ludi Lin). The two do battle, Karl-Roxette pounding Danny-Lance into the dirt with her Thunder Punch and Windmill Wipe-Out, until -- within the heat of battle -- the two suddenly start making out on the ground.
Initially, Danny is horrified, and quickly no-homos his way outta there, exiting the game and joining his wife Theo (Nicole Beharie) in bed. But he can't keep himself away from Striking Vipers forever, and yet every time he joins his buddy in the ring, they skip the fighting altogether, becoming more and more intimate. "So, guess that's us gay now," Karl-as-Roxette sighs. Danny and Theo's relationship suffers, and they stop having sex, Danny preferring the digital sensuality of the video game despite the fact that he knows the person he's having sex with is, in reality, his buddy. Finally, be becomes too uncomfortable with the whole situation and calls it off, not speaking to Karl for months until Theo invites him over for dinner as a surprise.