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Black Mirror: Season 4 Review
Another Season Which Warns Us About the Dangers of Technology, but in unique, morbid, and twisted ways
Black Mirror always finds ways to take on a form of technology that is relevant today and show the dangers of it. It's the type of show that makes you think about the technology that you are using. It almost makes you want to completely stop using it. It is almost frightening how accurate this show can be in predicting what the future could look like. Each episode is like its own mini-movie. However, they often don't have a happy ending. This show is very depressing and haunting sometimes, but that just carries a more powerful message. Fortunately, they have brought the same intelligence and shock to season 4. This season not only surprised me many times, but it dealt with issues that honestly scared me on how relevant they were. Most of the episodes were fantastic, while others were a little bit underwhelming.
Episode 1: USS Callister
This was the first episode of the season and it was also the best episode of the season. This episode was amazing. It's almost an hour and a half so its almost its own movie but it is so interesting. It starts out as seeming as though it is a Star Trek spinoff, but in classic Black Mirror style, becomes something so dark and captivating that it captured me from beginning to end. It also features a lot of great performances with a great cast, including Jesse Plemons, who is just s sadistic and creepy in this as he is in Breaking Bad, and Christin Miloti from How I Met Your Mother. The episode has a bunch of twist and turns and explores future developments in virtual gaming technology. If you are a video game nerd, you are going to love this episode. I love the way that Star Trek influences this episode, but I also love the originality of this episode. This is definitely one of the best Black Mirror episodes ever.
Episode 2: Arkangel
This is definitely a strong episode, but it didn't hook me as much as I felt it should've. In this episode, a mother who is very worried about her daughter's safety involves her daughter in a program where a chip is put in her head so that her mom can monitor her. Not only does her mother know where she is, but she can see exactly what her daughter sees through a video screen. This episode does go to some gritty and dark places where you see the effects of the program, but it never kept me fully gripped onto the plot. The middle of the episode is a little bit slow and I was a bit bored. I could somewhat predict how the episode was going to play out up until the ending. The ending is where the show really takes some risks and shocked me by the events unfolding. It is an interesting idea and a very relevant one in a society where parents are becoming more worried about their children's safety and take some extreme measures to make sure that they stay safe. Definitely a good episode, but could've been a bit stronger.
Episode 3: Crocodile
Definitely the most messed up and morbid episode of this season. This show takes place in a future where a new device exists that can help solve crimes and find out the truth behind accidents. The device is hooked up to someone's brain and a screen shows exactly what they saw during the accident or crime. The main character is involved in a certain accident and she will do whatever it takes to keep the truth from being revealed. This is a very upsetting and dark episode. I found it very disturbing but I enjoyed it a lot. One thing that I really enjoyed was that the main character turned out to be the villain and I found myself being very frightened by the main character. The performances were great and the episode kept me in suspense the entire time. Sometimes it did feel like a bit too much darkness and shock but I thought this episode was really strong overall.
Episode 4: Hang the DJ
This episode felt the most relevant out of the other ones this season. The story of this episode takes place in a reality where people can sign up for a relationship program that sets them up on dates with people but gives them an estimate on how long the relationship is going to last. The purpose of this program is so that the program can analyze the people's experiences and hopefully set them up with someone that they will spend the rest of their lives with. People can be stuck with a partner for just one night or for 5 years. The plot revolves around two characters in this program who have a connection but have to split up due to the programs rules. It is definitely one of the happier episodes of Black Mirror. I found this episode very interesting, but it never fully excited me until about 40 minutes in. It was a very pleasant episode, but it played out like more of a romantic comedy. There were funny moments, awkward moments, and some sad moments but it wasn't until the last 20 minutes that I felt the impact of the technology that they were using. I did really like the two main characters though. I felt very invested in their relationship and just their characters overall. It's a much more positive episode and deals with an idea that a lot of people can relate with.
Episode 5: Metalhead
While I enjoyed the rest of the episodes this season, this episode just didn't do much for me. This honestly might be the worst episode of Black Mirror so far. Basically, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and it follows one woman who is on the run from a killer robot dog. While some of the scenes can be suspenseful and intense, the main problem with this episode is that it just doesn't make a lot of sense. There was never any backstory or explanation about the current reality. I didn't know what the robot dogs were, who made them, why they're killing everyone, or even why they exist. I didn't know exactly what technology Black Mirror was trying to address. Nothing was explained throughout the entire episode.It's also shot in black & white which didn't really add anything to it. It just made the episode more uncomfortable to watch. There are some exciting sequences, but overall, this episode just didn't do much for me.
Episode 6: Black Museum
Luckily, season 4 ends with a great episode. The format of this episode is very similar to the white christmas episode. It features a character explaining three different stories involving three different pieces of technology and their consequences. At the end, everything comes full circle in a shocking twist. It takes place in a museum where the owner is explaining to a visitor the stories behind some of the objects in the museum. I loved this episode, It was very suspenseful and each story was very intriguing and full of surprises. It is very disturbing and serves as a warning against any of the technologies featured in this episode. I definitely think the first story is the one that I found the most interesting just because it was the one that seemed the most realistic. The twist at the end is fantastic. It surprised me and helped to connect the three stories featured in this episode. It is a long episode, but it gripped me from beginning to end.