Black Mirror reflects a not-so-distant future

From Issue 5

February 22, 2018

Charlie Brooker’s modern day twilight zone, Black Mirror, has explored every corner of the paranoia of a technologically controlled future, focusing mainly on its horrific repercussions. After three very successful seasons, Netflix revealed the fourth and arguably the best season on December 29, 2018. The season consists of six episodes, each consisting of topics that one would have to see to truly understand. After watching the season in full, I was able to formulate a list of the best episodes.


6) Crocodile: This episode details an insurance agent investigating an autonomous pizza truck accident in an incredible setting, based in in the mountainous region of iceland. The agent uses a new technology with the ability to re-play one’s memories on a screen to gather a first person view of the accident. This technology became standard to solving accidents, crimes, and/or any other event worth knowing exactly what happened. Although it was meant to revolutionize car insurance claims, criminal investigations, and countless other instances, it is the “Black Mirror way” to show how it can also reveal some dark history. In no way did I not enjoy this episode, but it was not able to excite me in ways that the others did.


5) Metalhead: This episode strayed away from the norm of the black mirror episodes. With the use of limited characters combined with the decision to film in black and white, the director was able to create an experience that followed the futuristic dystopia that is Black Mirror while making this episode unique. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind has been wiped out by machine. The few that remain are constantly being hunted by ultra intelligent machine dogs equipped with tracking systems and weapon attachments. The episode follows a woman attempting to escape the tracking system of the predator. This was a very interesting episode that recieved very mixed reviews. I found it exciting, but it lacked the dialogue and storyline of the other episodes.


4) Arkangel: Set in the future, this episode takes on the fad of parents wanting to track their kids. After a recent kidnapping scare, a concerned mother signs her daughter up for a program that allows the mother to see what she sees on a tablet as well as a heart rate monitor that alerts the mother whenever a spike occurs. There is even a filter setting which has the ability to blur anything inappropriate or alarming from the child’s eyes,and as you could guess, this can cause major developmental issues in children. The story follows how this technology affects the relationship between the mother and the child and the child and society, specifically what life is like when the system is turned off and the child has to learn the reality of the world all at once. This was a very interesting episode that has real-world relevance, for it showed how an existing technology could go very wrong in the future. The only thing holding this episode back was the choice of actors for the episode. It had 20 year olds playing young teenagers, making it tough to connect with the storyline.


3) Black Museum: This is no doubt one of the creepiest episodes. A young woman visits an old crime museum filled with old evidence from crimes that involved the mis-use or malpractice of futuristic technologies. As the creepy museum owner shows her around, many of the technologies from other episodes are shown, so I suggest watching this episode last. As the pair explores the museum, a series of creepy short stories are told about the history of certain objects. To conclude the tour, it is customary to finish off at the museums most prized possession, which unveils a whole new plot twist. This episode was really exciting. Each short story combined with the developing plot tied up very nicely at the end.


2) Hang The DJ: This episode takes on the online dating fad, showing how it could end up working in the near future. There is a program known as the System, where those who sign up have a 99.8 percent chance of finding their perfect match. This episode follows two people throughout the process of finding “the one”. How it works is that two people are set up for a blind date. Following dinner, they are carted to a small house where they are to stay together. An interesting feature about this is that there is a time limit on these relationships, which can vary from a couple of days to a couple of years, meaning that the question of how long a relationship will last goes away. When one relationship ends, a new blind date will be set up almost immediately. As the episode goes on, the System begins to seem very questionable, all leading to a very exciting and unexpected ending. I strongly suggest


1) USS Callister: At a futuristic video-game company, developers specialize in making games that have the ability to consciously put the gamer into it, where it is almost like designed dream that you can control. This is all great until of the developers figures out how to use his co-worker’s DNA to copy them into a personal game of his own, therefore putting these digit copies of themselves into a slave like state. In this game, the developer has made himself a God, where he has complete control over everything. This makes it nearly impossible for the enslaved crew to have any chance of escaping. But, as assumed, they must try. This episode was no doubt the best. It was a combination of funny, creepy, and exciting.


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