We’re already living in a dystopia (No Nal, it’s not a club in Bahamar , although they should probably consider naming one that).
Season 4 of Black Mirror seemed like a bounce back effort for the show. After its transition to America for season 3 on Netflix there were some (strawmen) who were questioning the longevity of the show as it seemed to be drifting away from its British roots. The show has become so lionized and such a common reference in pop culture that the standard it set as thought provoking and creepy made the bar impossibly high for any new episodes to clear. However, season 4 not only lived up to the challenge but it was able to capture the cultural zeitgeist reminiscent of the first wave of attention the show got. The accessibility of Netflix obviously helped but this season Charlier Booker went in his bag to draw us all back in…so here we are to rank the episodes.
1. USS Callister
The best offering this season came in episode one marrying some of Black Mirror favorite tropes, virtual reality and the possibility that VR versions of us could become sentient all on its own and how do we balance that with our primal urges in a world that “isn’t real.
Maybe the best line of the season right here, but then another strong contender showed up.
2. Hang the DJ
Firstly, just an incredibly good looking couple. This is how you know this episode was going to be great.
If you’ve ever used a dating app you know that at some point the vapidity of it makes you realize that you may already be in a Black Mirror episode and it could be damaging your outlook on humanity in general. Hang the DJ addresses this but with a much more effective twist, what if there were an algorithm that ran multiple dating scenarios for you before you even said “hello” to someone.
But, yup. It makes you gross.
3. Black Museum
Probably the most divisive episode of the season , more twilight zone than classic Black Mirror. It revolved around three stories full of easter eggs from previous season that deal with the issues of addiction, conscienceness, privacy, and of course the Black Mirror fastball, our inability to keep up with ever advancing technology.
The main reason this episode ranks so high for me is because when you reach the last episode of Black Mirror, all you want is six more fresh episodes, Black Museum was somehow able to give us four episodes in one and highlighted everything we liked about the show while being funny and leaving you feeling uneasy. So yup their fastball.
When you binge watch Black Mirror there is always one episode that creeps everyone out and makes you go to social media, to declare, “BLACK MIRROR IS FUCKING WITH MY HEAD”. I don’t know how to properly discuss this episode without a ton of spoilers, but just know it starts with an accidental murder, debates the fallacy of memories and involves maybe one of the greatest athletic feats on television.
Renaldo and I somehow laughed about this episode during the podcast and about the “antagonist” doing everything she can to protect her great white life. Including killing all the people of color in this episode.
The episode designed to make parents go, “hmmm I think I could use that technology” then eventually makes them pivot to “oh god no!” The plot centers around an overprotective mom who implants her child with a chip that allows her not only to track her, but see everything she sees and censor the real world.
Of all the episodes the technology in this one seems the closest to being actualized, because “Find my Phone” could easily be twisted to be this obtuse.
I had this episode ranked a little higher than Nal, but we eventually settled on it being the last one. I enjoyed it for all the reasons Nal hated it, little to no dialogue, the black and white aesthetic, and the creeping evolution of AI, who of course will evolve to realize they are the apex predator.
Oh right this could never happen. Wait…What?
As always…thank you for listening and, check out the links below for all your 10YS podcast needs.