Black Mirror Ranked: Most Feel Good to Most Messed Up

1. San Junipero (Season 3 Episode 4)

Easily the best episode of Black Mirror to boost your mood (especially after watching the episode before it… see #19). Technology comes into play in a very heart-warming way in this episode. What makes this episode so special is while Yorkie, a lesbian with homophobic parents, is taking a trial run of San Junipero where she meets Kelly, a vivacious party girl who swings both ways. Yorkie is given a second chance at love that she was not given, but Kelly has a difficult past making it difficult for the two to be happy together.

2. Hang the DJ (Season 4 Episode 4)

Just like in Black Mirror fashion, this episode strings you along one way the whole time then completely flips the script at the end. This episode is about a reality in which people partake in a dating service called Coach that supposedly pairs you with your perfect match. Amy and Frank are each other’s first matches on the service, but quickly realize they have an interest in “dating” longer than the service allows them to. The two brave through numerous other relationships, but can’t seem to shake the idea of the other. But what are they to do when the Coach is the one dictating who they’re allowed to date?

3. The Waldo Moment (Season 2 Episode 3)

In a surprisingly political episode, Black Mirror attacks the theme of career politicians. Failed comedian Jamie Salter creates a blue cartoon bear named Waldo that he uses to attack candidates in the local election through his show, but when Waldo gains popularity the producer of the show sees an opportunity for profit. Waldo becomes exactly what he originally claimed to despise, much to Jamie’s dismay. Filled with romantic drama and hard hitting points that make us question our political system, this episode keeps the attention of the watcher to the very end with an especially dark ending.

4. The Entire History of You (Season 1 Episode 3)

This episode depicts a reality where everyone has “grains,” which can be described as camera lens contacts that are linked to your brain. With this technology, people can play back their memories in front of their eyes or project on a screen. In the episode, Liam suspects his wife Ffion is having an affair. This episode directly attacks the ever-present issue of technology invading our privacy.

5. Nosedive (Season 3 Episode 1)

This episode is so scary because the technology it describes does not seem as though it is very far off from becoming reality. The world in this episode has a system of ranking. People go around and rank people based on their interactions with them, as well as their perceptions. The episode follows Lacie, who is rated a low 4, and will go to great lengths to become a 5. The theme of artificiality through social media is very telling in this episode, overall it says a lot about society and is simply very well done.

6. Fifteen Million Merits (Season 1 Episode 2)

In Fifteen Million Merits, we see a world where most people cycle on exercise bikes in order to power their community as well as earn merits. We meet Bing, who is clearly not sold on the system. He feels for Abi, and he wants a better life for her. He convinces her to go on a talent show to potentially win a way out. This episode is especially thought-provoking but just as Black Mirror does, there are surprising twists that play with the watcher’s emotions.

7. USS Callister (Season 4 Episode 1)

In this Star-Trek inspired episode, we follow Robert Daly, tech genius, as he goes about his two different lives. One is in the real world, the other is a simulated world online inspired by his favorite series, Space Fleet. However, in this simulated world he has brought in people from the real world who have wronged him, the problem is they are fully aware copies of themselves. The crew, though they all work at Callister (a major tech company) cannot find a way to get themselves out of the game, nor would they attempt due to the punishment they know they could expect from Daly as a result. When another tech genius, Nanette, gets pulled into the simulation Robert Daly’s code may just be cracked.

8. Arkangel (Season 4 Episode 2)

It is every kid’s worst nightmare. “Arkangel” is the brand of an implanted chip that allows parents to see exactly what their kids are seeing; it also allows them to censor what their kids are seeing if it causes them distress. Single mother Marie is spurred to purchase the product after her daughter Sara goes missing for a few hours. As Sara grows older, she naturally desires her privacy and her own life without the oversight of her mother. Invasion of privacy through technology, a staple theme for Black Mirror, is especially evident in this episode with a not-so-surprising dark ending.

9. Black Museum (Season 4 Episode 6)

This episode would have been lower on the list if it weren’t for the ending, which attempts to balance the messed up stories from this episode. There are three stories in this episode, all told in by the owner of the “Black Museum” Rolo Haynes to his only visitor (in years, probably) Nish. He gives the backstory for three exhibits, all in which he played a hand in and all in which brought great pain. Unlike Black Mirror Style, there is a satisfying ending beautifully wrapping up season 4.

10. Be Right Back (Season 2 Episode 1)

In this story, we meet Martha whose boyfriend Ash is killed in a car accident. However, she finds a solution to deal with her grief through new technology. This technology allows her to communicate with artificial intelligence that imitates Ash, an entity that learns more with every interaction. Romance and loss are themes that tug on the heartstrings of the viewer in this one, making for a very twisted and emotional episode.

11. White Christmas (Season 2 Episode 4)

The episode opens with two men out in the wilderness. They tell each other about their respective lives and why they ended up in this remote outpost. The three mini stories distract you from what is ultimately happening throughout the episode, creating a surprise ending but also playing with your emotions at the same time.

12. Hated in the Nation (Season 3 Episode 6)

A perfect series finale for this season. In this episode we follow Detective Karin Parke and her partner Blue Coulson as they solve the mystery of a series of mysterious deaths that have virtually no evidence of murder or suicide. They find a peculiar trend on twitter that may have something to do with it. This episode is especially horrific, especially when you analyze the implications of the environmental impact depicted.

13. Men Against Fire (Season 3 Episode 5)

This episode is set in a future dystopian post-apocalyptic world and follows a group of soldiers, the main character being Stripe. They are hunting “roaches,” after successfully killing two Stripe begins to feel differently. Stripe starts to question, and just like most episodes of Black Mirror, things are not exactly as they seem.

14. Metalhead (Season 4 Episode 5)

Being the only black and white episode, Metalhead deserves to be set apart from the rest. It opens to a group of three scavenger-type characters, it is clear that society has collapsed and the remaining people we see are a few of only a small group that remains. When invading a warehouse, a member of the party retrieves a box just to find a robotic “dog,” behind it and they begin to flee for their lives. This episode is just as terrifying as it is captivating, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat the whole time.

15. The National Anthem (Season 1 Episode 1)

This may be the only episode that takes place in the past and does not center around some sort of technology. In this episode, the British Prime Minister Michael Callow is told that Princess Susannah has been kidnapped. Her kidnappers have threatened to kill her unless the Prime Minister agrees to have sexual intercourse with a pig on national television. While it is a Black Mirror level of great, this episode is undeniably morbid and repulsive. The level of discomfort it gives the viewer warrants it a pretty low spot on this list.

16. White Bear (Season 2 Episode 2)

This episode opens with a woman named Victoria waking up and realizing she does not remember who she is. She ventures outside to find she is in an estate where almost everyone is on their phones, they also seem to be watching her. You don’t have too much time to think because soon an armed, masked man pulls up and begins to hunt her down. However, people will not help her. They are too busy taping it on their phones. Resulting an extremely dark twist, this episode is a testament to the type of writing that makes Black Mirror truly great.

17. Playtest (Season 3 Episode 2)

Black Mirror really hits us with the one two punch between this episode and the one after it. Playtest begins with an American named Cooper who comes to find out all the money in his bank account had been stolen, leaving him stuck in London during his travels. To remedy the situation, Cooper accepts a one-time gig with a leading video game company, SaitoGemu that he found on a temp site. With a killer plot line and instant emotional attachment to boot, this episode is easily one of the best Black Mirror’s to date.

18. Crocodile (Season 4 Episode 3)

Easily the most grotesque Black Mirror in their entire repertoire. This episode opens with a young couple named Mia and Rob accidentally hitting someone with their car and then covering up the death. Years later, Rob finds Mia and tells her he wants to confess. Mia has too much to lose, and quickly takes care of any chance of her getting caught. Unfortunately for her, a man is hit by a self-driving vehicle outside her hotel and the insurance company covering the accident sends out an investigator to question anyone who may have seen what happened. The investigator uses a technology that allows the user to see the memories of whoever’s hooked up to it, putting everyone at risk of getting caught in this especially dark episode.

19. Shut Up and Dance (Season 3 Episode 3)

Warning: a full 24-hour recovery period may be necessary after viewing this episode. After downloading certain software, Kenny has his webcam remotely hacked to catch him engaging in an act he does not want anyone to see. He receives a series of texts, threatening him by saying the video will be leaked to all of his friends and family if he does not comply with what “they” need him to do. While there may be some debate, this episode is definitely a strong contender for the most effed up episode of Black Mirror.