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Series Review of Black Mirror

Black Mirror, or the Twilight Zone of our era? I first thought this show was about addiction because of the shattered glass logo. Then I watched “Nosedive”—expecting what the title suggested—but instead found a show that made me curious and analytical about primary aspects of society like technology and bees. I immediately became hooked. There are 19 episodes in the series, each 30 to 60 minutes long, and all worth the watch. The episodes make you curious about the future and leave you with a million questions! To save time, I will not review each episode, but here is my take on the Netflix series Black Mirror.

What sets this show apart from others is its ability to make you interpret reasoning behind their plots. After each show, I cannot watch another because I must read a review our think about the plot because I have so many questions!  How did a system that downloads your consciousness and uploads it into a virtual afterlife (“San Junipero”) materialize?  Why did the bees go extinct (“Hated in the Nation”)?  There is also a great deal of foreshadowing, like when Matt helped the government convict a man guilty of murder (“White Christmas”) and why Kenny hands the child her forgotten toy when busing tables at a restaurant (“Shut Up and Dance”). Finding the rationale to character actions will make you analyze their decisions.

Black Mirror hides Easter eggs like it’s the golden Il Duce Easter rabbit. If you are unfamiliar with the term “Easter egg”, it is used to describe when a movie or television show sneaks in references to either their show or outside sources. Every episode has an Easter egg that ties to a previous episode; something difficult and truly amazing to create. Most television shows and movies fail to incorporate Easter eggs, or when they do they aren’t “hidden.” Two prime examples of exemplary egg-hiding skills are Disney movies and Arrested Development.

The timing in this show will scare you.  A relevant question in each episode: What period is this set in?  Some episodes like “The National Anthem,” “Nosedive,” “The Waldo Moment” and “Shut Up and Dance” appear to be set in the 21st century, while others lurk right around corner in the 22nd century. We are close to developing advanced technology like the memory-eraser seen in “White Bear”, the DNA cloner in “USS Callister” and artificial intelligence scarily seen in “Metalhead” and “Be Right Back”.  It seems that time does not matter to the writers of this show. Either way, we are all trapped and set to bear the dreariness awaiting our futures.

Best Moments

I would like to point out some of what I consider the best moments throughout this series and my reactions.  If you disagree, that’s fine. We still have season five!

1. Watching “Fifteen Million Merits” after seeing Get Out and recognizing the magnificent actor, Daniel Kaluuya.

2. Being completely devastated and scared of the future when we can rewind our memories.  Some things are meant to be repressed: not everything should be saved by the device seen in “The Entire History of You”.

3. “White Bear” raises both moral and scientific questions. How did we create a device that non-invasively accesses the limbic region of the brain and then is able to degrade memories without degrading physical structures? And where do we cross the line on cruel and unusual punishment?  How are they making money from terrorizing a convict? Are they still a capitalist society? Did they repeal the constitution? Is there a constitution? If so, why did they not make an episode about pure anarchy?!

4. In “White Christmas”, they can adjust time, so the participant feels time lasts longer or shorter than the actual time difference. Again, is this cruel and unusual punishment: living 1000 years per minute or six months in six minutes? Have scientists ever experienced the decreased time perception brought on by marijuana and alcohol? And if so, nice.

5. One of, if not the only, pure and genuine episodes about love, “San Junipero”, is absolutely wonderful: she married her friend to help her pass over then realized she wanted to spend the rest of her virtual life with her. Cue sad music.

6. PTSD has taken a new stride in this episode. To be honest, it probably no longer exists. The government can control what their soldiers see, hear, think, remember and how they voluntarily move. “Men Against Fire” shows us not only the dangers of rapidly advancing technology, but also the problem with governmental support to veterans. In this episode, after serving the government through armed force, soldiers are displaced back in adverse living conditions with no grasp on reality. The soldier in this episode is sent back to a run-down home in a dirty neighborhood where no one waits for him. His female partner shown throughout the episode is most likely dead and gone, yet all he sees is what the government allows him to see: green trees, upkept houses and the woman he loves.

7. “Hated in the Nation” had a great ending. I bet you did not see the nuanced hexagonal dimensions while Blue followed Garrett.  Also, BEES!

8. Jodie Foster is an amazing actor and director, as seen in “Arkangel”.  #applause

9. Best episode of the series by far: “Black Museum” contains a strong female lead and detailed story-line.  Letitia Wright extracts the perfect revenge on an immoral and terrible man. There is perfect poetic justice and irony in how she uses the technology features in the museum to set free her father and kill his captor. Great episode.

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Thanks for reading our content! hcxo, HC at Pitt
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