Black Mirror Season 4 Review: Back and Darker Than Ever

The new season of Black Mirror recently came out on Netflix and being the huge Sci-Fi fanatic that I am, I could not help binge-watching all six episodes back-to-back. And sure enough, the show did not disappoint. I genuinely applaud the creator, directors and anyone else involved in bringing these episodes to life for their imagination and ingenuity. As the show consists of stand-alone episodes, each story contains unique plotlines, with shocking twists and unexpected turns of events. The beauty of the anthology series is shown through its ability to not only grasp a viewer’s attention, but to also leave the viewer thinking, trying to gain an understanding of what he or she has just watched. The show encourages its audience to take a look at the modern-day world we live in and reflect on how technology has shaped our society today. With the continuing technological advancements that are being made comes the question of how much power technology will obtain over us, for better or for worse.

When we turn off our phones, laptops, televisions, etc. the dark screens of these devices show us our own reflections, providing us with an image of the person each of us has become living in this day and age. So even if you may not be into fantasy or suspenseful thrillers, I would highly encourage anyone to give Black Mirror a try, not just for the entertainment but also for the message it provides on reality. Here are some thoughts I had while watching season four (with as few spoilers as possible…)

1. USS Callister 

Out of all the episodes in the entirety of Black Mirror, I would have to consider the premiere episode of season four to be my all-time favorite. There are major Star Trek vibes as the notion of outer space is presented through the story of Robert Daly, an unappreciated technician who is able to create an alternate cinematic universe through his work with coding. The thought of being able to experience space travel is absolutely fascinating, yet the show takes on the idea from a twisted perspective. 

2. Arkangel

Many fans of the show were delighted to hear that Jodie Foster would be directing this episode, the first female director in the show’s history! The episode focuses on the relationship between a mother and daughter. Concerned over her daughter’s safety, the mother looks towards the technological resources that are available to help her keep a watchful eye on her daughter. What I found to be most interesting about the story was the sympathy I developed for both the mother and daughter separately. It was hard to pinpoint the exact antagonist of the story, exactly who was to blame for the events that occurred. While watching, consider which character, the mother or the daughter, you sympathize with more...

3. Crocodile

This episode was extremely dark. From the very beginning, the story sets off in a suspenseful, scary tone and to the very last second, I was kept on my toes. Archeologist Mia Nolan is confronted with a pivotal mistake she made in the past and viewers follow her journey to rectify it. In her desperation, she becomes more and more engrossed in trying to cover up this mistake. If you’re into psychological horror/thrillers, I recommend watching this episode. Note: it’s not for the fainthearted. 

4. Hang the DJ

Ah, with dating apps like Tinder, Match.com, and Bumble being the rage these days, “Hang the DJ” comes at a perfect time. The story revolves around two characters, Frank and Amy, who are brought together by a dating program that has a time limit on how long their relationship will last. The expiration date looms over the pair and seems to become a hindering block to love. But this is no Romeo and Juliet story. The episode is well constructed and the perception or meaning of true love is beautifully orchestrated. 

5. Metalhead

Although Black Mirror  episodes have a tendency to leave viewers hanging, this episode was really confusing for me. After finishing the show, I was unsure of how to interpret the story because not much seemed to occur, especially compared to other episodes which are packed with action and details. But perhaps it is through its simplicity that this episode manifests the complexity of its message. Set completely in black and white and showcasing bleak wastelands as most of the scenery, the story centers its attention on a woman who is trying to run away from a metal dog assassin. Through the portrayal of this metallic dog trying to kill the woman, the message of technology is clear: technology has the potential to overpower humanity.  

6. Black Museum 

“Black Museum” garnered mixed reviews from its viewers. Some enjoyed it, while others were left unimpressed. I personally liked the episode and thought it had a lot of compelling elements. For those of you that have seen the other seasons, there were references to every past episode. In the beginning, a young woman is depicted driving in the desert, making a stop at a gas station. While waiting for her car to charge, she looks into a nearby building, “Rolo Haynes’ Black Museum.” As the only visitor, she gets a personal tour from the museum owner who shows her the attractions. The finale left the season on an eerie note, making me feel a bit somber. 

Photo Courtesy of Netflix // Gifs Courtesy of Giphy