The end of the world. A completely immersive dating machine. Overprotective parents.
All this and more is brought out in season four of ‘Black Mirror.’
On Dec. 29, 2017, Netflix launched its fourth season of ‘Black Mirror,’ a British television series that focuses on possible futures for the human race. It is known for its unsettling episodes that leave the watcher wondering about what might happen in the near future.
The show has gained much popularity and praise, receiving a 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.9/10 on IMDb.
The show originally premiered its first two seasons on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom with it also being featured on Netflix but was later purchased by Netflix in September of 2015. Since then, it has produced two more seasons, one in October 2016 and the other December 2017.
So far, the show features four seasons, with the first three having everything from a blackmailed prime minister to a life controlled by one’s virtual score.
‘Black Mirror’ features an entirely new cast and new director each episode, which allows the show to take on a new persona each time and make each episode come from a new angle. This contributes to its overall bleak and unnerving tone that both scares whoever is watching but also leaves them wanting more.
Each episode also ends with a black screen so the watcher can see themselves on the screen of whatever device they are watching the show from. Added details like these create an even more impactful message and eerie warning about the future to come.
The first episode of season four is ‘USS Callister’ and stars Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, and Michaela Coel. It is directed by William Bridges.
The episode takes place in the near future where gaming takes on a whole new level, allowing the player to be fully immersed in the game via a small insert that taps into their brain.
This episode is a very discomforting not just because of episode’s focus but also because of how the storyline ends up being played out. Overall, the acting was quite well done and the episode gives a good glimpse into the forms of greed that might come about if people are given too much power in virtual reality.
The second episode of the series was by far one of the most awakening and most relatable episodes of the series. ‘Arkangel’ is directed by Jodie Foster and features Rosemarie Dewitt, Brenna Harding, and Owen Teague.
This episode shows how parents can become too obsessed with their children’s well being and how that can lead to an addiction towards tracking their kid.
Although the acting seemed slightly fake and overdone, the episode closely mirrors reality and hence opens the eyes of the viewer to how overprotective parents can become.
‘Crocodile’ was the third episode of the season and features Andrea Riseborough, Andrew Gower, and Kiran Sonia Sawar. It was directed by John Hillcoat and takes place in the near future.
‘Crocodile’ follows a character that is forced to commit acts of violence as a result of her fear of being caught and digs into how impulsiveness can lead to disastrous problems. This episode was one of the weaker ones and has a few improbable and unrealistic moments, but still is interesting and entertaining to watch.
‘Hang the DJ’ was the only episode of this season that was not dark and was able to create happy thoughts rather than ones of worry and nervousness.
‘Hang the DJ’ was directed by Tim Van Patten and stars Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, and George Blagden. Although the focus is on a futuristic dating machine, the episode touches on the themes of love and destiny.
This episode was the most fun to watch out of the entire season—mainly because the overarching theme had a happy focus rather than a negative one. However, it still manages to surprise the viewer and intrigue them into what the future might hold for dating.
The next episode, ‘Metalhead,’ returns ‘Black Mirror’ to its regularly scheduled program of pessimism and, unlike any of the other episodes, is done in black and white.
This episode was directed by David Slade and stars Maxine Peake, Jake Davies, and Clint Dyer. This episode was the weakest of the six mainly as a result of the acting.
‘Metalhead’ takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and shows a few survivors’ struggle to survive. The premise of the episode was solid, but the acting and the actual production made it long and uneventful.
Lastly, ‘Black Museum’ follows a woman going on a tour through a museum of odd artifacts. This episode certainly is unsettling and goes over many different problems that technology could result in.
This episode is directed by Colm McCarthy and features Douglas Hodge, Letitia Wright, and Babs Olusanmokun.
It is an interesting episode but one that makes watchers hope the future will lead in a different direction.
Overall, the fourth season of ‘Black Mirror’ returns with its disturbing theme and yet continues to produce entertaining and intriguing episodes.