I’ve been meaning to review Black Mirror because I binged all six episodes of Season 4 weeks ago, but I really did enjoy this batch of the series. With all episodes featuring female leads, this season brought up tons of relevant topics, such as abusing male authority, helicopter parenting and dating in today’s society. Here’s my ranking of all episodes of this season.
6. Metalhead: Metalhead doesn’t have any major issues for me. It’s a pretty straightforward episode, but for me it doesn’t feel like a Black Mirror episode. The kind of edge on your seat feel is there, as a mechanical dog leaves a group of people on the run. I really like the main character Bella making smart decisions all around, but it sort of dragged for me from her time up in the tree to the mechanical dog trying to figure out where she is in the house. This is probably the episode I have the least to say, but it was by no means a horrible 48 minutes of Black Mirror. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.
5. Arkangel: Arkangel is a pretty standard episode of Black Mirror that reminded me a lot of The Entire History of You. It revolves around a device that allows a worried mother to keep tabs and monitor what her child can and can’t see.
The only problem is that the first iteration of this technology being used was much better in Season 1. Arkangel is a pretty good episode though. I think it brings up a lot of ideas about parenting, which is why I liked it better than Metalhead. It definitely made me think about helicopter parenting and how far is too far when it comes to keeping tabs on your child’s life. I thought it built up pretty well, and the ending is pretty unsettling and probably a parent’s worst nightmare in hindsight. My biggest issue is the actress that played the older Sarah. She’s 21 in real life, but she could not pull off a 15 year old. It was so distracting for me. I couldn’t quite get over it.
4. Crocodile: Crocodile is an episode that had me screaming “No, no no,” because I knew where it was leading. This episode has two separate stories that intertwine, and the episode takes a while to get to that point, but once it does, you just can’t believe where the main character goes in order to protect herself. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t give away too much about the plot, but it does have this cool kind of technology that works in both good ways and bad ways. I’d love to know if people were surprised with the most disturbing part of the episode, which I obviously don’t have to say if people have seen the episode.
3. Black Museum: Black Museum brings three stories together similar to White Christmas, as a young woman stumbles upon a museum that has all these different artifacts from previous episodes. It’s actually really cool to see how many references are made in the museum. I was in love with the actress that played Nish. She was so fabulous throughout the episode and gave off such charisma at the end.
The twist moment was really really good. I loved the timing of it all. The first story was so interesting to see how someone deals with pain and pleasure. The second lost a little steam for me, and the third sort of brings all the different stories together. OK, so this would be higher, but honestly, I thought the ending was a little too much for me with everything wrapping up a little too neatly in a bow.
2. USS Callister: This episode is one of my favorites from the entire franchise. I love Cristin Milioti as an actress and think she is very underrated. She really shined as the tech savvy leader throughout the episode. The episode follows Robert Daly Jesse Plemons a gifted programmer and co-founder of a popular online game who is bitter over the lack of recognition of his position from his coworkers, so he takes out his frustrations by simulating a Star Trek inspired adventure within the game, using his co-workers’ DNA to create digital clones of them.
The episode itself is fun and fills up it’s running time of an hour and 16 minutes, but the underlying tones about men in the workplace makes the episode even stronger. The misogynistic Daly is played well by Plemons because at first, we do feel genuinely bad for him, but he abused his authority, and this is probably one of the more relevant themes of the season thanks to his performance. I like that technology is seen a bit differently here too than most Black Mirror episodes. In most episodes, we see the overexposure of technology playing against the characters by being too connected, but in this case, the technology has a way of isolating people from the real world.
1. Hang the DJ: Hang the DJ is my favorite episode of the series. That might change due to recency bias, but I just adored this episode with its clever spin on dating apps. The episode follows Amy and Frank, two of many people in a system, that is instructed by a digital companion, Coach, into romantic relationships with others. The device tells them exactly how much time is given to each pairing as they check their expiration dates to see how long they have together. And of course, Frank and Amy are the couple we’re rooting for.
The actors had such good chemistry together. You can’t help but want them to find their way back to each other. And the episode is all sorts of relatable for single people trying to navigate the world of dating. Amy says a very bittersweet line as she wonders if people just get tired of searching for their soulmate for such a long time that they sort of settle for someone and just remain content. This episode melted my heart and can definitely make a person think, especially if you’ve ever had a relationship where you keep coming back to each other. The episode had a twist, and it was brilliant and totally satisfying. The episode is simple, but it works so well here.