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Shattering the Illusion: Black Mirror Season Four

SPOILER ALERT


In the latest iteration of a depressing exploration into our doomed future, “Black Mirror” showrunner Charlie Brooker delivered what the show had previously delivered: complex themes, ironic twists and an incredibly talented cast. I was elated by the fact that there was a female lead for every episode; it was such an empowering addition that I wouldn’t have expected from a sci-fi show.

This season is definitely worth the watch and I would suggest this show to anyone that enjoys dark plots and deconstruction of modern society.

USS Callister: 8/10

The performances in this episode are wonderful and the social commentary is extremely funny and relevant. I love how it comments on a rather sinister aggression to people we — at first glance — perceive to be sweet and understanding when the exact opposite is the case. The production value is significantly higher than in other episodes, and while the episode doesn’t quite have the standard ‘Black Mirror’ sense of dread, it maintains a fun and topical tone throughout the episode.

Arkangel: 7/10

The sad thing is that I can see a version of these events happening. This episode speaks about different types of abuse that I don’t often see shows cover in such depth. The mental scars inflicted on Sara, the subject of the episode, ruin any chance she has at a functional life, and Marie knowingly destroyed her relationship with the only family member she had in order to maintain her illusion of control. It’s insanely well done, with great performances and leaves the viewer to think about the limits we as a society should better enforce on technology and parental abuse with “good intentions.”

Crocodile: 9/10

This was easily my favorite episode this season. The jarring pacing, elaborate use of memory and technology, and that twist. It was such a fun experience. I remember watching it with my family and my dad voicing his complete animosity towards Mia, wanting the episode to continue so he could see her be punished for her crimes. It was really amusing to see how much we all got into it, as it was only the second episode of the show most of my family had seen but they were clinging to every single word spoken and arguing about how Mia had taken it too far.

Hang the DJ: 6/10

There is something about this episode and romance. “Hang the DJ” and “San Junipero” are the only ones to end on happy notes, with their messages that love conquers all algorithms. It’s a pretty sentiment. The episode contains some rather impressive acting and lovely cinematography but I found it frustrating that they kept breaking apart — I couldn’t help but feel bored through most of the middle. It was obvious that they were going to end up together, so the middle was just filler; it was completely unnecessary and took away from an overall interesting concept.

Metalhead: 4/10

While the episode was beautifully shot in black and white and maintained a suspenseful tone throughout the runtime, there was something that just felt off about it. Unlike the previous installments in the “Black Mirror” anthology, “Metalhead” contains no cautionary message about our use of technology and opts for shock factor above all else. The end is stupid, to be blunt, and misses out on the classic mind-blowing twists I’ve come to expect from this show.

Black Museum: 8/10

This episode perfectly exposes the flaws in the American judiciary system and our concept of free will. I was thrilled at the end by Nish’s concept of vigilante justice, even though it seemed like a lot less of a plot twist than the writers originally intended (or maybe I’ve watched too much horror). The stories perfectly intertwine with each other and the cinematography is beautiful. There are so many fun easter eggs from previous episodes, for viewers with a keen eye, and I was impressed by the level of delicacy they took when framing this story.

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