A show that has redefined the horror genre, Black Mirror is back with its Season 4. Containing 6 episodes, read on as this writer (me!) simultaneously watches and gushes over the new outing.
Spoilers ahead! You have been warned.
Episode 1: USS Callister
Dubbed as a space opera, the opening sequence is breath-taking in all its 80s CGI, over exaggerated acting and a 4:3 frame glory but you quickly realize it is so much more than just an ode to Star Trek.
Digital clones of actual people who have annoyed Daly (CTO to a video game company) inhabit his virtual world where he exacts revenge. An unassuming fellow, he is the unbeatable god in the game he has created, until his minions decide to fight back.
A decidedly un-Black Mirror-ish episode, here the moral ambiguity is not as pronounced as most episodes; a joy ride nonetheless.
Episode 2: Arkangel
Right at the outset, this one feels more in the league of what Black Mirror is known for and you just cannot wait for shit to hit the fan.
Sara gets a handy-dandy device in her head, one that not only works as a GPS but also filters everything (like in the image above) that could raise her cortisol (stress) levels. After the filter backfires, Sara’s mother buries the tablet – in the attic and you know it is going to come out soon.
As Sara gets older, her mother gets more paranoid and starts to use the device again. What happens next is ugly and bizarre. Again you don’t know whose side to take – thumbs up from us!
Episode 3: Crocodile
In the cold Icelandic environs a murder occurs. A couple cover it up to save themselves. Riddled with guilt Mia (our protagonist) is forced to revisit the memory when the ex-boyfriend shows up. And thereby begins this gruesome saga.
The show starts with two murders and the pace never slackens. Even as an insurance agent begins to investigate a simple hit-and-run, she is closing in on Mia as a key witness. Required by law to submit to the memory corroborator you know that one of them is going down.
Mia’s ruthlessness and nonchalance as she goes from one murder to the next just shows that secrets, big or small, always have a cost.
The ending will leave you chilled, and oddly satisfied.
Episode 4: Hang the DJ
What romantic comedies cannot do in 2 hours, Black Mirror manages in 50 minutes. A story that at once belongs and doesn’t belong to this bleak universe, you almost expect it to not work out for the lead pair. You keep looking at the run-time, hoping there won’t be an unexpected curveball that will send you throwing your laptop across the room.
When this happens and only 3 minutes are left, you are convinced Black Mirror is going to screw you over. But it does not! IT DOES NOT! The most satisfying movie, episode, rom-com I have seen in a while.
*takes pause to contemplate life*
Episode 5: Metalhead
Post-apocalyptic scenery, this is the shortest one yet with only 38 minutes of runtime. May I say the filter (it feels like a mix between black and white and sepia), the lights and the shadows make for breathtakingly beautiful frames?
A foe (affectionately called a dog) that is ruthless cannot be slowed down by injury or even loss of battery power. The pace is relentless, the scenario bleak with little to no hope. You are given no explanations but just a glimpse into a world where nothing makes sense. There is no room for handholding or closure and the haunting music at the end shrinks something inside you and you don’t even realize it till you see the end shot. And then you’re just crying.
*takes another pause to look at happy videos*
Episode 6: Black Museum
The episode with a shrine to every ‘bad’ piece of technology, you will see the tablet featured here from episode 2 – Arkangel. Let’s just say Black Mirror enjoys changing definitions and this one takes disturbing to a whole new level.
It shows how technology always starts with a good intention, with fulfilling a basic need but just like humans, tech cannot be trusted.
At the end you will wonder if the scientist had a good heart wanting to help people or was he just a capitalist piece of shit, using emotions to advance his agenda.
As always, Black Mirror makes you think and rethink of the workings of the human mind and its endless possibilities of creating both miracles and pain.
All images sourced from Netflix