‘Black Mirror’ Top 5 Episodes Before Season 4
Clinton’s Top 5 Black Mirror Episodes
The 4th season of “Black Mirror” just dropped on Netflix and for those that haven’t seen the show, I’d put it on your must watch list for 2018. As you may know, Black Mirror is a sci-fi anthology series that features episodes in modern society centered around ramifications of innovative technology. For many people, the first episode can be a bit too much but if you can stick with the show, it is worth it (will be talking about that in a minute). With the 4th installment, “Black Mirror” continues to bring forward incredibly complex and controversial plots. As a modern “Twilight Zone,” the series finds a nice blend of creative sci-fi plots and compelling storylines with superb acting. It is refreshing to see such original content with extreme plot twists and intriguing storytelling that can leave your jaw open questioning, “did they just go there?” Not many sci-fi shows can claim this. Before you begin watching season 4, here are my top 5 episodes from the previous 3 seasons. Disclaimer, I will do my best to not spoil any of the episodes.
5. The Entire History of You
This episode was the first to make me really question the idea of futuristic technology. The plot centralizes around an implant behind your ear that allows people the ability to play back memories for them to watch like a video monitor, called a “grain”. The storyline follows a young married lawyer who after a dinner party, suspects his wife of having a relationship with one of the guests. As you can imagine, things get interesting. Most of the episode, I found myself thinking how great and terrible it would be for this technology to actually exist. Sure, you could replay some really fantastic memories, see old relatives or friends. However, any sadness, argument, point of contention would easily be instantly accessible. I imagine this would be somewhat difficult for relationships in the he said/she said scenarios. As for why this is a top 5 episode has to do with the writing. The plot seems simple, but complicates quickly. You get to see how people react when they not only have memories at their fingertips, but can replay them in the moment like watching through a lens. As the episode progresses, you feel pitted against everyone involved. This was the first episode in the series that had me emotionally up and down a ton. The episode was so good, Robert Downey Jr. optioned it to make a movie about it. I’d love to see if they moved forward with this idea.
4. The White Christmas
This might have been one of the most complicated episodes the entire series has done. In this episode, we find 2 men in a cabin discussing how they came to be there despite not knowing each other. The storyline has so many facets it can be difficult to keep up with the central plot. However, like most of the episodes with multiple pieces, Black Mirror brings its all together in a way that made me sit down with my jaw open for a few minutes. What I enjoyed most of this episode was the story telling. Jon Hamm puts on the performance of his career in my opinion. He’s witty, brash and seemed to really enjoy the role. As we get through the episode, we get all sorts of twists and turns that defines the entire series. As a standalone episode outside of a normal season, this is a fitting way to bridge the gap between seasons 2 and 3.
3. Hated in the Nation
Murder mystery, thrilling, intriguing; the season 3 finale brought it all to the max. What made this such an incredible episode was it’s ability to highlight the ugly side of social media in such an intense way. In this episode, we find that the world is full of drone insects that have replaced bees since they have died out, thus saving the world by pollenating plants autonomously. People begin dying under extraordinary circumstances that seem tied to a hashtag campaign. As the episode escalates, the plot intertwines these two stories together beautifully. Being that all the episodes are independent of each other, this one brings subtle hints to previous ones showcasing that we are in fact in a “Black Mirror” universe. What really did it for me in this episode was the pacing and over compelling story. We get a creative take on murder mystery that twists at every turn without being too much for the drama to handle and gracefully bringing the audience to the climax. By the end, it made me want the internet to implode or at least social media.
As with many episodes, it makes you think how not too far off these story lines are from our reality. What if a hashtag has deadly effects. Internet trolls can only dream of such a thing.
2. The National Anthem
As I said earlier, for people new to the series, they need to get through this one first and stick with it. This episode really set an insane tone for the series and I am sure many people never got past it. This was by far the most realistic storyline to our current society, involving British royalty being kidnapped and the perpetrators have some rather “interesting” demands involving the Prime Minister of Britain. I leave the plot there because giving away more would really take away from the value this episode provided. At first you imagine how insanely dumb this is, but as the plot progresses and efforts to thwart the captures play out, you really do question the validity of such an idea in modern society with current technology. This episode does not really dive in to futuristic technology but really relies on pushing the boundaries of a civilized society in a modern world of instant social media. The episode really follows the theme of how far would you go to stay in the graces of public opinion. It was tough to not pick this one as my favorite because I honestly couldn’t believe such an episode of television was created and executed. By the end, in many ways you find yourself questioning, did I really just watch this?!?! It makes for a supremely compelling story that you feel you have to gut wrenching get through.
1. San Junipero
This is my favorite episode because it is honestly the best written episode with the most emotionally complex storyline they have done. The plot follows a shy self-conscious girl in the 80’s who meets a vividly outrageous girl and falls for her. However, after that night she has to travel through different decades to find her again. The story offers a uniquely crafted futuristic vision of virtual reality space. What makes this episode so intriguing is how different the tone is comparatively to almost every episode before it. Here we have a beautifully told story of self-realization, acceptance and love between two people trying to grasp their future. As with most love stories, you get ups and downs which is in no short supply as the episode plays out. This contrasts almost directly with every episode before it. Instead of futuristic technology and how it might work against a modern society, you get an idea on how it might improve the comfort of “life”. The acting in this episode is so genuine and heartfelt that you question if this is even related to Black Mirror. That’s why this was my favorite episode. It is a breath of fresh air not just in the series, but in the sci-fi genre.