SYNOPSIS

How on earth am I going to write a synopsis for this? Black Mirror is a TV Show from Charlie Brooker, it is an anthology series, that means each episode has a different message, has different characters, and is set in a different location and time period. But, Black Mirror is much deeper than that, although all different stories, they all follow the same vision, aiming to show how technology impacts and influences how society and our everyday lives, and shows life is a matter of perspective.

Day 15

REVIEW

I can not claim to be a die-hard Black Mirror fan. I started watching the show in November, to try to watch season 4 when it comes out on 29th September. So, whilst some say it was better prior to the global success. I cannot say of sure that I agree, whilst Season 4 does feel different and doesn’t carry quite the same cutthroat message in episodes, I still massively enjoyed the season. I understand, that gone is the practicality and harrowing reality and instead we get differing episodes created to fill an episode count. But, I honestly did not mind, I do think that this season only contains three or four episodes that I would classify as Black Mirror standard but I still enjoyed the other two, and that is why I don’t think the season is as great as the others. It is quite hard to review an anthology season, so what I am going to do is rank each episode and give them a quick review. I give the entire season an 8.5 out of 10 or an A

Before I start, I would just like to say that it was so hard to rank these episodes, especially the top three which I switched between multiple times.

6. METALHEAD {EPISODE 5} – 7/10

Metalhead

Whilst there is a powerful performance from Maxine Peake, “Metalhead” was the hardest to watch for me. Whilst it is definitely the most ambitious episode in the season, with a different feel, different tone and the use of black and white. “Metalhead” is ultimately forgettable, and a risk that never paid off. It was quite boring and felt as though it dragged on even though it was only 40 minutes long. I liked the premise, but it seemed too short a story, with no real depth to warrant a whole episode towards.

Whilst having Maxine Peake on her own gave a fantastic performance, it was harder because it meant that we never saw any character development. I think more needed to be shown to us. I give the episode a 7 out of 10, it could’ve been a lot better and isn’t to the standard that I have come to associate Black Mirror with, as no real message stuck with me after I watched this and it was just onto the next episode. But, the short episode meant that it never fully dragged and it was kind of cool to see this “hunted” episode with Peake hiding from this cool looking AI dogs.

5. ARKANGEL {EPISODE 2} – 8/10

Related image

“Arkangel” is a good episode, with the technology used being practical and maybe mirroring a future society. What it lacks though is any substantiality. OK, the mother has issues and can’t ever stop watching the child, she takes it too far and the daughter beats her and that is it, there isn’t any other real depth in it. I think that with Black Mirror we are so used to it going in deep and really sticking with us, but apart from the actual technology, the episode is kind of forgettable. I did like how we saw the girl grow up from a child, but I think the episode and the story needed something else, because the episode can be summed up so easily and as a result it never felt as to the standard you would expect from Black Mirror

I did like how it all went back to the mother’s lack of trust and I liked how closely this stuck to the technology and how it is actually used. Because other episodes, feel like they just forget about the practically of technology, like “Metalhead”. I loved the end, how she couldn’t see what she was doing, and it showed us how this technology instead of saving the daughter and protecting her, drove her mad instead. It is by no-means a bad episode, it just could have been so much better.

4. CROCODILE {EPISODE 3} – 8/10

Crocodile

It was really hard to choose between “Arkangel” and “Crocodile” for fourth place, I enjoyed them both equally and they both had something the other lacked. For example, in “Arkangel” we see this use of a practical technology, this is something “Crocodile” doesn’t have, as it is a bit stupid to have an eye cam in a hamster. And then, “Crocdile” has something that “Arkangel” doesn’t have; a shock. If the mother in the end actually died then I would have ranked these two episodes differently, I would have enjoyed it more because there would have been a shock. That being said, it was incredibly close between the two of them and I only put “Crocodile” at number four because of the shock at the end and the harrowing result of the episode.

The episode in itself is quite weak, and I only really liked the last couple minutes of her killing the family and then her being apprehended. I thought that was really cool and I really liked how it played with perspective once again, something that I don’t think any other episode did this season. When she killed the baby in the end, I couldn’t believe it, it reminded me of the season 3 episode “Shut Up and Dance” (which I loved) as it had the shock that she killed her the child. That being said, the violence at times just seemed repetitive, and I didn’t really come to care for the main character herself. Whilst, “Shut Up and Dance” made me care for the young boy and our perspective was that he was a good guy, we know from the get-go that the main character is bad as she kills her partner in crime. I would’ve really loved a little more play with perspective, because I think that is when Black Mirror is truly thrilling.

At this point, I would just like to point out that the top three have changed positions about ten times, they are all rated the same score but it was so hard to rank because I think each episode has something the other lacked.

3.BLACK MUSEUM {EPISODE 6} – 9/10

Black Museum

As I began to write this, “Black Museum” was in first place – I had decided that “Black Museum” deserved to be in first because it was its biggest, boldest episode. I put it in first place because it was the finale of what we had all hoped, the fan theory that finally come true. It was finally confirmed that all these stories exist in the same world, and I couldn’t be any happier, we saw some easter eggs – like the lollipop that I will get to later. But, the problem is that “Black Museum’s” greatest asset is its biggest weakness. I wish that the joy of theorising wasn’t taken away from us, I wish the actual end result had some more inter-connectivity in it instead of the two stories that were just told. When it came to why I had put this first on my list originally, it was all down to what I felt this episode added to season. I thought that the episode had finally given closure and it had added something to this season, this along with the added inclusion of the two stories that felt so different and great meant this was the best episode in the season. But, as I thought about it, this episode didn’t add much to the season because now I want to see how the next season is going to be connected, we didn’t get any real confirmation of many of the other episodes from the show, and so instead of giving answers, I am left with more questions.

But I have got to give it to them, they told two stories within it which I think was marquee Black Mirror and was brilliant. But then it was too obvious, I don’t want to see the lollipop because it looks silly, it isn’t a nice little easter-egg, but rather a full on confirmation. And, when the fun with this show is wondering how it is all connected, it takes away some of the magic, by showing me the lollipop, I just want to assume it is real and not have it confirmed in my face because now all the roistering aspect of the show is gone.

Unfortunately its biggest upside is also its downside, it was unnecessary. The reason it isn’t first is because it didn’t feel original. I still loved it because it gave us what we wanted, but it was hard for me to care about her character because we don’t really spend the episode with her. This episode just feel cliché and too familiar, and to me Black Mirror is about being different and doing things differently, and this reveal just felt basic. But, I still give it a nine out of ten because I loved the two stories and it still does deserve praise.

2. U.S.S. CALLISTER {EPISODE 1} – 9/10

USS Callister

There was a time where this was first on the list, and I can’t believe that I have put it at number two because it looks like I think this was an OK episode when it was one of the best. Ultimately, the reason I had to put it second was because I feel like out of all three of the episodes, this one had the most space to grow. As I have said before, I really like Black Mirror when it plays with perspective, and I loved how their were two realities, the real one in which the main guy was a loser and as a result the one in the video game being so radically different, I never felt like this show plays with perspective. I mean, I think it has some of the best performances of the season and it definitely is the most ambitious episode. That being said, I go back to my prior idea; this episode has most to grow, they could revisit it in the future, this seems only the start for these characters, and, in some weird way, because of this it doesn’t feel like Black Mirror.

As I said, each one of this episodes have something the other is missing or is missing something the others aren’t. For me, “U.S.S Callister”, feels too far-fetched to be realistic. And I understand that, that is stupid to say because it is a show about technology, but I think Black Mirror excels when it focuses on mirroring our society and our society in the future, and I don’t think this show does. Instead, it is a very different feel and a very different episode that is just fun. But, I haven’t come to associate fun with Black Mirror.

I like it a lot, and at this point you can alternate between the two of them. I which they had more emphasis on perspective, how he was the good guy but now he is the bad guy. When it comes to the nostalgic part, honestly, I am too young to really care and appreciate the start trek element. I really loved in this episode, he is already a favourite of mine due to his time in House of Cards and when I watched him in Westworld, but I think he deserves praise alongside the other main characters as well. I think it is a good episode and if each of this episodes took a radical different approach then I would claim this to be the best different approach. But, it doesn’t feel Black Mirror to me and so it is second but still ranked exactly the same as the top three.

1.HANG THE DJ. {EPISODE 4} – 9/10

Hang the DJ

As soon as I begun this list, I had “Hang The DJ” in first place, it moved around a lot since then, but I thought it was best to stick to my guns and keep “Hang The DJ” in first. To me “Hang the DJ” had everything, the feel of the amazing “San Junipero”, some fantastic performances, great technology and a happy ending for once. But, as I said at the beginning, each episode seems to miss something, and this episode missed the thrilling, heart wrenching twist that I have become accustom to with Black Mirror. Ultimately, it had to come down to which one I think was the best Black Mirror episode, I don’t think “U.S.S Callister” was the best Black Mirror season 4 episode, and I think the biggest selling point for “Black Museum” was also what cost it most. But, “Hang the DJ” is stellar, giving us a practical, cool technology and then bringing back the thought of the fan favourite “San Junipero”. However, “Hang the DJ” does not have the depth that “San Junipero” had, as there doesn’t seem to be anything more to it than two people on a dating app. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I am just saying that it needed more depth to elevate it to the next level and to compete as one of the best episodes of the show not the only the season.

Every great Black Mirror episode has a stellar cast, and this episode is no different with Joe Cole and Georgina Campbell excelling with the latter really bringing the A-game. There chemistry was great and it great to see them separated because it showed how much they wanted to be together. As is accustom with a Black Mirror episode, a major shock finale is expected, and this one was radically different. My only critique of this episode is what the hell was that at the end? I will not pretend to understand it because I don’t, but all I know is that it is a happy ending. And, I am not a big fan of happy endings in Black Mirror, but that being said I was happy enough with these two “rebelling”. I would’ve just loved a final big shock, but that being said, I can understand how people might’ve said that they threw a shock in there just for the sake of having a shock. And the shock was that they were always supposed to rebel. I loved the episode and give it a nine out of ten.

Looking forward to the fifth season, three of this episodes were amazing and if the season was just those three episodes I would give it a 9 but, it does have some weaker episodes. And because it isn’t as fantastic as it was when it was three episodes, I think some people have said the season sucks but I don’t 100% agree. I give Black Mirror an A or a 8.5 out of 10.

AZ

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