Black Mirror season 4 is out now. Here’s your guide on how messed up each episode is.
It is universally known that when you watch Black Mirror you’re in for a wild ride, and that the episodes are less than family friendly. If anything, this show has some of the most fucked up plot lines and character developments of any other show we’ve seen, but that’s why it’s so great… right?
If you’re wondering which episodes of Black Mirror will make you physically ill with anxiety and shock, and which will leave you on the “happy” end of the spectrum, look no further. We’ve ranked the episodes from least to most fucked so that you can know exactly what you’re getting into when you start your binge.
Our spoiler-free list goes something like this:
- Hang the DJ
- USS Callister
- Black Museum
Need a more detailed explanation? Here’s our spoiler-filled review and explanation for why each episode ranked the way it did.
‘Black Mirror’ season 4 episode ranking
Hang the DJ
Let’s be real, this episode barely deserves to be on a list of “most fucked” episodes. But there is still a bit of a “wtf” factor when you realize that people are in a community where they literally cannot leave without being tasered.
The worst part about this episode is when you realize people are putting themselves through this… prison, for lack of a better word, just to find a significant other. Granted, it is supposed to give you the “perfect match” eventually, but if that means having to go through 50+ relationships right after one another we’ll pass. We’re already tired enough after one Tinder date, let alone 50.
This episode deserves its spot at the top of the list mostly because the ending can’t get much happier, and with Black Mirror you have to take all the happy endings you can get.
Pegged as a Star Trek parody, “USS Callister” is certainly an epic feature and probably one of our favorite episodes of the entire series. Initially we were wondering how a parody would even work in this world, but the comedy and ridiculousness of the plot help make for an entertaining story, even if the story itself is just f u c k e d.
At first you feel bad for the poor CTO Robert Daily, who seems to just not click with anyone else in the office. When the feature begins you feel bad for this guy, until you realize that he uses the escapism of a virtual reality game he designed as a prison for all the coworkers who treat him like shit.
Initially, as a viewer, you’re like, “yeah, Daily, get ’em! They need a little humility.” And then you begin to realize that his copies of his coworkers are, essentially, actually his co-workers with all their memories and everything which makes you feel a little bad for them… and then you realize what an utter dick Daily is off the clock.
We’re talking about psychopathic, child-murdering dictatorship here. There’s absolutely nothing Daily will do to remind his ex-workers-now-prisoners that he is the head honcho and that’s what makes this episode so inherently fucked in and of itself. Suddenly the USS Calister is no longer a game ship but a prison world with cruel punishments, which helps it fit into the Black Mirror dynamic oh so well.
However, in terms of endings this episode ends on a relatively happy note, hence the second-to-last position on this “most fucked” listicle.
An episode certain to make parents even more scared of parenting, “Arkangel” takes helicopter parenting to a whole new level and that alone might be one of the reasons why we think this episode is so screwed.
The Arkangel prototype allows parents to get stats about their children that are incredibly helpful like heart rate, iron levels, and things that make sense. But when you realize you have 24/7 visibility of what your kids see and you can prevent them from seeing all the scary things in the world that goes a little too far.
Of course, raising a child on this prototype leads to dangerous and stupid things, like invading privacy and learning how to cope with all the scary things in life a little later than everyone else. The most fucked parts about this episode comes from the mother and how she uses Arkangel to make sure her kid is safe, which you can’t blame her for on one hand but on the other, woman is a frigin’ psychopath.
Using Arkangel ends up with a result that, honestly, is more than expected. With a violent child with privacy issues and a regretful mom without a daughter to track there isn’t a very happy ending for either but hey, things could have gotten worse.
By premise alone, “Black Museum” easily fits as one of the three most fucked episodes of the season, and is one of the longer episodes as well. So that just means you get more time to watch all the messed up things happen.
An anthropology itself, “Black Museum” takes us through three stories where technology meant to help ultimately punishes those who use it. While each of these stories are fucked on their own, it’s the final exhibit that really puts “Black Museum” on the map of one of the more messed up episodes.
The final exhibit isn’t so much an exhibit as it is a prison for the mind of someone who was wrongfully accused of murder, trapped in an electric chair that museum visitors get to turn on. This poor soul is tormented over and over, so much so he basically becomes a vegetable by the time our main characters show up years after the museum’s opening. Seeing him writhe in pain is gut-wrenching and awful, and we wouldn’t expect any less from Black Mirror.
With all of the exhibits being so terrible it’s only fitting the museum owner gets an ending just as fucked. While “Black Museum” has a happy ending for one of the main characters in the episode, the punishment and ending for every single other character easily establishes it as one of the most gruesome episodes of the season.
“Metalhead” is the series’ first black and white episode, which in our opinion just added to the terrifying feel the episode gave off. Being hunted by robotic dogs, a group of three are on their way to find something they need in hopes they don’t get killed before they get back.
It’s easy to understand why this episode is almost the most fucked episode: People die off like flies, and the main character only has her friends for the first few minutes of the episode before having to figure out how to survive on her own.
These robotic dogs are smart, cruel and lethal in an apocalyptic world that is not welcoming to humans. The future is bleak and there’s no sign of other life, so when our main character dies you realize that there probably isn’t a happy ending for anyone.
And then we find out what the whole trip was for, and the final shot really hammers in just how messed up these Black Mirror writers are.
When an episode starts with an accidental murder you know it’s probably not going to get much better, but you probably didn’t realize just how much worse it could get.
What’s worse than accidentally killing someone and having to cover it up so you don’t go to jail? Murdering the person who convinced you to do it in the first place. And then proceeding to murder everyone else who could possibly turn you in, which… isn’t the smartest idea.
There’s no hope in “Crocodile,” There’s just pure unadulterated fear and paranoia. There are no happy endings, there’s no redemption arc, there’s just death. The worst part is that the technology isn’t even the driving factor in this episode, it’s just more incentive to murder.
No one in “Crocodile” is forced to do things because of the technology, and it makes you realize just how far people will go to protect themselves. It’s possible that Black Mirror might have gone too far with this episode because there’s not a heavy chance we’ll even want to re-watch this clusterfuck of death and sadness.