It’s that time of year where we all watch Black Mirror and say to ourselves, “what the f—!” (This is a spoiler free review)
Netflix announced on Wednesday that Black Mirror season 4’s release date is set for December 29, and we can finally give you our review of the beloved and creepy anthology series centered around technology and how it can make our lives better… or worse.
With only six episodes to binge you’ll find yourself done with the season in less than your average work day, but take it from us: You don’t want to go through this rollercoaster of emotions all at once, and if you do want to, then you’ll need to watch something extremely happy to make up for all the sad and fucked up things you’re putting yourself through. But if you’ve seen the series you know what to expect.
That said, Black Mirror season 4 does continue the traditions that the previous season set up. In addition, they sprinkle in a few happy endings for a bit more cheer — relatively speaking.
We began our binge with “Black Museum,” which is an anthology in and of itself. It’s set in a roadside attraction in the U.S., a crime museum that showcases high-tech misdeeds, where a traveller finds herself exploring while she waits for her car to charge.
While watching the episode we found ourselves eagerly awaiting the point of it all, and it became clear that an anthology in an anthology wasn’t our cup of tea. However, at the end our feelings changed within seconds as the stories they take you through become that much more important. You may find yourself wanting to skip ahead or hurry the plot up (it is one of the longest episodes in the season, which doesn’t help) but trust us: It’ll all be worth it.
‘Hang the DJ’
Last season Netflix earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie with “San Junipero,” and if you were hoping for another romantic episode with a slightly more optimistic vibe (emphasis on slightly) then “Hang the DJ” is going to be right up your alley.
The episode expresses what it’s like to date online in the not-too-far future, and while it makes you want to cancel every dating account you have, you’ll also find yourself falling in love with the characters played by Joe Cole and Georgina Cambell. But as we all know with Black Mirror: Don’t get attached. Ever.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have “Crocodile,” directed by John Hillcoat. This episode is by far one of the more haunting, disturbing stories of the series on a whole. Hours later and we’re still coping with the story told in this episode. It is not for the faint of heart, and for Black Mirror? That’s saying something.
Producer of the series, Annabel Jones told The Independent that “Crocodile” was a “beautiful, more personal study. It’s a film set in the near future where your memories are no longer private so they can be dredged – sometimes in helpful ways,” but we don’t see the beauty in the episode, and we’re interested to see what viewers think.
On a lighter note, “Metalhead” is the series’ first black and white feature, which makes it that much more terrifying. While the use of black and white often might not change the appeal of a feature, we’re happy for the use of the medium in this episode.
Teased as a “tense story about survival” and “nightmarish,” those descriptions certainly ring true. In the trailer you’ll see that the characters in this episode are trying to escape from “dogs,” but this is Black Mirror after all and they are much more dangerous than you might think. Let’s just say we took off “dog” from our Christmas list this year after watching this episode.
And at last, we left our review of the two most anticipated episodes for last: “Arkangel,” the episode directed by Jodie Foster, and the Star Trek parody, “USS Callister.”
“Arkangel” is a stark reminder of just how much control our parents could potentially have in our lives if they lived in this twisted world. Foster does an incredible job on this episode, and it’s definitely one of our favorites.
“Arkangel” is a story about a mother and daughter, told over the course of several years as the daughter grows up. Jones describes the episode as tapping into “helicopter parenting.”
“I always hope that whatever we tackle, it’s never on the nose and just more in the background,” she said, “but this episode asks how do you be a responsible mother in a world in which you can be all-powerful and omnipresent? How do you exercise responsibility? How do you ensure you give your child independence in a world in which you can have a lot of control?”
This episode is probably going to instill more fear into upcoming parents and new parents rather than the vast amount of mid-20 somethings that will be binging it come release day, but no matter your age it will make your heart hurt while simultaneously wanting to call your own parents.
Finally, we’re ecstatic to tell you that “USS Callister” is one of the series’ best episodes ever. Touted as a “space opera,” Jones explains it best: “It’s a romp – it’s big and ambitious with lots of CG. It’s an absolute visual feast and really high octane.”
We know we were certainly wondering about this episode when we first heard about it. What on Earth could a Star Trek parody possibly be doing in a series about technology? However, Toby Haynes (director of Doctor Who and Sherlock episodes) did a fan-frigin-tastic job at making sure it fits into the theme of the series, and it’s our literal favorite episode so far.
And the cast? Absolutely brilliant. Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, Michaela Coel all come together as a brilliant ensemble of characters that you will fall in love with. But again, we need to remind you: Don’t get attached. Ever.
‘Black Mirror’ season 4 is set to premiere December 29
Altogether, the fourth season of Black Mirror holds up to its predecessors and includes some of the best, most fucked up stories of the series. We’re excited for you to witness it for yourself, but try to savor this series instead of having it all in one go — it’s worth the wait!