It’s been a few years since we’ve had a new episode of Channel 4 (British PBS) become a Netflix exclusive anthology black mirror. Created and written by British satirist Charlie Brooker, each episode explores the range of technology-enhanced human experiences (mirrors/black screens, if you will). it), Brooker is also not shy about criticizing certain aspects when held by those in power.
As of spring 2022, there are 22 episodes and one black mirror film (Bandersnatch). In 2020, Brooker told Radio Times that while season six in one form or another isn’t out of the picture, it’s taking a break from it. Brooker has cited a dark, pandemic world as an influence and is currently working on his comedic writing. Many fans want even more, perhaps to counter our current reality by showing that this isn’t the worst circle in hell. But it remains to be seen if more will come. Nonetheless, many episodes remain perfect for rewatching. In order of release date, here are the seven best black mirror episodes to review (or to join the series!).
Fifteen million merits
While we love Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther, Judas and the Black Messiah) and Jessica Brown Findley (prostitutes), this episode (co-written with his wife Konnie Huq) made the list because it’s sadly still a super relevant episode even over a decade later. When Bing (Kaluuya) convinces Abi (Findley) to sing for a big talent show, the industry coerces Abi into adult entertainment, prompting Bing to take action. The episode is a great commentary on capitalism and technology (two series staples) with great world-building. And I don’t know if that was intentional, but there are parallel markers to incel and Black Pill behavior.
I’ll be right back
It’s one of the saddest episodes, not just because of the events, but in the tone and exploration of the heartbreak. After Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) dies in a car accident, his girlfriend, Martha (Hayley Atwell), struggles to move on. She then enrolls in an AI program to communicate with a version of Ash. Slowly the program allows him more and more features to connect with the essence of Ash. This one will make you cry.
The story begins with a woman (Lenora Crichlow) alone in an amnesiac state. As she tries to piece together what happened to her, groups of people watch and record her from a distance. The atmosphere is incredibly creepy. I chose to include this title on the similar episode, shut up and dance (episode 10), because I think it’s more substantial But look at both, both are good.
White Bear is in my top three not only because it’s an entertaining episode (where everything falls into place in a compelling and heartbreaking way). But because almost every time I saw it again, I felt the ending differently. I’m not doing a flip-flop per se, but without getting into spoilers, the implications of the ending are nuanced. And no matter which side you fall on, you are likely to feel uncomfortable and conflicted.
As one of the most famous (and beautiful) episodes of the series, is there anything to be said? Two women, Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), meet and fall in love in a very 1980s resort town called San Junipero. The use of technology will be a spoiler, so we’ll end it there for those who haven’t seen the episode. Although there are criticisms about a particular trope, it’s one of the best-received episodes and it’s both very cheerful and happy. I have now associated Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a place on earth with this story exclusively, regardless of other famous media in which this song has appeared before.
Men Against Fire
This military drama follows soldiers as they clean up spaces where violent, mutated humans are nesting. Stripe (Malachi Kirby), like other soldiers, uses the help of his neural implant, MASS, to gain information and tactical advantage. However, when something interferes with the implant, his job as a soldier becomes nearly impossible.
Minor spoilers for this episode
Men Against Fire often ranks lower on other lists, with critics citing the predictable ending. However, countering the latest waves of xenophobia (among many other issues) may be a bit more on the nose if it helps people understand. While the one-hit drone buttons are certainly quite horrifying, some of the tech elements of the episode are very close to current efforts to gamify warfare, such as partnerships with Activision Blizzard and augmented reality binoculars.
Directed by legendary actress Jodie Foster, Arkagnel follows single mother Maria (Rosemarie DeWitt) as she struggles to find the balance between allowing her daughter Sara to grow while protecting her from all the dangers in the world. Maria enrolls Sarah in this microchipping program (Archangel) that will allow them to track their child’s locations, what they see, and more. As Sarah grows, Maria begins to recognize the effects of this technology on Sara’s social and mental development.
Even with a very cis-white cast and setting, this episode was a more ominous revisit in the current context of book bans, critical race theory panic, and the current anti-gay panic where most adults become mandatory “reporters” if their child is transgender. Also, read this after watching it.
Even with Letitia Wright’s shenanigans, it’s still worth watching because it’s an hour and a half horror episode, basically another Black Mirror movie before the real movie that’s coming out two years later (Bandersnatch). black museum presents three stories, two that the young woman (Wright) learns while exploring the strange space, then her story, at the end. Like only a handful of episodes, black museumThe ending is quite positive. You know, all things considered.
These are by no means the only amazing and/or fascinating episodes. If it was a longer list, dive (episode 8), USS Callister (episode 14), and Striking Vipers (episode 20) would all definitely be included.
(featured image: Channel 4, Netflix)
—The Mary Sue has a strict commenting policy that prohibits, but is not limited to, personal insults towards nobodyhate speech and trolling.—
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]