Season four of ‘Black Mirror’ holds up an even darker and more twisted mirror to society

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Season four of ‘Black Mirror’ holds up an even darker and more twisted mirror to society

The cover photo of the series

The cover photo of the series "Black Mirror."

Courtesy of @blackmirror on Twitter.

The cover photo of the series "Black Mirror."

Courtesy of @blackmirror on Twitter.

Courtesy of @blackmirror on Twitter.

The cover photo of the series "Black Mirror."

Christina Cartwright, Organizing Editor

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Charlie Brooker, creator of “Black Mirror,” has outdone himself once again with the show’s fourth season  which premiered Dec. 29 2017. Often known as the modern-day “Twilight Zone,” the show takes place in a dystopian version of today’s society where Brooker portrays the darker side to humanity and how people abuse technology for their own personal gains.

During season four’s six episodes, Brooker touched on several topics involving technology in today’s society including virtual reality video games, online dating, nanny cams and various other topics. The most interesting part of this TV series is there is not a constant plotline flowing through the show. Although you can find some “easter eggs,” or hidden messages that are from past seasons, none of these episodes directly tie together. The viewer can pick any episode from any season to watch and won’t be totally lost while watching.

Although the viewer doesn’t have to watch all the episodes in order, it would be helpful when watching the best and final episode of season four, “Black Museum.” In fact, this is the only episode out of the entire series that actually made references to past episodes. The episode stars Nish (Letitia Wright), a young woman who’s traveling through the mountains and stops for gas at an abandoned gas station. Next door she finds the Black Museum, a museum dedicated to all the past technology during the duration of the show, and goes inside this strange and ominous building to discover an even stranger man. The museum’s owner, Rolo Haynes (Douglas Hodge), takes Nish through a tour of the museum, showing her “ancient” artifacts that had been used to harm people or society in the past. You see familiar pieces of technology from the seasons previous episodes like the tablet used in “Arkangel.” You also see the lollipop from the first episode, “USS Calister,” and the bloody bathtub from “Crocodile” and the devices used as timers in “Hang The DJ.”

The cover photo for season four episode one “U.S.S. Callister.” (Courtesy of @blackmirror on Twitter)

With such an outstanding episode like “Black Museum,” it was harder for some of the other episodes to meet the bar. “Black Museum” had an incredibly interesting plot with a surprising twist at the end that I never anticipated. But on the other hand, the worst episode of this season was episode five, “Metalhead.” Brooker is known for putting in shocking twists and elevating the tension of the episodes with some creepy or twisted use of technology. This episode, unfortunately, fell very flat for me. It starts off with an older woman and two men driving to a warehouse, talking back and forth and communicating about an item they need to find. When they arrive, the woman and one of the men go into the warehouse only to knock over a box and unleash a metal dog-like robot, whose only mission is to kill whatever human it comes in contact with. The dog kills the two men she’s accompanied by and spends the next 45 minutes of the episode trying to track her down and kill her too. Although the episode was shot beautifully, it was, to put it simply, just straight up boring. There’s absolutely no shock factor, and the whole episode in an embodiment of the cliche of “what if technology becomes smart enough to wipe out the human race?” Not very mind-blowing, and unfortunately, very predictable. This episode just lacked that “wow factor” all the other ones contained, therefore making it the least fascinating episode out of the whole entire series by far.

Although “Metalhead” was more or less a flop, all the other episodes managed to be enthralling and made me want to see more. Brooker took more of a dark turn this season, seeing as many of the episodes didn’t end with a happy ending. There were definitely past episodes in previous season that ended on a sadder note, but not as many in just one season. One of the most devastating episodes this season was “Crocodile.” A young woman named Mia (Andrea Riseborough) is a successful architect who is married and happily living in the mountains with her husband and children. But, Mia is hiding a very dark secret from her past. She and her previous boyfriend killed a man in a hit and run and have been hiding it for the last decade. When her ex boyfriend visits her to tell her he’s going to confess, Mia kills him to keep him silent. You watch throughout the entire episode as she goes to serious lengths to keep her secret hidden. In this episode, the new technology that’s used is a small device you can attach to someone’s head, called cookies, to see their memories. As someone is thinking of their memory, the small device will transfer the memories they’re thinking of to a small TV so everyone is able to see what they’re thinking. This episode really stuck with me, as it explored how far someone is willing to go to keep their secrets from coming out.

This new season once again had many dark twists and turns that kept me hanging on the edge of my seat. Usually as TV shows go on, the new seasons never really compare to the older ones for me. But with “Black Mirror,” every season just gets better and better. This season brought in an incredible ensemble of actors for each episode, casting actors that perfectly portrayed the cold and almost sinister roles they were given. Season four showed the brutal realities of human nature, and “Black Mirror” once again had me reflecting on my own uses of technology as I stared into the “black mirror,” or my own reflection, through the credits rolling on my TV.

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Season four of ‘Black Mirror’ holds up an even darker and more twisted mirror to society