Black Mirror Season 4 : (Recap) Netflix Original Series
Black Mirror Season 4 : A Netflix Original Series is a modern day reworking of “The Twilight Zone” with stories that focus on the over use of technology in modern day society & it’s consequences.
Unless you’re still in a Christmas Food Coma, you may have noticed the return of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror Season 4 on Netflix. Perhaps the best of all gifts received over the festive season, Netflix subscribers were treated to another six episodes of panic and paranoia in Black Mirror Season 4.
Once again, Brooker returned to remind us how technology impacts our lives in his cinematically ambitious series. Assuming that you have watched it by now (and if you haven’t, come back when you have and thank us then), we’re going to revisit the darkness that Black Mirror Season 4 brought us.
So, how does it compare to its predecessors?
The format for Black Mirror Season 4 remains the same, with each episode being a standalone mini-movie seasoned with bleak atmospheres and actors that you’re not sure if you recognize. On the payroll this time around was Rosemarie Dewitt (Midge in Mad Men), Jesse Plemons (Todd in Breaking Bad), and Cristin Milioti (Tracy in How I Met Your Mother) to name a few.
Whilst Charlie Brooker remained stationed as a writer on all episodes, Jodie Foster got behind the camera to direct one of the stories, “Arkangel”.. Notably, the female narrative is strong throughout, with each episode having a female protagonist.
The first tech enemy in the series was a virtual reality game in debut episode, “USS Callister”. The best way to describe it would be a dark mash-up between Star Trek and Toy Story. It follows the story of Robert, the creator of a multiplayer VR game and yet an unpopular member of his company.
He seeks revenge on his peers by trapping cloned versions of them in his game, where they serve him as the crew on his spaceship and are forced to dote on/obey him. It takes deleting the ladder from your Sims in the pool to a far more twisted level.
USS Callister is easily the most colorful and stylized episode of the season, and pays homage to Trek in an exciting way. The bright colours and happy ending make for a brilliant start to the series, but are also a necessity to the bleakness that follows…
The boundaries of surveillance are tested in both the second and third episodes, named Arkangel and Crocodile respectively. Arkangel is a dreary take on a coming-of-age chick flick. Here we have an overprotective mother who invests in a tablet that allows her to see her daughter’s every move. Whilst it sounds like a parent’s dream product, the episode tests the limits of the mother’s voyeurism after it crosses over into the perverse.
The daughter is horrified to learn her mother has watched her most private moments and well a bloodbath ensues. A simpler solution would have been to batter the tablet and not the mum, but maybe you had to be there. It cleverly tests the limits of protection and asks the question: when does a parent keeping tabs become intrusive?
Crocodile follows lead character Mia Nolan, who takes digging herself a hole to a complete new level. In another surveillance gone wrong scenario, we are introduced to a device that can play out thoughts and memories to the observer. Utilized as a tool to help solve crimes, Mia is obligated by law to share her memories to aid in an investigation, no matter how personal.
This leaves her unable to conceal a murder she committed, and finds herself killing a series of witnesses in a bid to protect herself. Crocodile is undoubtedly the most violent of the collection, but certainly the most thought-provoking.
Is the forceful sharing of private memories the administration of justice gone too far? Or would living in a state of constant surveillance be the antidote to crime and deception?
Next episode was Hang the DJ, where we met a match-making device called Coach, designed to assign people to each other in a bid to help you find The One. Better described as a twisted Tinder, the device gives each pair an expiration time until they eventually reach their life partner. Our protagonists Frank and Amy hit it off immediately and are sad to learn that they expire in 12 hours.
Like any forbidden love story, they go against the device’s wishes and fight to remain together (and you thought dating in the real world was hard!). Almost a rom-com, the placement of Hang the DJ was necessary, after the last two episodes stripped away all my Christmas spirit. It did leave me wondering though, does anyone in that world have a job? Why can’t they share food? Why haven’t others already questioned the system if they were miserable?
The episode titled Metalhead, is somehow so captivating even though it’s visually monochrome and lacking in scenery. There’s not a great amount of dialogue either, but the stress of watching it had me reaching for my asthma pump. Thirty-eight minutes are spent watching Bella escape a mindless, dog-like, killing machine in an almost post-apocalyptic landscape.
However, if you weren’t already full of unanswered questions from the previous episodes, this one gives you far more to think about… There’s very little explanation as to why the machines exist and where they came from. Open for interpretation, I’d put it down to an experiment gone wrong. What you do know for certain though, is that you’re scared. Very scared.
Finishing off the season is the most symbolic of the six episodes .Three stories in one, the Black Museum is a roller coaster of hopeful beginnings and devastating endings in the form of haunting artifacts. The narratives are emotional and make you squirm, but IMO would have been so deserving of a full episode each.
Instead, they are brought together by a story line between the curator and visitor. Like Brooker has done before, it takes the mick out of the general public’s obsession with digital/trending commodities, regardless of how unethical the background may be.
Just like every Black Mirror Season 4 episode , you are left feeling pensive and somewhat guilty after watching. You experience a wave of disappointment in yourself and the public for your consumer habits and addiction to technological trends. I had the sudden urge to lock my phone away and head to the park for a stroll.
Final Verdict a Must Watch !! View all episodes of Black Mirror Season 4 on Netflix Original’s
Author Credit : Rema F
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