The patience of Black Mirror fanatics everywhere has paid off – Black Mirror is back. The free-form anthology of dark alternate timelines first caught our attention in 2011, because, honestly, once you start with “The Prime Minister has to do a pig” I am contractually obligated to listen to the rest of that idea.
Black Mirror tackles deep questions of agency and what it means to be alive in a world with rapidly eroding boundaries on privacy. As showrunner Charlie Brooker puts it, “They’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.”
Some of my personal favorites of the show include “Men Against Fire,” “Shut up and Dance,” “Hated in the Nation,” and of course, “San Junipero.”
“Shut up and Dance” had a great focus not just on the fact that people hide things from one another, but pulled the thread further to ask, “What would you do to keep this from being known?” It’s almost directly correlated to the damage it could do, the unseemly nature of it, or simply the fact that you’ve kept it so long. The ending track is superb.
“San Junipero” was just exquisite, for following a love story of two women throughout time. It is notably the only Black Mirror episode without a dark-as-all-get-out-sweet-jesus-someone-please-hold-me ending. The combination of the characters – of naïveté and worldliness, of the real world and virtual world – blended the episode into perfection. The Emmys thought so as well.
“Men Against Fire” challenges our assumption that the way we view the world is natural, by challenging where our ideas come from. After discovering that roaches are actually people, the private feels horror at the things he’s done, and the audience isn’t far behind. This breaks illusions both ways, because though the audience feels disgust at his partner, they are forced to understand the way she sees roaches, and why she would kill them.
“Hated in the Nation” is, by far, my favorite episode of Black Mirror. It explores the vice inside of our hearts, and makes us think about what we say about people virtually that we might not say out loud. The episode muses on the utility of the internet as an outlet, and asks to consider that our words have consequences. The ending track is choice.
All in all, Black Mirror is poised to bring the fire this Friday with its six new episodes and we just. can’t. WAIT.