Black Mirror: Season 4 — a review

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I began watching Black Mirror last year, catching up on the three BBC series before watching the first Netflix-produced season. I just finished watching Season 4 on Netflix, and I have to say that the show hasn’t lost a step. In fact, it may even be getting better.

Black Mirror is a Twilight Zone-esque anthology show, with each episode focusing on an aspect of technology. There are enough commonalities in the episodes that it’s easy to believe that all of these stories just may take place in the same shared universe.

The season is only six episodes long. But, that’s six powerful episodes.

My favorite episode, unsurprisingly, was Episode 4.1 “USS Callister,” which goes from being a classic Trek homage to something genuinely unsettling. Jesse Plemons stars as Robert Daly, a coding genius who has created his own virtual universe based on his favorite science-fiction television show. Plemons played memorable roles in both Breaking Bad and the Fargo television series. Cristin Milioti plays the role of Nanette Cole, whom Daly develops an unhealthy obsession with. Milioti has been in several other projects, including Fargo and How I Met Your Mother. And Jimmi Simpson, who stunned everyone in last year’s Westworld, is Daly’s partner and nemesis, Walton. These three actors do most of the heavy lifting in the episode, and their efforts pay off in a great story.

My least favorite episode this season was Episode 4.6 “Black Museum.” It had the potential to be much better than it turned out. Its setup was genuinely creepy and the framing device had a horror movie feel to it. But, the ultimate twist was telegraphed rather clumsily, which cost the episode some esteem points from me. That being said, it’s still a highly watchable episode. One of the six had to be my least favorite, and this was it.

It would be easy to just list the other four episodes by title and just tell you what I liked about each one. Reading that would take time you could be using to watch the episodes instead. So, go watch them.

Oh, just one more thing. “Metalhead,” Episode 4.5, is a short, atmospheric black & white sci-fi horror movie, where the monsters are robot “dogs.” It was very well done, and a contender for the silver medal this season.

If you haven’t already been watching Black Mirror, I would recommend that you do so. While beginning with the first season would be preferable, you won’t really miss anything by watching them out of order. Go ahead and watch this season first. It’ll make you want to watch the rest.

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