“Black Mirror” spent the last few years giving viewers a window to worlds just beyond our reach. Each episode plays on different futuristic scenarios where technology is heightened in a way that can lead to ruin. Through these scenarios, the show asks important questions about society today and makes people think about how they live their lives. Each episode has a different director and cast, leading to differing styles and a feeling of originality.
“Nosedive” comments on the obsession of what others think of you and provides an answer for how to deal with that. The episode shows while caring about others’ opinions of you too much leads to ruin, going too far in the other direction does as well. Social media has become the main form of background checks for jobs, loans, rentals and most other day-to-day services. People rate each other based on their experiences with them, and people with higher ratings generally have much better lives. One wrong step, however, can turn sour, and bad interactions can rip peoples’ lives apart. Some great character development in this episode leads to an easily-understood lesson without too much hand holding.
“Playtest” has more of a personal story than other episodes. In this episode, virtual reality gaming has become the next big thing. A man tests a new prototype for a horror game, only to find out that the scares are a little too real. The main issue with this episode, however, comes from the ending and its in-your-face moral. The lessons were fitting up until that point, but the very end robbed the previously established satisfaction. While that may have been the point, it still did not feel quite right. “Playtest” is still an incredibly effective episode nonetheless. The horror, both physical and psychological, gives viewers chills.
“Shut Up and Dance” is the complete opposite of Episode 2. A kid finds himself blackmailed by a mysterious organization, and he does anything they say in order to keep personal information from leaking to his family and friends. This episode does a great job of messing with expectations and notions of what morality and justice truly are. People do terrible things, and the question of if and how those things should be exposed, along with whether internet privacy is important, are all addressed. Still, that nagging coherency of the plot does take the viewer out of the experience until it is finally resolved, which ended up hurting the episode’s overall quality.
“San Junipero” is one of the most existential, beautiful and thought-provoking episodes of television that has ever been seen. It asks the big questions, and isn’t afraid to offer answers. This is the first episode seen that truly shows a future that many hope will exist, yet it still offers reasons why others might fear it. It weaves together a story that initially confuses but eventually makes complete sense. It does this all while leaving questions for the viewer that appear impossible to solve, but they still try.
“Men Against Fire” deals with the morality of war and raises questions regarding the killing of fellow human beings. Giving a true review of this episode would give away major plot points, but in general, it was quite good. It will leave the viewer with questions about whether war, regardless of the justification, is really worth it — especially in the interest of bettering humanity as a whole.
“Hated in the Nation” addresses the anonymity of the Internet A string of mysterious murders of people who are hated on social media occur, and the police try and find out why. This episode shows that the existence of a screen between yourself and another person does not give anyone the excuse to wish ill will upon those whom you have never met. While parts of the story were predictable, it did a good job keeping viewers wondering what was going to happen next. It tells the story of a great mystery in a world much like our own, with the few differences making for some very dangerous possibilities.
“Black Mirror” Season 3 asks questions about the direction humanity is headed, both technologically and morally. Each episode leaves the viewer reeling and prompts them to ask some very important questions. It makes people think about their own lives and decisions. It is beautifully constructed, and each episode is its own work of art. Each one can connect with people in different ways, and that is what makes this show a true marvel.