Top 5 Black Mirror Episodes: When the Screen goes Blank

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Black Mirror is an anthology series that explores the ever-evolving world of technology and how its creators, humans, react to it. Charlie Brooker, the creator of the show, told Collider in 2016, “I don’t know that we’re really much of a binge-watching show, because it’s a bit like being hit by a car. How many times can you get hit by a car in one day.” 

So dive in to get to know some of the best episode in the series. 

1. Season 1 episode 3-“The entire history of you”

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The feelings of uncertainty, of distrust, of palpable confusion when we fall into any relationship are clearly depicted by the anxiety of Liam who is suspicious of his wife Ffion’s behavior toward another man, Jonas. With the help of the technology called “grain” which was implanted behind their ears, Liam scrutinizes even the microscopic details of their lives. But this distrust puts a strain on their relationship. The creator of the show Brooker informed Times Columnist in 2016, “Usually, the technology isn’t to blame in the stories. It’s just facilitating some weakness in our character.” So, in the end, the audience questions were it really a consequence of the advanced technology of the “grain” which made Liam so erratic?

2. Season 2 episode 2- “The White Bear”

Black Mirror: Series 2 White Bear

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How far should a convict be punished for his/her crime? The episode starts in utter confusion (and that’s how it ends too) when the screen opens to a woman running from its attackers who are wearing animal masks. The show drives on this suspense of the identity of the attackers and reason behind the fear of the woman which is not bombarded upon the audience until the few end minutes of the episode. At the end of this episode, you will have no idea who is in the right and who is in the wrong. The audience of this episode also partakes in the punishment of the woman by watching her misery and confusion much like the voyeuristic aspect is explored in the episode. This is again a fodder-for-mind kind of moment if we can remember how public execution used to function in the bygone eras of kings and the concept of the guillotine during French Revolution, both of which are voyeuristic in nature.

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3. Season 3 episode 2-“Playtest”

Here's All the Terrifying Technology That Inspired Black Mirror ...

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Wyatt Russell, naively, makes a deal with the devil, when he volunteers for the testing of a virtual-reality game that uses one’s own memory and plays out their worst fears. Who would want to experience how it feels when millions of spiders crawl into your skin, right? Along with Wyatt, the audience too is gripped with a fear of their worst nightmares. You would have the full experience if you see this episode for yourselves, without any explanation, so dive ahead, right now. It is one scary treat for sure.

There are games which have been developed like the concept of “Playtest”, such as 2015’s Nevermind. Click this link to know more about it- https://youtu.be/_H-nkpFhl2Y.

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4. Season 4 episode 4-“Hang the DJ”

A scene from "Black Mirror's" "Hang the DJ" episode. (Courtesy Netflix)

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In the world of Tinder and other dating apps, it is inevitable to go through some wrong dates, some people with whom you are incompatible to finally meet up with one who is a perfect match to your crazy. But if you find someone who seems like a dream come true, would you be curious to the deadline of that relationship, if you have that option to see, or would you be satisfied without knowing? This simple act of curiosity reduces Frank’s relationship with Amy, reduces the timeline of their relationship from several years to a few hours, which is determined by an app Coach, which is basically tinder but works on the compatibility of their personalities. So what would they do now? The conclusion of the episode, well, it is nothing sort of an unseen twist in the guts of the viewers. 

The act of seeing the deadline by Frank reflects the unsettling thought of a beautiful relationship coming to an end, which everyone experiences. But if you take it one day at a time and enjoy every moment of it or just torture yourself thinking about the end, that makes the whole difference in the longevity of the relationship.

5. Season 4 episode 6-“The Black Museum”

Poster and trailer for the Black Mirror season 4 episode Black Museum

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Here, three different stories are weaved together to render a dismal and miserable aspect of pleasure through experiencing or inflicting pain. A young woman, Nish (Letitia Wright), journeys to the “Black Museum” owned and run by Rolo Haynes. He takes pride in showcasing the illicit technologies he had collected over the years. One object is tied to Rolo’s past as a Neurological Research Recruiter. He persuaded a doctor to use an experimental implant to experience the pain of his own patients but that results in his addiction to the pain, and instead of saving his patients he now wants to kill them. Another item was a teddy bear that has the consciousness of a woman trapped in it. The final story is of the museum’s centerpiece, Clayton Leigh’s holographic projection, a convicted murderer, which is revealed was wrongfully accused. Haynes demonstrates how the visitors can recreate his last electrocution which resulted in his death. However, tables turn when Nish reveals that she is the daughter of Clayton. 

The race issue and how people from the black community are wrongfully convicted are not lost here. Even the title of the episode refers to how the main attraction of the museum is re-experiencing the plight of a black man, which makes the audience wonder about the sufferings of the black community and how they were treated during Slavery.

—Shruti Gupta