No throwaway episode in 4th season of ‘Black Mirror’ | Inquirer Entertainment

No throwaway episode in 4th season of ‘Black Mirror’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:10 AM December 15, 2017

Scene from “USS Callister” —Netflix

There’s good reason why “Black Mirror,” the tech-horror TV anthology series created by Charlie Brooker, deserves the growing anticipation it’s generating for its latest season.

Many of the sci-fi show’s six episodes for Season 4, which will be streamed on Netflix beginning Dec. 29, are just as pertinent in theme and innovative in execution as “San Junipero,” the sexually provocative fourth episode in the third season that won Primetime Emmy Awards early this year—for Outstanding TV Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.


Inspired by the cautionary yarns inventively spun by the remarkable likes of “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Black Mirror” will ruffle some feathers for its out-of-the-box storytelling. We’re happy to note that the brand-new season has no throwaway episodes.

Season 4 features standalone stories that shine the spotlight on “alternative” realities examining the unanticipated consequences of new technology, so viewers need not binge-watch for days to get to the bottom of a contentious issue.


Jodie Foster, the director of the episode “Arkangel,” laments the scarcity of short features these days. “Today, they’re all about big movies and TV [shows] made in eight seasons. [But] I think the short story is the most perfect art form,” she told Empire magazine.

Jodie Foster helms “Arkangel”—AP

In “Arkangel,” the Oscar-winning actress-director shows the downside of “curated” reality and the very real dangers of excessive parental love as it tells the story of a mother (Rosemarie DeWitt) who uses a sophisticated surveillance tool—a tracking device—to protect her daughter (Brenna Harding) from the evils of modern-day living.
“Black Museum” is a three-in-one compendium about people who misuse power and technology, and how their misdeeds eventually catch up with them. Director Colm McCarthy finds harrowing ways to cogently fuse three cautionary tales that converge and conflagrate in a deserted crime museum.

If you like chillers that give you the heebie-jeebies, the urgently paced “Metalhead” is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat as it follows how a deadly robotic dog terrorizes rebels (Maxine Peake) in a post-apocalyptic world.

Set on Iceland’s snow-covered hills and shot in eerie black and white, “Crocodile” is about how Mia (Andrea Riseborough) ends up committing one crime after another when her wayward, drug-addled past comes back to haunt her.

The season’s best episode is a toss-up between the love story “Hang the DJ” and the “Star Trek”-channeling “USS Callister,” whose riveting tales stress how our lives are irrevocably changed by computer programs and digital technology.

In the case of “Hang the DJ,” it isn’t hard to imagine tech-reliant netizens falling victim to a phone app-based dating system, in which people go on a series of prearranged dates—until they find the perfect match.

In director Tim Van Patten’s rom-com, sparks fly when Frank (Joe Cole) and Amy (Georgina Campbell) are paired up with each other. Imagine their frustration when the app tells them they only have 12 hours to spend with each other before they’re given new dating partners! What can they do to circumvent the system and ride happily into the sunset?


For its part, the deliciously kitschy but ominous “USS Callister” is just as entertaining as it is imaginative. We can’t tell you much about the story or how it plays out, to let you experience the heady thrills of discovering its circuitous twist.

Suffice it to say that the episode is about clones caught in a digital bubble, where “victims” are trapped in an “eternal waking nightmare.”

Intrigued? On Dec. 29, be prepared to get blown away when “The Black Mirror” returns.

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TAGS: Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, Netflix
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