The Crew of the USS Callister, led by the notorious Captain Robert Daly, stands aboard their ship’s bridge in the first episode of Black Mirror’s fourth season. (Black Mirror)
The Crew of the USS Callister, led by the notorious Captain Robert Daly, stands aboard their ship’s bridge in the first episode of Black Mirror’s fourth season.

Black Mirror

Fourth Season of ‘Black Mirror’ thrills, chills audiences

January 25, 2018

Originally launched in 2011, Black Mirror started out as a British show focusing on the harmful impacts of advancing technology. The show quickly began receiving attention throughout the UK as well as the States, with episodes such as “Nosedive” and “The Entire History of You” helping to project the series into the Netflix mainstream. On December 29, the anthology series debuted its much-anticipated fourth season.

Packed with various equally thrilling episodes, this season kicked off the with the Star Trek homage “USS Callister”. The episode proved to be disturbing as much as entertaining; fans were kept on the edge of the seats rooting for the crew trapped aboard the video game mod-manufactured USS Callister, a spaceship under control of Captain Robert Daly’s unkempt wrath.

This season also tugged parents’ heartstrings with the Jodie Foster-directed episode “Arkangel”. The episode exposes the disturbing nature of overprotective parenting with a dark twist: a device that enables you to constantly track your child’s whereabouts and censor everything and anything bad in the world.

Next in the series is the slightly surprising episode “Crocodile” which casts a relatively positive (but still twisted and unethical) light on the technology being used; a device which can look into one’s short-term memories and display them on a monitor in a murky play-by-play fashion.

The chilling and cold-blooded nature of “Crocodile” is thawed out by the heartwarming and sweet contents of “Hang the DJ”, which follows the relationship of characters Frank and Amy living in a “singles-looking-to-mingle” society. The society essentially revolves around a technologically-advanced dating app which matches the user with a partner for a fixed amount of time and eventually selects your “ultimate partner” with whom the user is destined to spend his or her life. This episode is a fan favorite among many, and underscores how much our current society seems to converge with dark characteristics in Black Mirror’s universe.

The fifth episode, “Metalhead,” seemed to be the most bleak and confusing episode of the season,  but it still has its entertaining aspects. The episode takes place in what seems to be a post-apocalyptic world run by sentient robot dogs determined to kill any human in their wake. The scariest things about these metal mutts is not their creepy body structure, but rather a spherical bomb-like device that shoots up and blasts GPS-embedded shrapnel into whoever is nearby, enabling the dogs to track down and kill fleeing prey. The episode also happens in black-and-white, painting a more dismal and detached appearance, contributing to the overall fear factor and aesthetically-pleasing cinematography.

The season finishes off with “Black Museum”, an adventure that intertwines gory violence with bizarre comic relief. Unlike other episodes, which focus on a single story with an unsettling ending, this episode’s multiple stories serve just as much justice to satisfy audiences as it does foreboding, torture-tainted moments to finish off Black Mirror’s fourth installment with a bang.

Verdict: 9.5/10

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