Black Mirror: Season Four (2017) – Sharp Suspenseful Tales

After a long wait, pleasant, memorable, yet horror, “Black Mirror” back in 2017 with a six-episode portion. Since Brooker has aired each episode on Netflix, this season uses an anthology style. It told with unique styles and different genres in each episode. This season gives a great surprise, although almost all episodes seem predictable as well. Still, each episode makes you curious about every decision taken by the main character. In addition, the story of expect-the-unexpected becomes a combination of how this show works. So, bad luck and twist always end everywhere, including at the end of each episode.

“USS Callister” reminded me of how virtual reality technology is a part of our dream. The real the game is, the more chance the consequences arise. These could mean dying from the game or dying because trapped inside it. Similar to “Sword Art Online” but this isn’t a happy ending story for Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons). He is a programmer who works in a company in developing a simulation game. Ostracized and oppressed by his office colleagues, he made a version of Star Trek-like simulated world. He made it as a form of his anger. All characters in the simulation world are the copycat of his office friends.

Initially, Daly was an easy-to-sympathize character. However, this episode seems to try to convince us that he is an antagonist. I can’t really explain how this episode ended. In my opinion, the ending is so natural I can’t even say it’s a happy or bad ending. It’s quite similar to Hal 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey” where artificial intelligence has self-awareness. However, Daly acts as the most powerful person in his own world so no one could fight him. He lives in the shadow of his own world where he cannot take revenge in his life. This episode ends as he ends his own game, saying that he can only be trapped in his own world. You can’t get out. You stuck forever.

“Arkangel” is one episode with such an interesting premise but weak execution. I expect something more than the ending itself. This episode tells of a mother’s nightmare, Rosemarie DeWitt as Marie. After losing track of her three-year-old daughter, she tries to overprotective her. She decided to monitor her daughter with an application and implant named Arkangel. Marie can only track or find out the position of her, but it doesn’t end well. After growing up, this application is getting worse making Sara’s privacy (Brenna Harding) always seen.

To be honest, I expected something more than its premise was introduced where she would later turn into a psycho-like. But, there is nothing like that because it might lack common sense. This chemistry between the son and mother explains how being a mother is very difficult. However, there are limits to each person’s privacy whether it’s about a family because everyone has it. We cannot disturb them and even as a mother, Marie is an overprotective person. The implants have the same system in previous episodes where they are implanted through our head or mind. But, it’s like an emotional story with impressions of empathy about a line. To the story, it’s just quite different from the most episodes but it’s not too memorable personally.

An unpopular opinion, “Crocodile” is one of the grimmest episodes in this season. Hands down, the ending is trying to separate you about all the ways to get rid of everything. You do it for yourself or the person you care about the most. You would try to pretend to deal with it. Andrea Riseborough as Mia Nolan tried to fight innocent people whenever someone tried to haunt her through technology. This technology is able to recount someone’s memories as long as they hear or smell something on the scene. I really understand this episode is very predictable. But, Mia’s war dilemma was one of the things I sympathized with regardless of the ending. On the other hand, she has a family. She tries to be a good person but fails, tries to forget everything but fails too.

“Hang the DJ” might be a melancholy romance story but ended happily. This episode reminds me a bit of “San Junipero” where both also end with happy ever after, or maybe not. This episode explores a world of dystopia where a Siri-like dating app is the main technology. This virtual digital assistant works by determining our soul mate after 99.8% is accurate. They are Amy (Georgina Campbell) and Frank (Joe Cole). They are both people who are trapped in the system of the Maze Runner-like.

This episode really becomes a story where it returns to a separate one. This episode was originally cheesy but its world and rules of the technology made this episode interesting. There is a horror impression in it where when you already love him/her, it’s not accurate to what you expect. It’s a breaking-heart episode for most of it and depicted how a rom-com can also be very memorable. A coup for two likable characters between Amy and Frank.

At first, I thought “Metalhead” was an episode based on a metal song or any metalhead experience. I was wrong and this episode became the shortest episode in this season. With a simple story, Maxine Peake as Bella is a survivor. She tries to escape from the pursuit of a dog cyborg. With a black-and-white background marking this as a gloomy episode, it’s set in the post-apocalyptic period. It’s like a one-man show where only one character narrates while taking an action. Although it has other minor characters, the case is not like that.

You don’t want to meet this Metalhead dog robot because they have no empathy at all. They are just robots programmed by anyone we don’t really know. They can only smell where they are or not, and they only have one mission: kill the remaining ones. And even more horror, technology like this already exists regardless still in the development phase. Yet, it’s one of the scariest things how the world has turned into an apocalyptic just because of Metalhead. Not that these robots like metal music. Apparently, I’m also expecting something like which or watching this episode while listening to metal music. It’s one of the best visuals managed to capture its gloom but the ending is just piercing your heart.

“Black Museum” is the conclusion of the season and is one of the most special like “White Christmas“. It’s horror and has a similar concept about empty digital simulations. This episode tells about Nish (Letitia Wright) on her tour at Rolo Haynes’s Black Museum (Douglas Hodge). This episode has many easter eggs, especially technology, in previous episodes and seasons.

Haynes tells his history behind science and its three failed experiments. There is a technology that can move someone’s consciousness to someone else’s body regardless it’s not a new idea. The first two technologies are a tech where you can feel the pain of what others feel. The second is to revive someone in the form of a hologram. And also, this is an episode with a twist that connects the red thread of chemistry between Nish and Haynes. This episode is one of the most cynical, most horror in exploring the other side of mankind.

Monkey loves you and needs a hug. This season closes with its horror, unsettling stories, and a remarkable reflection of our future and today’s world. Some episodes are very predictable, especially for “Crocodile” and “Metalhead” which are the most widely criticized by audiences and critics. Although not many have aesthetic expectations and criticisms, this fourth season is an interesting spectacle. It still gives you the satirical criticism about the dark side of technology and one’s humanity when combined into one. Do they exist? Can they change the future? How can they be used wisely? What are the consequences?

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Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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