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Technology’s Dark Future: A Look at Black Mirror Season Four

Emma Cohen, Staff Writer

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As the temperature outside drops and people seek refuge in their homes, they cuddle into their blankets and sit wide-eyed, staring at the screen before them. They watch the pictures flash in and out, listening to the voices of the actors on the screen. They try to comprehend what messages are being conveyed, and when it comes to shows like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, those messages can prove to be revealing.

Since the release of season four on December 29th, social media sites and school hallways have been buzzing with talk of the new installment. “The new season of Black Mirror is quite intense but really great,” said Nikita Mahadeo (‘18). And she isn’t the only one who feels this way. “Compared to the other seasons, I think that this season is the best. As a whole, it’s more thought-provoking than the others,” said Elizabeth Densen (‘18). Mahadeo also explained that unlike previous seasons, season four has a constant theme throughout. “Each standalone produces a theme where the characters are being controlled by someone or something. These characters are then forced to live their lives in the ways they are told to do so.”

Black Mirror is a science-fiction drama that addresses the common topic of technology. It can also be characterized as dystopian and contemporary. Each episode acts as a standalone and presents a society that has been transformed by some kind of technological advancement. It then proceeds to follow the life of an ordinary person in said society. It raises certain questions such as how technology can affect a person’s psyche, and if the technology created has actually improved a person’s life or not. It makes the viewer wonder if the society created is a good place to be. “The whole show is amazing! It makes you think about society, social media, technology, and just the way that we live,” said Densen.

Throughout the show, subtle references to previous episodes are dropped, and some episodes feature similar types of technology. Since the show’s initial debut in 2011, it has been nominated for numerous awards, winning the Peabody Award in 2015 and an Emmy in 2012, as well as others.

Many people find the show to be too disturbing, and maybe it is. “Personally, I’m scared of just about everything,” admitted Densen. But she went on to explain that some of the episodes aren’t scary at all. “If anything, they’re just extremely realistic. But I think that it is essential that everyone watches at least a couple of episodes of this show because we should become [aware] of what technology is doing to our lives.”

The show is dark and realistic—but that’s the point. “This show’s main purpose is to satirize modern society and technology’s impact on it,” said Densen. Furthermore, Mahadeo voiced her opinion that the show was meant to point out that technology comes with a price. “Everything is, essentially, connected, but it is up to the audience to figure out the connection and work to fix it,” said Denson.

Overall, Black Mirror is a great, thought-provoking show; and it looks like season four doesn’t disappoint. “If anyone is into edgy sci-fi and loves to binge a good series, Black Mirror is definitely the show for them,” said Mahadeo.

For those of you interested, here is a quick, non-spoilery overview of each episode in season four:

 

“USS Callister”

Robert Daly is the Chief Technical Officer at Callister Inc., and the creator of the virtual reality game, Infinity, which is inspired by Star Trek. When he plays, he assumes the role of Captain Robert Daly, a supposedly brave and generous leader, on his ship, the USS Callister. However, when Daly introduces a new character to the game, this person will discover that things aren’t as great as they may seem.

 

“Arkangel”

A woman inserts a cutting-edge device into her daughter, Sara, after going through the traumatic experience of losing her in the park for a panic-filled few hours. This new device acts as a tracker and is used to ensure Sara’s safety. But, it can do other things, too.

 

“Crocodile”

A woman named Mia tries to build a future after a terrible accident, yet finds that she can’t after someone with a guilty conscience from her past returns. Meanwhile, an insurance investigator begins to go through people’s memories to gain information about a recent car accident.

 

“Hang the DJ”

In a world where people’s lives are run by a dating program, each person is put into numerous relationships, each of which is given an expiration date until the ultimate match is found. But, when Frank and Amy’s relationship expires, they begin to think that maybe the system doesn’t work.

 

“Metalhead”

Bella, after trying to obtain supplies for a friend in need, ends up running for her life as a deadly machine begins to hunt her down through an abandoned area after killing her friends.

 

“Black Museum”

Nish explores a museum in which the stories behind the showcased items are revealed by the man in charge of both the museum’s opening and the gruesome stories behind its exhibit.

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About the Writer
Emma Cohen, Staff Writer
Emma Cohen (’18) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. She is a member of the Book Club and does MMA kickboxing. When she’s not working or spending time with friends and family, you can find her nose-deep in a book, playing video games or at Starbucks.
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Technology’s Dark Future: A Look at Black Mirror Season Four