Black Mirror – Season Four (Part 1)

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Black Mirror – Season One
Black Mirror – Season Two + The Christmas Special
Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 1)
Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 2)

Welcome, folks! This is our continuation of reviewing Black Mirror together. There might be minor spoilers below, so be careful with reading it if you want to honestly go in blind to the episodes like we’ve been.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


USS Callister

We can both agree that this was the standout of the bunch. Usually, we judge that by how much we chat during the episodes. And this one had a lot of chatter for things that were good. And it’s an odd episode that really makes you see things from all sides, not only tying in the tech in past episodes and the implications of the tech.

I think what I enjoyed most about this episode was the way your perception is turned on its head. This is something that happened in “Shut Up and Dance”, one of our favorite episodes, where everything you thought you knew was wrong. I loved seeing that unfold throughout the episode. It questioned technology’s impact on morality and people’s role in it.

The comparison you brought up about “Shut Up and Dance” is apt. At the end of “Shut Up and Dance”, we discover that things weren’t what they led us to believe. In this, you find out pretty early on. You’re drawn to Robert Daly, the main character, as a sympathetic figure and then it slowly changes.

Largely, this episode deals with AI through technology that was introduced to us in White Christmas. When do these intelligent things we create become human? One day, maybe, AI can be called human because it thinks like we do, we can’t tell it apart from humans (i.e. The Turing Test), it feels genuine emotions, it can use/make tools, etc. I really just loved how this episode was crafted, from the characters to the funny one-liners and to that unsettling knot I got in my stomach as I watched the story unfold.

I think there are a few episodes we’ve seen thus far about what is AI and what is human and I think it’s a fascinating question. Are they human when they are self-aware? Or is it more than that. There was a lot of humor in this episode as it’s an homage to Star Trek. I’m not a big Star Trek fan, all I know is mostly from the J.J. Abrams movies but Star Trek is something that is ingrained in American culture. I’m sure that most people know about Kirk and Spock and their dynamics. There are moments of Star Trek that were pivotal to what could be done and shown on television back in the 60’s. So, even if you aren’t a Star Trek fan I think the episode stands on its own.

Chantel and I are different with our experience of Star Trek. I tried to watch the first of the new movies and meh. But I love the old, 60s TV show. Love it. It’s my shit. And this definitely had the 60s feel to it while also being very modern. It was a lot of fun and this probably is in my top three favorite episodes because of the dialogue they created about humanity.

Arkangel

This is the episode we disagree on. In short, this is about the dangers of helicopter parents, which is how I think the past couple generations have been raised. Personally, I haven’t been raised that way to the fullest sense, but I certainly didn’t have the freedom to run and figure out life like other generations did before me.

And this takes that to an extreme. In this episode, a mother gets her daughter fitted with technology that allows her to see her daughter’s life. No joke. She can actually see what her daughter sees. She knows what she’s eating. What she’s doing. Where she is. And on and on. Because of that, she failed to actually parent her child. She constantly did things for her child rather than let her fuck up and figure things out on her own, leading to a child who was extremely ill-equipped for reality.

I think that the way we disagree on this episode is that I thought it was okay and Caidyn thought it was good. I found it a bit boring at times and unrealistic. For example, there is a scene where the daughter does cocaine. She’s fifteen years old. I would’ve believed pot, but cocaine? I thought that was a bit extreme, however, this episode shows what the extreme of overprotectiveness can do to a child.

Throughout the episode, Caidyn and I were scolding the mother for everything she was doing because she was doing everything wrong. She had to raise a child on her own and she wasn’t prepared in the slightest, so she had this device implanted into her daughter so that she could protect her from everything. From the beginning, she blocks her daughter from anything that raises her cortisol levels, basically anything that causes her stress. This starts from a barking dog to violent videos.

At times, it does get a bit unbelievable, I agree with you there. But, then again, there were rumors about people doing meth when I was in middle school. Yay for small towns where there’s nothing else to do. We definitely had an issue with the overprotectiveness of the mother and how it could be interpreted as an issue against single mothers/parents. That they’re incapable of doing the hard things and need someone else there. But that’s just not true. It’s that this specific parent was incapable and they showed that from the beginning of the episode, being unable to even give birth. In the scene, she barely looked flustered or sweaty or like she had been at all.

But I think we differ with this episode because I was able to take away my dislike of the characters and their choices and found it an interesting meditation on helicopter parents. That’s what made it good to me. I enjoyed how that was finally addressed since it’s so prevalent as the younger generations grow up.

Yes, throughout the episode I felt like someone could watch this episode and take away the message that single parents have a negative effect on their children. As a child of a single parent who mostly has her shit together, I strongly disagree with that argument. I’m not sure if that was the intention of the writer, but it can be interpreted that way. That’s not to say that my mom wasn’t overprotective because she was.

I don’t know if anyone else remembers those “Stranger Danger” videos in elementary school, but I do. I’m only a few years younger than you and I remember a cop coming in about it, but I, apparently, didn’t think it was important enough to fully remember the message. Everyone was afraid of kidnapping when I was young and I get it. I get the desire to want to watch over your kids and make sure they don’t get hurt, but when you try to control what they do it’s not going to work out. Hopefully, they aren’t doing cocaine, but as a teenager, you want to experiment and try different things. I can only imagine how difficult that is as a parent.

Overall, I think the episode provided an interesting commentary on parenting but I thought it was a bit weak with the execution. Sorry, Jodie Foster.

Crocodile

This one really bored me. Straight up bored me. I mean, I can barely remember the plot I was bored so much.

Basically, it was about a woman who was involved in an accidental death and her and the other person involved hid the body. Then he wants to come out and say what happened while she’s become a highly successful person. It devolved from there into madness and pointlessness.

I agree. This one was dullsville. I kept shaking my head at every moment because I felt it was very stupid. I didn’t understand the main character’s actions and I didn’t care. She was stupid. This episode was stupid. I didn’t like it.

And that ending? It was so stupid. There were characters that had no point and then the end. Ugh. It could have been a lot better if handled a different way. And that’s literally all we have to say about this.

Our ratings

Caidyn’s ratings:

  1. USS Callister
  2. Arkangel
  3. Crocodile

Mine are the same. I felt pretty underwhelmed with the episodes except USS Callister.

And, I think we disagree there. For me, Crocodile was the least interesting and the other two came up with good commentaries, although I’d only really want to rewatch USS Callister.

One thought on “Black Mirror – Season Four (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Black Mirror – Season Four (Part 2) | BW Book Reviews

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