Black Mirror: Season Three [Series Review]

A review of the now Netflix original series "Black Mirror" with not too many spoilers.

Photo+via+Flickr+under+creative+commons+license.
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Black Mirror: Season Three [Series Review]

Photo via Flickr under creative commons license.

Photo via Flickr under creative commons license.

Photo via Flickr under creative commons license.

Photo via Flickr under creative commons license.

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  Originally broadcast on the British network Channel 4, “Black Mirror” is a Sci-Fi anthology series. It criticizes culture through its use of dark and sometimes satirical themes regarding the dangers of technological advancements in modern society. The creator of the show Charlie Brooker stated that, “each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.”

   The show was picked up as a Netflix original in September 2015  planning for a third season of twelve episodes; however this was split up into two seasons of six episodes. The show’s third season was released on October 21st, 2016 and the fourth season is planned to be released in 2017. If the third season is any indication of what is to come, I am thoroughly excited.

  The first episode of season three is titled “Nosedive”. It displays a somewhat futuristic world where every person is equipped with smart devices and eye modifications by which they can view every other person’s name, social media account, and personal rating (based upon a five star system). The episode is based around the perspective of a rating-obsessed woman named Lacie Pound. Lacie Pound is an example of what we as people are becoming; completely obsessed with our public image ignoring people that care, and gravitating towards and idolizing those who seem to be liked by many. This episode was a refreshing reintroduction to the series after waiting so long for the third season’s release and was probably the most light-hearted of all the episodes. 

  The second episode of the season is titled “Playtest”. It outlines the story a young man named Cooper traveling across the world to escape his past. He finds himself stuck in London with no money due to his bank account being compromised. He turns to a fictional app called “Oddjobs” which is a list of jobs to perform quickly to make money. He finds a job for play-testing new technology made by a popular horror game company called “SaitoGemu”. They show to him an augmented-reality display chip which allows him to see and hear 3D-rendered models within the real world. As the episode progresses, the line between reality and the game blurs leaving Cooper and the viewer of the episode left wondering if what they see is real or merely a part of the game. The episode focuses on the fact that current gaming technologies and their successors may lead to reality and fiction being so similar that it is unrecognizable to tell.

  The third episode of the season is titled “Shut Up and Dance”. It shows a normal kid who gets caught up in something he shouldn’t; his sister infects his laptop with malware. He installs a software called “Shrive” in order to remove the malware from his laptop. Through the software, he gets recorded and blackmailed from this recording. He is told a series of commands through his texts and is ordered to follow them or the recording will be released. He meets a series of people who are in the same predicament and ends up teaming up with one of them. The episode focuses primarily on cyber-security and how hackers are able to weaponize shame against those hacked.

   The fourth episode of the season is titled “San Junipero”. It presents a seemingly dreamlike place called San Junipero in the 1980s. The story focuses on a woman named Yorkie who wishes to have a good time. She meets a woman named Kelly, who certainly knows how to party, and they become friends after Yorkie reveals to Kelly that she has never danced before. Later, the two start a homosexual relationship. The story focuses primarily on nostalgia and how relevant and powerful it is in today’s society. It also has underlying themes of acceptance as well as moving on from one’s past and enjoying one’s present (and future).   

The fifth episode of the season is titled “Men Against Fire”. It exhibits a rookie member of the military known mainly as “Stripe”. This military organization is equipped with a high-tech implant called a Mass system in which they are able to see outlined maps, plans, etc. holographically in the real world. It is told to the viewer that this organization is  hunting something labeled “Roaches”. It is shown to the audience that these “Roaches” are human-like creatures that have deformed faces and cannot speak. “Stripe” is able to kill two of these “Roaches”, but one of the “Roaches” uses a piece of technology that seemingly disrupts functions of his Mass system. He begins to experience unexplained ‘glitches’. The episode poses many questions regarding military technology, empathy and war. It was by far one of the most philosophically moving episodes

The sixth and final episode of the season is titled “Hated in the Nation”. The episode is presented as a nod to Scandinavian Noir thrillers such as The Killing. The story follows the investigation into the murder of a woman named Jo Powers, a journalist, who was sent death threats and bashed on social media. That’s all I’m willing to give away. In my opinion, this episode was perfect. It shows how little consequences there are for what happens upon social media. It mentions the fact that the bee population is declining and presents a robotic alternative. It shows just how self-righteous people can be. It’s wonderfully suspenseful and extremely illuminating. All of the issues presented are extremely relevant to today.

  Each episode is well thought-out and gives the viewer a glimpse into what could be if we as people are careless with technology and/or our public image. The show is riveting and filled with suspense for the first viewing, but once the watcher takes a step back and truly analyzes the allegorical meaning behind each episode they realize more about society as a whole. “Black Mirror” is not only a wonderfully enjoyable sci-fi series, but it is also a philosophical question begging to be answered, “Is this who we want to become?” The title of the series “Black Mirror” was carefully chosen as it displays a dark reflection of who we as people could become if we are uncareful.

 

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