A couple of weeks ago, Netflix released an entire season of Black Mirror that proved why Black Mirror is this generation’s technological Twilight Zone. Whats great about Black Mirror is that its not some schlocky sci-fi series that tries to prepare us for some future terror, what makes Brooker’s writing so incredible is the fact that it feels as if he’s sharing his immense paranoia about the technological terrors of today and two years from now without giving us a solution, leaving us with that terrifying trauma as well.
Black Mirror fans are usually accustomed to three-episode seasons every once in a blue moon, which is why we can afford to space those three episodes over long periods of time which not only elongates the period we can love our favorite series for, but also prevents us from falling into a state of melancholia that can result from bingeing those first seasons of Black Mirror. With Netflix having acquired the torturously good British series and also having created the bingeing culture, there was a part of me worried about Brooker using his bigger budget and liberty to design six episodes that would destroy our souls as we were pressured to watch the season under a certain timeframe before everyone spoiled every twist meticulously crafted by Brooker. Then again, Brooker is an incredibly talented and intelligent human being that anticipated this way before us, recognizing he’s already tortured our souls for seven episodes, he knew how redundant it would become if every episode of Black Mirror ended up doing the same thing, which is why this is the first Black Mirror season to show an evolution of genre.
Over course we’ve got the classic Black Mirror episode that makes you reassess your position and life and bury your soul in the deepest layer of Hell, but Charlie Brooker also gives us the first comedic episode in the anthology series, as well as the first happy ending and the first horror themed episode perfect for Halloween viewing. Not only does Brooker present us with the usual greatness that every thing he writes entails, but he also chooses to experiment and in that experimentation bring us some of the best episodes this series has to offer. By doing this, Brooker keeps Black Mirror fresh and entertaining, adapting it to the binge-style viewing and helping the viewer not succumb to a state of misery as he attempts to watch the third season in under seven hours.
With the added episodes, Brooker does run a risk of quantity over quality and though that does occur in some instances, I can’t say there’s a single bad episode in this season of Black Mirror. Certainly some aren’t as good as other but every episode tackles the relationship between technology and humanity in its own special way. As for a standout of this season, you’ve probably heard everyone else already state this, but: San Junipero. Not only does a bring something entirely different in relation to tone and genre to the Black Mirror universe, but San Junipero is truly something magical. In its beautiful depiction of love crossing barriers, San Junipero is an episode crafted out of pure love that gives a glimpse into another side of Black Mirror that we could have never imagined being that touching. You kind of call what’s going on before its revealed, but San Junipero really isn’t about that, its about the emotional boundaries that are explored by stellar performances from both Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis. Understanding San Junipero as this season’s apex, that doesn’t devalue any of the other episodes in any way since they all great in their own way. Playtest is directed incredibly by Dan Trachtenberg and is just an awesome take on the horror genre from Brooker, Nosedive although not excellent serves as a really good entry point for new viewers as well as Black Mirror’s first comedic episode that satirizes the ego-centric vision of social media today. Hated in Nation is practically a movie and that also feels like an homage to The Birds in a way. While Shut Up and Dance which was my second favorite episode of season 3 hones in on the dangers of hackers today. What’s terrifying about it, is the immediate terror it brings to you as it depicts a scenario that although unlikely to occur to you, you can see happening and it is mortifying to see how this hacker manipulates these people who are crumbling under the weight of someone having complete authority over their mistakes.
With season 3, Black Mirror reaffirms its importance and relevance in the world of today. Not only does it present us with the alternate and horrifying outcomes our society could come to, but creator Charlie Brooker also does an incredible job in playing with tones and genres in order to adapt Black Mirror to the Netflix motto. In doing so, it never feels tacky or forced but he actually pulls it off in the most satisfying way possible for the viewer. Black Mirror’s third season doesn’t disappoint and only points towards greater things to come not that this relationship between Brooker and Netflix has been formed.