The “black mirror” is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. It is the dark, cold, and shiny wall that is your phone, your TV, and your monitor. When you think about, it is actually the one thing that you are likely to see the most throughout your day (other than what turns up after you scroll right and unlock it). To be fair, perhaps it has never crossed your mind, but it certainly keeps the #BlackMirror creator, Charlie Brooker, awake at night:
"In reality the world isn’t black and white, more like 50 shades of grey, a punishing story in which everything and everyone is f*cked.”
After two full bizarre seasons and an equally bizarre Christmas special, Netflix has finally unleashed their Black Mirror. Black Mirror started out a BBC anthology series, a sort of 21st century Twilight Zone of misery and forced personalities at the forefront merely to bask in digital nirvana.
The third season, you must be warned, has clearly received a much more significant budget and a much more signifiant Americanization. Of course, that is not to say that the series has completely lost its satirical genesis. On the bright side, however, the series has been given more episodes — just enough for Brooker and co. to span their scope in bringing more dread and panic to the lives they touch, which (ironically) all begin with the touch of a screen or keyboard.
What shows like Black Mirror and Mr. Robot are trying to warn us (or prepare us for, depending on your view) is up for further discussion, but let us all agree that the return of Black Mirror was a welcomed one and it certainly did not disappoint with its dreadfulness.
Here Are The Top 18 WTF Moments Of Dread In Black Mirror Season 3
18. Will You Rank Me? ('Nosedive,' Episode 1)
This season premiere sets the tone for the rest of the new season. It is also the episode that Charlie Brooker shares co-writing credit with actress Rashida Jones and Mike Schur of Parks and Recreation. Not that Brooker isn’t a phenomenal writer already (I mean, who can come up with such stories?), but one can easily detect the American pop culture and societal humor that only Rashida Jones and Mike Schur can convey.
This pops up in the first few minutes of the episode and sets up the importance of societal views to absolute perfection — one where your future career, choices, and friends all cling onto the number of times people "like" your appearance or posts. It is definitely a powerful message that warns us of our inevitable transition into public opinion. There should also be some points given to the episode for not delving into political undertones such as gender and class, instead just relying heavily on the absurdity of its theme.
17. Susan! What The Hell? ('Nosedive,' Episode 1)
How does Susan go from above over 4.0 to a horrid 1.4? Based on a scale up to 5.0, your entire future relies on those numbers. Cherry Jones is always a joy to watch on the screen; her character is by far the most interesting. As someone who has stopped giving a sh*t about her scores, Susan says what she wants to whomever she wants, which is something that Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) simply marvels at. She is experienced and unfazed, which makes her a 5.0 in our books.
16. F*****CK YOOOUUUU!! ('Nosedive,' Episode 1)
Best. Ending. Ever. While we won’t give too much away, we will tell you that this is the most natural scene in all of Black Mirror history. A straight up, old-fashioned roast battle where face-to-face combat is imminent in success. It is so easy to say whatever one wants behind the comfort of their computer screen and keyboard, but this ending had such an organic approach — one that was more than welcomed after scene after scene of phones blocking people’s faces.
15. This Is Going To Be A Pain In The Neck ('Playtest,' Episode 2)
That pun was all too perfect! The second that “mushroom” is injected into the back of the neck of the doomed Cooper (Wyatt Russell) we should all come to the conclusion that no good will come of this.
14. The Past Comes Alive ('Playtest,' Episode 2)
Again, we won’t reveal too much, but the past is something that haunts Cooper. It will be the past that heads to the frontline during his nightmare. Coming in the form of bullies, girls, and his mother, these past elements all contribute to the spiraling descent in this new Saito Gamer simulation.
13. Home ('Playtest,' Episode 2)
It would not be an episode of Black Mirror if the new generation of social media users had a moral lesson that ended in positivity. If past episodes such as "Fifteen Million Merits" and "White Bear" taught us anything, it is that the time for help usually comes when it is too late. Directed brilliantly by Dan Trachtenberg, the man behind the superb claustrophobia-induced 10 Cloverfield Lane, the episode provides just the right balance of homeliness and unfamiliarity in his framing.
12. Duration ('Playest,' Episode 2)
Now this one is a bit of a spoiler so are being forewarned. The majority of the episode deals with Cooper coming to terms with his past in nightmarish circumstances. To think that more then 40 minutes of bloody and emotional turmoil all amounted to 0.04 seconds is quite the low blow and, quite frankly, only something Charlie Brooker could have come up with. What was the reason behind this? When Cooper is left alone in the room, he takes out his phone, after it was turned off, and takes a photo of what Saito Gamer is working on, accidentally leaving his phone on. It is only after his mother calls for the two billionth time that there is a signal interference that causes miscalculation. Still, to think that all of that happened in less than a second warrants another mind explosion.
11. The Cake ('Shut Up And Dance,' Episode 3)
You know you got something good on someone when you can get them to do the things that these characters do. By far the best episode this season, "Shut Up and Dance" is not only the most realistic of all the episodes, but, in the vein of the very first episode, "The National Anthem,"The National Anthem is the most timely and relevant. Hacking into people’s personal computers and blackmailing them is quite a vicious and, admittedly, real-life issue today. The porn industry can thank Charlie Brooker and William Bridges for their revenue loss after this one, but in the meantime, just cover up the camera on your laptops.
10. Fight Club ('Shut Up And Dance,' Episode 3)
Part of the reason why this episode really works is the way it is written. Instead of just dumping all of the information on you in one moment, the episode is smart in pulling back the layers and revealing bit by bit who the characters really are (even the main character). Every person that our main character Kenny (Alex Lawther) encounters is in the same boat as he. They are all being blackmailed and while we never know the identity of the person (or persons) behind all of this, it is nonetheless a thrilling ride that leaves you wondering what will happen next, especially when it comes to why these two fight.
9. 'Exit Music (For A Film)' ('Shut Up And Dance,' Episode 3)
Kenny and Hector (Jerome “Bronn” Flynn) spend the entirety of the episode following orders, but will it work out for them in the end? We sympathize for them, and the other characters who are forced along the trail by blackmail as well. But as stated, the episode is smart in its unveiling of the characters, particularly at the end. You know you have written a masterpiece when you have us guessing about even the main character until the end. Radiohead’s "Exit Music (For a Film)" song is also a nice touch.
8. The Quagmire ('San Junipero,' Episode 4)
Now, just like "Shut Up and Dance" is the best episode of Black Mirror Season 3, "San Junipero" is probably its weakest. It is by no means a bad episode, but it just wasn’t all too interesting. I mean, you can’t follow up a thriller like "Shut Up and Dance" with a multifaceted, time-jumping romance episode. Unlike the other episodes, this one takes place in the past (1987 to be exact). We jump between the present and future like tequila shots, but it never really amounts to anything. However, the Quagmire sequence is pretty entertaining. As Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) arrives in this dystopian-esque club where leather and insanity compliment one another, we feel the same sense of discomfort and uncertainty as she does.
7. War Zone ('Men Against Fire,' Episode 5)
Brooker’s most entertaining action set piece. A group of soldiers are protecting a village from “roaches” and are given some high-#technology weaponry to do so. It is a philosophical social commentary about warfare and the encouragement to commit violent acts, yet it also asks some difficult questions regarding PTSD.
6. Fivesome Anyone? ('Men Against Fire,' Episode 5)
I can’t really describe this scene other then to just say it. Stripes (Malachi Kirby) has a POV dream sequence where he has fivesome with four of the same exact woman. I’m gonna leave you with that thought.
5. Sure! Why Not? ('Men Against Fire,' Episode 5)
For some overwhelmingly bizarre reason, Stripes glitches and awakes from his sex dream. To his amazement, as he sits up and looks around to notice that all of the other soldiers he shares a bunker with are having a similar dream based on their hand movements. Can we just discuss how the military has full control over a soldier’s dream and has to write them a prescription in order to let them have a sexual fantasy in a dream? It is a haunting question that we as a society will inevitably come to terms in answering as we move towards a less private life in the future.
4. Not Your Normal ‘Roaches’ ('Men Against Fire,' Episode 5)
Roaches have been terrorizing small villages as well as the people who inhabit them for some time. These are zombies of some sort, but with a much more menacing facial figure. As Stripes encounters his "roaches" at the beginning, we come face to face with these creatures and it is quite the terrorizing experience. As the episode progresses, we begin to understand the evolution of these creatures as well as the animosity they face from the other side.
3. You've Gone Viral ('Hated In The Nation,' Episode 6)
Charlie Brooker has openly admitted that there is a possibility of these characters recurring in upcoming episodes. It follows Karin Parke (Kelly MacDonald) and Blue Perrine (Faye Marsay) as they investigate the bizarre murders of the most hated individuals. Like "The National Anthem" and "Shut Up and Dance," this storyline takes place in the not-so-distant future where viral is key. Would you follow the hashtag #ToDeath to a celebrity that you did not like? It is a morality question that is at the forefront of the episode as well as the idea that what is popular is not always a good thing.
2. Braindead ('Hated In The Nation,' Episode 6)
Brooker wrote a satirical article called “Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley, Jr. — Where Are You Now That We Need You” that criticized the Bush administration. He received a lot of flack for that article, but it helped influence this episode greatly (particularly with the character Jo Powers). Some of the most hated people in the country are given quite a headache for their supposed misdeeds. It is definitely a painful death, but man, what a way to go.
1. The Bees! The Bees! ('Hated In The Nation,' Episode 6)
Now, I don’t know what I should find scarier: what these robot bees are capable of, or the fact that robot bees is actually a conversation that scientists are having right now in real time? Yes, these detectives are investigating robot bees, but it does not falter in the territory of The Happening. It is a compelling and visually stunning episode that is complimented by the adept work of Kelly MacDonald and director James Hawes. These are just some of the many elements that work not only make robot bees believable, but a very real and potential threat.
What are you favorite WTF moments from this season of Black Mirror?