It is unfortunate to say that season five of Black Mirror was the most disappointing season. Not because it had three episodes. Because they weren’t that strong of episodes. If you remember, the first two seasons of this series only contained three episodes. Many fans are left wondering if this is all Black Mirror has left in them. If maybe working on Bandersnatch took up all their time and creativity. Regardless, it’s still one of the most shocking and on the edge of your seat series ever. Every episode has us questioning the use of technology and if we as humans are going to cause our own destruction.
So, without further adieu, let’s dive into the best episode from each season. Disclaimer: this contains spoilers and is completely opinion-based.
The Entire History of You. In a season that consisted of an episode where a Prime Minister had sex with a pig and another episode didn’t hit the mark in its criticism of the popularity of talent shows, The Entire History of You is a standout. Humans essentially have a device implanted in them that allows them to record everything. Due to the main character, Liam; becoming suspicious of his wife having an affair, he obsessively goes through his memories to see the signs. We see this character’s descent into madness as he’s threatening others and forcing them to delete memories. This episode was heart-pounding and incorporated advanced technology with real-life human emotions and therefore, really hit the mark.
White Bear. An argument could be made that Be Right Back deserves this spot, but while that a heartbreaking tale, White Bear encompasses that typical shocking and staunch twist Black Mirror is known for. We originally started with a woman being chased throughout the day, forced into horrific situations. All while onlookers record the events on their phones, without even lending a hand. What you find out later is definitely shocking and you feel less and less bad for this woman’s ordeal. White Bear has that twist that we expect from Black Mirror and really bends your perception.
White Christmas. I had to shed light on Jon Hamm’s Christmas Special episode for Black Mirror. Not only because it’s Jon Hamm, but because it’s generally a great episode. It was a memorable episode with the type of cinematography, writing, and special sauce that Bandersnatch failed to deliver. Sorry. But, when we meet Jon Hamm, we are to assume he’s living in a cabin with another man on an assignment and the two are simply “shooting the shit”. It becomes apparent that this is not the case, as both Hamm’s character and the man he’s talking to have secrets they’re hiding that make neither of them saints. The entire episode is messed up and the end has us all wondering if we would all just prefer jail time to what Hamm’s character gets.
San Junipero. I really would love to give this to either Nosedive or Shut Up and Dance. Both of those episodes are perfect. I could go on about how both took the viewer on a journey and gave us very poignant episodes. But, I have to give this to San Junipero. Not only was this a beautiful love story between the two women in the episode, but it’s the one case where the technology in the episode actually feels like a good thing. You see, San Junipero is a virtual world where the dead and those dying can choose to upload their consciousness to it. One character, Yorkie; has been paralyzed for forty years. She had gotten into a car accident after running off because her family didn’t accept her for coming out. So, this is the only way she can experience what she could never have in the “real world”. It’s a beautiful episode that should be watched and celebrated.
USS Callister. A Black Mirror episode in a mock Star Trek format? Sign me up. You started this episode almost feeling bad for the character Robert Daly. You then find out throughout the episode that he is just an entitled “nice guy” who takes rejection or perceived rejection so badly he captures and traps his real-life co-workers’ consciousness into a virtual reality game. And then proceeds to torture them by making them play into this game and if they don’t, it’s not good. Jimmi Simpson is particularly great in this episode, but to be honest – they all were. Out of season four, which in on itself wasn’t the best; USS Callister was in top form.
Smithereens. As I said earlier, season five was a letdown. But, among the three episodes, Smithereens is a good episode. A damn good one. There’s just not enough Black Mirror elements to it. Still, Andrew Scott knocked it out of the park with his performance as a grieving widow who goes to the extreme to finally tell the story of his fiance’s death. One could argue that Smithereens is a cautionary tale against the obsession we have with social media, but it’s really about a man finally taking responsibility for a tragedy in his life. Scott should receive an Emmy for the acting job he did in this episode and for a full review on Smithereens, click here.
What are some of your favorite Black Mirror episodes?
A girl with too many fandoms to count.