Black Mirror Season 3

7 Nov 2016

Black Mirror is one of those things that you either love or hate. You can really understand the concepts and the meaning behind them, or just disregard them completely, which is absolutely fine if it's not your thing! But I've loved Black Mirror ever since it hit our screens in 2011. When it was announced that Netflix had commissioned a third season, I was a little apprehensive, but I now know that I was completely wrong to be like that. It was just as great as the other seasons, and I'll be giving you a mini review for each episode in just a moment.

But first of all, if you haven't seen Black Mirror, it is quite a dark series that is themed around futuristic technologies and the consequences and anxieties of using them. It is an anthology series, so none of the episodes are related to each other, however, Charlie Brooker, the writer of the show, has stated that he could see sequels to a couple of past episodes, but it's likely that they won't happen. The first two seasons had three episodes each, and there was a Christmas special in 2014 (which is one of my favourite episodes), but the third season has six episodes, so Netflix were really treating us! It's often harrowing, a little scary, and downright mind-blowing at times. The stories and the technology that Brooker creates is so close to home sometimes, that it can make you stop and think. If that sounds like something you'd love, take a look at my thoughts on each episode.

Episode 1 - Nosedive
I really really liked the first episode, and it was one of those ones where I found myself saying "this could actually happen" constantly. This episode is set in a pastel coloured world (so very Instagram and Pinterest-ish) where people can view your social score, which is based on ratings from other people. People can rate others out of 5, and this is visible in real-time. It shows how someones obsession with garnering popularity and tailoring their social posts can be their downfall, so while the story is futuristic, it is definitely not out of reach. One thing I absolutely loved in this episode was the soundtrack, as it mimicked the sounds of the updating social scores, and I felt that it really gave depth to the storyline. I also think that Bryce Dallas Howard (you know, that lady from Jurassic World) was a superb addition, and she really acted the part well. Although her character was annoying at times, I really felt for her! While it wasn't quite as harrowing as past episodes, like White Bear, this was a fab episode!
Episode 2 - Playtest
Now, if you're a bit sensitive, this may not be the episode for you. It was very disturbing and really quite scary! This story follows Cooper, a man travelling around the world to escape his past, doing odd jobs to earn money on the way. He opts to take part in a playtest of a new horror game, and that's where things take a turn. There was a hell of a lot of backstory to this episode, but it becomes apparent why, so stick out the chatty bits! Much like Nosedive was set in a pastel world to create an Instagram-like effect, Playtest was very dark, mimicking modern horrors, which worked perfectly, along with the locations. That Gothic house though?! Also like the first episode, I LOVED the soundtrack. It reminded me so much of old school video games! This episode was very much like the past two seasons in that the boundaries were pushed and Brooker wasn't afraid to be too disturbing in his writing, but again, whilst the technology involved was intense and dramatic, it still has the potential to be real.

Episode 3 - Shut Up and Dance
Much like Playtest, I felt that this episode is very similar to past episodes. This story follows a young, quiet boy who is teased by his workmates, as he tries to stop an anonymous force from sharing video footage of him... erm, having an intimate moment with himself. It reminded me a lot of White Bear, as we are made to feel sorry for this boy, but by the end, we have to question our moral principles and the need for justice. We become so distracted by sympathy that we don't realise that we haven't a clue what was actually going on, so when the end hits, we are forced to take a step back and re-evaluate. It was extremely intense in places and I was completely on edge. Unlike the first two episodes, this one featured no new technology, which is what made it the most unnerving, as it could happen to anyone. The only bad thing I have to say about this episode is that it felt very quick to me. I would've liked to have seen more tasks take place, but still, it was really good.
Episode 4 - San Junipero
I don't think I'm alone when I say that this was my favourite episode of this entire season. It really went against everything that we know about Black Mirror, as it had a happy ending! There was no horrible, unexpected twist, and there was no one out to get anyone else. It was just a heart-warming and uplifting story, with a genius concept behind it. This follows a young woman as she tries to pursue another woman through a number of years. Honestly, that's all I can say about the story without giving too much away. You'll just have to watch and see! I will say though, it had me guessing the entire time, and I was genuinely amazed when I found out what was going on. I actually teared up a little! I fell in love with both of the girls, especially Kelly, and I was rooting for them from the very start. Colours were fab, the music was beyond fab, everything was just absolutely beautiful about this episode, and I can't rave about it enough. Definitely one of the best things I've watched this year. (A playlist of songs has been made on Spotify of tracks that did and didn't make it into this episode, so go and take a listen. Seriously.)

Episode 5 - Men Against Fire
This was probably the weakest episode for me. It was still good, but it made me think of the film The Fifth Wave a lot, so I already guessed what was going to happen. This episode follows a young man in the military as he battles against 'roaches', but he discovers that things aren't as they seem. Something I loved about it was the reference to Fifteen Million Merits, an episode from the first season, which is the first time I've noticed anything like that happen in Black Mirror. I also really liked the muted colours of this episode, but I just felt that the story had been done before. I didn't really feel a connection to any of the characters either, so I was a little disappointed. But I have seen many people raving about this one, so it's still worth a look.
Episode 6 - Hated In The Nation
Oh, this episode was brilliant. It runs for an hour and a half though, so it's definitely one that you need to get cosy for. The story follows two detectives as they try to solve a big murder case that involves social media and a whole ton of robotic bees. I know, sounds weird, but trust me, it's gripping. It made me a bit sad though, because in their world, all the bees had died, and that could actually happen in real life! I don't want the world to be full of robotic bees! This is another episode that I think fits into the Black Mirror we know and love, as it has the right amount of disturbing, brilliant writing, great acting (Faye Marsay and Kelly Macdonald were fab. I can't have been the only one that wanted them to get together..) and thought-provoking technology. It's definitely one of those episodes that makes you stop and think about what you're doing online. This is definitely something I can see myself watching again and again, and never getting bored. Yet again, this is something that isn't too far away from we currently know, so please, save the bees!

So those are my thoughts are the newest season of Black Mirror. If I were to give it a rating out of 5, it's definitely a solid 4.5. The only let down was Men Against Fire, but that being said, I can't wait to see what the team do with the next season. I'm always so excited to see what Brooker will think of next. His mind is just incredible, and I seem to find myself saying 'why didn't I think of that?' all the damn time. He's definitely an inspiration!
I'd love to know what you thought about this season. What was your favourite episode and what did you love about it?

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