Available on Netflix for your binge-watching displeasure, series 3 of Black Mirror has six episodes but don’t let the increased quantity fool you into thinking its quality is diluted in any way. Here’s how I rate each episode, in order from least to most favourite:
6. Men Against Fire
I didn’t actually finish this episode. Should I? Soldiers with chips in their brain and feral subhumans: it was just a bit too comic book for me and I felt the episode didn’t have that darkly relatable edge that the others do.
5. San Junipero
The anachronistic costumes and soundtrack are absolutely perfect in this uncharacteristically heart-warming episode. Set in an 1980’s West Coast simulation, the cinematography is breathtaking and beautiful. San Junipero is the place and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is The One.
Episode 2, Playtest, was by far the most fun for me. When American tourist, Cooper, runs out of money in London, he signs up to participate in trials for a revolutionary VR gaming experience. There are a fair few jumpy moments in this one, but scariest of all is how close to feasible the plot probably is.
3. Shut Up And Dance
The nightmarish prospect of being blackmailed over his private internet use is the fate that befalls Kenny. With some beautiful turns of phrase from Jerome Flynn too, Alex Lawther, the young actor who plays our pitiful protagonist is excellent. This episode was hideous and anxiety-inducing from beginning to end. You just don’t know who to root for.
2. Hated In The Nation
This long-player (90 minutes!) incorporates themes of social media outrage and government surveillance with a sort of hashtag-fuelled murder roulette. Another episode where the fantasy is a little bit too close to reality, when a momentary lack of judgement leads to the ultimate public judgement.
Thee most relatable episode ever, where everyone is judged by a Klout-style rating* which can influence every aspect of your life, from job prospects to where you can rent. Lacie, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is singular in her dedication to improving her rating, and seizes the opportunity to attend a high society wedding and boost her score. Anyone who has sat refreshing an Instagram post, willing the likes to go into double figures, will find this haunting.
Born to be wild,
*I checked my Klout score for this. 51/100!