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June 21, 2023


After four years of waiting, the sixth season of Black Mirror is finally here, and what better way to introduce newcomers to this sci-fi anthology series than by looking back and discussing some of the best moments it has to offer.

For those that haven’t seen the contemporary TheTwilight Zone-type show, this article will be the perfect primer for Charlie Brooker’s brilliant series because I will be handing out awards to several episodes. To me, these are the best places for you to dive in as a new fan. Before I do that, though, remember that each self-contained episode examines what technology can bring to the world and how it can mirror, and even magnify, the ugliest and darkest aspects of human nature.

With that said, don’t be afraid to use your phones, tablets, or computers to read this article because I promise it’s worth your while. And although I hope it doesn’t bring out your darkest aspects, it will make you intrigued enough to finally give this show a watch.


“San Junipero” (Season Three)


It shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite Black Mirror episode is “San Junipero” since it won two Emmys in 2017 (Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special and Best Outstanding Television Movie). But, not only is it my personal favorite, I also think it’s the series’ most beautifully profound and stunning episode to date. It’s also a unique offering from Black Mirror because it separates itself from the usual dark and twisted antics to focus on a deep and remarkable love story. 


“San Junipero” follows Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) as they are transported to a beach town through a simulated reality where the elderly can upload their consciousnesses to live forever. Not only does this episode focus on love, but it allows these characters, who are brought to life exceptionally well by Mbatha-Raw and Davis, to contemplate the afterlife. I mean, honestly, imagine a world where virtual immortality is a possibility, and ponder what you would do if given the opportunity.



“Fifteen Million Merits” (Season One)


This is the first Black Mirror episode I saw, which immediately hooked me into this crazy whirlwind of a show. This is why I’m awarding it Most Under-Appreciated Episode. As provocative as this episode is, its themes are what make it stand out from the others as an actual representation of real life. By showing the audience just how sick our society truly has become, it really got me to value this episode quite a bit because it speaks volumes about how we seek fame and fortune over our actual well-being.


“Fifteen Million Merits” is set in a dystopian society where most people must ride exercise bikes to earn money to survive, and the only way off the bicycle is to win a talent show known as Hot Shot. The talented Daniel Kaluuya plays a character named Ben, who is attempting to get on Hot Shot so that he can prove how sick society has become. Does he succeed? Or does he become an even bigger part of the system he was against? Watch and find out! 



Alex Lawther as Kenny in “Shut Up and Dance” (Season Three)


Hats off to Alex Lawther for his standout performance as Kenny, a terrified blackmail victim in “Shut Up and Dance,” because there is so much heavy material his character must endure. He truly delivers a jaw-dropping and quivering performance, conveying emotions that will leave you unsettled in the context of the story. It’s just such an emotionally draining and anxiety-ridden performance, and it’s delivered to perfection. 


Fair warning: this episode is extremely disturbing. It follows Kenny, who stumbles into being blackmailed and is forced into doing several bizarre acts at the demand of a mysterious group of hackers. “Shut Up and Dance” is tense as hell and will leave viewers questioning humanity, and it’s all thanks to Lawther’s performance.



“Playtest” (Season Three)


Let’s be real…almost every episode of Black Mirror is horrifying in its own way, but the one that is the most horror-driven is “Playtest.” Honestly, if it weren’t for the technology aspects of the story, I wouldn’t have known this was a Black Mirror episode. It feels more like a psychological horror film set in a haunted house, and what director Dan Trachtenberg is able to evoke in just 57 minutes is truly terrifying.


In the episode, we find Cooper (Wyatt Russell) looking to make a few extra bucks, which leads him to a job listing to test a new revolutionary gaming system. Little does he know that all his darkest fears are about to become reality. It makes for a creepy-ass episode that is almost impossible to watch unless you're watching through your fingers, and as the shit hits the fan, you come to realize that technology has no empathy for us.



“The Entire History of You” (Season One)


There is a lot of heartbreak running through Black Mirror’s six seasons, but the episode that hit me the hardest was “The Entire History of You.” Its story has to be among the series’ saddest yet, with a commentary on the social repercussions due to technological advances being subtly sprinkled throughout to cause maximum impact. The technology in play here is an implant that goes in your mind and allows you to record everything you experience. While it might seem like the most beautiful thing in the world to relive memories, this episode will show that it can also be one of the most painful things one could put themselves through. 


Set in the not-so-distant future, “The Entire History of You” features a device known as a “grain," which can record every second of people's lives so they can rewatch memories whenever they please. While I won’t give too much away, what I will say is that it's sad to watch what can happen to a person's mental health as they discover some memories may not be as rosy as they originally thought.



“The National Anthem” (Season One)


Charlie Brooker, the creator of Black Mirror, came out of the gates holding nothing back and leaving us scarred for life with its very first episode. Once you watch it, you’ll understand why I’m giving it this award because it's hard to shake it from your memory. “The National Anthem” is so fucking bonkers, yet oddly realistic, that I don’t want to give away even the slightest hints of what goes down because I want you to have the same “Holy shit!” reaction as I did.


That said, without giving too much away…and to pique your interest…I’ll give you the tiniest premise summary: a member of a royal family has been kidnapped, and in order to save the royal's life, the Prime Minister is told to perform an unspeakable act. I’ll just leave it at that. I must say, though, this episode paved the way for this insanely bold series by showing us that it wasn’t afraid to take risks.



“White Christmas” (Holiday Special)


Black Mirror’s “White Christmas” is anything but cheery and delightful. This episode proves that technology is truly a double-edged sword, and while it can improve the world we live in, it can also be extremely harmful to our well-being. Even though this is one of my favorite episodes, it also has become one of my worst nightmares. The two advanced apps from this episode that I hope never come to fruition are “Block,” which completely blocks real life people, leaving nothing but a silent, blurred silhouette; and “Cookie,” which stores clones of other people's minds in a device to serve as your own personal Alexa. 


On one hand, these devices might seem like the ultimate must-own item on your personal Christmas list. On the other hand, imagine being on the opposite end of these devices. Imagine being blocked by a loved one for an extended period of time, or even worse, being blocked by everyone. The loneliness you’d face would be heartbreaking and insufferable. Or, imagine being the “human Alexa,” your mind, with all your feelings and memories, trapped in a device. The manipulation, isolation, and confusion you would feel as a “Cookie” would be unbearable. Both technological devices would make anyone on the receiving end feel alienated, which is something this episode conveys so well. Once you think about it, technology is the worst gift to give or receive in Black Mirror.



“USS Callister” (Season Four)


Not only is Season Four’s “USS Callister” considered one of the best episodes of the series, it also has one of the most fascinating and intriguing premises yet; a premise that DESERVES a sequel for further exploration. It stars the amazing Jesse Plemons as the co-creator of a popular video game that is brilliant but lonely, so he decides to create his own virtual world. In this world, he’s allowed to take control and exert power as the captain of a starship instead of being the awkward pushover that he is in real life.  


This story just has so much going for it. Not only is it a Star Trek: The Original Series-inspired episode that pays homage to 60s sci-fi, but it also explores entitlement, sexist tropes, and toxic fandoms. At one point, there were rumors floating around that this episode was going to get its own spinoff, which would’ve made me the happiest camper because I need more Black Mirror in my life. Also, despite all that this episode is able to capture in its 76-minute runtime, which is mind-boggling, there are just so many different pathways that can be taken with this premise if given a sequel.



“Loch Henry”

The best episode to come out of Season Six is “Loch Henry.” While it steers away from having technology at its forefront, it takes a more natural horror approach by showcasing that people can be inexcusable and disturbing monsters, with or without technology. It also explores how the crimes of such monsters can allow others to benefit. In fact, these key themes have been sprinkled throughout the entire series of Black Mirror, which made this episode feel more in line with previous seasons even as it took a new approach.

“Loch Henry” follows a young couple traveling to Scotland to film a nature documentary. However, they end up getting side-tracked and diving into a juicier local story that has haunted a small Scottish town for many years. By the end, you’ll discover the glaring truths and secrets that end up making for one of the most shocking twists of the whole series. I’m telling you right now, this episode will leave you with your jaw on the floor.

All six seasons of Black Mirror are now streaming on Netflix. 

Photo Credits: Netflix

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