23rd Oct2016

‘Black Mirror: Season 3′ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Black Mirror is a show about holding a mirror to society, and making sure we see the dark side. With a focus on technology Black Mirror: Season 3 has moments of not only being terrifying but also quite beautiful, making one of the episodes something special.

black-mirror

Nosedive

Nosedive stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie in a world where social status is decided by your score online. Fighting to hit the bigtime she soon becomes a victim of her own need for affirmation. A good start to the season, Nosedive is more thought-provoking rather than scary. In a society that feels futuristic but all too current, the more focused we become on Social Media and acceptance of strangers it’s scary that it could be taken to the limits we see in Nosedive.

Playtest

If Nosedive is thought-provoking Playtest is terrifying. With the growth of Virtual Reality it is fair to say that the future of gaming would be to stream experiences straight into the game. Playtest plays with this idea, and uses the idea of playtesting a horror game to create some real scares. A good second episode it succeeds in providing an ending which is a kick to the gut.

Shut Up and Dance

Shut Up and Dance brings things to a scarily realistic level with the very current dangers of Internet and bribery. Using people’s computer usage against them, the idea of malware hijacking a webcam on your computer is something that we are warned about constantly, so this story feels very real. What is also interesting about this episode is the moral choices it raises in its conclusion. Making us question our compassion for the people focused for the bribery it also raises the issue of desensitisation of the watching audience.

San Junipero

San Junipero is an episode that keeps you guessing and you wait for that twist that turns things dark. The tale of two tourists who fall for each other, Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw create characters that you fall in love with. In the end this is a beautiful tale that steals this season and if anything, gives the next two episodes the unenviable job of trying to top it.

Men Against Fire

A look at the future of warfare, Men Against Fire is an intelligent examination of what will be done with soldiers to make them into killing machines in the future. Through taking a soldier and altering his perspective on the world, we see just what has been done and the reality of the future and how desensitised we become in the end. Just what will humanity do to find perfection? The answer is sufficiently dark.

Hated in the Nation

When a hated journalist is killed in strange circumstances, detectives Karin Parke (Kelly McDonald) and sidekick Blue (Faye Marsay) investigate. When links are found to a Social Media hate hashtag, things take a sinister edge. An episode not only focused on the anger we commonly see on the Internet these days, but also a look at the misuse of technology this is another episode that manages to be harrowing in its nature. Raising many questions about the anonymity that people have online and how it allows them to preach hate, it is a perfect blend of new age horror and thought-provoking insight.
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While each episode of Black Mirror: Season 3 are very good in their own right, San Junipero is the one that stands out as the best. It may be that the episode doesn’t go for the darker edge that may make it so relieving. It drags the audience in, and makes them care about the two lovers and provides a twist to the tale that is more positive in its nature. The fact that the episode could have had a darker edge, but chose not to shows itsstrength. It is a shame though that putting it as the fourth episode of the sixth does weaken the ones that came after.

With Black Mirror: Season 3’s debut on Netflix it was seen as yet another piece of event television for the service. For fans of the previous seasons of the show, they will be happy to see that Black Mirror is back to its best with this. For those who are new to the show, this is a blast of television greatness that will probably make them instant fans. A television show that always provokes your mind, this is must-see television at its best.

***** 5/5

Black Mirror: Season 3 is available on Netflix now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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