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I'm going to be including each episode rank according to IMDB as well.
Pretty hefty on text.
If I'm not mistaken at the start of each episode as the title fades away the last letters to go leave to word 'BRO' on the screen. They also fade in the order of 'ROB'. Just saying. Is Rob a good bro of whoever made the titles or should we be robbing our bro? Mind fuck straight away.
19. "The Waldo Moment" (S2 E3)
IMDB Rank: 18
Boring and flawed.
Also, when the voice of a movement suddenly changes to be a voice shouting 'do this for money' how likely is it to completely take over the world? Not only that, but someone would've seen Jamie get out of the van and tarnish his creation's name but we'll just skip over that yeah?
As with pretty much every episode I appreciate the concept but this wasn't even close to being well executed.
18. "The National Anthem" (S1 E1)
IMDB Rank: 14
Right, fuck off. There's not a chance in hell if all of England egged someone on to fuck a pig and save a life that we'd all turn on him for doing so. No country would. It's ridiculous.
Who needs forty minutes of a guy figuring out if he should fuck a pig or not?
17. "Fifteen Million Merits" (S1 E2)
IMDB Rank: 10
This episode took me three watches to get through and the only reason I tried a third time was because it was in last place which seemed unfair without watching the whole thing.
The first half of this is so slow, empty and boring. The next half slowly builds to its climax. Which at least logically wraps up the story and makes a point about society and our lives that makes sense in the world we're being shown. Not a social media icon that would fall at the change of hands. Not a man attempting to save a life by fucking a pig that we all told him to but now everyone hates him because the near future is full of... Idiots? I guess?
16. "Men Against Fire" (S3 E5)
IMDB Rank: 15
Oh look I almost agreed with the IMDB peeps.
The pacing here is much better than the previous three on this list and given that this is another hour long one that's great. Pacing is a recurring issue with Black Mirror but let's move on for now.
This is the first time on this list that it was tech in a believable future that caused an issue for people. Not something that felt very current day or a future where we've all ended up riding bikes eternally indoors.
15. "Arkangel" (S4 E2)
IMDB Rank: 16
My second time nearly agreeing.
Aside from some weird direction and awkwardly placed plot points because they needed them, this episode is alright, init.
Why wouldn't Sara just pick up and keep the machine rather than leaving it on the bed? (Because they wanted that secondary interaction with Marie and also the shot of Marie looking at her own back.)
Why would Marie hide it behind her pillow? What a lazy shit.
The whole grandfather plot point is a bit unnecessary and why didn't she text Trick when she realised she'd been tricked by mama? The bad pun, I'm sorry. She might've just not realised but she seems smart enough.
14. "Crocodile" (S4 E3)
IMDB Rank: 17
Tad slow in parts but a solid concept. Don't have a lot to say, it was mostly fine.
13. "White Bear" (S2 E2)
IMDB Rank: 13
Can you believe it? I have the same ranking! What?! Madness, everyone be amazed and shit.
So, as an episode, interesting, nicely paced and so on. It's just these episodes where we as people have become next level twats and basically everyone seems to be ok with it I'm generally not a fan of. The rejection or misuse of a technology I can get behind, but such a vast amount of people including governments getting behind this is a bit of stretch to believe.
Forcing her to live this life everyday as punishment is one thing but screaming fans and viewers who can wander the playing field recording and then they display her in a case at the end of each session? Nah.
12. "Metalhead" (S4 E5)
IMDB Rank: 19
IMDB peeps this isn't the worst episode but you do you. I understand the complaints I guess. The plot seems thin, it tells you nothing and so on. One guy said and I quote:
'Aside from a minor twist at the end this didn't feel at home amongst the typical mindfuckery that has come to be expected from 'Black Mirror.' - toddbodkins
This show is minimal on mindfuckery. Excellent on concepts and ideas. Intermediate at execution of said concepts and ideas. It's a show that wants you to go away and discuss the possibilities mentioned, not have your brain fucked; have your brain prodded, sure. So in that way, you're right, it's out of place. But at least it's enjoyable.
The stylistic choice of black and white works well for the vibe of the episode but also let's them get away with a bit more gruesomeness.
I personally didn't need to know why the dogs were there I just needed to see how it affected the land and the people and was happy to go on this journey with Bella. I say happy, I was like shit Bella better get to it or we dead.
Lay off, it ain't that bad.
11. "Nosedive" (S3 E1)
IMDB Rank: 9
This one's pretty decent all round. I think we spend a bit too long being told how the world functions, we get it, you rate each other, better ratings have better perks, basically everyone's obsessed.
Love the ending, it's quite feel good whilst also being a bit depressing. A first in the show, so that's fun.
10. "Shut Up And Dance" (S3 E3)
IMDB Rank: 7
Off the bat this guy is clearly a pedophile. Look at that lingering, not sure what to do with himself moment with a child right near the start.
So, the twist at the end didn't really work for me. But the secondary twist was very pleasing, troll face everyone I'm on board. I mean, not literally, that was a bit fucked up. Which is the point right? How do we each view these future possibilities? Are we for or against them?
Pretty solid pacing throughout, no overly long explanations of how any tech works. Just record, email, text, do what the fuck we say.
Another episode where it could've been set in the past rather than the future.
9. "Be Right Back" (S2 E1)
IMDB Rank: 12
Oh this one is a bit creepy and you saying all the time, fake Ash, doesn't help. I really enjoyed this one. It's well set up, sweet plot developments, good execution, all of which is almost entirely wrapped up in a neat little bow.
However, the end... It's not great.
So 'new' Ash lives in the attic, cool, but that's not an ending is it? It's unsustainable and nothing ended. I appreciate that Martha talked herself out of killing him accidentally. But still, weak end to a solid episode so it can't be any higher.
8. "Black Museum" (S4 E6)
IMDB Rank: 4
Nish's plan involves her car needing fuel/charging when she reaches the museum; easy, believable.
It involves staying in character when Rolo isn't even around; easy, believable, especially with your mum in your head reminding you.
It involves fucking with the air con, easy, believable, we even see her go over to the air con and then there's a cut and she's back at the door; perfect place for her to fuck with it.
It involves bringing poisoned water; easy, believable.
This episode as far as I can remember is nearly flawless in terms of logic.
It's even pretty good at setting itself up. Around twenty minutes spent on the feelings transmitter/receptor and a similar amount of time on the person in your mind and a teddy.
The next twenty minutes are spent with the father, Rolo has been slowly built up as a prick and as soon as we enter the room that's turned up. Nish also changes when we enter the room, no longer enjoying the stories, clearly upset with what's happening. Then we get the reveal and she kills him with poison and then again using his own bullshit and then we get the second reveal of the mother.
Now, a couple things. We don't use 40 percent of our brain or whatever, stop putting that in things. So this person in the mind section is instantly reduced in impact. Also, if I'm honest, it is again a bit long for what it is and in the middle of story two I was getting a bit bored. Also, it tried being meta here and there but it wasn't very good at it.
But, that doesn't mean it isn't a good Black Mirror episode and overall, I enjoyed it enough.
7. "Hang the DJ" (S4 E4)
IMDB Rank: 2
Now, I know that this is a fan favourite but nothing happens. They fall in love basically immediately, he fucks up, they get back together.
But oh wait! It's a simulation to see if they match. Solid, like the concept.
Quick question... How do they get matched? Do you put all your info into the system and it runs a simulation with the nearest match and every time they run 1000 simulations and 998 match? But then, people act differently in more intense scenarios like being trapped in a simulation and forced to have relationships because of a system, you would rebel. That doesn't make them a perfect match in regular society?
Also, do they remember it? Or is it purely a digital version of themselves? If they remember it, then ok they might already be in love and stay together for maybe forever. If they don't then they are definitely starting again in regular society and you don't know if they match there because your simulation is in some weird, bullshit realm.
Besides the leaps the episode wants me to make, it is the most feel good episode and contains basically no 'ugh the future is awful' moments. I also like Amy and Frank, so for those reasons that why it's where it is.
I really enjoyed it but I don't know if it actually makes any sense. If I don't think about it, it's great.
6. "USS Callister" (S4 E1)
IMDB Rank: 8
Daly's a fucking creep. Solid pacing. Interesting story. Sweet tech.
Contacting your real life self from within a cornered off section of an mmo and bribing yourself with your nudes so she'll perform a mini heist on her boss is cool as fuck.
I don't think there's anything that I thought 'hold up a minute' in this or any of the next episodes. As far as I can remember right now.
I enjoyed this for what it was and I don't really have much else to say about it.
5. "The Entire History Of You" (S1 E3)
IMDB Rank: 5
Holy shit that's the second ranking the same, so in sync.
Here's an example of the tech just being there from the off. We learn about it as we go by seeing people use it, there's a moment in the back of a taxi where we see an advert, drop that. But otherwise it handles tech that's new to us as viewers well, the story progresses along with our knowledge of the tech. Rather than twenty minutes of, this tech does this and this is how it immediately affects the world, now you know that here's a story.
I enjoy that I like and dislike Liam constantly and simultaneously, he feels pretty real because of it.
Tiny bit longer than it needs to be but that doesn't stop it being a really good episode.
4. "San Junipero" (S3 E4)
IMDB Rank: 3
Another similar ranking, this is all accidental I swear but it does make sense that some of the time I would think similarly to a large group of people.
This is where I'm a big fan of the episodes. Throw me some lovers of a queer variety, a virtual heaven and a hint of time travel, I am yours.
Pretty much everyone loves the 80s, solid start. Love a bit of 90s, all for 2002, so yes please I'll have some of that used as nostalgia, it's not quite been long enough for us, but it has for these near future peeps. Throw in some P!nk and Kylie, why not?
The story develops wonderfully, we learn about the tech through the characters own journeys and experiences rather than some advert or a higher up just telling us.
It does feel a fraction too long but when it's this good I'll allow it.
3. "Hated In The Nation" (S3 E6)
IMDB Rank: 6
So it takes about a third of the episode for them to figure out it's the bees. That's way too long when you've basically told the viewers immediately.
The news at the start covers three things:
People don't like the chancellor.
A wheelchair user died and a woman wrote a nasty article about it.
There's some mechanical bees about.
Does that not strike you as a weird third entry to that news piece? Then while at Joe Power's house (article lady), just before we leave and she's obvs about to die, we just hover over the slightly open window. Because it's the bees. Then when the police arrive, Karin checks the window and informs us the safety lock thing, I forget the actual name, is on. Meaning no human got in because they wouldn't fit. Bees.
Anyway, other than that there's a fair bit of exposition through televisions or someone just explaining a piece of tech, or the internet? We barely have to explain the internet to people now, why are you explaining... whatever.
However, I was still fully interested in where we were going with this, each reveal actually pushed the story and the whole time I thought Blue was up to something and then right towards the end I was thinking she's working with this guy. She hasn't made a single false move, she's found every single thing she's ever needed. It's Karin who realises Garrett led them here. Then Blue fake kills herself, like she obviously fake kills herself and the twist is meant to be that she doesn't kill herself. But she clearly didn't. Anyway, I thought she was just going to be with Garrett but she finds him and texts Karin. Weird thing to do if you're just off to meet up with your secret lover or whatever.
Look I like crime, I don't mind odd bits of exposition in a crime story, they're designed to give the viewer more info and feel like it wasn't just the characters who figured everything out. So have a pass for a lot of the oddly placed exposition. Have a pass for making me wait for the police to catch up about the bees, potentially designed to make me feel smart when really I'm just putty in the writer's hand. This episode had me watching and enjoying throughout and didn't bother to lighten the tone with a happy ending.
They killed off nearly 400,000 people and when Blue caught up with Garrett we watch her follow him and then they disappear round a corner, one after the other. I think Garrett knew she was there. I think she dies. But we don't know, it's ambiguous, which is nice because I was thinking the whole way through the episode and afterwards. Not about how bleak the future possibilities of technology are, but about the story of the episode.
Solid television, even through the flaws. Love it.
2. "White Christmas" (S2 E4)
IMDB Rank: 1
I am sorry IMDB peeps but looks like we don't quite agree on first place.
What a great episode. Fuck basically every guy in this episode and fuck Beth too and whatever the police officers are called.. Solid reveals, solid pacing, except that bit with Greta's mindpod house control bit, tad long, didn't affect the episode though.
Not sure about that last shot of a snow globe in a snow globe in a snow globe and so on, I get it he's trapped in a loop. But there aren't infinite versions of him within houses in snow globes ever decreasing in size.
It's just pretty solid, don't have that much to say about it.
I guess I'm a lil unsure about why the little girl died? Was she so malnourished from a couple days of no food and water that when she went outside the cold was too much and she just froze and died? Could've been anything but she's dead and that's the point.
1. "Playtest" (S3 E2)
IMDB Rank: 11
Right, looking at the ten place shift in ranking between myself and the IMDB peeps this probably won't be a popular opinion, but right now it's the one I've got.
Fucking love it.
Great characters, great and completely believable concept, many a lil twist. It spooked me, it made me happy, it made me sad. I saw things coming but only a few seconds before they happened and I didn't see everything coming. From Sonja to Katie to his mum. Mini twist after mini twist all conceivable within the concept and story. I don't want to talk about it too much in case you haven't seen it and you skipped through the article to see which ones are the best to watch. Honestly, I'm such a fan of this episode.
It might be because it's probably the nearest to an episode of Inside No. 9 which is another dark, clever, British anthology show that you might want to check out and my favourite of the two. That isn't to demerit Black Mirror, which in itself has some really quality episodes and consistently great ideas.
Black Mirror is often thought-provoking and good at starting conversations on the topics and concepts it covers. Always great acting from the well known big stars to the lesser known quality talent involved. Really great world building, if at times they spent too long explaining tech to me rather than giving me a story. Pacing is a regular issue but as the years go by, the less of an issue it is season to season as a whole.
If I was to rate the seasons in order, which I am about to do, obviously.
- Season 3 - Half of the episodes are in my top five with a fourth in my top ten.
- Season 4 - This season and season two are fairly equal but I reckon this one takes the lead, having four episodes in the top ten.
- Season 2 - You can't have only four episodes, have one of them be second and another be last and it not be a bit questionable, what's going on there?
- Season 1 - Two out of three episodes in the bottom three, not good.