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Black Mirror Season 6 Review

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Black Mirror (2011-)
Season 6 – 5 episodes (2023)

Watch Black Mirror Season 6 on Netflix
Created by: Charlie Brooker
Starring: Aaron Paul, Annie Murphy, Ben Barnes, Himesh Patel, Josh Hartnett, Kate Mara, Michael Cera, Myha’la Herrold, Rob Delaney, Rory Culkin, Salma Hayek Pinault, Zazie Beetz, Ayo Edebiri
Watch the trailer
Black Mirror Main Page


Plot
Each
unconnected episode examines the pitfalls when technology and society
intersect. What happens when technology goes off the rails, creating a
horrifying situation? Does technology make
us happier, is being connected at all times beneficial, and does it do more
harm than good? The stories are known for their harrowing nature and depressing conclusions.

Verdict
It’s still a good show, but this season strays from how technology will result in a dystopian society and looks inward at characters, their motives, and how that affects others. It’s similar to season five in tone. I miss the focus on and possibilities of technology, and I liked how dark and twisted episodes could be. This show wasn’t an easy watch because it showed us wild possibilities and the debilitating problems that might follow. Some of this season’s episodes are more horror than sci-fi, straying from the show’s core concept. This season is good, but the first two seasons especially are amazing. It’s difficult to match.
Watch It.

Review
The first episode, Joan is Awful, explores social media and the internet through quantum computing, streaming media, blindly signing terms of services, and AI generated programming. What happens when you’re secrets are exposed where everyone can see? It can’t be stopped because the character’s rights have been signed away. I do like her ingenious plan to derail the ruination of her life. This isn’t as dark as what I expect from Black Mirror, but that’s been the case for the last couple of seasons. This episode highlights a distinct future that may already be underway and that’s what makes this enticing. This dives deep and gets complicated at the end which may take you a minute to get it straight. That twist gives this episode a boost, and it’s a solid episode to start the season.

Salma Hayek, Annie Murphy in Joan is Awful

Episode two, Loch Henry, focuses on college students making a true crime documentary. Nearly every episode mentions Streamberry, a Netflix stand in. There’s even a reference to San Junipero. We know these students will uncover something big. Reading between the lines, it’s likely we know someone who could be in a true crime documentary if we start asking enough questions. These students are so eager to create a doc that they end up being in a true crime doc. Only at the very end does this touch on how these documentaries are predatory, capitalizing on others’ grief.  This episode is too straight forward. It’s almost bland in comparison to some of Black Mirror’s best episodes.

Beyond the Sea may be my favorite episode of the season, but I’m also disappointed in the predictable story. I was waiting for one final scene or sentence that was going to turn my presumptions upside down, but it never came. Astronauts on a space mission are able to inhabit space both in the ship and on Earth. That’s a fascinating idea that I wish had more explanation, but may very well be impossible. What happens is a love triangle. I wondered how this would handle these avatars and experiencing a different body. The episode doesn’t disappoint, it does address that. The attention to detail that is a hallmark of Black Mirror is still present. I was hoping the space mission would have some kind of relevance or would add to the story. It doesn’t.

Aaron Paul in Beyond the Sea

Mazey Day is more of a horror episode with a distinct nod to An American Werewolf in London. The message lacks subtlety. The paparazzi are bad, unsympathetic. Other episodes touch on technology, but this jumps back in time. This season is about the human element instead of technology, and while I like this season none of the episodes are all time greats. This episode needed to take one more step.

The fifth and final episode, Demon 79, is another horror episode. Are we witnessing the supernatural or madness? This looks at fanaticism from two different sides, those trying to destroy and one person trying to save. The question this raises is whether anyone in power or giving orders is telling the truth. We see two sides in this episode and both think they are trying to save the world. Is that valid?

Peak Black Mirror episodes are emotionally draining. The stories are layered and deep. While this is a solid season, I wanted more. The horror episodes aren’t the fear of the future or technology, it’s straightforward monsters. Loch Henry and Mazey Day both feel like they need another twist, something else. Even my favorite episode of this season, Beyond the Sea, needs one more scene that extrapolates on what we’ve seen. Black Mirror is a show that looks at a future that’s twisted because of technology. This season spends more than half the time in the past. Joan is Awful feels like a Black Mirror topic that’s forward thinking. Beyond the Sea feels like it’s half way there, but doesn’t have that final scene that hits you in the gut.

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