The 5 best episodes of Black Mirror
1. Fifteen Million Merits
Imagine a world where humans (or at least the ones we meet inside this compound) are all cogs in a system, and workers ride bikes to generate power and receive virtual « merits. » They can spend those merits on all manner of content or virtual possessions, or simply use them to skip the mandatory ads and commercial that pervade peoples’ every waking moment, even in their tiny, screen-filled bedrooms.
2. White Christmas
The episode tackles the Internet of Things and smart home devices, our internet culture of muting and blocking people, and a voyeuristic spin on online dating. At the same time, the episode manages to play with the concepts of memory and time as its plots come together, building to some truly walloping twists that leave the viewer awestruck and devastated several times over. Without spoiling too much, it’s safe to say this is not a Christmas story with a happy ending.
3. Be Right Back
Still among the most emotionally poignant episodes of Black Mirror, « Be Right Back » is a profound examination of mortality and loss. It’s the first episode to introduce the idea of a sentient digital consciousness after you die, expanded upon in subsequent episodes like « San Junipero » and « Black Museum. » Martha tries out a new service first allowing her to message a virtual clone of her dead husband and then to live with a synthetic version of him. Martha grapples with the emotional weight of how this unnatural relationship affects her family and her own grieving process.
4. San Junipero
Starring Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as residents of a quaint seaside town that keeps finding itself in different decades, « San Junipero » is one of the few Black Mirror episodes that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. The twist of sorts in the episode, well done as it is, seems less consequential on the whole compared to the relationship at the core of the story and how technology can free people to live the lives they never could in the real world.
5. The Entire History of You
The Entire History of You » serves as the technological basis for much of the brain implant tech we see in other episodes. It’s a deeply disturbing portrayal of Toby Kebbell as a married lawyer whose compulsion to analyze and replay every interaction in his life ultimately ruins it. Upon re-watch, this is still one of the episodes that hits closest to home in how technology impacts our lives and the self-destructive power it can hold.