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Started with Callister and then went to Hang the DJ.



Callister--On it's own merits, I think Callister has more fun with its premise than Black Mirror usually allows it self and its a pretty entertaining riff on Star Trek and geek culture. Where I think it sort of loses me is that Callister , even for an episode of Black Mirror, is pretty fucking ridiculous. Yeah, I know I'm the guy going "cuz its a movie" in the Star Wars thread, but I also think part of what makes Black Mirror work is that it uses elements of the real world and brings them to their most extreme conclusion. While I get what it's saying on nerd culture and masculinity, having a guy have such advanced technology to clone perfect digitized versions of people with their memories intact seems a bit much. And then it gets even goofier by having said digitized clones blackmail someone in the real world.



It's all silly. But I think what saves the episode it's self-aware enough to recognize how silly it is.



Hang the DJ-Yup. This is going to be the San Junipero of S4--an episode where, because of what show you're watching, you're just waiting for the other show to drop, and then it surprises by being incredibly sincere and sweet. But it does beg the question: has Black Mirror run its course when the best episode is also one of the more optimistic?

Just finished "Arkangel" and, whilst it's not a bad episode, I feel it's much akin with last season's "Playtest" in that it has some interesting ideas but they don't really coalesce in a satisfying way by the end credits. I mean, I get the obvious message about obsessive parenting, but I found myself much more interested in the story it was originally telling about what it might be like to grow up wrapped up in cotton wool, digital hands sliding over your eyes every time you might see something that could potentially upset you. Something like that could have terrible effects on an adult (as was hinted at by the scene with the psychiatrist) and I'd have loved to have seen where that road lead. Shame. Nicely directed by Foster, though!

Loved "Crocodile". Great performances (as great as Riseborough is in the main role, I was quite won over by Kiran Sonia Sawa as Shazia), beautiful snowy landscapes, and a wonderful black comedy ending that made me chuckle at its absurdity. Oh, and that song again. Probably my favorite of the three so far.



ETA:



"Hang The DJ", man. Charlie Brooker sure does know how to write sweet, sentimental love stories, doesn't he? Great chemistry between the two leads (I think I may know have a new crush on Georgina Campbell) and a wonderfully optimistic ending (featuring one of my favorite Smiths songs) means this just eclipsed "Crocodile" as my favorite of the season. It's been a while since I last saw a piece of fiction be this hopeful about love.

I've only seen USS Callister so far, and thought it was ok, if a bit silly. Some great little jokes in there, like the guy who's overly concerned with his weight in the real world. I didn't see it so much as a treatise on male empowerment, more of a tale of a psychopath with unlimited power in his little corner of the universe. Sadly, none of the "science" of its science fiction holds up under a moment's scrutiny.

AAgreed. With San Junipero and Hang the DJ Booker has become such a great writer of the modern love story. Really great stuff.

Loved USS Callister, it's the funniest Black Mirror episode to date. One thing I loved was how they switched POV's about 20 minutes in. Such a smart way of getting you to sympathise with Daly before revealing his more toxic entitled side.



Arckangel is great too, but more of a typical Black Mirror offering. As said above, strong concept executed well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turingmachine75 View Post

While super-simple in execution, I really liked Metalhead.


Just finished this and I agree with you. It's a really simple horror story but it's told really well (thanks to some great directing by David Slade, a strong central performance by Maxine Peake and a wonderful orchestral soundtrack), and it probably helps that it's the shortest of the episodes so it doesn't pad things out. Loved the design of the Metalhead itself.



Am really sad that there's only one episode left. I don't know how I'll rate this season in comparison to the others, but the last three in particular have been incredibly strong (in my opinion).

I liked "Black Museum" for the same reasons I enjoyed "White Christmas", although it never quite reaches the highs of that earlier episode. Still, it managed to turn a monkey toy saying "Monkey needs a hug!" into something utterly heartbreaking, so that probably counts for something.



I'd probably the rate the season like this:



1. Hang The DJ


2. Metalhead


3. Crocodile


4. Black Museum


5. U.S.S Callister


6. Arkangel



I can't decide where I'd place this season but I think season three was slightly stronger. Still, it's been fun to make my way through these six episodes and I look forward to more - whenever the next season might be. It's probably quite telling that my favorite piece of technology from the season turned out to be the awesome pizza delivery van in "Crocodile". Who wouldn't want a vehicle that cooks pizzas for you? Awesome.

1. Hang the DJ


2. U.S.S Callister


3. Arkangel


4. Metalhead


5. Black Museum


6. Crocodile

AArkangel
Metalhead/Museum
DJ/Crocodile
Callister

It's interesting that the lists here and those I'm seeing on Twitter are all over the place. "Hang The DJ "seems to usually appear in the top half (unless you're Turingmachine) but, other than that, all bets seem to be off.

AThe reveal at the end of DJ killed it for me. My initial theory was an on-board computer for a sleeper ship was making optimal pair bonds for an off-world colony . . . which isn't very Black Mirror-y, I know.

Only managed ArkAngel today, mostly because I managed to convince the missus to try Happy! (she despises Crank) and we mainlined the four again.



I was quite disappointed with it, mostly because this was the episode directed by Foster. It just felt... obvious. I was much more interested in the concept of the child growing up maladjusted because they were protected and filtered from 'the bad stuff', and it turned into a fairly obvious 'mother spying on her teenage daughter' tale. Wasted potential.

ARe: Metalhead

Not my idea, but one I'm taking a shine to, is that the three scavengers are the from the same group as the 'roaches' from last seasons Men Against Fire.
AEpisode 3 "Crocodile" is rough to watch. I am not seeing the black comedy.

Sure, the end reveal had an ironic twist, and we can giggle about a grown woman watching porn, but man was that a bleak episode from start to finish. I am not a trigger warning kind of guy, but my Godson's father was planning on starting season 4 tomorrow, and I waved him off episode 3 completely and maybe of "Callister" and "Arkangel". The damage done to kids in "Crocodile", all in service to character and plot,is too close to some real life.

I love this show, precisely because I Moore can't sleep because I am thinking about it.

Side thought: Grandpa in "Arkangel" is surely in to play Steve Bannon.
ASlight USS Callister quibble. I think they should have dropped the Star Trek angle, enjoyable and hooky though it was, and just made it a Sims game. For all the times everyone’s tortured their Sims, that would have been super creepy. And they really didn’t have much to say about Star Trek.
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Originally Posted by MrTyres View Post

Episode 3 "Crocodile" is rough to watch. I am not seeing the black comedy.


You didn't find it even slightly amusing that



she does all of those terrible things to cover up her crimes, but is ultimately undone by a guinea pig?

I like the Star Trek angle. Apart from making it a more pointed criticism of a certain type of self-pitying nerd, there's also the added irony of Daly's loving the show for the peace and love it promotes while being completely unable to recognise how his resentment has turned him into the antithesis of that. The episode doesn't have much to say about Star Trek itself, but it isn't really trying to.

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Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post
 


You didn't find it even slightly amusing that



she does all of those terrible things to cover up her crimes, but is ultimately undone by a guinea pig?

Yeah that was really funny. Crocodile reminded me a bit of Shut Up and Dance, which was also a darkly hilarious tale of someone trying to extract themselves from a mess of their own doing.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evi View Post
 

Yeah that was really funny.



I almost want there to be a Blu-ray extra where we see the subsequent court proceedings and the star witness is brought out!

Hang the DJ is great! I love that it starts as another "Oh noes, future technology is bad!" episode and then completely turns that around later on. It also ties together quite nicely with the first episode.

yeah


Quote:

Originally Posted by flint View Post
 

Only managed ArkAngel today, mostly because I managed to convince the missus to try Happy! (she despises Crank) and we mainlined the four again.



I was quite disappointed with it, mostly because this was the episode directed by Foster. It just felt... obvious. I was much more interested in the concept of the child growing up maladjusted because they were protected and filtered from 'the bad stuff', and it turned into a fairly obvious 'mother spying on her teenage daughter' tale. Wasted potential.



yeah, this is where that one lost me, too.



that and I can't really handle bad stuff happening to kids. Crocodile was well done in several facets but I found it equal parts chore to watch and preposterous in terms of character motivation (just a little too bleak and awful for the sake of being being bleak and awful) and then it gets to the end and, just, yeah, I can't. the hamster stinger was good, though.



outside of those two episodes, the rest of the season ranged from okay (Callister, Black Museum) to good (DJ, Metalhead). in general though the storytelling didn't go down as smooth (yet edgy) as it had the past couple seasons.

Liked Metalhead so much, no moralising just a straight up horror. I love how little is explained. Could actually use more of these.



With only Black Museum left to go (and I hear that one's not very good) I'm liking this as much as season 3.

AOkay, I’m finished.

Callister is clever and fun, the DNA thing you have to roll with; it’s the future and whatnot.

Arkangle was a chore. At every corner I both guessed the beats (except the pregnancy thing) and just imagined a better episode that took the mom’s spying into adult years with her daughter just having it a part of her daily life. What would that have been like? Agreed with others, wasted potential.

Crocodile makes no sense even if the premise is clever. There’s still questions on how the tech works, like, how’d they get memories from a guinee pig? You can’t ask it what it was doing the night of January 22nd! Also, things are just too perplexing in motivation when we don’t have a grasp of who the main character is. The journey to get to the end just isn’t so interesting as how it ends.

Hang the DJ. Very sweet and relevant. I’m into Simulation Theory so it worked for me.

Metalhead is a surprise in suspense and craft even if it directly lifts the score for The Shining wholesale. Still, I wish there was more of a backstory for us to get a sense of a time and place. What kind of desperate situation are people in for if they have to risk their lives just to appease their children with a toy?

Black Museum is a fun one. I still like White Christmas better though.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

Metalhead is a surprise in suspense and craft even if it directly lifts the score for The Shining wholesale. Still, I wish there was more of a backstory for us to get a sense of a time and place. What kind of desperate situation are people in for if they risk their lives just to appease their children with you?


SPOILER



It's deliberately left vague but they said the child doesn't have long left so it's easy to read between the lines and assume he's sick or wounded badly.

ASometimes I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I guess that makes sense, a little bit.

All in all kind of a "meh" season for me. I think the best one from start to finish had to be Metalhead. The 21-year-old actress in Arkangel looked even older than that, much less fifteen, and I agree that it was all wasted potential. The love story one was ok, but I was never invested in their relationship, other than they laughed at each other's jokes. And Crocodile was interesting and bleak, but I had too many questions about legality and privacy invasion I couldn't let go of. I fell asleep during the anthology of Black Museum, so I'll have to re-visit that one. I like that it's at least a little similar to Scotland Yard's real world Black Museum.

Some kinda head/temple fetish/theme thing going on?


The computer/Capt.Kirk guy sticking a device next to his eye to connect.


The chip being implanted in the same spot on the side of the head.


Wasn't there another one with similar? (Sheesh, I just watched these 24 hrs ago and I've already forgotten..)

AIt's the on-going evolution of the similar strands of related tech.

All the various temple thingies (and ocular implants?) originated from the doctors skull implant.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

Okay, I’m finished.

Callister is clever and fun, the DNA thing you have to roll with; it’s the future and whatnot.



The problem is that the episode doesn't even offer the barest of bones of explanation for the memory aspect. I am willing to believe that some program can simulate a person's biological reality as a "digital clone" and even can accept that some personality traits might be attendant to that. I mean, it's a reach, but I can accept it for the sake of the story. The problem is the memories and the attendant, developed, experienced "soul" that these clones have which is presented as basically identical to the souls of the people the DNA was taken from. That's where the show leaps so far that it leaves me behind. Thing is, the show could have offered a half minute explanation along the lines of Daly has secretly built into Infinity the ability for the game to make copies of people's neural information, and he used the profiles from the last use of each of the people he has digitally abducted. But because the show doesn't even bother to give a token explanation, and none of the presumably intelligent/sentient digital clones even take one moment to ask questions like, "wait, how are we self-aware? why do we have memories?" it really knocks me out of the show, and makes me feel like my intelligence is insulted, and that feeling just lingered with me the whole episode and bothered me more and more because the show just keeps building on this faulty premise and acting like everything's kosher and clever.

AI understand why that bothered you, but I suppose it wasn't too much for me. Who knows what technology might be possible in the undefined future of the episode? The terrific performances and solid exploration of the implications of that tech more than made up for it.
AThought this was an ok season overall. Callister was far and away the best episode. Yeah the tech went into the realm of completely implausible, but it addressed toxic masculinity in such an elegant way that I really didn't give a shit (CB is going to need to pull something out of his ass once in a while to serve the greater good). And I think it was touched on earlier in the thread, but one of the most interesting ideas was that some of us who become attached to these geeky properties (Trek or whatever) might go in hard for the fantasy and escapism yet completely ignore those aspects that would actually make us better human beings. Also as mentioned, a very funny episode at times. Loved Nanette adopting a fighting stance then immediately making wtf am I doing face.

Really didn't like Hang the DJ. Intention was obviously to try and recapture some of that charming, surprising, life affirming San Junipero magic, but for me it just fell flat. Plus I straight up hated the main dude. Pasty, unfunny, and annoying. Never want to see him again ever.

Metalhead and Crocodile were both pretty cool. And being a sucker for the portmanteau thing, I liked Black Museum a lot. I think the ex in a teddy bear story probably deserved its own full black comedy episode.
AAw, I liked the main guy in Hang the DJ, though I can see why others wouldn't. He came across as really sweet and sincere.

Black Museum wasn't quite as on-the-nose as I had been led to believe, so I liked it quite a bit. It helps that the criminally underrated Douglas Hodge is having a lot of fun.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Draco Senior View Post

criminally underrated Douglas Hodge


So glad to find someone else who thinks this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disciple_72 View Post

...but it addressed toxic masculinity in such an elegant way that I really didn't give a shit...


I'm still hard-pressed to find out where this was supposed to be a representation of a culture of "toxic masculinity". The guy was the classic quiet psychopath, a doormat in real life but power mad in his imagined universe. Toxic masculine types tend to demand real-world exaltation and power simply for being male.



Hell, his imagined universe was even sexless.

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