Sophie Gilbert and David Sims will be discussing the new season of Netflix’s Black Mirror, considering alternate episodes. The reviews contain spoilers; don’t read further than you’ve watched. See all of their coverage here.
While I didn’t love “Metalhead,” David, which felt like a 40-minute black-and-white episode of Black Mirror does The Hunger Games, I did think there was something almost unbearably haunting about the final twist. It seemed like the ultimate way to differentiate humans from robots, to have a group of adults essentially sacrifice their lives for something as useless but as emotionally resonant as a teddy bear for a sick child. Contrasted with the reflexive, merciless hunting of the dogs, I don’t know whether it was comforting or exactly the opposite. Either way, we’re definitely going to lose the robot wars.
So what to make of “Black Museum”? It started, like exactly 50 percent of this season’s episodes have started, with someone in a car, driving through a vast and empty landscape. (I’m not nitpicking, but there are other ways to introduce a story.) It was set up almost exactly like “White Christmas,” pulling three mini-stories into a larger arc. It was more stuffed full of Easter Eggs than a Walmart in March. It seemed to definitively tie the Black Mirror universe together, pulling crime memorabilia from episodes past into one grisly desert attraction. But it also left me feeling icky, for want of a better word. The triumphant final scene, which saw the Black Museum’s proprietor tortured and imprisoned in a keychain for all perpetuity, trafficked in the kind of eye-for-an-eye justice that Black Mirror loves to impose in its stories, like Robert Daly being trapped forever in a defunct version of his own universe in “USS Callister.” Is this really the world we want?