Season 6 of Black Mirror is different than other seasons, as it’s closer to Inside No.9 at some points, rather than sticking to its original roots. Black Mirror Season 6 had really a roller coaster of episodes, ranging from some that at least tried to feel and look like old episodes, while others that fell and broke fans’ hearts into pieces. Anyway, it’s important to highlight that this season is undoubtedly and obviously affected by the creator’s ideological and political views. Be that as it may, in case you didn’t like this season there are a lot of other shows like Black Mirror.
So let’s take a look at what season 6 of Black Mirror tried to deliver to us and how. It’s review time!
Episode 1 “Joan Is Awful” review
Overall score: ★★★★★★✰✰✰✰
Just as the title suggests, Joan is Awfully written with some bad acting, but it has some touch with Black Mirror’s original form. Joan is Awful is a story about a girl, Joan Tait (Annie Murphy), who realizes that on the streaming service Streamberry (like Netflix) there is a TV drama show which is about her. Things take a darker turn in this one regarding the problems that may be caused by big tech companies and our justice system. Another interesting topic explored in Joan is Awful is the “I Agree” button and how we don’t read anything. This part of the episode reminded me of South Park’s first episode from the 15th season called HumancentiPad. The South Park episode explores “I Agree” since nobody seems to read the license agreement and other 100+ page documents when they’re signing them. Maybe as a society, we’ve become too superficial when it comes to policies that we sign all the time, but we should reflect on this topic because a company like Streamberry can ruin our life in just one or two episodes.
Other themes covered in this episode are regarding our reality and the use of quantum computers, CGI, and deep fake imagery. We as an audience are a Black Mirror because we’re using streaming services such as Netflix from the comfort of our homes, and we’re doing absolutely nothing to prevent anything that big corporations are doing. It seems that we as a society have become the Black Mirror since we’re not reflecting upon any of the issues. We’re just letting them all go away with the money and privacy and nobody seems to care. Plus, there is one great scene with the lawyer and how even celebrities like Selma Hayek can be tricked and can be played by The System. Overall, this episode wasn’t that bad, but it explored some rather interesting themes, and the ending that somehow reminded me of an ending of the movie Fight Club was kinda cool, but instead of a boy and a girl, it was just two girls.
This episode pinpointed some major red flags that will probably happen in the streaming and movie industry in the next decade or so. On the other hand, the problem with this episode is acting, since it reminded me of amateur-like acting in Thor: Ragnarok.
Episode 2 “Loch Henry” review
Overall score: ★★★★★★✰✰✰✰
This episode starts with Davis McCardle (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia Koreshi (Myha’la Jael Herrold), a young couple that studies film together. They go to Loch Henry, a village in Scotland, but it’s almost abandoned where they stay at Davis’s widowed mother Janet’s house. They meet Davis’s childhood friend Stuart King, who runs a local pub, and he tells them a creepy story of a local serial killer. That’s when things begin to roll, and things start to take a darker turn. The story after that plays on its own and it’s good in a way, but this episode didn’t really feel like Black Mirror. It had some good vibes in terms of storytelling, and it’s a good drama thriller, but there are absolutely no sci-fi elements to the story. Even some scenes are rewinded through VHS tapes, which is again going back into the past. This episode has a good story for a thriller and a good plot twist at the very end of the story, but it doesn’t feel and isn’t relatable to previous Black Mirror seasons.
If the directors wanted to go this path, why didn’t they just create another show instead of doing this with Black Mirror? They could’ve just ended the show for god’s sake, but this is more like torturing the show like Family Guy. One might argue that at least Peter Griffin is more or less the same. This is what has happened with South Park, especially in the last couple of seasons. South Park first started creating one long episode season, which became politically biased. We as the audience can understand that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have their political views, but that didn’t impact their objectivity on the show or truth. Now, this has become something pretty interesting in the last 2010s and early 2020s, and that is politically biased opinions are more and more frequent in all of the shows.
All in all, the episode’s story is okay, it’s a bit bland at some points, and the ending is good. This simply isn’t Black Mirror, and if this is the way they want to keep making it, producers and directors should just create Inside No.8 or join the Inside No.9 team and work with them. This can be a “Black Mirror” in a way that it’s reflecting some kind of a message towards us, but in its intrinsic meaning, it just isn’t.
Episode 3 “Beyond the Sea” review
Overall score: ★★★★★★★✰✰✰
Episode 3 called Beyond the Sea, which is an alternative timeline, isn’t bad as it entices sci-fi, drama, and alternative history in a good way. Writing isn’t sloppy like in the first episode, and the story isn’t so much about pushing political agendas. Beyond the Sea explores the alternative history through the lives of two cosmonauts, Cliff (Aaron Paul) and David (Josh Hartnett), who are orbiting in a space station around the Earth, while their families are back down on our beloved blue planet. As in all other Black Mirror episodes, things take a dark turn all of a sudden, and things go south, even more so since the plot twist is kinda creepy, to be honest. The acting is great, the characters are fully developed, and you can easily connect with all of them. These guys seem more like average family people, someone who lives next to you. This is what makes it part Black Mirrorish, but also it doesn’t fulfill Black Mirror’s legacy formula – it still feels like another show.
Despite all the efforts and the good idea which wasn’t fully explored, the show still lacks Black Mirror effects. In a way, it feels more like Inside No.9, but Inside No.9 fulfills its formula most of the time. You could find connections between seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, and even 5 being tied in a timeline, but now that seems impossible. Fans could pick up Easter eggs that were (probably) intentionally dropped by show creators to create a “Black Mirror Universe” of some sort. Season 6 of Black Mirror just doesn’t fit in any of these things, for the most part, not even in the same genre. Since this was an alternative history, and we’re talking about 1969 here, just like with episode number 5 that we’ll talk about later, it just didn’t fit in the genre. This does represent what dystopian societies could’ve looked like, but Black Mirror in its true form was based on the current one. The one that we’re living right now or potentially in the next 5-10 years from now.
Episode 4 “Mazey Day” review
Overall score: ★★★★★✰✰✰✰✰
According to IMDB, this episode had the lowest score this season, and there’s a good reason why. Again, like other episodes, this one is for some reason set up in 2006, and we follow a paparazzi Latina girl called Bo (Zazie Beetz). This one is more related to Hollywood back in the day and all the paparazzi problems, but it’s like a watered-down version of Night Stalker. No, seriously, it has some paparazzi vibe at least, but it’s more like some of these cheap dramas with a lot of modern culture embedded in them from the early 2000s. It’s about how life is hard for this kind of freelancer and how roommates don’t have money to pay rent, but again, this isn’t a Black Mirror. Now the plot twist might be good if you’re below 16 and you didn’t see a show with something supernatural in them. What I want to point out is that this simply and again isn’t Black Mirror, especially this episode, which is more related to B-type movies from the 80s and 90s.
First of all, this show is related to science most of the time, and this is totally the opposite. My expectations as a fan of the series who followed all the episodes were high but ended up low, as usual for this season. Secondly, let’s just say the feeling that I have was like if a chemist watched a documentary about chemistry but explained and played by an alchemist. The acting isn’t that good and is alright, but some of the cast members, like other paparazzi, were neglected. Okay, this episode was shorter, but in a previous episode, “Beyond the Sea,” all the characters were developed, while in this episode, the story is revolving mostly around Bo (Zazie Beetz), and she is the most developed one. Other paparazzi and antagonists were as bad as the plot twist and the ending was. With due respect, you can easily skip this one if you’re not a fan of pure fantasy fiction.
Episode 5 “Demon 79” review
Overall score: ★★★★★✰✰✰✰✰
We’re back in 1979 in Northern England, and it’s full of nostalgia and depression. The episode introduces us to Nida Huq (Anjana Vasan), who works as a shoe salesperson in a department store. Nida is a quiet, nice person with some strange and aggressive thoughts from time to time. These emotions and sudden bursts of anger that Nida has are caused by injustice, unfair treatment, racism, sexism, and other inequalities in this society back in the late 1970s (and probably today to some extent). There are also themes of far-right-wing politics and groups such as NF (National Front). Black Mirror season 6 tries to do this episode in a comedy-horror way and that’s the moment where the show feels more like a ripoff of Inside No.9 than a Black Mirror episode.
The other part of “Demon 79” is, yeah, you’ve guessed it, Demon. As the synopsis on IMDb says, Nida has to do a series of killings to prevent an apocalypse. This is where the show stops feeling like Black Mirror and rather like Inside No.9 or other TV shows. Black Mirror represented ideas and scenarios of how hi-fi tech and big corporations are exploiting people and how they’re creating this dark dystopian future for us all. This part of the episode with Demon Gaap is just a “gap” into nothingness, a leap into the “well-known” territory of cheap psychology tricks, and the only good thing is how they exploit darkness within people at the end of the episode. Rather than that, the writing isn’t that good, it doesn’t reflect technology-driven problems in the future, but rather tries to tie events from the past into the future, and that probably racism and sexism will inevitably cause an apocalypse in the end. We understand that woke culture is a trend right now, but if you think about it, this might be the only message across the whole episode. All people who are white are perceived as weak, evil, or bossy. While people who are black or minority are perceived as good, pure, and even demon-looking like angel-like.
Since the show is losing its grip and it’s focusing primarily on problems of our society but in a different tone with a bunch of political and woke ideologies. Once a certain ideology and policy, takes over the show, it’s hard to undo the effects, just like in The Simpsons.
Black Mirror Season 6 Summary
Overall score: ★★★★★★✰✰✰✰
As a true Black Mirror fan, I can say that this season was a complete disappointment. Everything was out of its place, from bad acting to sloppy storytelling, and ideas that aren’t connected to Black Mirror in any way. As a true fan, I hope that other fans of the show share my opinion, that Netflix will make season 7 worth it. We can just say, Black Mirror Season 6, you won’t be missed, at least by true Black Mirror fans. For the 100th time in this article, this isn’t Black Mirror. The show simply isn’t imposing any new tech devices or software or government futuristic laws, except in “Joan Is Awful,” but other than that, it’s just another show. If Netflix really wants to make a show like this, they should do it, and it would probably be a good show, but stop ruining this. We don’t want Netflix to do to Black Mirror what Disney did to The Simpsons and Family Guy.