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Best Black Mirror episodes as compiled by a normal fan

By Hafsa Zia

Over the winter holidays, I watched the newest special edition Black Mirror episode titled ‘Bandersnatch’. This episode was different than other Black Mirror episodes because it was interactive, meaning you could pick what decisions that main character made or actions he carried out, leading to a variety of different endings.

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Despite finding the episode depressing (Black Mirror fans will understand what I mean by depressing) I found the interactive portion pretty cool and interesting. However, a quick scroll through my Twitter feed revealed that quite a few people disliked it. So that prompted a ‘which Black mirror episodes are the best’ discussion with a friend of mine.

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For those living under a rock who don’t know what Black Mirror is, or for those people who, for some absurd reason, have opted out of watching Black Mirror, let me share the Wikipedia description:

“Black mirror is an anthology science fiction thriller. It examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Episodes are standalone, usually set in an alternative present or the near future, often with a dark and satirical tone, though some are more experimental and lighter.” Story writer Brooker developed Black Mirror to highlight “topics related to humanity's relationship to technology, creating stories that feature "the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time if we're clumsy.’”

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I often like to compare Black Mirror to two other TV shows I’ve watched because they’re sort of similar, NOT entirely the same thing (disclaimer before some of ya’ll hardcore fans come for me). I also like to compare them because if you’ve watched these two shows then…YO! You OG, let’s be BFFs. I’m talking about the ‘Twilight Zone’ (1960’s-current) and something slightly more recent ‘Are you Afraid of the Dark’ (1990-2000).

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Going back to my previous comment of "depressing", Black Mirror can be a social commentary at times, and some episodes can make you hardcore reflective. Episodes make you realize just how shitty some aspects of society are, or the consequences of technology and social media. Examples of post-Black Mirror thoughts include:  “WOW, this is kinda happening around me”, “Da fuck”, “BRUH!”, “Oh my lord”, and my favourite is no thought - just slowly turning off Netflix and just staring into blank space. But I think that’s the genius of Black Mirror. It has incredible storytelling, great actors, suspenseful and interesting plots, all the while being a social commentary.

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So without further ado, here are my top 10 Black Mirror episodes. Feel free to disagree and let me know you’re favourites or why my list sucks.

1. Nosedive (Season 3, Episode 1)

I had to rank this as number one because I think it’s a very good social commentary about the influence and the grasp social media has on us. Being the generation that ‘grew’ up with the internet and social media, this episode hit me particularly hard. My immediate thought after this episode was that we aren’t obsessed with keeping up a perfect image so much that it controls our lives. But then I realized that well... yeah it does in one way or another.

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2. Hated in the nation (Season 3, episode 6)

This episodes deals with the mob mentality, and the irony is REAL by the end of the episode.

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3. White Christmas (season 2, episode 4)

This episode has wicked storytelling. It’s suspenseful and super interesting. Like White Bear (Season 2, Episode 2), I think this episode makes you question criminal torture - but the technology used in this episode is the most interesting component. In this world, you can basically ‘filter’ out people in your life so that you can’t see them or hear them. The ethics, pros and cons, and use in law enforcement of the technology is an interesting debate to have with people.

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4. The National Anthem (Season 1, episode 1)

I think this episode is somewhere in every Fan’s Top 3. This was the first episode I watched and to say I was shook was an understatement. I actually didn’t watch any more episodes for a while. I don’t have much to say about this episode except you just have to watch it. I think at the heart of it, this episode deals with media sensationalism and how we can get so caught up in it.

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5. White Bear (season 2, episode 2)

The episode had me thinking about whether it is ethical to torture criminals as a punishment. And by torture, I mean psychological torture; messing with the mind. The plot twist in this episode is wonderful and unexpected. You go from rooting for the main character to questioning criminal handling.

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6. The Entire History of you (season 1, episode 3)

This is an episode that wrestles with technology in a way that I am sure we’ve all thought of at some point; the ability to record everything with our eyes and have the options available with normal videos (playback, screen grabbing etc). I think this episode beautifully illustrates why this technology would just suck.

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7. San Junipero (season 3, episode 4)

If you’re looking for a love story to make you ugly cry, this is the episode for you.

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8. Hang the DJ (Season 4, episode 4)

The second ‘romantic’ episode on this list, but this time it won’t make you ugly cry, rather it’ll make you happy. This is the only episode of Black Mirror I watched that ended with me smiling and genuinely happy. As someone who believes in fate, this episode left me feeling quite a ways.

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9. Be Right Back (season 2, episode 1)

A common theme in Black Mirror episodes is romantic relationships and I think that’s because of the importance and the effect these relationships have on our lives. This is an episode that deals with the loss of a loved one in an… unexpected way. Overall this episode is sad because of the true reality that is presented, but also sad because you really feel for the main character.

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If you noticed, I only mentioned my top 9 episode and not top 10. We like to keep it real here, so I must confess there are 2 episodes I have not watched yet; USS Callister and Black Museum (hence the normal fan). I have heard from a TON of people that Black Museum is a great episode so I’m sure that will be the episode that ends up on my top 10 list. So despite not watching it, I’m going to give it an honorary ranking of 10 for now (it might actually move up once I watch it).

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Thanks for reading and happy watching!