By Meghan Malas
After three years since the last release, Netflix finally released the third season of the satirical science fiction, Black Mirror. The show itself mimics the workings of “The Twilight Zone” in that it includes three to seven individual stories per season that leave one feeling eerie, yet intrigued. Each episode of the show has its own characters and plot line.
Black Mirror cleverly taps into unease surrounding modern-day technologies, and social tendencies and portrays them in a somewhat near-future setting. Some common themes apparent in the third season consist of the growing popularity of social media and its weight in society, reality gaming, technologies surrounding after-death experience, and governmental surveillance. Each of the six episodes in the third season are more chilling and intriguing than the previous one.
Compared to the first two seasons, the third was definitely different in the themes portrayed, and the resolutions of each story. The first season presented a primarily dystopian future. It carried the perspective that the more personal we allow technology to become, the more damage it will do to ourselves as individuals. For example, one of the three episodes in season 1 presents a technology that would allow you to have access to any and all of your experiences at any given time. No one is required to have the technology, and deletions are allowed, but every time you access or clear your personal system it is on record. The main character, who possesses the software, ends up losing his marriage and losing and some friendships due to his obsession with the details of his day-to-day conversations.
The second season contains ideas surrounding existential confusion, political chaos, and a technology that allows people to recreate their deceased loved ones. Similar to first season, the second presented scenarios where personal decision to participate in a technology has a negative effect on one’s life.
However, the third season portrays a slightly different idea on the role of technology in the future. Every episode in the third seasons begins by somehow informing that whatever technological system or tool that is being used by the characters in relatively new. This approach makes the stories extra creepy in that you feel that they actually could happen soon. The technologies presented also typically exist in the future society due to some problem in modern society. For example, many environmentalists today worry about the extinction of bees in the near future. In the final episode of the third season, a national government creates robot bees to do the job of the now-extinct honey bee. The government yields complete control of the program, and despite constant media speculation, refuses to admit to using the bees to spy on citizens. The program, and the government’s secret surveillance, ultimately result in disaster after someone hacks into the system and uses the bees to kill targets picked out by the public on social media. This story, though dramatic and slightly fantastical, still creates a certain fear due to reality of the problems and the technological ability.
In short, Black Mirror will not fail to provoke new ideas about the modern world and its future. It intrigues, entertains, and should be recommended highly to anyone who is interested in slightly terrifying science fiction.