By Nicole Zamlout
The Netflix original series “Black Mirror” is known for incorporating themes of technology in episodes to demonstrate how damaging it can be for humanity, or how powerful social media can be. It shows how new advancements can lead to individual or global downfall, and those consequences can often be fatal.
While the new season retained some of these dark qualities, it also allowed some light to poke through. Even in the bleakest episodes, some positive aspect of humanity was reflected from that infamous mirror: selflessness, courage and love. Many of the themes went hand-in-hand beautifully with this show’s normal order of chaos and terror.
Each story was different, whether it highlighted the horrors behind seemingly innocent fantasies, or the fine line between parental protection and overprotection. It showed how good can triumph over evil, how freedom is important for children or how far human kindness can go. These bits of light enrich the season. After all, there is no point in watching if it all predictably ends in tragedy and madness.
The acting and pacing of these episodes were superb. All of the cast members, especially Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti and Letita Wright put their all into their performances. No twist was predictable and no shift felt odd because the actors sold each new direction with conviction. The pace never felt too rushed or slow. Everything we saw on screen was vital to each episode’s plot. You are never left to wonder what happened to this character or that thing or whether a loose end changes anything. Even the small bits and pieces that are left behind feel more like winks to the audience, as a way of letting our imagination run wild rather than a plot hole. With an all-star cast and clear direction, each little universe was created with precision and imagination.
The cinematography and musical score for the new season worked alongside each episode with diligence and vigor. Each scene was laid out with amazing attention to detail. Each shot contained all we needed to know about a character, or all we needed to see to understand where a scene was headed. The cinematography utilized cramped quarters for difficult truths, dark lighting for sinister activities and quick shots that stay in your mind until they are explained.
The scenery does what it’s supposed to — it helps tell the story. The score becomes its companion, whether it amplifies car chases, soothes us alongside a set of new lovers or heightens our anxiety as a villain prepares their next move. The score keeps us in the story, trapping us in the mirror, and it makes sure we pay close attention.
This season of “Black Mirror” is not only an anthology of cautionary tales, nor is it just an example of well-executed television. It is an example of how human compassion and insanity can stem from the same experience. It is a tapestry of light and darkness. Let’s hope that the bright side of humanity can help bring back some light inside that ever-shifting, ever-darkening black mirror.