Black Mirror is one of those shows that has a massive cult following, and you either watch it and love it, or you don’t. For years it’s explored different aspects of society and technology without holding back on us, it’s even widely known for being seriously fucked up – there are episodes I can’t watch again purely because it messed me up good. So when season 5 was released I expected the hype train to be rolling, but there was a weird radio silence around it, and when people started talking, it wasn’t good.
You’d think after Bandersnatch happened that season 5 would blow our minds, but no, it felt like it was missing something. The wow factor was very little and in all honesty I feel like it’s hard for Charlie Brooker to top his previous seasons in general. Purely because it’s not just about the topics, the seasons did well in exploring human nature as a whole.
Spoilers ahead – You’ve been warned.
The first episode had loads of potential, it explored two best friends entry into VR gaming, which then led to VR sex – the best friends are both black males who consider themselves straight. One’s also married just to spice things up when it comes to their feelings about all of it. Now, the episode did a good job of showing how Karl and Kevin became completely addicted to the act, it was like porn to them and they couldn’t stop.
The one place where it fell short was them acknowledging their feelings. Black Mirror had the chance to explore gay identity in black men, but they chose to make it a ‘no homo’ moment. They kissed IRL, fought, and said that they felt nothing for one another, which just made the last 5 minutes feel underwhelming.
So much potential, but not enough execution – and this trend continues for the other two episodes.
The second episode centres around todays society, our obsession with social media, and how grief can lead someone in to doing crazy things like kidnapping a well dressed intern and being surrounded by armed police forces.
I can safely say the last 10 minutes had me on the edge of my seat, but then they left the ending ambiguous and honestly I felt robbed. It seemed like they were going for a similar atmosphere as our favourite episode about the prime minister and the pig, but that episode ended brilliantly, whereas this left us guessing in the worst way possible. I get that knowing the victim of that critical shot could have ruined everything, but do you know how impactful it would have been if they went with it and made the kidnapped intern a martyr.
The third episode has Miley Cyrus and weirdly enough it was my favourite episode, it kept everything fucked up and explored technology and society in a way that the show is known for. I honestly don’t know why people hate this episode so much, because out of the three it’s the strongest when it comes to exploring themes and following through. The only criticism I have for this is they probably could have gone darker with it all, that would have been great.
Season 5 also just needed to ditch the endings with the cut to other scenes and expecting that to make us all happy. I want actual endings, like when you think back to Shut up and Dance and how that ending just dropped the mic, it not only brought about a massive reveal but it’s also iconic!
The lack of iconic moments in this season is probably why everyones upset, every season has a ‘wow’ moment and an episode that chills you to your core. You usually have to mentally prepare yourself for Black Mirror when a new season comes out, but this one was just too light hearted for all of us.