Top 15 Black Mirror Episodes: When the Screen Goes Blank

Black Mirror is an anthology series that explores the ever-evolving world of technology and how its creators, humans, react to it. Charlie Brooker, the creator of the show, told Collider in 2016, “I don’t know that we’re really much of a binge-watching show, because it’s a bit like being hit by a car. How many times can you get hit by a car in one day.”

So dive in to get to know some of the best episodes in the series.

Top 15 Black Mirror Episodes: When the Screen Goes Blank

1. Season 1 Episode 1-“The National Anthem”

The advent of the show might be the most bizarre, uncanny and thought-provoking among all the episodes of the show. The Prime Minister, Michael Callow is blackmailed to perform compromising acts with a alive pig and this unthinkable act is to be telecasted to the entire nation. The whole idea of the show hinges along the lines between what is acceptable and what is not. Through hopping onto these boundaries it is a large commentary on how the opinion of the general public can be changed even when what seems like a right choice is undertaken. This episode has the essence of the show and it is kind of startling that it mirrors the real-life allegations about then Prime Minister of the U.K., David Cameron who had allegations of allegedly performing some similar things (as done in the episode) with the head of a dead pig.

2. Season 1 Episode 3-“The entire history of you”

The feelings of uncertainty, distrust, of palpable confusion when we fall into any relationship is clearly depicted by the anxiety of Liam who is suspicious of his wife Ffion’s behavior toward another man, Jonas. With the help of the technology called “grain” which was implanted behind their ears, Liam scrutinizes even the microscopic details of their lives. But this distrust puts a strain on their relationship. The creator of the show Brooker informed Times Columnist in 2016, “Usually, the technology isn’t to blame in the stories. It’s just facilitating some weakness in our character.” So, in the end, the audience questions whether was it really a consequence of the advanced technology of the “grain” which made Liam so erratic.

3. Season 2 Episode 1-“Be Right Back”

Martha, played by brilliant Haley Atwell, (yes, the love interest of Steve Rogers in Captain America, Peggy Carter) tries to hold onto her dead boyfriend by attempting to transfer his personality into an android. But, alas, the minute antics of a person that makes us fall in love with them cannot be replicated by any machine. This tear-jerking ride to portray a shared deep connection which is the basic component of any relationship provides a kind of a breather in the series which usually has gut-wrenching and intriguing visual treats.
Did you know that according to the Verge, an American technology news website, a technology similar to the one in this episode has already been developed?

4. Season 2 Episode 2- “The White Bear”

How far should a convict be punished for his/her crime? The episode starts in utter confusion (and that’s how it ends too) when the screen opens to women running from its attackers who are wearing animal masks. The show drives on this suspense of the identity of the attackers and the reason behind the fear of the woman which is not bombarded upon the audience until the few end minutes of the episode. At the end of this episode, you will have no idea who is in the right and who is in the wrong. The audience of this episode also partakes in the punishment of the woman by watching her misery and confusion much like the voyeuristic aspect is explored in the episode. This is again a fodder-for-mind kind of moment if we can remember how public execution used to function in the bygone eras of kings and the concept of guillotine during the French Revolution, both of which are voyeuristic in nature.

5. Season 2 Episode 3- “The Waldo Moment”

“The Waldo moment” explores the general public mistrust of politicians. Jamie, an unhappy comedian (the irony) operates a vulgar computer-animated bear called Waldo. After interviewing a politician, Liam Munroe, he too agrees that Waldo, a cartoonist should also stand as a candidate. Things go out of hand after politics gets mixed with entertainment. Like how events turn in the world of Black Mirror, Waldo, who was at first criticizing these ‘loud words but no action’ types of politicians, ends up becoming the agent and the leading face of their propaganda. Critics might not consider this among the best episodes of the show, but it does stand its own ground and explores how politics works, which is daring in itself, if not exemplary.

6. Season 3 Episode 1-“Nosedive”

This episode is to be counted among one of the good ones of the series, if not the absolute best, (that title might be taken up by “The National Anthem”). Lacie currently has a rating of 4.2 but she wants a much better lifestyle which she can only be able to avail if she has a rating of 4.5. How can one be their real self in a world that is run on by ratings, hearts, stars, and such concepts of fake appearances? Do you want to express your frustrations regarding the system? Guess what, you will be voted down, everyone will see you with eyes filled with disappointment and you will be ousted by society. This is quite a grim picture of the world, isn’t it? Surprisingly, China is working on a Social Credit System that might be similar to the concept of this episode.

7. Season 3 Episode 2-“Playtest”

Wyatt Russell, naively, makes a deal with the devil, when he volunteers for the testing of a virtual-reality game that uses one’s memory and plays out their worst fears. Who would want to experience how it feels when millions of spiders crawl into your skin, right? Along with Wyatt, the audience too is gripped with a fear of their worst nightmares. You would have the full experience if you see this episode for yourselves, without any explanation, so dive ahead, right now. It is one scary treat for sure.

Some games have been developed like the concept of “Playtest”, such as 2015’s Nevermind. Click this link to know more about it-

8. Season 3 Episode 4-“San Junipero”

This is one of the few episodes which are not so pessimistic and gloomy. The vibrant colors and the emotional connection between Kelly and a shy Yorkie make it almost a lighthearted romantic movie. But what would these two girls do when external forces are trying to tear them apart? The conclusion too ingenious to spoil sets everything in perspective and concludes the episode in a fantastic pun, with which the episode is brimmed with. This also is reminiscing of the game called Second Life in which players can generate their avatars into whatever version they seem pleased with and to live an almost real life but virtually. The game had such a massive impact that their were documentaries on gamers who were addicted to it.

9. Season 3 Episode 5-“Men Against Fire”

The whole premise of Black Mirror runs on the blurring of the distinction between fiction and reality. The thought of brainwashing soldiers to evoke non-emotional responses to the enemy. If the enemy is not human, the guilt of killing your own brothers of mankind wouldn’t induce sympathetic sentiments, thus making the soldiers efficient in their task of killing. This is what is pondered upon in this episode where Stripe realizes that the so called “roaches” are in fact humans, who were seen as monsters by a device called MASS. This is chilling if we consider the rumors regarding the Japanese Super-Soldiers who were incapable of feeling anything, during World War II, though of course, these are just rumors. For now, at least.

10. Season 4 Episode 1-“USS Callister”

Jesse Plemons is a loner in real life but is the protagonist of his made up version of Star Trek world, literally. He playacts as the main protagonist, the captain of the virtual-reality simulation called Space Fleet. Whatever his thoughts of revenge and romance might have been in his office life, he brings them to fruition in this game where his real life colleagues are mirrored as the crew of the spaceship. But things go haywire when the crew rebels against the tyranny of Jesse. Jesse then goes on to experience some dire consequences because of his action, but watch the episode to find out what exactly happened to him.

11. Season 4 Episode 2-“Arkangel”

No one like too much nosiness of their parents and their relatives, right? And definitely not in their teenage years. That’s exactly what Sara experiences when the monitoring device of Arkangel system, hampers with Sara as she grows up. But the chip cannot be removed once it is implanted. The mother-daughter relationship deteriorates and eventually is culminated into a horrific conclusion.

For a similar short movie check out, this 12 minutes short film called “Connected” which works upon a similar concept of technology as in this episode- This youtube channel called “DUST” curates short films like the ones which makes Black Mirror so beloved to its audience.

12. Season 4 Episode 4-“Hang the DJ”

In the world of Tinder and other dating apps, it is inevitable to go through some wrong dates, some people with whom you are incompatible to finally meet up with one who is a perfect match to your crazy. But if you find someone who seems like a dream come true, would you be curious to the deadline of that relationship, if you have that option to see, or would you be satisfied without knowing? This simple act of curiosity reduces Frank’s relationship with Amy, reduces the timeline of their relationship from several years to a few hours, which is determined by an app Coach, which is basically tinder but works on compatibility of their personalities. So what would they do now? The conclusion of the episode, well, it is nothing sort of an unseen twist in the guts of the viewers.

The act of seeing the deadline by Frank reflects the unsettling thought of a beautiful relationship coming to an end, which everyone experiences. But if you take it one day at a time and enjoy every moment of it or just torture yourself thinking about the end, that makes the whole difference in the longevity of the relationship.

13. Season 4 Episode 5-“Metalhead”

Run for survival or die. The dystopian world of this episode is run by robotic dogs called, ‘Metalheads’, who sprint lethally towards any human being like a primal predator. This might resonates with how a prey runs desperately away from its attacker, much like how animals run for their lives when hunters hunt just for their pleasure. Bella’s sprint is the premise of this episode and whether or not she makes it, watch this episode for yourselves to find out.

14. Season 4 Episode 6-“The Black Museum”

Here, three different stories are weaved together to render a dismal and miserable aspect of pleasure through experiencing or inflicting pain. A young woman, Nish (Letita Wright), journeys to the “Black Museum” owned and run by Rolo Haynes. He takes pride in showcasing the illicit technologies he had collected over the years. One object is tied to Rolo’s past as Neurological Research Recruiter. He persuaded a doctor to use an experimental implant to experience the pain of his own patients but that result in his addiction to the pain, and instead of saving his patients he now wants to kill them. Another item was a teddy bear which has consciousness of a woman trapped in it. The final story is of museum’s centerpiece, Clayton Leigh’s holographic projection, a convicted murderer, which is revealed was wrongfully accused. Haynes demonstrates how the visitors can recreate his last electrocution which resulted in his death. However, tables turns when Nish reveals that she is the daughter of Clayton.
The race issue and how people from black community are wrongfully convicted is not lost here. Even the title of the episode refers to how the main attraction of the museum is re-experiencing the plight of a black man, which makes the audience wonder about the sufferings of the black community and how they were treated during Slavery.

15. Season 5 Episode 2-“The Smithereens”

Picture Credit: Pinterest
The theme of addiction to Social Media, this is what this episode showcases about through the emotional performance of Andrew Scott, the “Moriarty” from the famous Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. Chris works for an app Hitcher, much like Uber and Ola, but only accepts his clients from the locality where the social media company Smithereens. When he finally gets a client, Jaden who works in the company, he kidnaps him in an attempt to speak with the head of the company. These bizarre events progressively build to the climax which puts Chris in an entirely different light. This episode is packed with police chase, the escalation of the final conclusion and the abrupt end which hints at what happened to Chris after his attempt at kidnapping.


There is an interactive film by the name “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” on Netflix. It allows the audience to play a game of choices along with the narrator and thus the writer of the story is the audience, in a way. Yet what has to happen will happen isn’t it true in real life too? When asked to the producer where is Black Mirror’s New Season? The answer they gave jokingly was quite horrifying actually – 2020 is Black Mirror’s New Season.

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