the 5 black mirror episodes we want to see next
Now that you’ve gorged on the entirety of Black Mirror’s twisted fourth season, read our genuine and not at all satirical suggestions for season five.
Black Mirror, Crocodile
By now, you’ll have likely gorged on the entirety of Black Mirror’s fourth season. With dry January in full swing and a sudden and totally unrelated lack of interest in actually seeing the people you think of as “friends”, the temptation to tuck yourself up in bed with an overheating laptop and a family bag of Wotsits, indulging in Charlie Brooker’s twisted take on the relationship between man and his technological toys is more understandable than ever.
The thing is, we felt that as great as the series was, and as hard as it made us think as we stared unblinking into the black mirrors we carry around in our pockets 247, it wasn’t really reflective of the world that we here at i-D know.
So, we got in touch with Brooker and his team, and suggested the following episodes.*
Episode One: I See You
A pill is slid into the hand of Ariel (Mahershala Ali) at a warehouse party in what could be Warrington in 1992, or Siberia in 2292. At first the effects are of the very standard kind -- his palms are sopping wet, his jaw is somewhere between the smoking area and the toilets, and he finds himself gripped by a sudden urge to reassure everyone he sees that “things work out, dude, there’s a reason for all of this.”
But then it happens. Then it really kicks in. He can see everything. And by everything, I mean that he is suddenly gripped by the ability to immediately see every single outfit anyone in his line of sight has ever worn. He can see your trilby and braces phase. He can see the morning you spent desperately wishing those off-white chinos suited you. He can see, with painful clarity, the exact moment you suddenly got too old to wear cool clothes and slipped into M&S for a sensible 80% lambswool mix V neck.
Episode Two: Marc Marc Marc, or How We Lost Language
Language is a strange thing. It is, in many respects, the only real thing we have, except language isn’t actually real at all and the second you start thinking about how we use language, and how we can only think about language through language, which really is a massively tautological stumbling block, you realise that language is sort of completely nonsensical.
You remember, of course, that viral Marc Jacobs tag? The Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs in Collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs one -- the one that became a meme. That’s the important bit. The memes. The memes are the important bit about the Marc Jacobs tag. Remember that. In this particularly chilling episode of Black Mirror, a shadowy UN scheme -- masterminded by a high ranking official played with glee, gusto, and gumption, by Benedict Cumberbatch -- has caused mobile phones to emit a frequency which rearranges the neurological pathways responsible for the production and understanding of traditional human speech. This frequency is activated after the user has looked at, yep, that’s right, a meme.
Total enslavement ensues, with “Marc” and “Jacobs” being the only words left to us. In this near-languageless world, robbed of communication, mankind begins to fall to its knees. Until a plucky linguist (Joe Gilgun, rocking a peroxide mohawk for reasons that aren’t fully explained, but hey it’s the near future so anything can happen) decides he’s had enough. What happens next? You’ll have to watch the find out…
Episode Three: Technology Is Bad
When Hayley (Agyness Deyn) graduates from an American fashion college, the world is at her feet. This is what she tells her parents, over webcam. “I’ve got the world at my feet, mum!”. And she believes it too. Until, mysteriously, both of her feet take on lives of their own. Which makes walking quite difficult, among other things. Fearing the worst, she seeks an amputation on the dark web.
In deepest Bogota, she heads to the address provided by the shadowy surgeon she countered through Instagram discovery pages. His workshop consists of two vast rooms; one full of torn-off feet, the other with footless people, all with the same sad and sorry look of self-pitying resignation etched and engrained on their faces. This, it turns out, is what happens to people who make the fatal error of displaying pride in their accomplishments. Via webcam. Because technology is bad.
Episode Four: The Grail
You’d think that being in possession of the largest collection of a certain streetwear brand’s output on earth would make Michael (Armie Hammer) a contented man, but he is ravaged by loss. When he isn’t broadcasting the tender unwrapping of another haul to his legion of online followers, he’s ruminating on the tragic death of his father.
One evening, a package containing the only bag by the aforementioned brand he didn’t previously own arrives without warning. He immediately sets his camera up, not wanting his loyal audience to miss out on an opportunity to see just how much this means to him. The camera whirrs into action, the fans trickle into the stream. Slowly he peels the bag out of its protective layering. He picks it up, inhales that famous fresh-bag scent, and beams. “We did it. We fuckin’ did it,” he says.
Little does Michael know, the bag is actually the dispossessed soul of his long-lost father, and guess what -- dad’s not too happy about his son’s rampant addiction to consumerism. And he’s not afraid to tell him! On a livestream!
Episode Five: Obsidian
Christmas morning, 2023. We are in a clean, minimal, Scandinavian apartment, the kind of apartment that you’d see in the kind of interior design magazine that you pick up in the ICA bookshop and then put down when you clock the price. A young couple wake up. He stumbles into the bathroom. We watch the room fill with steam. He walks over to the mirror. Hold on. Hold the fucking phone. HOLD ON. THE MIRROR. IS. BLACK. IT IS A BLACK MIRROR.
Panicked, he runs back to the bedroom, careful not to knock over his priceless collection of trinkets from Goodhood. “MIA,” he shouts, “COME QUICK.” Mia runs toward Horatio (Uma Thurman and Channing Tatum). She stops. She looks in horror. His eyes. His eyes are black. Her eyes. Her eyes are black. Their eyes are as black as the mirror.
You see, this is a very subtle piece of satire on how an obsession with screens -- an obsession that has haunted humanity ever since that daft sod Narcissus peered into a pond all those centuries ago -- has an ultimately damaging effect on us all. The other 58 minutes are just pitch black silence.
* Obviously we didn’t really.