About 10,950 occasions this yr we’ve learn the information and thought: oh shit, this is sort of a Black Mirror episode. And now, on the finish of 2017, when gifted a brand new season of our favourite dystopian Netflix present, we’re left questioning: can something be darker than actuality proper now?

As it seems, the reply is sure.


The first episode of Black Mirror’s fourth season stars Jesse Plemons as a schlubby, sexless white man with an inferiority advanced named Robert Daley who feels continuously slighted at his job; he’s the Chief Technology Officer at an organization that creates extremely immersive video video games. He’s additionally a gamer himself, and a Star Trek—erm, sorry, “Space Fleet”—fan. Surprise! He’s additionally a big asshole with an authoritarian bent.

What follows is a plot (virtually) actually ripped from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Daley surreptitiously imports his coworkers’ DNA right into a digital world the place they tackle the type of Star Fleet crew members that exist purely for him to dominate and abuse. Daley’s laptop program differs from Star Trek’s holodeck solely in that the digital crew are conscious of their existence as abused digital beings, they usually’re pissed off about it.

The game-world/real-world dynamic is traditional Black Mirror. It’s creepy (Plemons is a dependable villain at this level), it’s enjoyable (though it inexplicably does away with the anachronistic movie look that kicks off the episode halfway by), and it’s slickly produced. Overall, very okay—it type of damage my emotions as a Star Trek fan, however I get it. It’s a tremendous commentary on the sorts of dorks who play good on the workplace however harbor domineering male fantasies.

Given that Star Trek: Discovery and the Seth MacFarlane parody The Orwell each aired this yr, “USS Calister” can be extra proof that Black Mirror episodes are conceived solely by an algorithm skilled on Google search traits.


From the time she provides delivery, Marie (performed by Rosemarie Dewitt) is an anxious mother. But when Sarah, most likely someplace round age 4, will get misplaced from the playground, Marie takes excessive measures. She takes her to a scientific trial workplace known as Arkangel, the place a lady injects a chip into Sarah’s head, enabling Marie to actually see every thing her daughter sees on an iPad-like machine. She additionally has the power to censor what her daughter sees IRL by parental controls.

We don’t have Arkangel but (that I do know of) however mother and father can already observe their children on GPS methods made for households. And Sarah’s incapability to attach with fundamental feelings jogs my memory of the a number of research that counsel children are now not capable of detect feelings correctly due to technological intervention—parental controls block out her mom’s unhappiness and her grandfather’s funeral.

Marie, with the steerage of a therapist, decides to cease monitoring her daughter’s each transfer, and removes parental controls. A child named Trick exposes Sarah to all of the issues she’s been lacking, like porn and chainsaw-wielding serial killer motion pictures. Sarah grows up, it appears, comparatively usually after that, with the surveillance tempered. But when sooner or later she decides to be the teenager that she is—sneaking out with a pal—Marie succumbs to the Arkangel program, and faucets into what Sarah is doing in the meanwhile: dropping her virginity to Trick, saying, “Fuck me tougher.” Think, for a second, when you mother may see and hear you having intercourse.

This begins the ultimate unraveling: Marie finds out Trick is a drug supplier who lets Sarah strive a line of coke, after which forbids him to see her. She crushes Emergency Contraception—like a suped-up Plan B—into one in every of Sarah’s smoothies. Sarah catches on and bludgeons her mother with the exact same iPad-like machine, the blood on her mothers face blurred out by parental controls.

Arkangel is like that essay you examine how European mother and father are a lot chiller than American mother and father, coupled with a dose of the surveillance state. And it’s one which makes these leashes that oldsters placed on their children look completely affordable. Easy Black Mirror fodder, executed with knowledgeable degree creepiness.

Stay tuned…

This article sources data from Motherboard