Black Mirror, the popular dystopian anthology series, returns with its highly anticipated sixth season on Netflix. Comprising of five thought-provoking episodes, the season offers a mixed bag of intriguing narratives and moments of disappointment. While some episodes showcase the trademark Black Mirror brilliance, others fall short of the series’ high standards. Let’s dive into a breakdown of each episode and explore the hits and misses of Season 6.
“Joan is Awful” features an intriguing concept with notable performances from Annie Murphy and Salma Hayek. However, the episode fails to reach the heights of previous Black Mirror installments. While the meta-commentary on streaming platforms adds a layer of humor, the explanation for the underlying technology feels weak and leaves some unanswered questions. Despite its flaws, “Joan is Awful” manages to hold the viewer’s interest, but doesn’t quite achieve the unsettling impact that Black Mirror is known for.
“Loch Henry” stands out as one of the season’s strongest episodes. With its tense atmosphere and shocking twists, the story keeps viewers engaged from start to finish. The superb performances, particularly from Podrick from Game of Thrones (Daniel Portman), enhance the emotional impact of the episode. Although the resolution may be somewhat predictable, it doesn’t detract from the heartbreak and fear that unfold on screen. Visually stunning with effective pacing, “Loch Henry” proves to be a memorable addition to the Black Mirror universe.
“Beyond the Sea” explores a captivating space-based concept, but falls short of delivering a truly remarkable episode. The notion of replicated bodies and the interplay between space and Earth offers intrigue, but the narrative lacks the unexpected plot twists that Black Mirror is famous for. While Aaron Paul delivers a standout performance, the episode feels overly long, and its direction and pacing fail to maintain consistent engagement. Despite its flaws, “Beyond the Sea” manages to entertain to a certain extent.
“Mazey Day” is undoubtedly one of the weaker episodes of the season. While it initially presents an interesting exploration of celebrity culture and its consequences, the episode takes a bizarre supernatural turn that feels disjointed and lacking in explanation. The story fails to capitalize on its potential and leaves viewers feeling confused and unsatisfied. Clocking in at a relatively short duration, it’s fortunate that this episode doesn’t overstay its welcome. Zazie Beetz delivers a commendable performance, but it’s not enough to salvage the episode.
“Demon 79” is an episode that stands out as a standout within Season 6. Although it deviates from the usual technological focus of Black Mirror, the episode delivers an engaging and well-balanced story. The plot revolves around a girl who discovers a talisman and is then confronted by a demon who demands she kill three people to prevent an impending apocalypse. The episode skillfully explores moral conflicts and showcases a captivating performance by the lead actress. With moments of tension, humor, and thought-provoking themes, “Demon 79” succeeds as a standalone story, even if it feels out of place within the Black Mirror universe.
However, the season as a whole presents a mixed bag. While “Demon 79” shines, other episodes fail to meet the expectations set by previous seasons. The creators seem to have strayed away from the series’ core strength—exploring the impact of technology on society. Season 6 introduces episodes with supernatural, satanic, and horror elements, which, while intriguing in their own right, deviate too far from what fans have come to love about Black Mirror. The absence of thought-provoking technological concepts leaves a void that dampens the overall impact of the season.
Despite its missteps, Season 6 still manages to offer moments of entertainment and engagement. It is evident that the show’s creators have attempted to explore different genres and experiment with storytelling. While commendable, this approach leads to an inconsistent viewing experience. The lack of a cohesive theme or unifying narrative thread weakens the season’s impact and leaves viewers longing for the thought-provoking social commentary that Black Mirror is known for.
Black Mirror Season 6 offers a mixed bag of episodes, ranging from intriguing to disappointing. While “Loch Henry” stands out as a gripping and emotionally impactful installment, “Joan is Awful” and “Beyond the Sea” fall short of the series’ best work. “Mazey Day” disappoints with its disjointed narrative and lack of coherence. Despite its unevenness, the season still manages to provide thought-provoking social commentary and showcases notable performances from its talented cast. Black Mirror fans may find moments to appreciate, but Season 6 ultimately fails to reach the lofty standards set by previous installments.
Review by: James & Nayan
Disclaimer: This film review has been summarized with the assistance of an AI language model. Podcast version attached below.