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@Saunch What exactly is thin and contradictory about it?
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You can't win an argument just by being right!
First episode, USS Callister, is pretty weak, IMO. You can totally see how Brooker and co. mightía had fun writing it and even shooting the thing (thereís some sharp technical allusions to J.J.ís films) but itís ultimately so, so thin and contradictory in how it delivers its final message.

Thereís also a piece of sci-fi thatís glaringly out of place.
I didnt watch it - just not my thing - but Mr D liked it.



A system of cells interlinked
Callister was AWESOME. Super entertaining and well played across the board. I would also like to hear about these alleged contradictions, please.
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I've been going through the earlier seasons before I binge Season 4, and although I don't think it's the best episode I've seen, Fifteen Million Merits has stuck with me for days now. Amazing episode with amazing leads in Jessica Brown Findlay and Daniel Kaluuya. I can't quite wrap my head around one thing though:

WARNING: "FMM" spoilers below
When Abi is receiving the judges critiques and is coerced into doing porn, the female judge wipes away a tear and I don't quite know why. At first I thought it was just an act, like she was happy for her, but she seemed a bit dishevelled when the other two judges were speaking at times so I can't work her out that scene in general broke me though



@Saunch What exactly is thin and contradictory about it?
Wasn't addressed at me, but: I liked it overall, though it definitely treads over some of the same ground as previous episodes. I think people--both those that like it, like you, and those that don't, like Saunch--are possibly underestimating how much of their reaction is based on their preexisting attitude towards that clearly made-for-the-moment message.



I've been going through the earlier seasons before I binge Season 4, and although I don't think it's the best episode I've seen, Fifteen Million Merits has stuck with me for days now.
Definitely one of my favorite episodes. Would have to re-watch it to answer your spoiler question.
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Welcome to the human race...
I've been going through the earlier seasons before I binge Season 4, and although I don't think it's the best episode I've seen, Fifteen Million Merits has stuck with me for days now. Amazing episode with amazing leads in Jessica Brown Findlay and Daniel Kaluuya. I can't quite wrap my head around one thing though:

WARNING: "FMM" spoilers below
When Abi is receiving the judges critiques and is coerced into doing porn, the female judge wipes away a tear and I don't quite know why. At first I thought it was just an act, like she was happy for her, but she seemed a bit dishevelled when the other two judges were speaking at times so I can't work her out that scene in general broke me though
I figure you can interpret it as...

WARNING: "FMM" spoilers below
...the female judge either being subjected to drugged-up coercion as if to suggest that things aren't much better for her even in her relatively privileged position or, much like Bing at the end of the episode, she's not drugged but has still managed to sell out to the system anyway.


Wasn't addressed at me, but: I liked it overall, though it definitely treads over some of the same ground as previous episodes. I think people--both those that like it, like you, and those that don't, like Saunch--are possibly underestimating how much of their reaction is based on their preexisting attitude towards that clearly made-for-the-moment message.
Isn't the whole point of this show that every episode has a "made-for-the-moment" message (and is the concept of a man creating a system in which he can abuse subordinates with impunity really that new in the first place)?



Isn't the whole point of this show that every episode has a "made-for-the-moment" message (and is the concept of a man creating a system in which he can abuse subordinates with impunity really that new in the first place)?
I'd say the show is usually made-for-the-decade, rather than made-for-the-moment. Doing an episode about the dangers of social media, for example, is probably living a totally different shelf life than something like this, about toxic masculinity and/or entitled Internet fan culture. And that's the part I'm referring to, rather than the broader themes you mention above.

Anyway, I think a better ending for it...

WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
...would've been the Aaron Paul character, the first thing they encounter on the Internet after becoming free, getting bored or annoyed with them and immediately blowing them up.



This might just do nobody any good.
Regarding USS Callister...

WARNING: spoilers below
I think Iím warming up to it. Its probably that the hook played in such a jokey way that I was thrown off and Iím still unsure about the whole ďhack a girlís phone to combat online abuseĒ thing. I suppose it fits with the general black humor/sense of irony of the series but it just didnít stick with me. Thatís the contradictory thing I mentioned. Iím also hung up on the whole DNA thing and recreating people inside a game with their memories and personalities intact. I know the series ventures into harder sci-fi but it all works, IMO, because of how it deploys realism to push these premises to their extremes.


All that said, Jesse Plemons really killed it. Meth Damon has officially surpassed Matt in my regard.

I skipped around a bit. Metalhead was an eye-roller but Black Museum was fun. Douglas Hodge is so underrated.



Welcome to the human race...
I'd say the show is usually made-for-the-decade, rather than made-for-the-moment. Doing an episode about the dangers of social media, for example, is probably living a totally different shelf life than something like this, about toxic masculinity and/or entitled Internet fan culture. And that's the part I'm referring to, rather than the broader themes you mention above.

Anyway, I think a better ending for it...

WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
...would've been the Aaron Paul character, the first thing they encounter on the Internet after becoming free, getting bored or annoyed with them and immediately blowing them up.
WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
That seems like a cheap excuse for a shock ending to me, plus it seems like it would send the message that the trolls/abusers/etc will ultimately wear you down and win no matter how hard you try to fight back or ignore them. Having them bail on Aaron Paul not because he presents a serious threat but because they just can't be bothered with engaging him is a solid enough ending for me.


Regarding USS Callister...

WARNING: spoilers below
I think Iím warming up to it. Its probably that the hook played in such a jokey way that I was thrown off and Iím still unsure about the whole ďhack a girlís phone to combat online abuseĒ thing. I suppose it fits with the general black humor/sense of irony of the series but it just didnít stick with me. Thatís the contradictory thing I mentioned. Iím also hung up on the whole DNA thing and recreating people inside a game with their memories and personalities intact. I know the series ventures into harder sci-fi but it all works, IMO, because of how it deploys realism to push these premises to their extremes.


All that said, Jesse Plemons really killed it. Meth Damon has officially surpassed Matt in my regard.

I skipped around a bit. Metalhead was an eye-roller but Black Museum was fun. Douglas Hodge is so underrated.
WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
Yeah, that's a good point about the phone-hack. I figure it's justified by being a matter of desperate times calling for desperate measures - the crew had already tried sending an ordinary cry for help to real-Nanette and she dismissed it as spam, so they had to resort to blackmail as a last-minute act of desperation. The sting is taken out of it by how it's a) computer-Nanette being the one to come up with the plan to blackmail her real self in the first place and b) how the computer characters aren't actually trying to extort her for anything but just want to put a stop to Daly's evil plans. Admittedly, it is a little jarring to realise that we never cut back to real-Nanette afterwards so we never find out if she learns the truth about either Daly or why she had to break into his place.



WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
That seems like a cheap excuse for a shock ending to me
WARNING: "USS Callister" spoilers below
It's a shock ending, but I wouldn't say it's cheap: it reinforces the narrative with a down note, which is far more in keeping with previous episodes than an upbeat one.

I like the episode fine as-is, anyway, but sometimes I think it's doing or not doing things simply to avoid seeming too much like itself, if that makes sense.



Maybe I will watch Black Museum next. Loved Jesse Plemons in Callister, but it was over-long. Don’t think I even finished Arkangel, which was also too long.



Black Mirror: Season 4
USS Callister-

Arkangel-

Crocodile-

Hang the DJ-
+
Metalhead-

Black Museum-
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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



Overall Ranked and Rated:

Shut up and Dance, White Bear,Black Museum
White Christmas
The Entire History of You, Be Right Back,Hated in the Nation, Hang the DJ,Men Against Fire, San Junipero, Fifteen Million Merits, Nosedive,USS Callister
The National Anthem, Playtest, Arkangel
The Waldo Moment
Crocodile
Metalhead



Interesting how tastes differ. In season 4, I rank Crocodile as the very best. Excellent acting from the 2 female leads & a clever story.

Metalhead I rank second. Excellent acting from female lead & a clever story.

Hang the DJ I rank third. Excellent acting from the 2 leads & an interesting story.

Arkangel & USS Callister come next & on the bottom would come Black Museum. I couldnít finish this episode because the plot was all over the place & the episode seemed interminable. Each 5 minutes period felt like 30 minutes.



Re: tastes differing. Yeah, I think a lot depends on whether or not we approach each episode as perfectly standalone, or whether or not we approach it as an episode of Black Mirror. I do the latter: when I sit down to watch this show, I expect a certain kind of tale, a certain kind of moral, a certain kind of mind game. Metalhead is really good as, say, an independent short film. I'm just not sure if I like it as a Black Mirror episode.

This show just has such a glowing sense of brand to it that I'm not sure it can do much more than it's doing without feeling like another show entirely. Kinda like The Twilight Zone.