Black Mirror Season 6 Review — It pays to try something new

Are there only so many ways you can tell dark tales about modern society? The latest season of Black Mirror feels like it, as Charlie Brooker decided to steer the wagon off the rails and into new frontiers with episodes that veer more into the fantastical and where the tech takes a back seat.

Trying to one-up Love, Death & Robots at their own game is one thing, keeping Black Mirror's unique identity is another. Here are my thoughts on the episodes of Black Mirror Season 6 from the meh to the amazing!


Honestly, there wasn't a truly horrible seed in all 5 episodes of Black Mirror Season 6. These episodes may not be the Black Mirror you're used to, but that doesn't make them inherently bad.


"Mazey Day" barely toes the line with its story of a celebrity in hiding (the eponymous Mazey Day, played by Clara Rugaard) and a former paparazzi looking for one last score (played by Zazie Beetz). Fun performances and a jaw-dropping twist elevate this otherwise slow-moving horror story that is over as quickly as it began.

"Demon 79" is a devilishly fun and funny homage to 1970's horror movies that is only in this section due to being more at home in Love Death & Robots than Black Mirror. No cellphones in sight, just an Anglo-Indian woman (Anjana Vasan) being told by an actual demon she unwittingly summoned that the world will end if she doesn't make three human sacrifices in the next three days. And so she does, and what a ride it is.

"Joan is Awful" is peak Black Mirror as it tackles the dangers of AI and algorithms having a hand in the media we consume. Annie Murphy plays the titular character, whose life is turned upside down when she finds out Streamberry (a pastiche of Netflix, who happens to be the home streaming service of Black Mirror) has created a TV show about her everyday life using AI, exposing her flaws for all the world to see. The celebrity cameos (Salma Hayek! Ben Barnes! Cate Blanchett!) and the story itself are fun little ribs at Netflix and the algorithm-driven zeitgeist. A delightfully meta story that is pretty much a self-contained paradigm of the show itself.


Out of the 5 episodes, two stood out as powerful stories that highlight what makes Black Mirror so damn watchable.

"Beyond the Sea" is a compelling drama that touches upon themes of alienation and intimacy in true Black Mirror fashion. David (Josh Hartnett) and Cliff (Aaron Paul) shine as two men who lead double lives: one as astronauts on a 6-year mission in deep space, and the other as normal family men via transferring their consciousness into near-perfect cybernetic replicas on Earth. It's a tense and torrid tale with powerful performances and a jaw-dropping ending that, like an oncoming train crash, you can't help but witness. Just kudos to everyone involved.

Finally, my favorite of the lot that really feels like a return to form for the show is "Loch Henry." Film students David (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia (Myha'la Herrold) trek to David's sleepy hometown in Loch Henry, Scotland to do a documentary about a local egg collector, only to find a more interesting subject  the gruesome murders that happened there years ago. The episode shines a lurid light on society's fascination with true crime series and how it dehumanizes its victims for views and profit just as easily as it features gorgeous sweeping shots of the Scottish countryside. It's not often that a show immerses you in a way that you feel like you're actually there with the characters, and "Loch Henry" achieves that in more ways than one. Just a captivating watch from start to finish!

I don't know whether I liked Black Mirror Season 6 because the bar set by the previous season was pretty low, or because this new selection of twisted tales was actually pretty good. The optimist in me believes it's the latter. If this is what the future holds for this show, then bring on more of this!

The new season of Black Mirror is now streaming on Netflix.

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