Tech Now + Beyond

13 episodes that prove “Black Mirror” has predicted our future

Unless you’ve been living off the grid, there is no way you have not heard of Black Mirror, the popular British television series, that’s taken Netflix (and show binge-watchers) to a freaky-binge session. The show revolves around the advancements in technology in the near future or an alternate present while portraying the overpowering nature of everything digital in our lives.

No two episodes are the same in terms of cast, plot or even timelines, which means you can start watching the show by picking up any episode mid-season, without feeling lost.

1. “Nosedive”

(Image Description: A gif of Bryce Dallas Howard holding a phone and swiping up on it, indicating that she’s rating someone.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 1

Why: “Nosedive” lures you into a pastel-colored world where the value of everyone’s lives in society is determined by a five-point rating scale. A scale that governs everything.

A ridicule of our social media-driven world, which will make you wonder what’d it be like if you couldn’t grab a cup of your favorite personalized coffee from Starbucks, just because you lost a couple of Instagram followers over the weekend.

2. “San Junipero”

(Image Description: A gif of two girls in a moving car. One of them is driving and kissing the other girl next to her.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 4

Why: Arguably the most optimistic episode, “San Junipero” is about a strong bond between two women which transcends time and space.

The romantic storyline set in the ’80s will warm your heart while giving a whole new meaning toforeverin a true Black Mirror sense of style.

3. “Hang the DJ”

(Image Description: A gif of a man and a woman who are sat facing each other. The man is telling the woman “I don’t want whoever the system reckons the one is, okay?) Via Tumblr

Episode Details: Season 4, Episode 4

Why: “Hang the DJ” is one of the lighter themed episodes and takes a satirical take on online dating. Imagine an authoritarian system that sets you up for a date, orders the food for the said date and even locks down an expiratory date for the relationship. Yikes, talk about robots taking over the world.

4. “White Christmas”

(Image Description: A gif of Jon Hamm looking exasperated as he gets ‘blocked’ by the person standing in front of him, which turns him into a silhouette.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Christmas Special

Why: The Christmas special starring Jon Hamm is a bundle of 3 individual stories that are somehow linked to each other. As each story is laid out, the episode is full of suspense and gradually brings about an unsettling feeling which will keep you on the edge of your seats until the very end. Probably the only ‘Christmas special’ out there that could break you.

5. “Arkangel”

(Image Description: A gif of a little girl being injected with a type of technology through the side of her head.) Via Google
Episode Details: Season 4, Episode 2

Why: “Arkangel” is the story of an overprotective mother, who signs her daughter up for a program that will help her monitor all her daughter’s activities. An act of care which if not kept in check, can turn into an invasion of privacy. We talk a lot of talk about the government using technology to spy on us, but what if it were your own parent? 

6. “Be Right Back”

(Image Description: A gif of an emotional Hayley Atwell who is stood facing a man. The two of them are making their hands meet.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 2, Episode 1

Why: If you’re a Haley Atwell fan, you don’t want to miss this one. “Be Right Back” shows us how we use the internet and social media as a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of a loved one, and then intensifies that x100. This emotionally heavy and bittersweet episode will get you thinking and make you appreciate those around you even more so.

7. “Hated in the Nation”

(Image Description: A gif of two women who are stood in front of a structure made up of robotic bees. One of them moves her hand through the structure and the bees disperse.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 6

Why: With a run time of 89 minutes, “Hated in the Nation” is the longest episode of Black Mirror. The episode is yet another satire on the darker side of technology and how careless we can be when it comes to passing comments from behind a screen. Even though the plot may seem a little predictable and not as out of the box as Black Mirror episodes go, the robotic bees are that what makes it intriguing to watch.

8. “The Entire History of You”

(Image Description: A gif of a man using his tech-filled eyes to zoom in on a man and woman having a conversation.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 1, Episode 3

Why: What if you could record everything you see? “The Entire History Of You” answers that question by portraying a reality where a ‘grain’ embedded in a person’s head records everything. It also allows them to replay, zoom, and share these memories.  It is like taking screenshots and using them as proof to back up an argument, only way more extreme and almost inhuman.

9. “Shut Up and Dance”

(Image Description: A gif of a boy who is closing a laptop quickly with a scared expression on his face.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 3

Why: This episode might make you want to cover the cameras on all your electronic devices and install some hardcore anti-virus if you haven’t already. “Shut Up and Dance” follows the innocent and average life of a teenage boy that turns upside down when he gets recorded in a compromising situation.

One of the more disturbing episodes of Black Mirror, but a must-watch.

10. “The Waldo Moment”

(Image Description: A gif of a man throwing a glass bottle at a digital screen showing a cartoon character and the words ‘BELIEVE’ written on it.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 2, Episode 3

Why: “The Waldo Moment,” a satire on popular politics was much disliked due to its absurdity when it first came out in 2013. It is now an episode that comes closest to our reality, all thanks to Donald Trump being elected as the U.S. President.

11. “Playtest”

(Image Description: A gif of an uncomfortable looking man who is sat in a chair that has a piece of tech around his head like a headband.) Via Giphy

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 2

Why: This one is for the horror movie fans out there. “Playtest” is a story of a man hoping to find himself, who in doing so, travels the world and ends up volunteering to test a game for some extra funds. A game that is a bit too real, even for a world where VR (virtual reality) exists.

12. “White Bear”

(Image Description: A gif of a menacing woman wearing an animal mask. She is holding a power tool.) Via Giphy

Episode Details:  Season 2, Episode 2

Why: (TW: Self-harm)

“White Bear” is one of those episodes where you start off as confused and end up as disturbed. But aren’t those the best kind? When you begin to think you have the plot figured out, you will find out that you were not even close.

13. “National Anthem”

(Image Description: A gif of a worried man sat next to a toilet seat holding his head with drool dripping down his chin.) Via Google

Episode Details: Season 1, Episode 1.

Why: The first Black Mirror episode and also a controversial favorite of many.  A kidnapped princess, a blackmailing terrorist, and global media agitation put the U.K. Prime Minister between a rock and a hard place. If at all you are familiar with David Cameron’s ‘Piggate‘ scandal, you’ll know where this episode heads.

TV Shows Pop Culture

‘Quantico’ gives a solid go at diversity – but sometimes they failed

Spoiler Alert, y’all.

I’m starting from the top. In case you missed it, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra won People’s Choice Award for favorite actress in a new TV series – for reasons which evade me. It might have something to do with her role as Alex Parrish, an FBI recruit who is suspected of being a terrorist who carried out a deadly attack. The entirety of the show is Alex trying to prove her innocence AND find the real culprit- if that’s not White Savior Complex, I don’t know what is.

Here’s the plot: If she didn’t do it, someone from her class did.

From the trailer, the cast oozed diversity: a South Indian Bollywood actress as lead, a hijabi, an African American woman as head of Quantico’s recruitment program. After the pilot, it all went downhill.

With a diverse cast leading the show and everyone being a suspect, it was only a few episodes in before the hijabi was the prime suspect.

How shocking.

With brief mentions of Alex having an Indian mother and white father, there  is no other way of telling that she represents a minority unless you count the Om bracelet she wears, the fact that she tops her class, naturally, as Indian girls should, and most offensively, that her title as the suspect was ‘JihadiJane’ because, you know, all brown girls are suspect.

[bctt tweet=”After the pilot, it all went downhill.”]

Then there’s the overwhelming who’s-sleeping-with-who web of stories, because catching the perpetrator isn’t captivating enough. I expected as much, since the promotional poster featured Alex handcuffed, with an FBI flag loosely draped around her. I guess she was supposed to be sexy – and it definitely helped.

As for Alex’s story, she found out that her dead dad was also in the FBI, and wants to find out about more about him. She eventually does and is riddled with guilt because he was an FBI agent. Let’s not forget, she killed him years earlier because he abused her mom. This was a fact she needed constant reminding of, because as long as you’re a hero, you can treat your wife like crap. Right?

What really got to me, though, was the hijabi character. Moving past the ‘I am defying my family tradition by being here’ that all hijabis seem to have, is the lack of truth in the hijabi character, Nimah.


Nimah Amin
Nimah Amin

Nimah falls in love with Simon, a mysterious recruit with his own secret – he’s part of the Israeli Defense Force. She eventually invites him over, then removes her hijab in front of him to show him that she likes him. You know, because words aren’t what we use to express feelings. How rudimentary of you, writers, not only do Muslim women stay at home, we can’t speak for ourselves either.

Unveiling the package moment. What the actual eff?

I should also mention the Muslim-shaming ‘Oh you’re missing out’ sentiments and snickers expressed by Alex and another character Shelby towards Nimah as they talk about their flings – very mature for people training to protect the country. Thanks for pulling up that age-old stereotype about Muslim women and their relationships with men, amirite?

[bctt tweet=”Unveiling the package moment. What the actual eff? “]

If stereotyping one Muslim wasn’t bad enough, they did it to an entire Muslim community when Alex took to hiding in a mosque – because where else do fugitives hide? The FBI came looking for her there and her only means of escape was to put on a niqab.

Never in my life have I seen so many niqabis in one mosque.

Lastly, we come to Miranda, who runs the recruitment program. While I do give the costume department a good job for dressing her for her body type, that’s the only thing they’ve done well. Her backstory is her fatherless son, who’s in juvenile detention because he wanted to shoot up a school. Original. For some reason not explained, she fears and distrusts him.

[bctt tweet=”Never in my life have I seen so many niqabis in one mosque.”]

I must admit, in later episodes the show did become more captivating, as less time was spent on the characters and, as you quickly realize, everybody’s hiding something. It was ambitious to have a diverse cast as integral part of the show, but what is needed are writers who are diverse and can bring more faceted perspectives to the stories being featured. Now that’s a show I know I’d tune into.