The Crazy Themes in Black Mirror

The show Black Mirror brought out so many different emotions in me as I was watching. The different episodes are full of mysteries, happiness, sadness and so many other emotions in between. Additionally, this is truly one of the most intense and realistic show’s I have ever watched. Every single episode is unique it’s own way and has taught me something new about life and even about myself. Furthermore, the cross cutting themes in this show are truly unbelievable and I love being able to analyze these themes in the most in-depth way possible.

One of the major cross cutting themes that stands out to me is the idea of performance rating. I would define performance rating as simply analyzing and judging a person regarding how they look, what they do, social status and other factors as well. This theme takes place in both “Nosedive” and “Fifteen Millions Merits” and watching both of these episodes shook me. In “Nosedive,” the main character named Lacey is so caught up in having a high rating because she wants other people to think she’s worthy enough for them. Throughout this episode, people are constantly rating each other after almost every interaction that occurs. Even though it is easy to compare our society today to this episode, I hope it never gets to this extent where people walk around with an app as they rate each other. Although, with social media being so relevant in everybody’s lives today, I could honestly say that people are still rating each other in some way. Everybody is so obsessed with how many likes they get on Instagram or on their profile picture on Facebook and it is definitely some type of competition in a sense just like how it’s a competition in “Nosedive.” As for “Fifteen Million Merits,” the focus of this episode is the same idea, which is performance rating and how well somebody is doing online. Bing, the main character, and the people around him have to work hard to earn merits in order to get to where they want to be. This could be seen as some type of competition as well, which relates to the performance rating aspect of it. There is a lot of frustration in the episode too, making it so comparable to “Nosedive” and our society today.

Another big theme is mind control and this brings up the topic of whether it is actually ethical to control somebody’s mind. In “Men Against Fire,” the soldiers have a MASS in their brains, which controls absolutely everything that they do. The MASS makes the soldiers see normal people as “roaches,” that they think are evil and harmful. Therefore, their mission is to exterminate them and this is all because of mind control. One of the soldier’s named Stripe ends up seeing that they are not actually harmful and tries protecting them. Essentially, the episode shows how scary it is that mind control truly has an impact on everything that a person does. Mind control is also the theme of “White Christmas,” where the main character named Matt has a specialty in making people do things that others would like them to do. He messes with the consciousness of somebody named Greta and puts the consciousness into what is known as a cookie. This impacts everything that she does. A big part of this is impacting somebody’s decision-making process. This is clearly mind control and connects to “Men Against Fire” too just because of the idea of taking over somebody else’s thoughts.

Those are just some of the cross cutting themes seen in Black Mirror and there are so many other ones as well. This show has given me the opportunity to learn and understand so much more than I thought was possible. I am happy that this class has given me the tools to analyze every aspect of this show and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next season.

rwalder • December 15, 2017

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