We’re dying of curiosity over the fourth season of Black Mirror coming out (hopefully) soon. Why? It’s promised a general theme of “unpleasantness,” and if that’s not the defining theme of the first three seasons, we’re a little concerned, too. The Netflix series blends real and not-quite-real technology in really disconcerting ways—all the episodes seem close enough to the truth that it can leave you squirming in your seat. The show draws from technology we know, like virtual reality and its applications, to paint uncanny pictures of a not-so-distant future dominated by technology.
The creators say the technology works like magic in the show, but exploring themes of tech fear and dependence has given them plenty of material to make every episode its own story. Creator Charlie Brooker promises that season 4 will further blur the line between fantasy and reality. At the time of writing, we’re still in the dark about when season four will interrupt our current Netflix binges. The last three premiered in October—but Screen Rant has its money on December 2017 as a likely premiere date for the new episodes.
Black Mirror is a little like an alternative universe that closely reflects our own. With each new season, the futuristic tech seems closer to the truth. There’s a bit of that same almost-magic of the show in some of the tech we see today, too.
Everything we know about Black Mirror’s return
Some of the hype surrounding Black Mirror includes whispers about a reprise of the wildly popular episode titled, “San Junipero.” The episode is an exploration of virtual reality and its applications, and it follows the love story of two women who meet inside a computer game city designed to improve quality of life for the terminally ill and elderly.
Brooker teasingly admits the show’s producers have considered providing follow-up for certain cult favorite episodes, including this one. While there’s no real hard evidence that we’ll see a “San Junipero 2.0,” fans worldwide are hopeful.
In the time-honored tradition of The Twilight Zone, each Black Mirror episode sucks you into a new world, complete with twisted technology and characters you quickly grow to love—or hate. When asked what viewers can expect, Brooker was coy but admitted there would be another season filled with “some strikingly different tones and looks.”
Brooker states that one episode will be “overtly comic,” funnier than anything seen in the show yet. But don’t you worry—despite the “mainstream comic elements,” you’ll get plenty of those unpleasant events. Could you expect anything less? Here’s what we know about each of the episodes that’ll be released at some point in the future (but definitely not soon enough):
Arkangel: Directed by Jodie Foster and featuring an incredibly creepy little blonde girl, this episode is reportedly centered around a mother-daughter relationship. While the teaser didn’t reveal any futuristic tech, fans are actively speculating about how this storyline’s going to go off the rails. Maybe the girl is synthetic or being monitored via tablet, as one fan theory on Reddit states.
Black Museum: This episode will weave three distinct storylines together, based on a previously unpublished short story written by Penn Jillette. In the author’s own words, you can expect a glimpse into a museum maintained by a carnie outside of Las Vegas. The museum features a futuristic helmet worn by a young woman addicted to pain.
Crocodile: The least concrete details are known about “Crocodile,” since it’s minimally featured in the teaser, but it’s believed to be the overtly comic episode with a twist of unpleasant events. We know it features two women, a car, and some sirens. It may be a precursor episode to “White Bear” or “Shut Up.”
Hang the DJ: Directed by Tim Van Patten, the teaser reveals young people who appear to be on a restaurant date frantically slapping at game show-style buzzers. Entertainment analysts have predicted this episode centers around a real-life game of Tinder, possibly one where couples are forced to complete some scary dares in pursuit of love.
Metalhead: What we’ve seen of this episode so far shows a woman escaping from an industrial warehouse, with some kind of four-legged robot after her, and a car-chase scene. With at least some of the episode filmed in black and white, this may be an opportunity to see life through the eyes of evil AI.
USS Callister: With a spaceship and character costumes that resemble Star Trek, we get a glimpse at a deep space craft in trouble and a woman with blue skin. This may be the episode with connections to “San Junipero” or an exploration of virtual reality and its applications.
Blurring reality to get to “truth”
Black Mirror‘s magic is centered in the fact that stories are not-so-fantastic. In fact, it’s common for episodes to spark dialogue about how concepts like terrorism via robot bees is not entirely far-fetched in media articles. While “San Junipero” may seem incredible, there are hospices in the United Kingdom already experimenting with VR-based therapies for patients.
Looking forward to the episodes to come, viewers can anticipate what appears to be a plethora of stories about technology gone awry. It’s safe to assume we’ll see real-life social media and apps causing people to behave in terrible ways, artificial intelligence, and at least one episode about being overwhelmed by virtual reality.
If the season four teaser has you hiding under your bed, you’re among many fans who are both terrified and excited about what to expect from these next episodes. The season promises to spark more dialogue about the strange, fascinating ways humans interface with technology in our new world.
Brooker admits that he does have some fears about how technology has changed our culture but doesn’t believe it’s all bad. “Things like social media, that’s like a new limb that we’ve grown as a species, and we’re learning how to use it,” he said in an interview with Variety. “I hope that we’ll just acclimatize and get used to that.”