The long-awaited premiere of Black Mirror's fifth season is upon us. For seven years, the anthology series has picked up on the ugly side of technology. Creator and mastermind Charlie Brooker came up with a series of stories that show us the twisted turn society may take if our most creative tech innovations are taken a few steps too far. As intelligent as it is scary, Black Mirror presses all the right buttons on the topic it addresses to make viewers seriously consider what the future can very well hold.
And while one of the best parts of the show is that we get a brand new story each episode, as the series progressed, we were blessed enough to see Brooker play a bit. He's been teasing us for years with the possibility of every story tying to something bigger, a Black Mirror universe in its own right. And now that we have four seasons and a fifth on the way, it's right about time we explore some of the most interesting connections between episodes.
10 The Waldo Moment
Even though it's one of the lowest rated episodes of the show according to IMDb, season two episode The Waldo Moment did provide quite a spectacular look into politics. More precisely, into what a circus the world of politics can be, and how the choice of society's representatives can easily become more of a spectacle than a series of actions with paramount importance.
While watching the episode, you might have missed some nods to previous moments in the show. The Waldo Moment references both the first and second episodes of the first season of the show, The National Anthem , and Fifteen Million Merits. For instance, channel UKN is the same we see in the former, and Jessica Brown Findlay's character Abi Khan from the latter can be seen next to a huge Waldo billboard.
9 White Christmas
It becomes quite clear from the second season on how much Charlie Brooker was enjoying leaving little hints here and there to let us know everything was related. Immediately following The Waldo Moment, came White Christmas, the episode that ended the second season. There are quite a few references to the previous episodes of Black Mirror throughout it, some more obvious than others.
UKN channel again makes an appearance, along with a news headline reading "Callow Announces Divorce", both nods to the first episode of the show. The song Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) is the star of the karaoke scene, and it's the same one performed by Abi in Fifteen Million Merits. The main character from White Bear also has a little cameo in the form of a little news feature that reads "Victoria Skillane appeal bid rejected". Along with this, the White Bear logo also ahows up in Joe's cell when the episode comes to an end.
Nosedive was one of the episodes that hit closest to home for many of the fans watching. It's ugly take on the desperation for being accepted by others through social media really isn't that far from being truth considering the current paradigm we live in. Besides, it featured one of our favorite read heads in the main role, so the whole thing was a masterpiece.
Because it was such a compelling episode, it might have been harder than usual to identify the connections that were hiding in plain sight. This time around, we got two references to the first episode of season one, The National Anthem. Michael Callow gives an update where he writes "Just got thrown out of the zoo again :(". Plus, the characters mention Sea of Tranquility, a show that is also talked about in Anthem.
Boy oh boy, was this one a doozy! Playtest took the world of gaming and reality television to a whole other level with this episode, and audiences were taken on a journey nothing short of unforgettable - and not necessarily for the best reasons. The production value was fantastic and the storytelling was, once again, off the charts.
When it comes to references, we got a nod to previous season two episode White Bear, and to episodes that were set to air during the third season, four and six. Much like in White Christmas, the White Bear logo makes a small cameo, as one of the icons in the game room. Additionally, we see "Insider TCKR: Turning Nostalgia Into A Game" - and TCKR is the company that came up with San Junipero (episode four). Plus, a company from Hated In The Nation (episode six) appears on a magazine.
6 Shut Up And Dance
Shut Up And Dance was awesome for many reasons, but mostly because we got to see Jerome Flynn. Everybody loves Jerome Flynn! Just kidding, the episode was just fantastic. And, of course, full of references to previous seasons and episodes. We keep getting updates on Michael Callow, including a tweet that reads "Michael Callow is getting divorced", as well as a news piece headlined "PM callow to divorce".
We're also taken back to Fifteen Million Merit, with a tweet saying "Talent show 15 Million Merits launches next week", as well as White Bear, with a picture that reads "Victoria Skillane trial latest...". Additionally, the episode references The Waldo Moment in the form of a sticker and White Christmas through an ad: "ONE SMART COOKIE? Click to witness the kitchen tech of tomorrow".
5 Hated In The Nation
Again taking on the sensitive subject of social media, Hated In The Nation marked the end of the third season of the show, and with quite the bang. Featuring seasoned actress Kelly Macdonald, this episode is one of the highest ranked amongst all the ones that preceded it. We also get quite a few references that take us back to White Bear (with a mention of Victoria Skillane's husband), as well as a news headline that reads "Victoria Skillane in jail cell suicide attempt".
The TV channel UKN is also a part of the episode, along with a Waldo sticker, reminding us of The National Anthem and The Waldo Moment, as well as a couple of news articles that read "Reputelligent shares nosedive", "Saitogemu team investigated over tourist disappearance", and "US military announces MASS project", referencing Nosedive, Playtest, and The Men Against Fire, respectively.
4 USS Callister
The first episode of season four came after an almost five year hiatus between Hated In The Nation and USS Callister. It's quite obvious that expectations were high within the fan base of the show, considering how high the bar had been set by the previous three seasons. Brooker didn't disappoint, and the season premiered with a bang. This time around, taking references from seasons two and three, as well as episodes from later in the fourth.
From the second season, White Bear is referenced yet again, this time through the planet Skillane IV, a clear nod to the main character of the episode. Season three is also mentioned through the name Raiman, a character from Men Against Fire, whose family owns a farm. In USS Callister, one of the characters drinks Raiman strawberry milk. And finally, referencing an episode that was still to come, Hang The DJ, the dating app featured there is also used here.
Anything that involves children always manages to be just a tad more shocking than scenes with adults. This episode featured a mother investing in a shady control technology to keep track of her daughter, and parents everywhere probably shivered throughout the entire episode. Which is, of course, what makes Black Mirror great in the first place.
Getting to the nitty-gritty of references, Arkangel features nods to The Waldo Moment, Playtest, Men Against Fire, and Hated In The Nation. These references occur, respectively, through the appearance of a Waldo lunchbox, a Harlech Shadow poster, a direct scene from the episode, involving killing roaches, and a poster of Tusk, the rapper.
Crocodile divided many fans of the show when it first came out. The premise, of a woman who is capable of accessing people's memories, is interesting enough. The twist, however, just didn't seem to be a lot of people's cup of tea, while others absolutely loved it. Either way, it still ranks fairly well - better than Waldo - and makes for seriously interesting television in several pivotal moments.
Crocodile once again mentions UKN, which is a clear nod not just to The National Anthem but, at this point, to the entire Black Mirror Universe. The song Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) was both featured on White Bear and Fifteen Million Merits, and it plays many times during the course of the episode. Additionally, the pizza company from USS Callister, Fences Pizza, is also featured.
1 Black Museum
Closing the fourth season with a bang, Charlie Brooker blessed us with Black Museum, which he defined as a sort of Treehouse of Horror. It tells three separate stories and ends up with a twist no one saw coming. It did a fantastic job of wrapping up yet another phenomenal season of the show, giving the creator the opportunity to blatantly connect it to previous episodes of Black Mirror.
As such, Black Museum includes the biggest amount of references to date, probably because it had so many episodes to reference in the first place. These were all present, very smartly, in the shape of the codes Clarke enters, including: LOADED: \BMS1E1.drivers.tna.pigpoke, LOADED: \BMS1E3.drivers.tehoy.men, LOADED: \BMS2E2.drivers.white.bear, LOADED: \BMS2E3.drivers.waldo.mt, among others. Brooker had probably been waiting for years to make this happen, completely putting to rest any doubts regarding the connections between episodes.