With season 4 of Black Mirror, the BBC-turned-Netflix show is looking to explore outside of its usual anthology format. So far, each episode of Black Mirror, like the Twilight Zone, has been a self-contained story. While the Twilight Zone often explored the supernatural, however, Black Mirror mainly delves into near-future science fiction, exploring how technology could affect our lives (and deaths) in the rest of the 21st century. The title of the show is an opaque reference to the ever-present reflective surfaces of computer, television, and phone screens. Show creator Charlie Brooker recently hinted at the idea that season 4 might include sequels to episodes from the previous three seasons. Brooker noted that he would ultimately move ahead with the episode ideas that he felt were the strongest, so sequels are a possibility, but may not appear in season 4.
Viewers of Black Mirror may find the idea of sequel episodes surprising, because each episode of Black Mirror has a certain level of finality to it. Even if the protagonists aren’t dead, the show often chooses a particularly poignant (and usually harrowing) moment to close on. One of the greatest strengths of Black Mirror is its surprising twists and often devastating endings. A sequel could potentially lessen the impact of the original episode if it wasn’t handled with extreme care. For example, neither the Emmy-nominated “San Junipero” or the shocking “Shut Up and Dance” would benefit from a sequel.
On the other hand, sequel episodes are also a new an opportunity. Some fans of the show have already developed elaborate theories to show that all of the seemingly different worlds of Black Mirror are actually part of the same timeline (although some particular episodes appear to be relatively far in the future). There are a number of Easter eggs hidden within episodes that reference events in other episodes, and so Brooker may have engineered the show to connect from the beginning. Perhaps the most innovative and exciting sequel would be an episode that bridges together two seemingly separate stories from two previous episodes.
With only thirteen episodes over three seasons (and a Christmas Special), there aren’t too many options to choose from for sequels. However, since some of the episodes lend themselves better to a continued story than others, here are our top picks for Black Mirror episodes that deserve a sequel:
The Entire History of You
Of the three episodes in the original season of Black Mirror, “The Entire History of You” is one that offers the best opportunity for a sequel. At the end of the episode, Toby Kebbell’s Liam violently cuts out the “grain” implant that allows him to replay memories. Liam’s fate is left unknown at the end of the episode, but a sequel could explore what his life is like “grain free” in a world where everyone around him is constantly playing and replaying memories. Alternatively, another episode could serve as a “sequel” if it followed the character of Hallam (Phoebe Fox) who attends the same dinner party as Liam and his wife Ffion (Jodie Whittaker a.k.a. the new Doctor) – at the dinner party, Hallam reveals that she already lives “grain free” after her “grain” was violently severed during an attack. At the party, Hallam says that she prefers living “grain free”, and her story could be another entry point (whether continuing Liam’s story or telling a new story altogether).
“White Bear” is the apparent frontrunner for a sequel, and with good reason. The episode creates a vivid intersection of entertainment, violence, and justice, and the material has a lot of potential for additional episodes. In “White Bear,” Victoria Skillane (Lenora Crichlow) seems to be trying to survive in an apocalyptic landscape, but in a shocking twist it’s revealed that she is actually a criminal whose punishment is being tortured in a sick revenge-themed amusement park. Victoria was complicit in the murder of a child (she videotaped her boyfriend torturing and killing a young girl). Now, her memory is wiped every day and she runs for her life from a multitude of terrors while spectators film her on their phones.
One potential sequel could explore Victoria escaping or breaking out of the cycle that “White Bear” sets up. However, it might be more interesting to explore “White Bear” from a new perspective – perhaps from one of the onlookers who attends the “White Bear Justice Park”.
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