Netflix’s Black Mirror season 4 gets an all-new trailer for the episode titled ‘Arkangel’, another creepy installment of the anthology series that seemingly suggests a warning against the dangers of using technology to engage in a little well-meaning over-parenting. It’s a common refrain from the Emmy Award-winning technophobic series hailing from creator Charlie Brooker: the idea that as humans seek to control their lives through technology, they end up becoming enslaved by that very same applied science. The series has used this approach time and time again, going all the way back to season 1, where Toby Kebbel starred in ‘The Entire History of You’.
Directed by Jodie Foster and starring Rosemarie DeWitt, ‘Arkangel’ appears to tackle the concern of human dependence on technology from a slightly different angle. Rather than a lovelorn man hoping to exercise the memories recorded by implants in his eye, DeWitt plays the otherwise good-intentioned helicopter parent who, after briefly losing track of her daughter at a playground, employs Arkangel to, as the trailer reveals, unlock “the key to good parenting.” Of course, that key happens to be “control.”
The trailer is full of what is by now familiar imagery from Black Mirror, which is fixated with the idea of modern science making physical implants a routine occurrence , and how often those technological augmentations turn what first appears to be progress into an unforeseen and often nightmarish step backwards.
Here, instead of a recording device or access to social media being implanted directly into the user’s head, DeWitt’s daughter is fitted with, well, something — the trailer doesn’t make that entirely clear. But when the technician tells the fretful mother that her daughter is part of a trial program and that DeWitt will be given “a sense of security, peace of mind.” That’s before you hear her say “It’s completely safe” to which the gentleman seen earlier, and who was clearly wistful for a bygone era, says in a terribly unconvincing manner, “I’m sure it is.”
What the trailer lacks in terms of a fresh approach to the potential pitfalls of science and technology invading not only our lives but our bodies, it makes up for with a striking, ominous tone that hints at a potentially disastrous end for this nervous mother and her itinerant spawn. There also seems to be less finger wagging than usual, as the fears of DeWitt’s character seem intended to serve as a reflection of a society beset with oppressive sense of anxiety, to which the response always seems to be to seek more control. We’ll have to wait until Black Mirror season 4 is released before finding out how successful ‘Arkangel’ is at addressing these concerns.
Black Mirror season 4 currently does not have an official release date.