Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Black Mirror: USS Callister
After months of waiting, the techy terror that is Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror has finally returned to our screens. With some impressive talent in front of and behind the camera, sci-fi fandom was eagerly waiting for the highly-anticipated episode “USS Callister.” Brooker boldly took us where every fan has gone before with its very own Star Trek homage, suiting up Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Plemons as the Shatner-esque Captain Daly. However, who could miss another Breaking Bad alumni, thanks Aaron Paul’s wonderful voice cameo at the episode’s climax? And while Paul was pretty easy to spot, only eagle-eyed viewers would’ve noticed that Kirsten Dunst also snuck in an appearance for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role.
Paul and Dunst’s appearances in “USS Callister” provide some pretty big Fargo and Breaking Bad reunions. Dunst’s cameo is an odd one, popping up without so much as a character name at the real Robert Daly’s workplace for the game Infinity. Dunst and Plemons played Peggy and Ed Blumquist in Fargo‘s second season, and the two are also engaged in real life. This also neatly ties in with Cristin Milioti’s Lieutenant Cole, because Fargo fans may remember that Miliotti and Plemons both worked together on FX’s anthology show – albeit in only one scene.
As for Paul, his acting credits include the likes of BoJack Horseman and The Path, but he is best known as the punky Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. So, did his cameo in “USS Callister” mark the return of Pinkman himself? Before the credits rolled on “USS Callister,” the crew managed to escape their virtual prison and zoom through a wormhole to certain death. Free to live in the multiplayer cloud, the first player they run into is “Gamer691,” whose voice is instantly recognizable.
While Paul didn’t spout Jesse’s usual tirade of filth and calling card of naming everyone “b*tch,” the angry gamer certainly had the crass attitude of Mr. Pinkman. Angrily asking if the crew of the Callister have anything to trade, the impatient Gamer691 then warned the crew to get hell out of his “quadrant,” before happily declaring himself the “King of Space.” In Breaking Bad, Jesse was known as not only a drug-addled meth-peddler, but was also an avid gamer, so is Paul’s Black Mirror cameo actually Jesse Pinkman incarnate?
There was, of course, another connection. With Plemons playing the villainous Captain Daly in Black Mirror, he channeled a little of Nazi Todd from Breaking Bad. First appearing as part of Vamonos Pest Control, the unhinged hillbilly became one of the leading antagonists of Gilligan’s final season and played a major part in the finale. Sadly, Plemons and Paul didn’t get to share the screen together in “USS Callister,” but it still works a reunion of sorts to provide some great fan service to nerddom.
You may already know about Brooker’s expanded “Black Mirrorverse,” as all the episodes interconnect, but does Paul’s cameo also connect to the worlds of Breaking Bad and Fargo? There is a popular fan theory that Breaking Bad is effectively a prequel to AMC’s The Walking Dead, and although Black Mirror airs via Netflix, “USS Callister” could be some far-off sequel that picks up after Jesse went on the run in Breaking Bad‘s final episode.
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