Since its inception, Black Mirror has been one of Netflix’s most popular – and most widely talked about – shows in its catalog. Known for its out-of-the-box plots that are so completely unimaginable yet all together very possible, Black Mirror has had viewers gasping, crying, screaming and everything in between over its six seasons.
The show’s sixth season, released on June 15, 2023, is yet another mind-bending season to try and wrap our heads around. And while some seasons of the show have fallen flat for audiences and critics, season six has its moments.
With every season, there are some episodes better than others, which we will go over in the sections below. Before we get to ranking, however, here’s a quick overview on the show, for those who aren’t familiar.
‘BLACK MIRROR’ SEASON 6 OVERVIEW
Black Mirror’s draw for many people is its science fiction plot that feels like it could almost be real. Which, as it happens, is perhaps also one of the reasons people don’t like the show. Each episode tells a completely different story, unrelated to one another, about the ways technology, humans and the relationships between the two can collide to create catastrophe.
While not all episodes should be described as within the horror genre, most episodes have some element of it. At the very least, viewers are left with an unsettling feeling about the darker aspects of our society.
From political satire to supernatural elements and alternate versions of reality, Black Mirror has covered a wide swath of topics since its inception.
Charlie Brooker’s new season of the show is a five-episode installment that dives into debates around AI and deepfakes, taking real-life tragedies and turning them into money-making documentaries and the privacy of celebrities, among other things.
SEASON 6 EPISODES: FROM WORST TO BEST
5 | ‘MAZEY DAY’
First off, let’s just say, if you’ve never seen Black Mirror and don’t get the hype, don’t make this episode your first. Taking a different tone than many other episodes, Mazey Day is a mid-2000s fantasy nightmare gone wrong.
The episode, one of the shortest the series has, follows two storylines: Bo, a paparazzi photographer who isn’t fulfilled in her line of work, and Mazey Day, a famous actress working on a new film in the Czech Republic. Their stories intertwine when the price for a photo of pop star Day skyrockets, and Bo is in need of a payout.
The episode is somewhat based off the experiences of real-life pop stars like Britney Spears, who had her fair share of privacy violations and scandals thanks to the ever-watching paparazzi. This episode begs the question: what would you do to get what you want? Or rather, what are you willing to do to someone else to get what you want?
So, while its true the episode has some interesting plot points and commentary around greed and living in the public eye, but those points are hard to catch when you’re trying not to lose track of the storyline.
4 | ‘BEYOND THE SEA’
One of the most gut-wrenching episodes in Black Mirror’s repertoire, Beyond the Sea explores the necessary connections between people, and the lengths we are willing to go to have that connection. While not the season’s strongest episodes, the storyline is thought-provoking and enjoyable – and not too scary.
The episode takes place in 1969, and much like our 1969, the US was obsessed with landing on the moon and the Manson family. The episode follows two astronauts, David (Josh Hartnett) and Cliff (Aaron Paul) in the middle of a six-year space mission, who are able to visit their families on earth with the help of their “Earth replicas,” which are basically robot bodies they can connect their consciousness to.
Attempting to lessen the mental toil of a six-year trip to space, this revolutionary technology backfires, unsurprisingly. But in this episode, it’s the flaws of humans, rather than the technology itself, causing the problem. Love, anger, resentment and an unexpected connection make this simple gesture much more complicated than anyone expected.
3 | ‘DEMON 79’
Taking place in the 70s, this episode is also different than most other Black Mirror episodes, as the majority of them take place in what looks like the present to distant future. But setting isn’t the only difference this episode has.
The episode follows a young Indian woman, Nida, working at a department store in 1979 London. The first scary elements of the episode come in the form of systemic racism, as we see a far-right individual vandalize the door to her home and Nida be sent to eat her lunch in the basement due to her coworker’s complaint of the smell.
It’s in the basement where Nida finds – and accidentally anoints with her blood – a wooden talisman. From it comes Gaap, who gives the news that Nida must kill 3 people over the course of three days to prevent the apocalypse. As the episode unfolds, we watch as Nida tries to deal with her situation.
Her demon/Boney M. look-alike encourages her along, showing glimpses of what may become if they fail. Is Nida in some sort of mental breakdown? Is she making it all up? And most importantly, can she save the world from nuclear disaster?
This episode is complicated, stressful, and full of moral quandaries to consider – as any good Black Mirror episode should be!
2 | ‘JOAN IS AWFUL’
As the debut episode of Black Mirror’s season 6, Joan is Awful sets a strong foundation for the rest of the season. While there aren’t jump scares or blood, the situation Joan, played by Annie Murphy, finds herself in is absolutely terrifying. Why? Because it could happen to any of us.
After Joan has a bad day at work, she heads to her therapy appointment, where she complains about her partner, and the fact that she is “not the main character of her own story.” When she arrives home to finally relax, her life is instantly turned upside down, and everyone can see it.
Yup, Joan turns the TV on to find a new Streamberry Original (Netflix’s streaming service parody for themselves) with her as the main character… And it’s called – wait for it – ‘Joan is Awful’.
Is Joan awful? Everyone in her life – and everyone watching her life – certainly seem to think so. We watch as Joan’s life unravels, and with it unravels TV Joan’s life and the TV Joan in TV Joan’s life.
This episode is filled with plot twist after plot twist but stays central to conversations around artificial intelligence and deepfake technology. Oh, and Terms and Conditions. It all gets a bit meta when you consider the conversations between writers and streaming platforms about the use of AI and other advanced technology happening in Hollywood right now.
Overall, the episode utilizes Murphy’s lowkey humor to the fullest and is chalk-full of celebrity appearances from the likes of Salma Hayek and Michael Cera, making it a fun watch that will leave you mind blown.
1 | ‘LOCH HENRY’
Taking the number one spot on our list is the second episode of the season: Loch Henry. One of the scarier episodes of the season, Loch Henry‘s plot seems to stray a bit from Black Mirror‘s typical technology-gone-wrong roots, but when you look closer, it’s right on par. The episode delves into the morality of exploiting victims and communities for the sake of breaking into the ever-popular true crime industry.
When two documentarians, Davis (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia (Myha’la Herrold) visit Davis’s mother in a picturesque Scottish town, their plans – and lives – are quickly unraveled. Pivoting from a drab documentary about an egg collector to a flashy, true crime documentary about a local serial killer, Pia and Davis figure out the story is crazier than they ever could have imagined.
To satisfy their producer, the young documentarians have to bring something new to the story. And that they do. As Pia and Davis dive deeper into their investigation, what they uncover is darker and more deranged than any viewer could see coming.
Like many of Black Mirror’s best episodes, Loch Henry is disturbing and shocking, and points a finger directly at some of humanity’s darkest features. As Pia puts it in the show, “The details are so awful, it is irresistible” (just wait until you learn the whole of it).
There you have it: Black Mirror season 6 episodes, ranked from worst to best. This season brought more new elements to the show than we’ve seen before, from different eras to longer, more movie-like episodes.
After more than three years since season 5 was released, are viewers pleased with the new episodes and the changes that came with them?
One thing we know for sure is that Black Mirror‘s new season will get people talking. Whether that talking is good, bad or somewhere in between we can’t say for sure. But hey, that’s part of the fun of this one-of-a-kind show.
And once you’re finished with the new season, here’s a list of shows similar to Black Mirror to watch with your DIRECTV subscription:
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