And Black Mirror week continues! While series one burst the show onto our screens in a big way, it would be up to the second series to prove that it was worth sticking around for — it was, let’s just put it like that. With more ideas and bigger concepts, Brooker expanded upon what made series one so great and produced some of the best TV up until then.
If you’re new, I’m gonna be ranking each episode per series of Black Mirror from worst to best over the next week. If you missed my RANKED of series one, check it here. And, of course, no spoilers for maximum clicks, obviously.
The Waldo Moment (Ep3)
Yet again, it’s the third episode taking the bottom spot on our list — c’mon Charlie, pick it up, mate. Easily the worst episode of Black Mirror up until that point, this political satire is, uncoincidentally, also one of the least believable plotlines in its unrealistically steep elevation. Sure, while the idea of a strangely-coloured caricature only previously known for TV becoming a force of terrifyingly stupid power isn’t the CRAZIEST thing to imagine, the way in which the episode ran was just a bit “naaah” and that was definitely its downfall. Though there were some good performances and the initial concept was there, The Waldo Moment failed greatly in its execution.
Be Right Back (Ep1)
Now we got that outta the way, we can get into the good shit. The choice between this and the next ep was razor close, but this was just pipped to the post. That being said, this is still an excellent, if slightly more tender, story. Funnily enough even more unrealistic than The Waldo Moment, Be Right Back explores the “grow a boyfriend” gag gift if it was a real and deadly serious thing, with surprising results. What truly makes this episode is the performances, however, with Hayley Atwell (Captain America) and Domhall Gleeson (Frank, Ex Machina, Star Wars) both turning out killer turns. Particularly, Gleeson’s raw power in the eps final scenes had me close to tears it was so good.
White Bear (Ep2)
While it was the quality performances of Be Right Back that made that episode, it’s more the mind-f*cking storytelling of this episode that pips it to the post. There’s no proper way to summarise the episode without giving away the best twist I had seen in a long time, so I’m just gonna talk around it and, if you’ve seen it, check it out but if you haven’t, skip ahead and I won’t hold it against you.
What can I say about this episode. The fact that it completely flips the script on our asses by the end was done in such an efficient and concise way, even by Black Mirror‘s standards, that the viewer gets completely blindsided by it. I can’t fault the writing here from Brooker, who managed to present an ending I don’t think anyone saw coming.
White Christmas (Special)
Black Mirror‘s magnum opus up until that point, White Christmas topping this list is no surprise to anyone who’s seen it. This borderline feature-length episode connects not one, not two, not three, no, wait, three techy tales fit for a Christmas special — how wonderful. Linking into The Entire History Of You‘s memory-implant-y kinda shizzle, this is yet another story that merges the feeling of “Nah that’s ain’t gonna happen for ages” with the creeping “but it might” thought that puts anxious people like myself into an existential crisis — lush.
As well as this, we’ve got some absolute powerhouse performances from Rafe Spall (The Big Short) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men, Baby Driver, Million Dollar Arm), the latter of which has been on an absolute roll since Mad Men. It’s just some proper TV and easily the best ep of the series.
So, we got series 3 and 4 up next eh? The Netflix shit eh? Okayyyy…. (only joking they’re still great).
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations