Black Mirror

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Black Mirror (2011)

episode guide & outlines

season 3

Black Mirror is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm - a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us.

Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E1

"Nosedive"

| episode: 3.01 | 1h 3min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: Joe Wright
| writers: Rashida Jones, Michael Schur, Charlie Brooker
| release date: 21 october 2016

Insecure office worker Lacie lives in a happy, smiley, status-obsessed nightmare world. Her old friend Naomi is one of society’s elites -- and Lacie may have found a way to join her.

 

"In 'Nosedive,’ all the individuals have their own individual personal score,” Jones explains. Inspired by our current obsession with ratings, this heightened satire is set in a world where each person is tagged with a numerical rating that can fluctuate by the minute.

 

Directed by Joe Wright, “Nosedive” stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie, a woman “who lives her life trying to please everyone so that they will give her a good rating,” Brooker says. “It’s a kind of saccharine nightmare world that she lives in,” he adds. “Everyone is a little bit heightened and false, because everyone’s terrified of being marked down.”

 

Co-written by The Office’s Michael Schur and Rashida Jones , “Nosedive” also stars Alice Eve , Cherry Jones and James Norton . “When you have someone of Joe’s caliber directing, then you attract a great cast as well,” Jones says. “It was suddenly a wonderful whirlpool of talent being attracted to the film. … And it’s a startling film, I have to say. It’s a beautiful, visual palette that we hadn’t quite imagined.”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.01
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Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E2

"Playtest"

| episode: 3.02 | 57 min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: Dan Trachtenberg
| writer: Charlie Brooker
| release date: 21 october 2016

Thrill-seeking globetrotter Cooper visits Britain, hooks up with Sonja and tests a video game so advanced, it’s terrifying.

 

In “Play Test,” viewers are treated to a videogame-themed installment directed by Dan Trachtenberg , fresh off the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane.

 

“‘Play Test’ is kind of a techno horror romp; it’s kind of our Evil Dead II,” Brooker says. “It partly came about because I was thinking, ‘How would we do a haunted house in Black Mirror?’ I wanted to do one that was deliciously dark and also had elements of fun to it.

 

The story stars Wyatt Russell ( 22 Jump Street, Everybody Wants Some!!) as Cooper, a thrill-seeking American who has been backpacking around the world.

 

(Wyatt) brought an energy and enthusiasm to the role that none of us were expecting,” Jones says. “He absolutely made the character his own. So it’s more delightful when you see where (Cooper) ends up.”

 

Trachtenberg immediately connected with the material; he and Brooker also share a passion for video games.

 

Says Jones: “I think that when we came up with the idea for ‘Play Test,’ we were looking for a director who would relish as well as enjoy the craft of a horror film – someone that would really savor the scares and the jumps and the thrills but, at the same time, want to weave in the themes that Black Mirror explores so well.”

 

It’s been really interesting working across the series with all the different directors,” Brooker says. “They all have their own quirks and visions and kinks, for want of a better phrase. Hopefully, all of that is carried across into the finished product.”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.02
Black Mirror picture gallery
who's in Black Mirror
everything you should know about Black Mirror before binge-watching

 

Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E3

"Shut Up and Dance"

| episode: 3.03 | 52 min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: James Watkins
| writers: Charlie Brooker, William Bridges
| release date: 21 october 2016

When withdrawn 19-year- old Kenny stumbles headlong into an online trap, he is quickly forced into an uneasy alliance with shifty Hector – both of them at the mercy of persons unknown.

 

While “San Junipero” offers nostalgic romance, “Shut Up and Dance” delivers more of a modern-day horror story. Co-written by Charlie Brooker and William Bridges, directed by James Watkins ( Bastille Day, The Woman in Black), the tale starts Alex Lawther ( The Imitation Game) and Jerome Flynn ( Game of Thrones) as victims of a terrifying online game.

 

We tend to think of the show as ‘speculative fiction’ rather than science fiction, because it’s things that could happen or we’re exploring a ‘what if’ idea,” Brooker says. “‘Shut Up And Dance’ absolutely could happen now and today. It’s not giving too much away to say that it’s essentially a blackmail story about people forced to dance like puppets on strings. It’s really grimy and nasty.”

 

Watkins suggested Lawther play the story’s young protagonist, a teen who quickly gets in over his head.

 

He’s got this interesting vulnerability to him,” Brooker says. “You immediately are concerned for him and his well-being and, as is often the case with Black Mirror episodes, it’s a slightly more complex part to play than it may at first appear. So we also knew he had the acting chops to be able to pull off what’s required of him.”

 

In contrast, Flynn plays a father who risks losing everything. “He starts out as a quite paternal figure to Alex’s character, and then you see over the course of the film him manipulating him,” Jones says. “So the balance of the relationship changes, because ultimately both of them are trying to protect their lives and their families and their personal lives.”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.03
Black Mirror picture gallery
who's in Black Mirror
everything you should know about Black Mirror before binge-watching

 

Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E4

"Shut Up and Dance"

| episode: 3.04 | 61 min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: Owen Harris
| writer: Charlie Brooker
| release date: 21 october 2016

California, 1987: San Junipero is a fun-loving beach town synonymous with sun, surf, and sex. And for recent arrivals Yorkie and Kelly, it’s going to be a life-changer.

 

While many Black Mirror stories take place in the near future, “San Junipero” is largely set in the candy-colored 1980s. Directed by Owen Harris , it stars Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) as Yorkie, an awkward introvert whose life changes after meeting exuberant and outgoing Kelly, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw ( Concussion, Free State of Jones).

 

“‘San Junipero’ is our most romantic episode to date,” Brooker says. “It came about because I was wondering, ‘Could we ever do a ‘vintage’ episode of Black Mirror? Could we ever do one that’s not set in the present day?’ It’s very much influenced by ‘80s cinema and ‘80s pop culture.”

 

The episode marks Harris’ second time directing the series; he helmed the emotional Season 2 episode “Be Right Back.” Viewers will be struck by the retro soundtrack and inspired details; Brooker says he couldn’t help but obsess over which vintage arcade games appear in some scenes.

 

As for the cast, Brooker said Davis and Mbatha-Raw made instant impressions. “Sometimes, you’ll see someone’s audition or you’ll meet someone, and immediately you just know it’s them,” he says. “That was very much the case with Gugu and Mackenzie. … Straight away, they made the material sound better than it probably was. Which is the most you can ever wish for, as the writer.”

 

We needed a very vibrant character at the heart of it who could imbue that sort of 1980s spirit of the fun and the excitement of that era,” Jones says. “Gugu absolutely embodies that sort of energy and joyfulness.”

 

She adds, “(Mackenzie) has such a range as an actor. She really skillfully played that sort of very nervous, trepidatious character, but we knew she could dig deep and find the richness of character that we needed to show the journey within ‘San Junipero.’”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.04
Black Mirror picture gallery
who's in Black Mirror
everything you should know about Black Mirror before binge-watching

 

Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E5

"Men Against Fire"

| episode: 3.05 | 60 min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: Jakob Verbruggen
| writer: Charlie Brooker
| release date: 21 october 2016

Future soldiers Stripe and Raiman must protect frightened villagers from an infestation of vicious feral mutants. Technologically, they have the edge – but will that help them survive?

 

This dark military story stars Malachi Kirby ( Roots) as Stripe, a young soldier on a mission.

 

It’s set in a non-specified future in which a calamity has befallen mankind,” Brooker says. “In the aftermath, Stripe’s troop of soldiers are going around and trying to help mop up these creatures who’ve been left behind. They’ve got technology to assist them, (and) we come to see how these technologically assisted soldiers fare when faced with a visceral, ugly threat.”

 

House of Cards’ Michael Kelly plays a military psychiatrist, and Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black) leaves a memorable impression as a devoted soldier. The episode is directed by Jakob Verbruggen , who also helmed the unforgettable final two episodes of House of Cards’ fourth season.

 

Jakob Verbruggen is one of the most energetic individuals I think I’ve ever met,” Brooker says. “He carries with him a little Tupperware box with Legos in it. I thought, ‘What’s this about?’ We’d start discussing a scene, and he’d immediately pop out his box and he’d be sort of storyboarding it there and then with Lego figures. He’d be plotting out the blocking of scenes in script meetings in a way that was just hilarious
and worked.”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.05
Black Mirror picture gallery
who's in Black Mirror
everything you should know about Black Mirror before binge-watching

 

Black-Mirror-Episode-List-S3E6

"Hated in the Nation"

| episode: 3.06 | 1h 29min | drama | sci-fi | thriller
| director: James Hawes
| writer: Charlie Brooker
| release date: 21 october 2016

In near-future London, police detective Karin Parke and her tech-savvy sidekick Blue investigate a string of mysterious deaths with a sinister link to social media.

 

In an episode that marks Black Mirror’s first police procedural, “Hated in the Nation” stars Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, No Country for Old Men) and Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones) as two detectives who follow a criminal who, as Jones puts it, “uses very modern devices to pursue their victims.”

 

James Hawes has given it a really interesting near-future noir look that I think is very exciting,” Brooker says of the director, who previously helmed episodes of Doctor Who and Penny Dreadful.

 

As for the story, Jones notes that Marsay plays a junior detective who is more tech savvy than Macdonald’s character.

 

At the beginning, you see that Faye is slightly more in tune with the world, especially the online world,” she says. “Karin, played by Kelly, is slightly more seasoned and more realistic. When they start, their relationship is one of weariness versus useful enthusiasm. Over the course of the film, it becomes a more conventional hunt of a serial killer. Kelly becomes more enthused, and then the younger colleague has to
catch up with her.”

 

read & download the script from Black Mirror episode 3.06
Black Mirror picture gallery
who's in Black Mirror
everything you should know about Black Mirror before binge-watching

 

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Black Mirror stars Bryce Dallas Howard; Alice Eve; Cherry Jones; Wyatt Russell; Hannah John-Kamen; Wunmi Mosaku; Ken Yamamura; Elizabeth Moynihan; Alex Lawther; Jerome Flynn; Susannah Doyle; Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Mackenzie Davis; Malachi Kirby; Madeline Brewer; Ariane Labed; Kelly Macdonald; Faye Marsay; Benedict Wong; Jonas Karlsson; Jesse Plemons; Cristin Milioti; Jimmi Simpson; Rosemarie DeWitt; Andrea Riseborough; Kiran Sonia Sawar; Georgina Campbell; Joe Cole; Maxine Peake; Douglas Hodge; Letitia Wright; Jon Hamm; Rafe Spall, and more!

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I used to be the guy who did that thing on the show you never heard of. Now I'm Head Nincompoop here, writing about binge-watching.

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