I watch TV wrong, that’s just a little fun fact about me.
I have a habit of whenever I’m watching a show and a part starts that I think I won’t like for any reason (it’s too embarrassing, it’s too scary, it’s too gross, etc) I just skip through it until I get back to a part I like. This is how I’m able to watch an entire season of Criminal Minds in two days, because I skip through all the murder stuff and only watch the Friendly Team Dynamics scenes. This is also why I mostly watch TV by myself on my laptop, and now when I watch a show with other people on an actual television where I’m socially obligated to not use this horrible method, I become very antsy.
Anyway, here’s every Black Mirror episode rated based on how much of it I, a very anxious person, fast-forwarded through while I was watching it on Netflix this past summer.
S1E1: The National Anthem
There’s a reason that Netflix tries to automatically start you off with Season 3, and that reason is that S3E1 has perky Bryce Dallas Howard living in a pastel wonderworld, and The National Anthem is about a man being forced to fuck a pig on live television. If you haven’t seen Black Mirror and also don’t know anybody who has seen Black Mirror this may be a spoiler for you, and I’m sorry I’ve spoiled it for you but only in the sense that I’m sorry you have to know about it at all.
Now that I’ve watched the whole show (-ish) I realize that this is by no means the zenith of human behavior and distress and pessimism portrayed in Black Mirror, but also whenever I even try to think about what this episode might be like my brain shies away from it instinctively, much like a child knows not to touch a hot stove. So yeah we’re starting with a low point, I heard what this episode was about and just skipped it entirely. 0/10
S1E2: Fifteen Million Merits
I watched almost the whole thing, though it was partially to make up for the fact that I had skipped the entire first episode. I did have to skip part of Bing’s audition at the end because even tho Daniel Kaluuya was killing it, he was also technically doing something potentially embarrassing in front of a large (if virtual) crowd. 8/10
S1E3: The Entire History of You
Not as viscerally disturbing to me as National Anthem, but still both distressing and frustrating moment-to-moment. I skipped my way in and out of the whole episode, basically scrubbing forward a few minutes every time an interpersonal interaction got too excruciating, which was, you know, often. 4/10
S2E1: Be Right Back
Beautiful house, beautiful locale, beautiful actors. Sad and genuinely moving. I watched the whole thing, though I was disturbed by the sex with fake Domnhall Gleeson. 10/10
S2E2: White Bear
Watched almost all of it except I skipped a bit of the fight at the end reflexively when that woman got stabbed with the saw. 8/10
S2E3: The Waldo Moment
Got to the first appearance of Waldo, realized he was going to be everything I hate about both American politics and every Seth MacFarlane-style comedy I’ve every seen and then skipped the rest of the episode. 1/10
Christmas Special: White Christmas
This is where I started consistently looking up the plots of the episodes before I watched them because I really hated Waldo and I didn’t want to be burned like that again.
Anyway for this one I skipped most of the story of Jon Hamm teaching that one guy to be a pickup artist and then resultant murder stuff, but then watched the rest. Kind of weird how this was just three barely-connected stories? 6/10
Really very ripe for second-hand embarrassment. I basically skipped all of the worst parts of Bryce Dallas Howard’s life falling apart, so like starting from when she doesn’t get the spot on the plane through to near the end, but I did watch the last scene where she and that stylish man insult each other in jail and found it very emotionally satisfying. 7/10
S3E2: Play Test
Watched the whole thing, but put my hand over the screen a LOT. Also, when I got to the last twist I felt like the episode was literally telling me to my face that I had wasted my time on it, so. 5/10
S3E3: Shut Up and Dance
Another one I skipped! What a disturbing and horrifying shitshow of an idea to make people watch a whole episode of this. 0/10
S3E4: San Junipero
I watched the whole thing and then watched it again immediately afterwards. Honestly I can’t believe how good this episode is. All of the different eras, the costume and set design, the acting, the ending. Maybe I’m overhyping it a little, but after nine episodes + a Christmas special of what Black Mirror had been up to this point, this was honestly just so uplifting.
I enjoyed being able to just, like, empathize with the goddamn characters— I’m realizing all of my favorite episodes of Black Mirror have been the ones where the main character is at least in some way a genuine and likable person. So much of Black Mirror seems to be about technology/whatever as punishment, whether for bad deeds, or ignorance, or jealousy, or nothing at all! But after so much of that, I mean…. I’m sick of it. Give me my happy ending.
Also if they had made Kelly and Yorkie sad at the end I probably would have just never watched any Black Mirror ever again. Anyway, 20/10
S3E5: Men Against Fire
I watched all of it except for some of the sex dream stuff because I felt bad for both the soldiers and the made-up dream girls. I think people hate this episode though I don’t really get why? It was a little heavy-handed, but one of my favorites nonetheless. 9/10
S3E6: Hated in the Nation
Basically a British cop movie but with murderous robot bees. 10/10