A look into "Black Mirror"

Black Mirror: Season 4:  I could hardly contain myself once the new season of my favorite Netflix anthology series became available. Creator Charlie Brooker is the best at demonstrating unique tales of how technology has and will transform our lives with unexpected and complicated twists and consequences. 

Each episode is a singular experience which adapts just as well to viewing with separations of time as it does to binging (but I helplessly binge). Each season has been incredibly entertaining even though the deliberate warnings can get slightly heavy. 

This season is paradoxical in that I found several of the six episodes to be some of the best overall, but I also felt that several episodes dragged me into blasé' territory. So, here are the ones I found most rewarding.

“USS Callister” - This Trekkie takeoff is perhaps the best of the batch, and it may be because of the incredible tone and talents that actor Jesse Plemons brings. You might remember him as the baby-faced killer in "Breaking Bad" and the clueless hubby to Kirsten Dunst in the most recent season of "Fargo."  

Plemons is pitch perfect as the ignored partner of a video game company who creates a fantasy universe.
He is in absolute control of his co-workers, simulated from their DNA as Star Trek-like characters.

The impact of all the levels is to boldly go to hilarity and horror in a fabulously perfect blend of chilling suspense and parody. No wonder it got the lead-off slot.

“Crocodile" - This title is hauntingly ideal because what is just under the surface can grab hold, pull you under and then feed on you.  

Insurance investigator Shazia checks out the claims of policyholders wanting to collect by hooking up witnesses to equipment that allows her to view their memory trace engrams. But even though this gets at the truth of what happens at accident scenes, what are the unintended consequences of viewing memories with no relation to a claim that some people wish to keep hidden? 

This harrowing Hitchcockian tale begins with an accident which has escalating developments and challenges the ethical and moral decisions people make. Wrong decisions could result in a monster emerging. 

Oh, and if you are a fan, the references to the earworm song "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)" take on more dark dimensions when linked with other episodes.

"Black Museum" - This final episode of the season is a series of three stories. They are told to an “apparent” young female tourist by an “apparent” carny as he gives her a tour of his desert museum. 

The unusual exhibits he dwells on with the visitor involve his previous job as a neurological research recruiter. There are techno-transferences of what people felt or even the techno-transplanting of consciousness. The first story is an adaptation of Penn Jillette's short story The Pain Addict.

Good intentions had gone awry lead into the second tale of taking the consciousness of a coma patient and transferring it to share the same body with a consenting loved one. 

In turn, this leads to the third tale of taking the virtual consciousness of someone into a hologram. Of course, these tales all tie together within the frame of the museum. To say more would be a spoiler. 

The Gayly. February 21, 2018. 10:00 a.m. CST.