USS Callister Black Mirror Recap Season 4 – Netflix favorite Black Mirror seems to keep getting popular and with it’s first episode of season 4 released, the bar keeps getting higher for the show to pass.
USS Callister Black Mirror Recap Season 4
In the opening episode, we are taken to a video game development office in what appears to be present day. Jessie Plemmons plays Robert Daly, the CTO of a massively popular multiplayer game space exploration game, which seems to be what everyone hoped “No Man’s Sky” would be when it was released last year. Daly is co-founder of a company but it’s real boss is Walton, a brash CEO that displays the characteristics of a workplace bully.
Daly is regularly dismissed by his colleges despite his rank and his social awkwardness just makes it easier to overlook his brilliance as a game designer. However, a new employee named Nanette (played by Cristin Milioti), who has followed Daly’s coding history catches his attention when she becomes the only one who is nice to him. Before he can become friends with her, various co-workers warn her about his awkwardness and ends up putting a halt to their workplace friendship.
Daly is dismayed by this and retreats to his other life at home where he has created a mod of the game for only his use. In Black Mirror’s futuristic fashion, the game is so advanced it puts users’ physical bodies into a trance and transports their sentience to another world. Daly is also able to take others into the world with him by stealing samples of their DNA and it just so happens that many of his co-workers are already in that world with him without knowing it while being trapped and unable to escape the game. In the world Daly has created, it’s a striking homage to early seasons of Star Trek and serves as a personal playground for Daly to retreat into away from the real world.
One day Daly gets a sample of Nanette’s DNA and brings her into that world but when she wakes up in it she is overcome with rage at how she’s been violated, even if she’s just a video game character since it doesn’t seem she can tell the difference. The other characters there try to convince her to make peace with her situation and not disturb Daly’s fantasy of being a starship captain. The reason why is because though he may be milquetoast in the real word, in his game he is a God and one that can become monster-like in his punishment for those that don’t play along. In fact, when playing the game he sporadically jumps from playing a childish Space commander to violently hurting others, sort of like that kid from the cornfields episode of The Twilight Zone.
Nanette isn’t like the other office workers though because before she came to work for the company, she was a gifted hacker. After seeing how creepy and disillusioned Daly’s video game form is from his actual real world self, Nanette decides to orchestrate a plan to communicate with the real life version of herself. The way the plan works is to distract Daly and somehow get his real-life version to step away from his computer.
Nanette’s plan works masterfully but in the end the characters don’t leave the game because, after all, they are just video game characters living through a game but equipped with their memories from real life. This gives some viewers of the show an interesting introduction into the nascent debate around AI rights but for others, I think the larger theme here is that when left to their own devices, even the most non-threatening individuals can quickly spiral into megalomania when creating virtual worlds.
Other episodes of Black Mirror Season 4 reviewed on TV Eskimo:
USS Callister Black Mirror Recap Season 4 characters and cast include:
Robert Daly – Jesse Plemons (Battleship, Black Mass, The Post, The Master, Fargo, Bridge of Spies, Breaking Bad, Olive Kitteridge, Friday Night Lights, The Bell Jar)
Nanette Cole – Cristin Milioti (The Mindy Project, Fargo, How I Met Your Mother, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Sopranos)
Walton – Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, Date Night, This Is Us, House of Cards, White House Down)
Shania – Michaela Coel (The Aliens, London Spy, Chewing Gum, Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Valdack – Billy Magnussen (The East, Bridge of Spies, The Big Short, Into the Woods, American Crime Story, The Divide, The Leftovers)
Elena Tulaska – Milanka Brooks
Nate Packer – Osy Ikhile (In the Heart of the Sea, Childhood’s End, The Fear, The Legend of Tarzan)