At long last,
Black Mirror season 4 is here. Although buzzy episodes like “ USS Callister“ and “ Hang the DJ“ are getting tons of attention, there are still tons of mysteries hanging above each and every instalment. One of those big questions is what exactly these mysterious episode titles mean. Yes, some are pretty obvious — looking at you, “ Arkangel” — but, not all of these Black Mirror names are so easy to figure out. The enigma of “ Crocodile” alone could keep you up at night.
To help battle back the sleepless nights, we’ve put together the meanings for each season 4 episode title. Keep reading to get the answers you need. At least now
Black Mirror will haunt us all a little bit less.
Episode 1, “USS Callister“ Title meaning: Our heroine Nanette Cole (Cristin Miloti) finds herself trapped in the virtual reality version of the USS Callister, the main starship of Black Mirror’s Star Trek riff, Star Fleet. Nanette’s Callister captor is her boss Robert Daley (Jesse Plemons), who seems like a mild-mannered bullied tech nerd in “real life” but is actually much darker than anyone else around him. Robert has crafted his digital Fleet recreation world to take out his most sadistic, horrifying fantasies on copies of his employees who have deigned to displease him. So, life aboard the USS Callister isn’t all technicolor and intergalactic adventures. “Callister” is also the name of Robert’s tech company, which he named after Star Fleet’s ship.
Episode 2, “Arkangel“ Title meaning: This religiously-inspired title is explained pretty quickly and efficiently, as we find out “Arkangel” is a futuristic app for parents to watch their child’s every move — literally. After single mom Marie (Rosemarie DeWitt) suffers the terror of having her young daughter Sara (Aniya Hodge) wander off to the train tracks during a playground trip, she installs the experimental new tech of Arkangel into her brain. Arkangel allows supreme helicopter parent Marie to monitor her daughter’s location, blur out any images that create stress, and even view exactly what her daughter sees, all from a handy little tablet. When Sara (Brenna Harding) hits teenagedom, things go expectantly awry, and Marie’s Arkangel savior actually ends up being her greatest deviation.
Episode 3, “Crocodile“ Title meaning: There’s a reason Twitter is currently filled with people asking why, oh why, “Crocodile” is actually named “Crocodile.” There are no such aquatic reptiles to be found in the entire 59-minute instalment, or even a stray alligator. But, Vulture seems to have the best explanation, questioning whether protagonist Mia’s (Andrea Riseborough) episode-ending tears are actually crocodile tears, making her the titular creature. After all, Mia did go on a 24-hour murder spree, going so far as to slaughter an innocent (blind!) baby. Can she really feel so weepily devastated by her actions now?
Episode 4, “Hang the DJ“ Title meaning: You’re only going to understand this title if you’re paying attention until the very end. As “Hang The DJ” closes — and our System-plagued couple meets in the “real” world — Amy (Georgina Campbell) and Frank (Joe Cole) find each other in the kind of circa-2017 bar you and I would recognise. The couple makes eyes at each other from across the room, knowing they’ve already rebelled against a dystopic dating app simulation together and have officially been deemed 99.8% compatible. Amid all the real-world flirting, “Panic” by The Smiths plays in the background. “Hang the DJ,” Smiths frontman Morrissey croons over and over, “Hang the DJ.”
Episode 5, “Metalhead“ Title meaning: “Metalhead” has the most unquestionably metaphorical title of the bunch. The post-apocalyptic, black-and-white saga gets its name from the way the villainous killer robots of the episode murders humans, which is pretty darn gruesome. The deadly mechanical “dogs,” as badass hero Bella (Maxine Peake) calls the terrifying beings, eject countless small metal pieces out of their bodies and into the heads of their victims, leaving them metalheads.
Episode 6, “Black Museum” Title meaning: There are a lot of levels to the name of season 4 closer, “Black Museum.” First of all, there’s the obvious, literal Black Museum run by villain Rolo Haynes (Douglas Hodge). As Rolo tells visitor Nish (Letitia Wright), “There’s a sad sick story behind everything here.” There’s a darkness lurking on every single thing in the museum, including Rolo and Nish. On top of that, “Black” serves as a museum of Black Mirror episodes past. Nish asks about “When they upload old people to the cloud,” nodding towards the famed “San Junipero,” and walks past artefacts from fellow season 4 episodes “Arkangel” and “USS Callister,” along with older instalments like " Hated In The Nation” and “ Playtest.” And, on the darkest level of the “Black Museum” title, Rolo has trapped the hologrammed consciousness of an executed Black man in the back of the museum, and allows visitors to electrocute him all over again for jollies. This is a museum of Black pain too.