The much anticipated fourth season of Black Mirror hit Netflix right after Christmas 2017, a nice little present for fans of the terrifying science fiction series that depicts the potential dangers of humans giving too much control to new technology. The hit Netflix series (which actually began as a Channel 4 exclusive show in the U.K.) brought us six new episodes from creator/writer Charlie Brooker. Like most seasons, the anthology episodes vary from “just good” to “truly amazing,” with a variety of actors and actresses delivering a handful of depressing and macabre tales (well, one of them actually has a happy ending).
The fourth season is also filled with Easter Eggs, relating back previous episodes or seasons, and even a few real-world nods. It’s also interesting because it shows us that Black Mirror episodes all exist in the same universe, although the timelines are definitely skewed dramatically. We’re not really sure how they fit together chronologically, as society is seen more dependent on technology in some episodes than others, but can be shown as a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the next one.
Here are all the Easter Eggs, both big and small, that we spotted in Season Four. Did you catch all these? Did we miss any?
**SPOILER WARNING** — This article contains plenty of spoilers from the entire fourth season of Black Mirror (and previous episodes as well).**
The opening episode of the season, and probably the most quirky of the bunch, features a sadistic game designer making digital clones of co-workers and subjecting them to his reign of terror inside a VR clone of Star Trek. Here are all the little things you may have missed from the episode.
40. The woman at the front desk (played by Milanka Brooks) of the Callister offices is using the dating app from “Hang the DJ,” the fourth episode of the season.
39. Lead actor Jesse Plemons, who plays Robert Daly (and is also remembered from his bad guy role in Breaking Bad), is engaged to fellow celebrity Kristen Dunst in real life. Although Dunst doesn’t actually have a role in USS Callister, she does make a brief non-speaking cameo. If you look closely, you can see her as an extra milling about in the backgrounds of the Callister offices.
— Peyton McMahon (@PeytonMcMahon) December 30, 2017
38. Another fairly in-your-face Easter Egg is when Daly is telling new employee Nanette Cole about Space Fleet, his favorite TV show that’s so old he still has VHS copies. Of course, no one uses VHS anymore, so Daly mentions that the whole series in available on Netflix. You know, just like Black Mirror! Okay, so it’s a bit obvious, but still a nice little nod to the streaming company that brought Black Mirror to a wider audience after outbidding Channel 4 for the rights to Season Three and beyond.
37. When Daly boots up his computer, we see a brief screenshot of his specs. The domain is “IS_Fleet,” an obvious nod to his favorite TV show. A much less obvious Easter Egg, though, is the Operating System named “ONO-SENDAI.” That’s the name of a computer used in the 1984 sci-fi novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, a book which popularized the term “cyberspace.”
36. While in the Space Fleet modded simulation, Daly and his reluctant crew face off in cheesy battles as they navigate past planets called Skillrane IV and Rannoch. Fans with excellent memories will recall that those planets are named after Victoria Skillrane and Iain Rannoch, the criminals from Season Two episode “White Bear,” about a brutal punishment dished out to the female half of a child-killing couple.
35. One of the recurring themes in “USS Callister” is who gets who coffee. In one scene, we see that the office coffee station contains Raiman brand milk. This is a nice little Easter Egg referring back to Season Three’s “Man Against Fire,” where Madeline Brewer plays a soldier named Raiman who talks about her family farm. We’re willing to bet it’s a dairy farm, after seeing this clue.
34. It’s quite clear that Space Fleet is a dark parody of Star Trek, complete with the captain kissing all the women after a well-earned victory. One of the classic Star Trek tropes is the “red shirt,” which is the term used for the nameless members of the crew who would inevitably die in battle instead of any of the main cast members. “Red shirt” is now used across all television and movies, and it’s not uncommon to see a reference to the red shirt extras in, say, a huge Game of Thrones battle scene, for example. In “USS Callister,” both Shania Lowry and Robert Daly are wearing red. It’s no coincidence, then, that Lowry is the first crew member to “die” (she is actually turned into a horrible space creature) and Daly finishes the episode stranded in both space (in the game) and his own simulated reality (in real life).
33. Speaking of turning disobedient crew members into hideous aliens, this scene also includes a subtle nod to the other huge space franchise, Star Wars. Once Lowry is transformed, Daly orders the crew to “take that thing to the bridge.” That’s the same line used in Star Wars: A New Hope, when a member of the Empire orders a captured Chewbacca to be removed from his site when the furry creature is captured on the Death Star.
32. One last Easter Egg for “USS Callister,” and it’s more of an audio cameo than a visual clue. When the crew successfully navigates into the wormhole, they re-emerge on the other side in the standard, updated version of Infinity, Daly’s game. It’s an MMORPG set in space, and they immediately encounter another player, nicknamed Gamer691. As he asks for a trade and then proceeds to talk trash, you might recognize the voice of Aaron Paul, most famous for playing Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad. Plemons (Daly) also starred in the hit AMC drug/crime drama as Todd Alquist, a one-time business partner of Pinkman and Walter White, before turning on them in the final season.
31. Before she ends up with an unregulated and experimental tracker device implanted into her head by an overprotective mother, Sara is just a regular carefree kid. On an early trip to the local park (passed the scary barking dog), we notice that Sara is packing a Waldo lunchbox underneath her stroller, a reference to Season Two’s “The Waldo Moment,” when a cartoon character ends up running for political office.
30. When Sara first receives the Arkangel implant, a lab technician shows her mother some of the features. Along with GPS tracking, monitoring vital signs, and live point-of-view camera footage, the ultimate protection device includes a real-time censorship feature. Basically, the device will alter any unpleasant imagery or sounds (like a scary dog, for example) and turn it into pixelated white noise. To demonstrate, the lab tech switched the tablet from a kid-friendly cartoon to military footage, which appears to be taken from “Men Against Fire,” an episode from Season Three.
29. As Sara gets older, she becomes a moody, experimental, and somewhat troubled teenager. As the relationship with her mother continues to deteriorate (thanks, in part, to the Arkangel implant), we get a glimpse at some of her interests. Among them is a poster for a rapper named Tusk, a man who was murdered in Season Three’s “Hated in the Nation” by small robotic bee drones for daring to be cruel online.
28. Did Mia design Robert Daly’s apartment? We learn early on in “Crocodile” that Mia is in the architectural field, even considered an expert. Of course, she also has a dark secret from the past that refuses to stay buried. But this Easter Egg has nothing to do with the actual plot. A brief look inside Mia’s design studio suggests that she have been the one to design the apartment building that Daly called home in “USS Callister.” There is both a 3D model and a digital version on display, and it looks identical to Daly’s building.
27. This episode features multiple renditions of the song “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas, mostly as insurance investigator Shazia Akhand (Kiran Sonia Sawar) attempts to jog the memories of anyone who might have witnessed a car accident. But it’s also the song Abi (Jessica Brown-Findlay) sings in her Hot Shots audition in “15 Million Merits” from Season One. The song actually appears multiple times in the Black Mirror universe, including being a karaoke choice in Season Two’s “White Christmas” and also popping up in “Men Against Fire.”
26. This one is pretty minor, but you can spot a Playstation VR headset in Mia’s studio. Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has tweeted about his interest in the technology before, and it’s fitting since a lot of the themes of the show are about virtual realities, alternate realities, or dealing with immersive computer simulations.
25. Later in the episode, Rob (Andrew Gower) reappears in Mia’s life, wanting to come clean about the way they covered up the dead cyclist now that he was completely sober and going through the twelve step program. He even presents Mia with a newspaper clipping about the poor widow struggling to find her missing husband. The second last paragraph reads:
“‘Of course the real question is why anyone would pause what they’re watching just to read a sentence in a printed out newspaper article’, says a voice in your head—before advising you to go and share this finding on Reddit.”
Bonus Easter Egg: The clipping is from a fictional publication called “UKN” (U.K. News), that appeared in the very first episode of Black Mirror when it covered the Prime Minister’s, umm, “unfortunate incident” with the pig.
24. After Mia panics and kills Rob in order to keep the secret safe, she suddenly realizes that she has a new secret to cover up — what to do with the freshly murdered corpse in her hotel room. She attempts to whip up an alibi by purchasing an adult movie from the hotel’s TV system, knowing that it’s an embarrassing admission but also one that might put her in her room the entire evening, if anyone tried to investigate.
While she quickly browsed the choices, we see a poster for “Wraith Babes” — the smutty series featured in “15 Million Merits” that ends up recruiting Abi. Mia passes it by though, in favor of a film by Erika Lust, a real life porn director who focuses on making movies that aren’t exploitative to women — basically the polar opposite of the fictional Wraith Babes series. It’s a pretty subtle, but poignant, commentary on the adult movie business in general.
23. Speaking of the hotel on-demand service, a short glimpse of the different genres available shows one of the robotic bees from “Hated in the Nation” sitting atop of a daisy. We wonder what sort of “classic” film would feature the small drones that were used to kill hundreds of thousands of people back in Season Three (although remember that none of the episodes are in chronological order).
22. In yet another callback to “USS Callister,” we learn that the pizza truck that collides with a pedestrian is from Fence’s Pizza, the same company that delivered pizzas to Robert Daly while he played his modded version of Infinity.
21. One final Easter Egg from “Crocodile.” You might not have noticed, but the previous episode (“Arkangel”) was directed by Jodie Foster, perhaps most famous for her appearance in Silence of the Lambs (and dozens of other roles). In the final scene of “Crocodile,” Mia watches her son and his classmates perform a song from the classic real-life 1976 musical film Bugsy Malone. That film starred a 13-year-old Jodie Foster in one of her first major roles.
“Hang the DJ”
For our money, “Hang the DJ” was one of the best Black Mirror episodes we’ve ever seen. While the concept of pre-determined relationship lengths made for an interesting plot, the performances of Joe Cole (Frank) and Georgina Campbell (Amy) truly carry this episode to new heights. It even features a happy ending, which is a rarity for any Black Mirror episode. However, the episode is light on Easter Eggs.
The dating app itself looks exactly like the one used by the secretary in “USS Callister” (but we already told you that) and there’s an obvious parallel between “Coach” and real-life digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Cortana. Here are the few extra tidbits from “Hang the DJ” that you may not have noticed.
20. The title of the episode itself is taken from a line of the classic song “Panic” by The Smiths, which is also played during the closing credits. The song was a bit of a protest number by the famed English rock band, who were dismayed at the state of contemporary pop music invading the airwaves while their “real” music remained much less popular. Other lines in the song include “Burn down the disco” and “…the music that they constantly play/It says nothing to me about my life.”
Those lines reference the fact that Frank and Amy’s digital dating avatars also refuse to conform to their system, as the ending reveals that the dating app ran 1,000 simulations and the couple rebelled in 998 of them, putting their match probability at 99.8 percent!
19. This one isn’t related to plots or themes, but it’s a neat little Easter Egg nonetheless. Earlier in the episode, Amy notices that she can never skip a rock more than four times. Or less than four, for that matter. It’s really the first sign that something may not be quite right about wherever Frank and Amy are staying. Later, when Amy decides she’s sick of listening to her digital Coach, she asks her to count to four as she skips it into the pool. Coach starts counting at 44:40 of the episode, so when she arrives at “four,” the episode is officially at 44:44. Clever.
“Metalhead” is the only episode of Black Mirror to be filmed entirely in black and white, an interesting style choice for sure. It also contains very little back story or context compared to other episodes, leaving viewers to come up with their own theories about why humans now live in fear of armed robotic dogs. Like “Hang the DJ,” this episode is short on Easter Eggs or tie-ins to previous episodes, but there were a few noteworthy inclusions.
18. When Clarke tries to hack the truck at beginning of the episode, the startup screen displays a number of references to previous episodes, as well as a message for anyone hunting for hidden messages:
There’s “tna” and “pigpoke,” obvious references to “The National Anthem.” There’s also references to “15 Million Merits” and the lead characters of Abi and Bing in that episode. Five other episodes get call outs before Charlie Brooker leaves in a message for people with too much time on their hands. Like you. And me.
17. When Bella takes refuge in the house of a dead couple who (seemingly) committed suicide, she searches the place for anything of value. She takes their shotgun and also their car keys. While searching, we see the camera briefly pan over the mail on the table inside the front door. While the two letters are merely addressed to “The Home Owner” and “The Occupant,” a third piece of mail is actually from San Junipero. That’s both the name of an episode from Season Three, and also the digital place where elderly people can have their consciousnesses uploaded to after they die. We didn’t know you could send postcards from there though, since it doesn’t really exist. Or maybe “Metalhead” actually takes place in the same digital universe as San Junipero, although something obviously went very wrong since we last saw Kelly and Yorkie reunited in the digital afterlife.
16. Here’s one last Easter Egg from “Metalhead,” and it sounds like it may have been an accident. In one of the final shots of the episode, we see that the original mission to the warehouse was an attempt to find a fluffy white bear for Bella’s sister, who is insinuated to be sick. Viewers quickly assumed the stuffed toy was a reference to the episode “White Bear,” but Charlie Bookier has shot that down by saying the bears were actually yellow. Of course, no one would know that since the entire episode was done in black and white.
Here’s Brooker’s comments from an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
The bears were actually yellow, but because it was [shot] in black and white, they’re white bears — I was happy with that being a little Easter egg. We went back and forth on what should be in that warehouse. Originally in the script, it just said “toys.” The idea was a box of toys for a dying child.
The final episode of Black Mirror was an Easter Egg lover’s dream. The Black Museum is a desolate place that features artifacts and exhibits from strange criminal cases, including references to a ton of previous episodes. Some of these were obvious, but others were harder to spot. For the sake of thoroughness, we’re going to go through them all.
15. Although the original debut episode is remembered mostly for the Prime Minister having, *ahem*, intimate relations with a pig, some people may have forgotten the man who perpetrated the whole stunt. Although his character barely existed in the episode, it was award-winning artist Carlton Bloom who kidnapped the Princess and sent his own amputated finger to the news station. He commits suicide after releasing the Princess, but his corpse (or a replica) hangs in the Black Museum.
14. At one point, we see a mugshot of Victoria Skillrane, the criminal from “White Bear” who is forced to relive the same torturous day over and over as punishment. A potential bonus Easter Egg is the screen that says “Cloning Without Consent,” which might be the crime Robert Daly was charged with if he ever emerged from his solitude of being trapped in simulated space.
13. We’re going to rapid fire through this next section, because many of these items only appear on the screen for a second or two. First, there’s iconic hunting costume worn in “White Bear,” complete with ski mask and shotgun.
12. If “Cloning Without Consent” wasn’t a reference to Robert Daly and “USS Callister,” this one definitely is. On display in the museum is Daly’s one-of-a-kind Digital DNA Cloning Device, complete with poor Tommy’s lollipop.
11. Back in Season Three, we all watched “Playtest” — an episode about a nomadic man named Cooper who ends up taking a job testing new video game technology at SaitoGemu, a game designer known for their horror games. It all takes a terrible turn, and Cooper ends up dead after just a split second of playtesting, although it felt like a longer nightmare in his head.
At one point in “Black Museum,” we can see a display behind Rolo Haynes (the museum owner) that showcases the game and the “mushroom” technology used in it.
10. “Man Against Fire” from Season Three gave us a terrifying look at brainwashing military soldiers into doing unthinkable acts, like performing a global genocide in order to keep humanity’s bloodline “pure.” In that episode, soldiers use a mind-altering device called a MASS implant that makes them see innocent humans as horribly mutated creatures they call “roaches.” In “Black Musuem” we can see a couple of dead Roach bodies in the background.
9. We get a shot of the deadly robotic bee drone from “Hated in the Nation,” complete with magnifying glass for a closer look. Fun fact: the bees were originally developed to help cure Colony Collapse Disorder, until they were re-purposed for a much more sinister purpose.
8. The Black Museum also has artifacts from “Crocodile.” We see a display case with a bloody bathtub inside, a reference to Mia’s panicked murder spree that included an insurance investigator, her husband (while in the the bath), and the couple’s young child. Too bad she forgot to off the family guinea pig.
7. Here’s another obvious Easter Egg, as the tablet used by Sara’s mother in “Arkangel” is also on display. Too bad her over protectiveness eventually caused Sara to snap and beat her to death with the tablet itself, smashing it into pieces before she split town.
6. There are various TV screens running news tickers in the episode. Those tickets contain multiple references to previous episodes.
-“PM Callow marries pig” is a reference to “The National Anthem.”
-“Autonomous military ‘dog’ robot revealed” is a reference to “Metalhead.”
-“Arkangel system pulled from stores” is an obvious reference to the failure of the surveillance system in “Arkangel.”
-“Waldo Polititician makes waves in Mexico” seems to indicate that everyone’s cartoon character also attempted to run for office in Mexico, of all places.
5. Rolo Haynes seems to have found a second career running the Black Museum, because it’s apparent that his first career ended up a bust. He reveals he worked for TCKR, a company that specialized in altering and transferring consciousnesses, using hospital patients as his test subjects. The hospital he worked at was called St. Juniper’s, and TCKR is the company that developed the technology used in Season Three’s “San Junipero.”
4. Rolo’s lab mice, which he uses to demonstrate how they discovered the neural implant that allowed Dr. Dawson to feel the physical pain of others, were named Hector and Kenny. Those were also names of the two main characters in Season Three’s “Shut Up and Dance,” about an internet hacker who blackmails his victims into doing horrible things by threatening to reveal their darkest web secrets.
3. When Rolo is explaining consciousness transfer to Nish (Letita Wright), he used the term “cookies,” which is also the term used for the interrogation technology seen in “White Christmas.” Nish then asks “like when they upload old people the cloud?”, which is another obvious reference to “San Junipero.”
2. In the second story-within-a-story from “Black Museum,” Rolo tells Nish about a man who implanted his comatose wife into his brain. Unfortunately, she became a bit of a backseat driver. During the story, we see the man (named Jack, if anyone cares) reading a graphic novel called “15 Million Merits.” Too bad his wife doesn’t appreciate it the same way he does.
Bonus Easter Egg: His wife’s consciousness is eventually implanted into a stuffed monkey, which is also on display in the museum. Haynes tells Nish that she’s still in there, because it was made illegal to delete her. Nish takes it with her when she leaves. The neural transmitter from Haynes’ first story is also seen in the Museum (obviously).
1. The final episode ends with Nish finally setting her father’s consciousness free and burning the museum down. We also see that she has her mother’s consciousness implanted in her head, just like the substory told in the middle of “Black Museum.” The real question, though, is whether the burning down of the museum is symbolic to the end of the series itself or not.
No plans for a Season Five have been announced, although Brooker revealed in an interview that he would love to make more. Netflix is usually eager to announce when things are renewed, but their silence is a bit worrying for Black Mirror fans. Here’s hoping for a few more twisted tales from Brooker’s mind, especially because he’s teased sequels to fan favorite episodes like “White Bear” and “Be Right Back.” We’ll have to just wait and see. In the meantime, did you spot any Easter Eggs we missed?