Black Mirror: “Metalhead” Season 4 Episode 5 Review

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“Metalhead” is the rare episode of Black Mirror where Charlie Brooker’s writing takes a back seat in favor of a new director coming in to put their stamp on the series. This is a simple, almost dialogue-less story of survival with an unrelenting, horrific spin. It is very much the David Slade show, a director who’s garnered acclaim on both the big and small screen through 2005 indie Hard Candy and several of the best episodes of NBC’s Hannibal.

That said, what story “Metalhead” does have is virtually pointless. Shot entirely in black and white, we meet three junkers in a vague dystopian future as they break into a warehouse for supplies and come across the robot from hell, known as a “dog.” Once two of the three people are mercilessly killed by the small robot, all that’s left is Bella (Maxine Peake).

There’s not all that much to her character, other than that she’s fighting to survive. But that’s fine, as the episode is much more about its never-ending display of tension and fear. Watching “Metalhead” for the first time is a very fun experience. The relentlessness of it all accompanied by the chilling score (sampled I believe from The Shining) makes for an edge of your seat ride from start to finish.

The ending, however, does leave a lot to be desired. Black Mirror is obviously one of the bleakest shows around, but this ending is dark to the point of just leaving you unfulfilled. The way “Metalhead” ends, there was really no reason to take such a long, dangerous journey with Bella. Ultimately, the ride itself is far more important than the destination, but it would have been nice had virtually any thought at all been put into the latter. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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