This post contains spoilers for Black Mirror Season 4.[hhmc]
Second only to its love for bleak endings is Black Mirror’s adoration for Easter eggs. The series frequently ties its installments together with small nods to episodes past, and Season 4 is no exception. Each episode in Netflix’s new season is chock-full of sneaky references and quiet cameos—including one from Kirsten Dunst. It’s nearly impossible to catch them all, so check out the roundup below for the tiny moments you might have missed.
This Star Trek-inspired episode might have spent its flashiest moments poking fun at an old franchise, but it also planted some of the season’s quietest little details—including the biggest-name cameo in Black Mirror history. Kirsten Dunst, who happens to be engaged to episode star Jesse Plemons, appears in the background of the real-world office where Robert Daly works during the middle of the episode. Meanwhile, Plemons’s old Breaking Bad co-star Aaron Paul makes a cameo that was a little more widely noticed: he shows up at the very end of the episode for a quick voice-over spot as gamer691, the troll who tries to harass the newly freed Callister crew.
Even the casting of episode co-star Michaela Coel, who plays a colleague Daly imprisons and eventually turns into a hideous space monster, serves as a callback of sorts: Coel previously appeared in Black Mirror Season 3’s “Nosedive” as an unhelpful airline employee who helped usher in the demise of Bryce Dallas Howard’s protagonist, Lacie.
And finally, you might have noticed that Daly drinks Raiman-brand milk—the same name as one of the soldiers seen in “Men Against Fire,” whose family owned a farm.
Although it features only a few callbacks to other episodes in the series, the specific installments “Arkangel” references seem very deliberate. The frightening footage Sarah sees during the Arkangel demo actually came from the previous Black Mirror episode “Men Against Fire”; it’s the scene in which “Hunter” Raiman fires on the so-called “roaches.” “Men Against Fire” was about soldiers’ vision being manipulated in order to help them unwittingly commit horrific acts more easily; perhaps that episode was foreshadowing for what could come of tampering with Sarah’s ability to see gruesome things.
The central premise of the episode—a brain implant used for various forms of monitoring—is also very similar to the Season 1 episode “The Entire History of You,” which features a product known as a “grain” implant with a similar interface. It didn’t end well in “Entire History of You,” and it doesn’t end well here, either. And then there’s one last, slightly less poignant Easter egg: a poster for the fictional rapper Tusk can also be seen in Sarah’s room. As Decider observes, Tusk is a character from “Hated in the Nation,” in which he became the subject of ire after insulting a fan. (Unsurprisingly, he wound up dead.)
Although not everyone loved this installment, it does feature perhaps the funniest Easter egg of the season—in which Charlie Brooker and his team decide to name-check some of their most ardent fans.
As [IndieWire notes, the hotel’s porn collection includes a special called Best of Wraith Babes—the same show on which Abi ends up performing at the end of Season 1’s “15 Million Merits.” Additionally, the song “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand),” used in several Black Mirror episodes—starting with “Merits”—can be heard in this installment as well.
The truck that hits the man as Mia watches from her window happens to be a Fences Pizza delivery truck—the same company from which Robert Daly orders his pizzas in “USS Callister.” And finally, when Rob hands Mia an article about the man they killed 15 years ago, it is briefly visible on screen—and one paragraph appears to be a bit . . . idiosyncratic. As one Redditor noticed, it 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.” Well played.
“Hang the DJ”
There only appears to be one link between “Hang the DJ” and the rest of the series, but it’s a strong one: the dating app used in the episode seems to be the same app briefly shown in Season 3’s “Playtest.” It’s also the same app viewers briefly saw Elena use in “USS Callister.”
There aren’t really many intertextual references in this episode either, but it does start with a conversation about missing pigs. So.
Although “Black Museum” is one of this year’s less popular episodes, it does contain by far the most references to other episodes, spanning back to the series’s first season—perhaps an unsurprising distinction, given the title.
Carlton Bloom, who committed suicide in Season 1’s “The National Anthem,” can be seen among the collection’s macabre entries, along with a photo of Victoria Skillane, the protagonist of “White Bear.” “15 Million Merits,” which starred Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, gets a shout-out in graphic-novel form. The robotic bees from last season’s “Hated in the Nation” also make a small cameo among the episode’s creepy exhibitions.
There are also callbacks to the current season inside the museum, including the Arkangel tablet Sarah beat her mother with at the end of that Jodie Foster-directed episode, as well as the DNA scanner that Daly used to replicate his co-workers in “USS Callister.” Oh, and that bloody bathtub from “Crocodile” makes an appearance as well. The charging station is called “BRB Connect”; it hardly seems coincidental that “BRB” is an acronym for “Be Right Back,” otherwise known as the saddest episode Black Mirror will ever make.
Finally, there’s the hospital name “St. Juniper.” Sound familiar?
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Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.