“Black Mirror”, Season 3, Episode 3, “Shut Up and Dance”

[Image via Netflix]

[Image via Netflix]

We’ve reached episode 3 of Black Mirror, and for the first time in the season we have an episode taking place in England. When Netflix announced that they were going to do a new season of Black Mirror, there was a lot of fear that everything would be Americancentric. So far it kind of is that way, but even though this episode takes place in England, there are a lot of things that happen that could easily have happened on this side of the Pond.

Do you want to see what’s going to happen? Well then, Shut Up and Dance.  But read first—

This is really all about people making bad choices in life. We start out with Kenny (Alex Lawther), who we discover doesn’t like his sister using his laptop because she downloaded on to it. And in this instance, when he comes home from work, he finds his sister downloading songs, as well as a virus, on his computer. He manages to get the virus off his system, but hackers get control of his web camera, which means we get to watch him getting ready to masturbate to—well you’ll find out.

And that’s when the real fun starts. And he starts getting text messages to this phone telling him to respond with his phone number or whoever is sending him these messages are going to release the video of him jacking off and posted all the people on his friends list.  He gets to work and he gets another text message:  you’ve been activated. Let’s send them off on a wild-goose chase to a car parks some 50 minutes away, where he’s approached by a guy on a scooter and given a package.  Package that turns out to be a cake. Which eventually leads him to a guy named Hector (Jerome Flynn), who is staying in a nearby hotel.

Hector of text messages well from the same people who are texting Kenny, and needless to say Hector doesn’t take this shit well. Seems Hector hired a prostitute and was getting ready for a bit of the ol’ in-out when Kerry showed up with the cake. The hackers—because there’s really nothing else to call them—text both Kenny and Hector and let them know that they are active and needed for a mission.

RT: This episode kind of reminds me of the movie Nerve.

The head down to the car park and they find a car that we saw placed there at the very beginning of the episode by a woman (Susannah Doyle) who we don’t know anything about at this time.  Kerry and Hector leave the car park and begin to tell their stories:  actor talks about the prostitute and how if his wife found out it would ruin his marriage, and Kenny mentions that he was caught masturbating to some on-line pictures. They get a text message telling him to look inside the cake and when they do they discover a baseball cap, a pair of sunglasses, and a gun.  Now they discover their mission:  they have to rob a bank.  And since Hector is driving, that means Kenny has to go inside and do the deed.

[Image via Netflix]

[Image via Netflix]

Kenny manages to pull off the bank heist, pissing all over himself and the floor the whole time. This doesn’t go unnoticed, but since he’s waving a big fucking gun around and sticking it in everyone’s face, he’s given all the money, which ends up in his backpack. With that finished he runs outside—but Hector is nowhere to be seen. Oh wait, there he is: he had to go around the block because some wanker was blocking his view of the bank. Finally the amateur bank robbers, with cash in the bag, get the fuck out of town.

RT: I still can’t believe they pulled this off!

CF:  I kept waiting for them to get caught.  I mean, shit:  it wasn’t like they were that skilled they could get away clean.

Some miles away from their bank heist Hector and Kenny receive another text message and they’re told to drive to a field. Kenny is told to get out of the car and deliver the money to a spot indicated on his phone, Hector is told to destroy the car and go home. Takes off and eventually ends up at wooded area not far from where he was dropped off. There’s a man (Paul Bazely) waiting there for him and he has a drone in the box which releases as soon as Kenny arrives. He tells them the deal: he was told to come here and fight Kenny, or the hackers we’re going to review all of the child porn that was on his computer. And that’s when we discovered the truth about Kenny: he was masturbating to pictures of minors, making him a pedophile as well.

RT: At this point I was glad it turned out to be a fight to the death.

The guy with the drone says they need to start fighting as Kenny receives text on his phone: they are to fight to the death. Kerry first pulls the gun on the guy with the drone before sticking it under his own chin and pulling the trigger: it’s empty. And with that the fight is on…

Eventually we get back to Hector, who’s arrived home safe and sound without any issues.  We see him look on his daughter just says he gets a text message on this phone: it’s a troll face. He heads into the bedroom and finds his wife reviewing all of the chat logs from his time with “Mindy”, the prostitute he was going to hire. You can tell by the look on his wife’s face that his ass is grass.

We catch a glance of the woman who left the car for Hector and Kenny. Turns out she’s a CEO of a company and the hackers manage to get one of her emails where she denigrated a employee of color. She, too, has a troll face on her phone and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out she’s in a hell of a lot of trouble.

As for Kenny… we see him making his way down from the woods, bloody and beaten but still alive. He not only gets a troll face text messages as well, but he gets a call from his mother who is telling him about the pictures that have shown up in a sister’s social media feed: the ones of all the young girls he was looking at while masturbating. It’s then the police arrive for Kerry, who at this point is a known pedophile, a bank robber, and a murderer because it’s not like rest of his day wasn’t completely fucked.

[Image via Netflix]

[Image via Netflix]

What is most disturbing about the episode is there’s no reason for the hackers to be doing the things they’re doing, other than to just fuck with people. They caught a couple of people with kiddy porn, and they caught a guy cheating on his wife, and they caught a woman who’d made a racist statement in private. There’s no reason given for why they picked these people, or why they’re doing things they’re doing.  And maybe that’s exactly what drives these hackers: they’re getting a little enjoyment out of fucking with these folks before they turn them over to the authorities–and by fucking with them I mean they allow these folks to dig a deeper hole to jump into before they have to pay for their original actions. It’s kind of like what would happen if Anonymous decided to stay anonymous and begin fucking with folks simply to fuck with them. Before turning them over to the authorities, of course.

RT: I’m glad you mentioned Anonymous, because this is what I thought too.

So be careful with what you’re doing in your private life, because you never know when somebody is going to decide to take an interest in all the nefarious shit you’re doing on the side and have some fun with you before they fuck it all up. Like the Boomtown Rats once said, someone’s always watching.

Easter Eggs!

[Image via Netflix]

[Image via Netflix]

This episode has the Easter Egg of all Black Mirror Easter Eggs.  When the CEO is looking at the article about her racist email we see references back to four different Black Mirror episodes.  We learn that the TV show 15 Million Merits is coming soon (based upon the Black Mirror Season 1 episode of the same name), we hear about smart cookies (from the Black Mirror episode White Christmas), we learn the prime minister is getting divorced (from the episode The National Anthem), and we learn about an ongoing trial (from the episode White Bear).  It will be interesting to see how many other Easter Eggs show up in the remaining three episodes, given the number found in the first three episodes.

As always, leave a comment and tell us what you think!

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