frelling_tralk: (The Wish by sweet_lyri)
[personal profile] frelling_tralk
I've never watched Black Mirror before, but I read some hype for how harrowing and powerful episode three is, and so I thought that I'd give it a shot out of order as every episode is apparently self-contained

"Shut Up And Dance" was certainly very tense and engrossing! There was even a bit of black comedy thrown in there at times with how inept Kenny and Hector were when attempting to follow their instructions (I was laughing out loud at the scene where Hector just decides fuck it and starts speeding, nearly knocking over a pedestrian with, "Sorry about that, can't miss his train", while the PTA lady is sat there completely stunned and not knowing what's going on).

I managed to completely misread the ending at first though oops, I'd assumed that the hackers were just planting the other guys web history on Kenny and framing him as a final cruel twist. It was only on re-watch that it hit me that the clues were there all along on what he'd really been looking at. It's easy to say in retrospect that no one would have been that easily manipulated just because of a masturbation video, but he seemed socially awkward enough that I could buy him being pushed as far as robbing the bank (especially when Hector sees his hesitation at that moment and starts pushing his buttons when it comes to how shameful the reveal would be for him), there are real life examples of teenagers killing themselves over the threats of similarly intimate footage being exposed online. In retrospect though the whole fight to the death scene would only make sense with his actual crime, otherwise he wouldn't have gone through with that just based on the footage of him masturbating

I didn't rewatch the whole episode, but I played a few scenes back and there's definitely some strong implications throughout. Eww eww eww at going back to watch the scene of him giving the little girl back her toy, or the scene with him stroking the crayons as he's gazing at the childs drawing (I originally interepreted his wistful look there as being because he had a crush on his boss!) It really twists the entire story around in fact, because on first watch it seems like Hector is the jerk when he's pushing Kenny's buttons and making the masturbation video sound more shameful than he obviously believed that it was when he first heard about it, but in actual fact he's the one who would be appalled to find out what Kenny was really trying to hide.

The moment with the trolling at the end was just devastating after how much the characters had been toyed with, and then it was all for nothing. I read a couple of reviews that seemed to interpret the twist at the end as reframing the episode as being about vigilante justice, but I didn't get that from it at all? That says something in itself though I suppose, that some viewers were imposing their own morality on the hackers in deciding that there was a twisted sort of justice in what they were doing, and that they were supposedly deliberately punishing their victims in proportion to their crimes. But I never got the impression that the hacking was about wanting to punish people (surely in that case the hacker would have exclusively targeted people like Kenny who were caught commenting the truly awful crimes, not someone like Hector who was basically just trying to hide an affair from his wife?), it was purely about getting twisted kicks from seeng how far they could push people over their secret shames, and naturally the people with the worst secrets were the easiest to push. The trolling meme at the end made it pretty clear too IMO, because it just seemed so juvenile and made it clear that it was all about messing with people for sadistic kicks. That made it even more chilling to me actually than if some self-righteous motive was revealed, instead life's were being ruined simply for cruel and pointless games

The main message I took from the episode was how scarily easy today's technology makes it to hack someone's personal details, and that you then can't really control what someone else might do with that information

It was all horribly sordid and depressing really, I can't stop thinking about the ending and feeling traumatised. I'm curious to check out some more episodes definitely, but I think that I need to take a break first!

Date: 2016-10-31 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
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Date: 2016-10-31 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frenchani.livejournal.com
Personally, I think that I liked episode 5 ("Man o fire") best, but apparently most people consider episode 4 ("San Junipero") to be this third series' masterpiece.

As a parables with a drak twist go and as a satire on technology and screens, I must say that I liked the previous series better, especially "The entire history of you" and "Be right back". You should check those!

This third series toned BM down a little bit IMO.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
That's interesting that you think series 3 toned it down a little, maybe episode 3 wasn't the best one to start with, because it did raise my expectations that every episode would end on such a dark and hopeless note, and yeah so far I haven't found that to be the case really? (I've just finished episodes 1, 2, and 3 after saying that I needed a break from it lol). Even the second episode "Playtest", yeah he dies at the end, but I dunno it wasn't all *that* horrifying to me. I was hoping that it would end on him still being stuck on an endless loop in the video game forever and never getting out, now that's what I would call a messed-up ending!

I mean maybe I'm a bit of a sadist, but the episodes that end on a note that makes you feel like you've been punched in the gut, those ones are my favourites *g* I'm going to make another post when I finish series 3 anyway, to ramble on about what I thought of the rest of the episodes

Date: 2016-10-31 10:17 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (porn!dalek)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
So IMO the best episodes of Black Mirror, if you want to traumatize yourself, are "National Anthem" (the one what foretold PigGate, and one of the finest hours of TV I have ever beheld), and "White Christmas," one of the most harrowing stories they tell. "White Bear" is along similar lines as "Shut Up and Dance," though I think the latter is more interesting in terms of the questions it asks.

I'm halfway through the latest season. So far "Nosedive" is almost uplifting, at least with the possibility of a happier outcome past the end of the episode.

I didn't catch the twist at the end with Kenny at first. I just assumed that he was looking at regular porn, and the pedophile was projecting. I love that they took something already horrifying and made it so, so much worse.

I agree that it wasn't about vigilante justice at all. I think it's more a comment on groups like Reddit and Anonymous that will sometimes go after terrible people but will just as soon go after anyone.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
Me too! I guess that's when we were first supposed to pick up on the big twist, when the other pedophile asked how young were they, but at the time I just assumed that Kenny was breaking down over what an horrific situation he was caught up in. It's only on re-watch that I realised that of course we were supposed to realise that Kenny was doing the same thing, because he started protesting about how he just "looked at some pictures", instead of focusing on the masturbation video itself. It really did twist everything around after the episode spend the entire running time encouraging us to sympathise with Kenny, and then ends with the revelation that his internet activities did deserve to be exposed, if not everything else that happened to him. But yeah the ending pushed the whole "we did it for the lolz" so strongly that it's hard to get the sense that the hackers were acting out of any kind of moral righteousness, they weren't just targeting potential child molesters, they were going after anyone who had something to hide
Edited Date: 2016-11-01 12:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-11-01 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giallarhorn.livejournal.com
A lot of people are going on about ep 4, but I haven't had a chance to catch up past the first season yet.

That said, I'd say it's worth watching if only because it does make you consider for a second? It's very much the Twilight Zone for the modern age, but in the sense that it's looking at things that are very much in the realm of possibility, or how technology has changed our lives.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
That's what's so effective about it to me definitely, I'm catching up on more series 3 episodes now, and the creepiest ones to me are the ones that seem more or less possible with how technology is being used today

Date: 2016-11-01 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
Black Mirror is one of my favourite shows. It's disturbing and dark and each episode holds up a very dark mirror to society. Shut Up and Dance was extremely intense and, I thought, wonderful. The twist was very interesting and opened up a lot of ideas about "justice".

We're up to episode 4!! Can't wait to watch it.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
I've always heard about it being very good, but I never got around to watching it before. I'm definitely glad that I checked it out now though, Shut Up And Dance really was super messed-up and gripping to watch

And yeah the ending really made me think a lot, especially when you go back and look over the episode again, because I think the implication is there that Kenny would probably have acted on his impulses one day? It wasn't like he was trying to suppress his urges in any way, and he was awfully focused on making a connection with that little girl at his workplace, so it raises the question of whether we can still feel bad for everything that the hackers put him through once we find out what he really did :( But I definitely didn't interpret it as being about vigilante justice otherwise, if the hackers were really concerned about doing the right thing, then they would have got in contact with the police immediately and left it at that

Date: 2016-11-01 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] infinitewhale.livejournal.com
It being about justice never entered my mind while watching. It seemed much more about the hackers having a god complex, turning people into puppets for their entertainment. It's even called Shut Up and Dance. And the troll image, like you said.

I suspect the reading the justice angle are fronting, tbh, because it's something they'd do.

Date: 2016-11-02 11:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
I guess it's the whole, "forcing pedophiles to fight to the death" that makes people jump to vigilantism, but yeah that's definitely how I took it, that it was about having fun with seeing what they could make people do. If anything the trolling at the end made me feel like it was most likely teenagers that were behind it all? Which again makes it even scarier to me actually, that simply being a bit tech-savvy could give someone (who we would otherwise consider fairly insignificant as a threat) that much power over other people's life's
Edited Date: 2016-11-02 11:50 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-11-02 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] infinitewhale.livejournal.com
It's a lot like you said. If they'd have just told everyone right away, which they ended up doing anyway, that might have been one thing. What's more they had the whole thing set up before they got Kenny since they already had the woman drop the car. They must have already had it thought up before they got players for their show.

I guess a commentary could be made it's more about the lengths they'd go to cover their sins. Hector is implicated in the robbery, so it's not like he just lost his family over it. Since his picture is on Kenny's phone, they'll get him, probably. I'm sure they tied the CEO and the guy on the rooftop, too.
Edited Date: 2016-11-02 08:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-11-02 09:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ash48.livejournal.com
and he was awfully focused on making a connection with that little girl at his workplace</>

Ooh yes. I had forgotten about that little scene.

Regarding "justice" I don't necessarily think that the hackers were about being vigilantes themselves, but the episode stirs up the question about whether someone who is a potential (or actual) pedophile deserves this kind of treatment for their crimes and therefore it's considered "justice" (well, it's the discussion I had with my husband after the episode, so it stirred that up for us).

I think the episode was clever not to reveal who the hackers were or why they were doing it. Clearly they wanted to mess with the victims but was that simply because they could (they found dirt on them and decided to have "fun" with it), or were they seeking people who they felt needed to be called out/revealed and dished out their own form of punishment? I like that we were not directly given that answer.

Date: 2016-11-02 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
That's true, I think the ending definitely causes us to question whether we still feel the same way about the trials that Kenny went through after realising that he wasn't as innocent as he first seemed. I found it interesting when some reviews did interpret the ending as being about deliberately wiping away all sympathy for Kenny, because Idk I still felt like he was a victim and everything that he was put through was incredibly messed-up, even while obviously not agreeing with his actions themselves. But some people definitely seemed to take the twist as being there to tell the audience that he did deserve it all along

Date: 2016-11-01 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] perpetual.livejournal.com
I've only seen a couple episodes of Black Mirror, but "White Bear" ended up really affecting me. I didn't think it would because the more I thought about it, the more implausible it seemed, but then I was up in the middle of the night still thinking about it, sort of nervous, slightly disturbed, but mostly just stressed.

It was really well done and I think I like the show, but I'm going to be more careful about when and how I watch it from now on.

Date: 2016-11-02 11:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
Yeah that's how I'm finding it so far as well, some of the endings really stay with you!

Date: 2016-11-02 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] perpetual.livejournal.com
That gif you used on the top-25 comment is hilarious. XD

Date: 2016-11-03 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
One of my favourite 12th Doctor moments *g*

Date: 2016-11-02 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batmarg.livejournal.com
I keep meaning to check this out. By the sound of your entry, I might want to not watch it as a direct follow up to my October Horror marathon. Need to watch something lighter in the middle.

Date: 2016-11-03 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
Some of the episodes do get pretty intense!

Date: 2016-11-05 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wheatear.livejournal.com
Oh god, you watched this one first? You are made of strong stuff.

Have you watched the earlier seasons? White Bear is really fucked up and I still find Fifteen Million Merits so harrowing that I can't bring myself to watch it again.

Date: 2016-11-05 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frelling-tralk.livejournal.com
Well I wasn't quite prepared for that ending when I first started watching, but it did make a strong enough impression that I couldn't not continue with series 3 after that *g*

And I haven't yet no, I'm going to wait until the Gilmore Girls revival to renew my Netflix subscription (it just run out after I finished series 3), and then I'm planning to catch up on the rest of the episodes then

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