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!
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