But here’s the real deal: Episode 6 and the first 90 minute episode of the series. So sit back and enjoy, and try to be entertained.
We start out with DCI Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald, a.k.a. Renton’s girlfriend from Trainspotting, Margaret Thompson from Boardwalk Empire, Della Smith from State of Play, the voice of Princess Merida from Brave, and the woman I would marry just so I could hear her speak every day) showing up an official inquiry. Everyone is looking grim, and Karin looks among the most grim of all. It’s not long before we hear her being asked to recount what happened during the events of last May…
And just like that we go back a year. We find ourselves following journalist Jo Powers (Elizabeth Berrington), who had written an article that caused a handicap advocate to kill herself. Naturally, this pissed off the Internet and everyone on social media is calling her twenty different kinds of fucking bitch who needs to die. She’s taking it all in good stride–
Right up until the time she’s killed.
DCI Parke shows up at Powers’ home where she meets the newest member of her team, TDC Blue Colson (Faye Marsay, a.k.a. The Waif from Game of Thrones, and Shona McCullough from the Doctor Who episode, Last Christmas), who has come over from cyber forensics to help out.They find Jo on the living room floor with her throat cut open. There’s no evidence that anyone broke into the house and murdered her, which leaves her husband the main suspect. Since he’s in the hospital, DCI Parke and TDC Colson will interview him in the morning. When they interview him they discover that he found her in the living room, clutching her head and screaming in pain. She finally broke open a wine bottle and sliced open her own throat, which was how DCI Parke and TDC Colson found her.
RT: I smell bullshit here. not sure how, but I’m convinced someone murdered her.
CF: You wouldn’t be wrong. 😉
They head back to headquarters where they meet up with Nick Shelton (Joe Armstrong), another member of DCI Parke’s team–They have no real leads on Powers’ death, as she had been the subject of many online death threats over the last few days. The only thing that pans out is a schoolteacher who had chipped in with several other people online to buy a cake that said “Fucking Bitch” and have it sent to Powers’ home. But while talking to the schoolteacher they get a lead: they find out about the #DeathTo hashtag. Apparently this is something that has been going around for the last few days: you type in the hashtag along with the person’s name and picture and it begins one of those tiresome Internet death threat threats that we know oh so well these days.
RT: The Waif and Arya really needed this hashtag in Westeros…
CF: I’m afraid they’d overuse it. I wonder how you’d hashtag a three-eyed crow?
RT: Everyone would have to hashtag Cersei first in order to limit misuse.
But something else comes out of this as well. During Jo Powers’ autopsy an ADI is discovered inside her head–specifically, rooted deep in her brain. What is an ADI, you ask?
It’s a bee.It seems that ADIs were created to replace collapsed bee colonies throughout the UK. They do all of the same things that a real honeybee does, except they are nothing more than a computerized mini drone being busy as a, well, you know–
And now one of these bees has been used to kill someone. Oh, I take that back: they’ve been used to kill two people.
While Jo Powers’ death was being investigated a rapper by the name of Tusk had become the subject of several death threats as well due to him slagging on a nine-year-old fan who tried imitating him. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but he did it on nationwide television and, naturally, the Internet felt the need to vent their rage. While he was waiting to leave the venue of his latest concert he grabbed his head and began screaming. He was rushed to the hospital, put under heavy sedation, and thrust into an MRI machine to see if the staff figure out what was wrong with him. What was wrong with him eventually became a really quick and sudden death as something came rocketing out of his skull–actually came through one of his eyes, but I digress–and turned out to be an ADI. One that is discovered by a rather large and mysterious man…
Meanwhile DCI Parke and TDC Colson visit the headquarters of Granular, the company that created the ADIs. Rasmus Sjolberg (Jonas Karlsson), one of the main techs and of the ADI project, discovers that someone has hacked them, and that is allowing the unknown hacker to use the ADIs to kill people. Of course, Rasmus has no idea how this happened, as well is having no idea who might be doing this. What they do know is they can’t shut down the ADIs because even a momentary shutdown of the system would likely lead to a nationwide ecological collapse. In short, there aren’t any good options and he only ones that are available are going to leave a lot of people fucked.
RT: It’s all fun and games until the bees get re-programmed. A very good reminder that humans need to be kinder to the earth, because the alternative involves more human intervention.
CF: Black Mirror is nothing if not a cautionary tale about how technology can be turned against people. In almost all of the episodes in season six we’ve seen the bad side of technology, with only one episode being used the show how good it can be for people.
When Parke and Colson arrived back at their headquarters there greeted by Shaun Li (Benedict Wong, a.k.a. Kubla Khan from Marco Polo and last seen helping out a Magical White Guy in Doctor Strange), a big shot with the NCI (Natonal Crime Agency). He’s the one to recover the ADI from Tusk’s autopsy is coming to the same conclusion that Parke and Colson have already reached. While he and Parke go over this Colson has discovered the #DeathTo hashtag is blowing up the Internet and she ties it back to website that speaks of the “Game of Consequences”. It’s one of those interesting Internet games that people play when they’re bored: you pick out a person, you set up the #DeathTo hashtag for that person, and by 5 PM that day the person with the most votes dies. And we should know it, the Internet already has someone in her sights: a woman by the name of Clara Meades, who took a selfie where she appeared to be pissing on a veterans memorial. Now it becomes the job of Team Parke to save Clara from a horrible death.
Sean uses his connections with the NCI to pick up Clara and move her to a safe house. Only the safe house ain’t that damn safe, for they aren’t there that long before the bees show up. No, I am not going to have Nic Cage screaming about the bees here. But the little bastards do attack the house–And it isn’t long before they get inside. Though Parke and Colson managed to move Clara inside a bathroom, a few the bees get in through a vent and one flies right up Clara’s nose. A few agonizing moments later and the ADI has drilled into her brain and killed her. Back at headquarters Colson is able to figure out that the bees are using facial recognition to determine who to kill, as both Karin and she were in the bathroom along with Clara but they weren’t bothered. Rasmus is there at the HQ as well and he reveals the biggest secret of them all: the government requested that they have a backdoor into the ADI system so they could use the bees’ facial recognition system to track criminals and terrorist. So if anyone was able to hack the ADI system, they have access to this facial recognition system. This leads to Colson getting into a huge argument with Shaun Li and using the word fuck about as eloquently as anyone can. This also leads DCI Parke to utter the most memorable line of the episode–and the moment she said it, I imagined Merida saying the same thing:
Yeah, I can see her saying that.
RT: Totally can see her saying that! LOL. And, what was I saying about protecting the real bees now because humans are good at fucking things up even further. Of course the government could help themselves but to add a back door.
CF: I like how Benedict Wong’s character was completely dismissive about ecological collapse within the entirety of the UK just as long as they could use the bees for spying. It really does show you the limited mindset of those people working in those positions, in that they’re willing to let everything else go to hell just so they can get the shit they want. Like Parke said, the government’s a cunt and he was proving that point all the way down the line.
Now we know the system has been completely screwed shit starts getting real. It seems the next person the Internet is choosing to die is Chancellor of the Exchequer, who turns out is actually more hated than a known pedophile. So now the clock is running to keep a high-ranking member of the UK government from dying. After interviewing a note for of Granular employee’s, Team Parke are able to narrow down the main suspect to a former Granular employee: Garrett Scholes (Duncan Pow). As Karin is making this connection Blue discovers a manifesto hidden inside the ADI that killed Jo Powers. She confirms that it was written by Scholes , and seems to be a huge rant saying that anonymous Internet assholes should be forced to take responsibility for their actions. Rasmus confirms Scholes left the country six months earlier, but Blue is able to find an old hard drive of his located only a kilometer or so from the Granular headquarters.
RT: So how do we get Trump on this list?
CF: Give it time; give it time.
With only a little time left to save the Chancellor’s life Rasmus and Blue managed access the hard drive and find the activation code for the ADI’s. However, Blue find something else: a file of everyone who sent the #DeathTo hashtag. They confirmed that the schoolteacher that they interviewed earlier is in the file, and they find Nick’s name in there as well, as he had sent out the hashtag with Garrett Scholes’ name is an attempt to get a reaction.
Blue’s worried that this file is gonna cause some serious shit when the ADIs are deactivated, but Shaun Li hasn’t got time for this hand holding, Kumbaya bullshit: he hits the Enter key on Rasmus’ keyboard and uploads the activation code to the ADIs. After all, he’s got important people to save and there simply isn’t time for a bunch of tech wonks to figure out what a file they’ve never seen before does–
In that moment the ADI map for the UK turns completely red and shit not only gets real, it gets completely fucked.The ADIs are activated to go after every person in the file, every person who sent out the #DeathTo hashtag, and kill them. By the time they’re done they killed 387,036 people, the total number in the new file.
RT: Holy shit! Of course they made it worse…
CF: What did we say about the government? Perfect example here of some government wonk taking action without having all the facts available. If they waited just five more minutes they could’ve figured out how to either delete or erase the file.
And then we return to the events we saw at the beginning of the episode. The government is trying to assess what happened in those few days that eventually led to the deaths of a third of a million people. DCI Parke is questioned about what happened to TDC Colson, who apparently has not been called before this committee. Karin tells all that she knows: Blue became despondent over the fact that by following the breadcrumbs left by Scholes, she was ultimately responsible for the death of all these people. She left the force not long after the incident, and a few months after her departure her clothes were found on a beach where footprints were seen leading into the ocean surf. Karin surmises that Blue killed herself and the committee accepts her assessment.
Karin leaves to be replaced by Shaun Li, who appears to know he’s in for a hell of an ass reaming. As Karin is leaving the building where the hearing is being held, she gets an unknown message on her phone: FOUND HIM. The mystery message has come from Blue, whose suicide was not only a ruse but known to Karin–and the viewers are left to surmise that both women planned this.
And who has Blue found? Garrett Scholes. She used her forensic knowledge to track his location, in as episode ends we see him walking down the street of the village somewhere in another country, with Blue not far behind, ready to extract her own form of justice.
What can be said about this episode? It’s almost a small movie in itself: in fact, it is a movie. At ninety minutes long it’s equivalent to a theatrical presentation and it’s far more tightly scripted and better acted than most ninety minute presentations you see in theaters these days. Charlie Brooker has already said that some of the characters in this episode will likely show up in additional episodes in Season 4. And there are several Easter Eggs in this episode that high-back two additional Black Mirror episodes in Seasons 1 and 2. The biggest Easter Egg is this screen capture:Right off the bat you see a post trending for Harlech Shadow V, which was one of the games mentioned in the episode Playback. The hashtag #FREETHEWHITEBEARONE refers back to the Season 2 episode White Bear, as does Blue’s admission early in this episode that she left cyber forensics because of her work on the Ian Rannoch case, which is really the centerpiece of the White Bear episode. Lastly, we see a post for Michael Callow, better known as the pig fucking prime minister from the Season 1 episode, The National Anthem. In fact, a close examination of all six episodes in Season 3 shows that every one of these episodes all take place within the same world, and Charlie Booker indicates that all Black Mirror episodes happen in the same world.
RT: I love that you catch all of these extra things Cassidy! 😀
CF: I spend a bit of time looking into this stuff before I write it. And since I’ve seen connections to other Black Mirror episodes in some of the other stuff from Season 3, I hunted around to see if there were other things pertaining to earlier episodes. I recognized Blue’s admission right off the bat and noticed that there’s been several other callbacks to the White Bear episode. The only episode in Season 3 to not reference a Black Mirror episodes from another season? San Junipero. The only Easter Egg in that episode was a reference back to the company TCKR, which ran the server farm for the virtual reality.
Though it took a bit longer than expected, I have thoroughly enjoyed recapping this Netflix season of Black Mirror, and I intend to be here to recap Season 4 when it appears. I hope you enjoy these recaps as have I, and that you will continue to enjoy the recaps Rachel and I bring in the future.
But for now, I’m going to take a bit of a rest. I’ve been recapping pretty much nonstop since the beginning of the summer and I do need the opportunity to sit back, relax, and recharge a bit. Of course, this is only going to last for about six weeks: Sense8 is coming first with a Christmas special and Netflix should air Season 2 in early 2017. And AMC will begin airing Humans in February, 2017, and it’s going to keep me busy as well. Not long after that I’ll be bringing you the last season of Orphan Black, and before you know it will likely be right back into Fear the Walking Dead.
Ah… A recaper’s job is never done.
Thank you for hanging out and I hope you’ll be back with me soon.
RT: Once again, thank you so much for your insightful recaps Cassidy. I always treasure your opinion on the awesome shows you blog about here. Now, as you take a well deserved rest, readers need not worry it will slow down in here.
At the moment, AHS Roanoke is still being recapped, along with The Walking Dead and Westworld. At the end of the month Vikings will join that list and that should keep myself going until Cassidy rejoins in again with her Sense8 and Humans recaps. And, don’t worry, Cassidy may be quieter at the moment, but she is still around to join in the conversation on my recaps 😀
CF: Oh, I have to give at least my impressions on The Walking Dead, and next week is the finale of AHS Roanoke, so I have something to say then. At least when fall comes where you’re at, you’ll be able to take your break while I work my butt off. 🙂
2016 was the first year where recapped full-time, and I find I not only pushed myself to do good work, but to also cover a wide range of entertainment. And some of the series I covered had episodes that were–shall we say they pushed me to analyze my feelings about myself, and it ended up coming out in my recapping. It has been tiring at times, frustrating at times, and damnably hard at times, but in the end I always enjoyed my final product. And though it must sound crazy, I’m looking forward to recapping the Sense8 Christmas special.
RT: Recapping has a funny way of getting entirely under your skin,sometimes for fun reasons, other times because it makes you question your own beliefs. I am so glad you decided to stick around, as your recaps offer so much more than I could on some of the shows you chose to follow. I seriously can’t wait for your Sense8 recaps 😀
As always, leave a comment below and tell us how are doing!