Black Mirror Season 3 – Shut Up and Dance

I would put tape or a cover of some kind over that camera on your monitor.

All the Spoilers

Director: James Watkins
Writers: William Bridges and Charlie Brooker
Stars: Alex Lawther, Jerome Flynn, Paul Bazely

While I am not a pedophile or soliciting hookers on the internet, I am glad as hell I recently switched to monitors that do not have cameras on them and my computer stays in my office. Of course, there is my phone…

Image Courtesy of Netflix

Image Courtesy of Netflix

Since our protagonists deserved what they got (or at least the ones who were particularly horrifying like Kenny and the man in the woods), this one didn’t disturb me nearly as much as “Playtest” did, but I am still left seriously unnerved. It plays on all of our worst fears. Are people watching you in your most intimate and vulnerable moments? The focus of the episode is on what was found on the computers of everyone that was blackmailed, but the way these people are tracked and given their orders gets me thinking about the next level. Our phones.

Quick, name me a place where you don’t take your cell phone with you. So far we only hear about hackers tapping into the webcams on our computer monitors, but can they tap into our phone cameras as well? Thanks, Black Mirror, for sending my brain down a paranoid spiral. Again.

As for the episode itself? Everyone does a great job keeping the tension high. I spent most of the run time wanting to throw up every time the someone’s phone dinged. Flynn as Hector treads the line of frenzy and self-protecting pragmatism beautifully. The sound of the clown horn every time he received a text was a nice bit of levity added with the dread. Lawther immediately makes you sympathize with Kenny, even before the blackmail starts. Going back and watching “Shut Up and Dance” a second time has me cringing when kneeled down and smiled at the little girl. The song playing in the background makes the scene even worse.

Image Courtesy of Netflix

Image Courtesy of Netflix

What kind of killed the momentum was the twist ending and the troll meme popping up. Much like season two’s “White Bear” there is no lesson to be learned for us viewers or thought-provoking take away (other than my paranoid rantings). These were not everyday citizens being thrust into a nightmare inducing situation. Just a group of bad people with secrets that will ruin their lives.

While “Shut Up and Dance” was firmly rooted in current times with a very real scenario involving everyday technology, the lack of a clear villain and the twist ending took away from some of the shock value and brilliance of the theme.

Image Courtesy of Netflix

Image Courtesy of Netflix

What did you think of “Shut Up and Dance”? Were you nauseated by the episode’s premise? Did the ending stun or disappoint you? How paranoid are you of your computer and phone right now? Let me know in the comments section below.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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