Hated in the Nation
|"Hated in the Nation"|
|Black Mirror episode|
|Episode no.||Series 3|
|Directed by||James Hawes|
|Written by||Charlie Brooker|
|Original air date||21 October 2016|
|Running time||89 minutes|
"Hated in the Nation" is the sixth and final episode of the third series of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. Written by series creator and showrunner Charlie Brooker and directed by James Hawes, it premiered on Netflix on 21 October 2016, along with the rest of series three. It is the longest episode in the series at 89 minutes.
The episode is a murder mystery, and follows Detective Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald) and her new partner Blue Coulson (Faye Marsay) who, together with the help of National Crime Agency officer Shaun Li (Benedict Wong), try to solve the inexplicable deaths of people who were all the target of social media.
The episode was inspired by the Nordic noir genre, and it received critical acclaim.
Detective Chief Inspector Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald) has been summoned to a hearing. She begins speaking about Jo Powers (Elizabeth Berrington), a journalist subjected to online death threats after publicly lambasting a disability activist's recent self-immolation. Powers is later found dead, and her husband injured. Parke investigates the death, with Trainee Detective Constable Blue Coulson (Faye Marsay) as her shadow, and Nick Shelton (Joe Armstrong) also working on the case. The death is assumed to be murder by her husband, but he claims that Powers cut her own throat with a wine bottle, injuring him as he tried to stop her.
The following day, a rapper named Tusk (Charles Babalola), who had also become a target of online hate for insulting a young fan, has a seizure; he is hospitalised and sedated. When Tusk is put in an MRI machine, a metal object in his brain is pulled out of his head by magnetism, killing him instantly. The object is identified as an Autonomous Drone Insect, or "ADI" – artificial substitute bees developed by a company called Granular to counteract colony collapse disorder in the bee population. Parke and Coulson visit Granular's headquarters, where project leader Rasmus Sjoberg (Jonas Karlsson) finds that an ADI was locally hacked near Powers' house on the night she was killed.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) officer, Shaun Li (Benedict Wong), is also assigned to the case. Coulson realises that Tusk and Powers were both targeted with a social media hashtag, "#DeathTo". The tweets originating the hashtag had a video called "Game of Consequences" attached which explains that each day, the person that is subject of the most "#DeathTo" tweets will be killed. Clara Meades (Holli Dempsey), who posted a photo in which she pretended to urinate on a war memorial, is currently mentioned in the most tweets; the team takes her to a safe house. A swarm of ADIs invade the safe house through keyholes, windows and other small gaps. Though Parke and Blue attempt to hide from them with Meades, she is killed by ADIs entering through an air duct.
Noticing that the ADIs attacked Meades but not herself or Parke, Coulson realises that they use a facial recognition system; Li admits that the ADIs are used for government surveillance. The news begins to report on the #DeathTo hashtag, which is rapidly growing in use. Chancellor of the Exchequer Tom Pickering (Ben Miles) is the current target. Meanwhile, Parke interviews Tess Wallander (Georgina Rich), a former Granular employee who attempted suicide after receiving online hate, but was saved by her flatmate and colleague Garrett Scholes (Duncan Pow).
Coulson and Li's analysis of the compromised ADIs reveal Scholes' manifesto, which advocates forcing people to face consequences without hiding behind online anonymity. Coulson traces the location where a selfie in the document was taken; the police raid this location, yielding a disk drive. As Sjoberg is preparing to use the drive's data to deactivate the ADI system, Coulson discovers the drive contains a list of hundreds of thousands of IMEI numbers, which can be connected to the owners' details via the government's monitoring system. They realise the list is of those who used the #DeathTo hashtag, and Parke concludes that Scholes' true plan was to use the ADIs to kill these people. However, Li ignores this and activates Rasmus' code; the system appears to be deactivated for a moment, but then the ADIs come back online and are seen targeting Shelton, who had used the hashtag. All 387,036 people on the list are killed by the ADIs.
At the hearing, Parke explains that Coulson has gone missing, presumed to have died by suicide; however, Parke later receives a text from her reading "Got him". She smiles and deletes the text. Scholes had fled abroad and changed his appearance, but Coulson has managed to locate him. The episode ends with Coulson following Scholes down an alley in an unnamed foreign country.
I'm generally against legislation against free speech but I can see it's a massive problem when you've got people who are going out of their way with targeted abuse. It's a very difficult thing to deal with. I don't know the answer. I don't know the answer!People should be more accountable for what they say. It's just difficult to see how you do that without the law getting involved. I think it's like we've evolved an extra limb – social media is just like we haven't worked out how to walk with three legs yet – we just keep banging into the walls.
The episode was written by series creator Charlie Brooker and first conceived of as an idea where people voted for an individual to be killed by a robot. This idea was later developed into the episodes "Hated in the Nation" and series four episode "Metalhead". "Hated in the Nation" took inspiration from Scandinavian noir thriller television series such as The Killing and Borgen. It was also informed by Jon Ronson's book So You've Been Publicly Shamed (2015), about online shaming and its historical antecedents, and by Brooker's experience of a public backlash after mentioning Lee Harvey Oswald and John Hinckley Jr in a satirical 2004 article about George W. Bush in The Guardian.
Brooker found the episode difficult to write; he had previously written a spoof police procedural television series A Touch of Cloth, but had not written serious works in the genre. After writing half of the script, the episode was put to one side and Brooker began working on other series three episodes. When he came back to the script, he decided to introduce the framing device of the courtroom in order to speed up exposition. Garrett Scholes was written to be mysterious, his character being inspired by terrorists Ted Kaczynski—nicknamed the Unabomber—and Anders Behring Breivik.
When asked whether "policing Twitter is the answer" to the issues in the episode, Brooker answers "I don't know the answer!", and comments that "I think that social media is an amazing invention and really I suspect what needs to happen is that we just as a species get better at dealing with it" and "People should be more accountable for what they say. It's just difficult to see how you do that without the law getting involved."
James Hawes directed the episode. He focused on pacing the escalation as the scope of the storyline changed from local to global, also choosing a limited colour palette to match the episode's genre. "Hated in the Nation" is set in a near-future London, and the filming in London encompassed 32 locations, taking place over 23 days. The headquarters of Granular was shot on five different locations. Faye Marsay played Blue Coulson, having previously auditioned for a part in series three episode "Men Against Fire". Kelly Macdonald starred as DCI Karin Parke. The episode's climax takes place in the safe house and was filmed over three days. The ending was filmed in Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands, as production time was too limited to shoot in the tropics. It originally featured a shot of Blue putting a knife in her bag.
Work on the graphics and social media interfaces of the episode was extensive, as this was key to the narrative. The visual effects department worked on the design of the robotic bees, which needed to be recognisable as bees but also have a creepy aspect to them. At 89 minutes in length, "Hated in the Nation" is the longest episode of Black Mirror. Splitting the episode into two parts was considered, but as the programme is an anthology series and series three would be the first to premiere on Netflix, it was kept as one episode.
References to earlier episodes
In the opening flashback sequence, Karin Parke sits down in her living room to watch the news. Scrolling below the feature about the chancellor, the news ticker reads: "US military announces MASS project". This is in reference to the previous episode "Men Against Fire", which featured the MASS technology. Later on, another news ticker displays "ECHR rules 'cookies' have human rights" which is a reference to the technology seen in the "White Christmas" episode.
When DCI Parke asks Blue Coulson why she left forensics, she reveals that she was the one who cracked Iain Rannoch's "souvenir folder", containing all the footage filmed by his girlfriend Victoria Skillane of the torture and murder of six-year-old Jemima Sykes. The series 2 episode "White Bear" covers Victoria's punishment.
In the ending scenes, when Garrett Scholes is watching the news, the headline ticker includes "Shou Saito announces immersive new gaming system." This is a reference to the previous episode "Playtest". Also included is "Skillane appeal thrown out of court", another reference to "White Bear".
The episode was acclaimed by critics, who praised its writing, use of Twitter, themes, acting, and final twist.
Suchandrika Chakrabarti of the Daily Mirror extolled the episode, awarding it a perfect 5 rating and calling it "a huge achievement", stating "it's an illuminating, compelling watch, as Black Mirror does what it does best: telling us about human nature through the technology we wish for, but don't deserve". Digital Spy also gave a very enthusiastic review, considering the episode "a great example of how the show at its best can merge its heady high-concepts with more traditional storytelling to effectively hold that black mirror up to our own society". They highly praised the "once downbeat and low-key, and yet expansively devastating" climax, and called the episode "a feature length story that's captivating throughout".
Adam Chitwood of Collider noted that the episode was the "most thematically relevant... of this new batch, with a direct connection to the ugly side of social media and its lack of consequences." The Telegraph called the episode "an inspired, frost-fringed police procedural" and gave it a rating of four out of five. Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, stating "Black Mirror ends its season with a solid but unremarkable thriller". He criticized the length of the episode, despite recognizing that "at least the story has enough complications that it never felt empty."
- Assassination market
- Call-out culture
- Unmanned aerial vehicle
- Prey (2002), a book by Michael Crichton with a similar premise
- Untraceable (2008), a film directed by Gregory Hoblit where victims are similarly murdered based on online voting results
- "No. 6" (2003), an anime with a similar concept of government-controlled parasitic wasps
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- Brooker, Charlie; Jones, Annabel; Arnopp, Jason (November 2018). "Hated in the Nation". Inside Black Mirror. New York City: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9781984823489.
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- "Hated in the Nation review: Black Mirror's finale creates a future London where everything's the same, but feels eerily different". Daily Mirror. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Black Mirror season 3 'Hated in the Nation' review: a blockbuster with a sting in its tail". Digital Spy. 23 October 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
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