Season 3, Episode 3
Shut Up and Dance
Written by Charlie Brooker and William Bridges
Directed by Owen Harris
“Shut Up and Dance” explores the lengths individuals will go to to hide their basest and most despicable acts. It feels like a combination of “National Anthem” (Series 1) and “White Bear” (Series 2), but stands alone as a disturbing look at the Internet’s ability to simultaneously provide anonymity and to expose our secrets.
In this episode, hackers capture Kenny doing something unspeakable, and blackmail him with the threat of releasing the footage. Because a seemingly typical teenage boy is the protagonist, you are drawn into sympathy with him as he tries to escape from his virtual tormentors.
The plot could be called Kafka-esque—a term I avoid except when it’s completely appropriate. In this case, you have guilty parties, a faceless manipulator, and a general feeling of powerlessness against a power greater than yourself in part because you don’t know the rules by which it operates. In “Shut Up and Dance,” nobody holds the moral high ground.
This episode will leave you thoroughly unsettled (but really, there are few episodes of Black Mirror that do not leave you that way, to some degree).
Featured Image: Netflix