We’ve all seen hated people on the Internet.
What if Internet hate could get people killed?
That’s the basic premise behind this episode. A hated opinion columnist ends up dead of what looks at first like murder but later turns out to be a self-inflicted throat slash. Investigating all this is a veteran police detective (Boardwalk Empire‘s Kelly MacDonald), her computer savvy trainee (Faye Marsay, the Waif from Game of Thrones), and a national invesitgator (Dr. Strange‘s Benedict Wong). Granted, the British equivalent of a fed isn’t looking into the columnist’s death.
He’s investigating a rap star who died in a similar manner.
What happened? Well, there’s an online game that allows people to use a hashtag that, whoever gets the most “votes,” dies. How? Well, the bees were dying off, so someone invented a robotic version to keep plants pollinated. Someone highjacked the programming, particularly since the government is using them for national surveillance with facial recognition programming, and sending them off to kill people. How? Watch the episode and come back to me. As it is, eventually, the cops find the programming and realize the “winners” aren’t the real target. Nothing can really stop the robots.
And the hacker maybe got away with it.
Well, not quite.
This was a good, tense, 90 minutes of TV. Just go check it out. Black Mirror, no matter how long the episode, is generally a compact presentation that never stops moving. It isn’t slow. It jumps right into the action and keeps on going. Technology is being abused, and it will always make some poor innocent suffer from the looks of things because people don’t think things through I suppose. But that’s all there is for now. I’m sure there’s more coming. In light of that, I am obviously suspending Black Mirror coverage. For now, let’s say it’s a solid nine out of ten deadly hashtags.
And for next week, let’s look at HBO’s acclaimed mini-series The Night Of.
Maybe finding out how screwed up the justice system may or may not be will make us forget how humanity’s use of technology can be screwed up.