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‘Black Mirror’ Tells Us We Should Save The Bees ASAP

‘Black Mirror’ Tells Us We Should Save The Bees ASAP

The vilification through internet culture was on full display in the Season 3 Black Mirror finale, ‘Hated in the Nation.’ The episode begins with Karin, a detective in London, recounting to a government committee the events that led up to one of the worst massacres that has happened in the country. The first event surrounds the mysterious death of Jo Powers, an outspoken yet fearless journalist who wrote a controversial online column about a woman with disabilities that had died recently. Many taunted Jo in public; she even received a cake decorated with profanity. Despite her husband’s wishes, Jo goes home and reads all the negative comments about her online while eating the cake. The next morning, Jo was dead.

Karin and her new partner, Blue, investigated how her death could happen so quickly. Blue comes across a new hashtag, #DeathTo, which many people had used with Jo’s name on social media. Karin, Blue, and Nick, another detective, presumably thought Jo’s husband killed her, but he didn’t. He tried to prevent it. Karin and Blue questioned individuals who used the hashtag about its origins; a Kindergarten teacher responded that she didn’t know but she had used it because she disliked Jo Powers’ article. Meanwhile, a Kanye-ese rapper, Tusk, had made embarrassing comments about a child who had idolized him. #DeathTo was used with his name, and he was dead the next day.

When his death occurred, the picture became clearer about how both Jo Powers and Tusk died. By bees. By mechanical bees, also referred to autonomous drone insects (ADIs). Bees have gone extinct and a company named Granular worked with the UK Parliament to implement these bees around the country to mimic what their natural predecessors did. An autopsy was performed on Jo, and Karin and Blue discovered that the bee had flew and attacked her pain center in her brain. The same thing happened with Tusk. Blue and Karin were shown where the bees harvest inside hives at Granular. They were told that the bees were autonomous. Rasmus, a senior member of Granular, figured that someone had to be twenty feet away from Jo Powers’ loft to get the bees to kill her. Karin wanted for Rasmus to shut down the ADI program, but there was massive governmental red tape.

Shaun Li, a higher level detective, came to Karin to assist with his investigation; more people were being killed by these bees. Blue concluded through using the ADI bee that killed Jo, there was a social media game called ‘Game of Consequences.’ The detectives watched an instructional video that showed social media users how to play the game using the hashtag with a person’s name and their photo. That way, the bees can harm the right person. The target with the highest number of posts about them would be killed after 5pm, and the game would restart each day. Clara Meades, a girl who desecrated a war memorial, was the next target, and her death was more violent than the previous ones because more bees came to find and kill her. Clara died in Karin’s arms. At this point, they still don’t know who is manipulating the bees. Blue discovered through Shaun that the bees were constantly surveilling the citizens in the UK all the time without their consent. Returning to Granular, Rasmus realized that his company were no longer in control of the ADI bees.

The hashtag game is now being discussed on the news, and Chancellor Pickerling, a very unpopular government official, was leading the daily poll to be killed next. He used his celebrity and political privilege to prevent his death from occurring. Karin interrogated Granular employees, including Tess Wallander. Tess was in a relationship gone awry, and people drove her to try to commit suicide. Back to the Chancellor, he received special treatment and had some soldiers to fight the bees for him, but they were all killed. In this instance, the bees were not following the game. They were following Garrett.

Garrett Scoles, a former Granular employee who worked on the ADI project, was the mastermind behind this sick game. He left behind a 98-page manifesto criticizing the lack of decency people have towards each other on social media. He also left the country six months prior, so he worked remotely on this game.

In regular Black Mirror fashion, there was a twist some folks didn’t see coming. Since the bees were scattered across the UK, all 387,000 people who used the hashtag are killed by the bees. The death of the initial targets — Jo Powers, Tusk, Clara Medes, and the Chancellor — wasn’t the ultimate goal; determining and punishing those who wished death upon them were. Karin recounted this at the government hearing and she became the one vilified since almost four thousand people lost their lives due to those bees. Blue, being the crafty detective and hacker she is, finds Garrett living in a remote city without remorse of what he had done.

This episode was the most enthralling and realistic one of the season. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was behind hacking the ADI program. The episode honestly speaks to the dangers of internet culture, especially groupthink and celebrity commentary. Garrett possessed this ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude with a moral code that he wants everyone else to live by, yet when they fail to do so, they must be punished. The Internet and the #DeathTo game was the quickest and most effective way for Garrett to promote this attitude. He was lucky enough to help usher in this program so he could play mortality gamemaster with most of the citizens in the UK. The ADI bee technology could be developed one day, since bees are almost extinct now. This is the most terrifying part of the episode for me. The bees also remind me of the tracker jackets from The Hunger Games series.

That wraps up my recaps for Season 3 of Black Mirror. It’s been fun and challenging to write about this season, but I look forward to the future wild and wide variety of stories coming next from Charlie Brooker and Black Mirror in Season 4.

Jasmine CrenshawJasmine E. Crenshaw is a young public health professional, a writer, and the media curator of the online space, Curated in Color.  In her downtime, you can find her cooking, eating lots of Ben and Jerry’s at home, and crying at videos of baby animals. You can follow her at twitter.com/JECrenshaw. 

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