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Hated in the Nation is the sixth and final episode of season three of Black Mirror. It was written by series creator Charlie Brooker and premiered on Netflix on October 21, 2016.

Short Summary[]

The death of a journalist at the center of a social media firestorm leads a veteran detective and her tech-tabby apprentice to a chilling discovery.

Full Summary[]

DCI Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald) has been summoned to a hearing to discuss her involvement in a case. On May 15th of the previous year, controversial journalist Jo Powers (Elizabeth Berrington) is found dead at home with her throat cut. Powers had recently been subjected to online death threats after she published a column critical of a disability activist’s suicide. Karin investigates Powers’s death and meets up with the new partner, Blue (Faye Marsay), who has transferred from a cyber forensics department. Powers' husband, who is in hospital with knife wounds, claims that she suddenly went mad and started stabbing herself in the head (him being injured when he tried to stop her). Although he is the number one suspect, Parke can't help but feel that he is innocent; if he was going to lie he'd have come up with a more believable story.

American rapper Tusk (Charles Babalola) becomes an Internet hate figure when he insults a young fan live on a chat show. While leaving a concert, he is suddenly inflicted with an agonizing head pain. He is sedated and taken to a hospital where he undergoes an MRI scan, however during the procedure the magnets in the scanner pull a small device through his brain and eyeball, killing him instantly. A similar device is found in Powers' brain during her autopsy, and Parke discovers both Powers and Tusk had been targeted with the Twitter hashtag #DeathTo, used against people who become public hate figures. The device is revealed to be an Autonomous Drone Insect (ADI), created to replace the now-extinct bee population.

The ADIs were created by a company named Granular, and employee Rasmus (Jonas Karlsson) learns that they were locally hacked. He and NCA agent Shaun Li (Benedict Wong) are assigned to the case. Parke and Blue link the deaths to a website promoting a "game" where Twitter users can vote to kill a hated public figure, with the victim selected via the most votes with #DeathTo hashtag. Parke and the investigation team try to protect the next target, Clara Meades (Holli Dempsey), whom had recently tweeted a disrespectful selfie involving a military war monument, by moving her to a relatively secluded 'safe house' used to protect terrorist informants. However, a lone ADI that initially targeted her follows them. Eventually, a swarm of ADIs find every unprotected opening, and one ADI finally locates Clara and burrows into her brain. Clara dies in agony, while Parke and Blue remain unharmed. Blue deduces that the ADIs must find their targets using advanced facial recognition, which is only possible if Granular has access to government records. Blue confronts Li and he is forced to admit that the government is covertly using ADIs for mass public surveillance, as this was the only incentive to back the project with the funds necessary to make it successful.

Use of #DeathTo grows rapidly after the public learns that the "game" really does kill people. The situation becomes critical as the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Ben Miles) climbed to the top of a "Most Hated" list. Parke interviews a former Granular employee who attempted suicide after receiving online hate, who then reveals that her flatmate Garrett Scholes (Duncan Pow), also an ex-Granular employee, saved her life. Parke’s suspicions are confirmed when the ADI found inside Jo Powers’ brain turns out to contain a manifesto written by Garrett. The manifesto further states that he wanted to force people to face the consequences of their actions and not be able to hide behind online anonymity. Garrett had left the country six months previously, but the manifesto includes a selfie taken on his phone, allowing Blue to trace his location at the time.

A raid on Garrett's hideout unearths his disk drive, which contains a system for sending out ADIs. When connected to the ADI system, it downloads a list of everyone who has ever used the #DeathTo hashtag. The list contains the participants' names and faces. Parke quickly works out that Garrett used public figures as bait; his plan was to use the ADIs to kill all those on the list. Blue and Rasmus try to find a way to shut down the system, but Parke thinks that Garrett has led them into a trap and that the "deactivate" function may actually be a command to kill the targets. Against Parke's instruction, Li triggers the system. For a brief time, it appears Granular has regained control of the system, but ultimately Parke's theory is proven correct and the ADIs are sent to kill the 387,036 people who used #DeathTo.

In the present day, Parke explains at the hearing that Blue went missing and is presumed to have committed suicide. Parke is thanked for her testimony and allowed to leave, as a nervous Li takes her place (presumably knowing he is to be severely reprimanded, if not worse, for triggering the system against advice and causing the massacre.) Parke herself becomes a public hate figure because of the case. She receives an anonymous text message from Blue, who is still alive and secretly working with Parke to track down Garrett Scholes. Blue has found him abroad and tells Parke they have finally "got him."

Cast[]

  • Kelly Macdonald as Karin Parke
  • Faye Marsay as Blue Coulson
  • Benedict Wong as Shaun Li
  • Jonas Karlsson as Rasmus Sjoberg
  • Joe Armstrong as Nick Shelton
  • Elizabeth Berrington as Jo Powers
  • Charles Babalola as Tusk
  • Ben Miles as Tom Pickering
  • Esther Hall as Vanessa Dahl
  • Holli Dempsey as Clara Meades
  • Vinette Robinson as Liza Bahar
  • Georgina Rich as Tess Wallander
  • Duncan Pow as Garrett Scholes
  • Cecilia Noble as Dame Patricia Lamarr
  • Katherine Kingsley as Dana Costello
  • James Larkin as Simon Powers
  • Robin Pearce as Harry Barclay
  • Adrian Lukis as Home Secretary, Alex Wallis
  • Jane Bertish as Head of MI5
  • Anita Anand as News Anchor
  • Thomas Dominique as Roadie
  • Leonie Elliott as Fiona, Clara's Flatmate
  • Reon Smith Marshall as Aaron Sheen
  • Matheus Mirek as Delivery Man
  • Jeremy Booth as Dog Walker
  • Tom Ashley as Paramedic
  • Matt Forde as Pundit
  • Faiza Shaheen as Pundit
  • Imogen Daines as MRI Technician
  • Ziggy Heath as MRI Doctor
  • Michael Bott as Inquiry Official

Notes and Trivia[]

  • When Jo Powers checks her feed, the trending article is 'What if phones but too much?' referring to Daniel Mallory Ortberg's (now deleted) tweet and later article where he spoofed Black Mirror episode plots.
  • Although Jo Powers is based upon controversial columnist Katie Hopkins, the article that she gets criticism for ("SPARE ME THE TEARS OVER THIS 'MARTYR'") is referencing a column written by fellow Daily Mail writer Richard Littlejohn titled "Spare us the 'People's Prostitute' routine …" which was written in response to the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich and was criticised for its perceived callousness.
  • Chancellor Tom Pickering appears to be based on Jeremy Hunt, a similarly unpopular figure known for cutting health benefits and introducing unpopular contracts for junior doctors.
  • In the opening flashback sequence, Karin Parke sits down in her living room to watch the news. Scrawling below the feature about the chancellor, the news ticker clearly reads: "US military announces MASS project". This is in reference to the previous episode Men Against Fire where the MASS project was the featured technology for the episode. 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, and "Reputelligent shares nosedive", which refers to the consulting firm from the episode Nosedive.
  • When Scholes is watching the TV broadcast of Parke's testimony, the rolling news ticker at the bottom of the screen includes a headline about a new game from Shou Saito, the game developer seen in Playtest. Another scroll says that the Skillane appeal, referring to Victoria Skillane from the White Bear episode, was thrown out of court.
  • During Coulson's first meeting with Parke, she says she worked on Iain Rannoch's case, a reference to Victoria Skillane's boyfriend from the White Bear episode.
  • In Arkangel, Sara has a poster of Tusk on her bedroom wall.
  • In Black Museum, one of the museum exhibits is an ADI.
  • This episode has the highest death count of any Black Mirror episode at 387,039.
  • The UKN news ticker for the Pearl ending in Bandersnatch mentions that Granular is about to unveil a new Pollinator drone.

Gallery[]

Episode Stills[]

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