12 Days of Christmas – Black Mirror 3:5

“We don’t actually really want to kill each other”

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Black Mirror gave to me…its first disappointment

Well it had to happen, and I’m impressed that it took me until the eleventh out of twelve episodes of Black Mirror before we hit a duffer. We’re talking relatively of course, Men Against Fire is still a good hour of television but the bar has been raised so consistently highly that there is an amazing standard to live up to, especially in having to follow San Junipero, which I’m currently ranking as the best so far.

Men Against Fire sees Black Mirror take on the world of the military, surprisingly for the first time, in a world where biological war has ravaged Denmark and resulted in a mutation of those exposed. Labelled ‘roaches’ by the survivors, a military squad (who all have an implant called MASS to make them better soldiers) is in charge of controlling and purging them, but though new recruit Stripe manages to kill two on his first mission, the ramifications of his actions prove to be huge.

For a zombie war thriller, Jakob Verbruggen’s production is rather sluggish from the off and even though it’s not really my genre, I found it all relatively boring. The twist felt a little too telegraphed early on and once it is revealed, also earlier than you might expect, the writing has too little to say about it and so it ambles to a slightly unsatisfactory ending. Malachi Kirby is good as leading man Stripe though.


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