12 Days of Christmas – Black Mirror 3:6

“He wants people to face the consequences of what they say and do”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Black Mirror gave to me…the bees, THE BEES!

After a slight hiccup in previous episode Men Against Fire, feature-length episode Hated in the Nation restored Black Mirror to its rightful glory to round off this third series. Adopting something of a police procedural approach and aligning itself closer to today’s society than the majority of previous instalments, this was a proper thriller and hugely enjoyable with it.

In a world where mini-drones have replaced the collapsing bee population, Kelly McDonald’s DCI Karin Parke is investigating a series of deaths where the victims are celebrities who have recently provoked the ire of social media. Along with newly transferred colleague and tech wiz Blue (Faye Marsay), solving the crimes leads them down a merry path of murderous hashtags, governmental misdemeanours and social responsibility.

Brooker has gone on record as aiming for a Scandi-Noir feel and director James Hawes certainly achieves that with its chilly colour palette, atmospheric mood music and genuine sense of chilling fear makes this hugely successful. The flashback format – Parke is recounting events for an offical enquiry – adds to the foreboding sense and McDonald’s technophobe plays off extremely well against Marsay’s whizz-kid as they edge closer to the truth, despite Benedict Wong’s obstructive government bod.

All sorts of theatrical spots are peppered throughout the episode too – Kat Kingsley’s TV show host, Cecilia Noble’s enquiry leader, Ben Miles’ vicious politician, Vinette Robinson’s hate-cake purchaser, Elizabeth Berrington’s Katie Hopkins-a-like, Joe Armstrong’s well-meaning handsome cop. Capping off a fantastic series, I really do recommend catching up on all of Black Mirror if you haven’t done so already.    

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