Episode 3 represents something of a change in terms of the tone, story and also character. For the first time, our main character is a teenager, whereas all of the past episodes have mainly feature adults in the main role. Also, it features no advance technology that has been the mainstay of the series. In fact, the setting is set in the present time in UK with our current technology. So with all these changes in one episode, how does Episode 3: Shut Up and Dance compares to its predecessors? We will find out below!
The basic premise is that a Teenager Kenny is blackmailed when a hacker recorded him ‘jacking off’ through his hacked laptop. The unknown blackmailer gives him several instructions which Kenny has to obey or else the video would be leaked online to his friends and families. Along the way, Kenny encounters others who is threatened from the same blackmailer and he starts to find that his instructions has become madder and worse.
The change to a younger main character is pretty refreshing, especially with darker stories that have been the mainstay style of Black Mirror. Also, it shows the non-innocence of the teenager phase which will be explored in this episode that I won’t spoil. Then, the technology featured is what we have already seen and heard in the current era of internet hacking. There are no any special technologies seen in the previous episodes. This makes the story and setting very realistic and applicable to our everyday life. These two factors serve as a fresh change to the Black Mirror series, though fortunately, it still retains the same vibe.
The pacing is great but can a bit slow in the middle where there it can drag a bit long. Thankfully, the actors are great at displaying their emotions and nervousness, especially for Kenny, where can see he is extremely vulnerable and also weak in the inside. The show tries to show us his transformation at the end, but its just not strong enough to give a great memorable impact. With that said, overall, the show’s message is pretty clear. This episode can get a bit darker yet be realistic at the same time, which I would give credit for trying to balance drama and realism.