In the 2013 documentary How Video Games Changed the World, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker declares Twitter to be one of the 25 most important video games ever and says video games have “provided a safe space for people run riot, to fantasize out loud without anyone actually getting killed.” This is an idea he explores in depth in “Hated in the Nation,” which takes the idea of Twitterstorms to a dark and deadly place.
“Hated in the Nation,” the longest episode of the third season, is a noir, X-Files-esque episode that takes place in near-future London. If there’s one thing we can applaud this show for this season, it’s the commitment it makes to genre. The 90-minute episode features all of the trappings we’ve come to expect from prestige-y police dramas while keeping it interesting. (At times the episode recalled Community‘s David Fincher-inspired episode.)
From the beginning we know that this episode’s case doesn’t have a particularly happy ending. The episode opens with jaded Karin Montgomery (Kelly McDonald) being ushered into a hearing room to discuss a case in front of a panel. Close-ups of her face reveal that she’s still torn up about whatever happened.
From there, we flash back to May 15 and receive a first glimpse at who Karin is. She bears all of the qualities of a cynical detective that we expect from a story like this (although usually a man bears them): She’s divorced, lives alone, and maintains a fairly unhealthy diet. As she enjoys her evening Pringles, she watches the news, which features a report about the internet turning against columnist Jo Powers for writing an article that everyone hates and a report that the Autonomous Drone Insects (ADIs) — robot bees who make up for the fact that bees are extinct — have been released.
Jo Powers is taking all of the internet’s rage in stride. She keeps walking when passersby tell her she should ashamed of herself. When someone sends her a cake that says “F—–g Bitch,” she simply cuts herself a slice and eats it, explaining to her horrified husband, “It’s a cake. That’s its job.” At night, she reads through the hatred filling up her mentions with a glass of wine in her hand and a smile on her face. You get the sense that this isn’t really anything new for her.
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That night, Karin is called to Jo’s home after she’s found on the floor of her office with her throat slit. When Karin shows up, she meets her new tech-savvy partner Blue (Faye Marsay). After examining the home, they head out and Karin offers to give Blue a ride since she doesn’t have a license (which was a nice character touch). During the drive, Blue explains that she used to work cyber forensics, but seeing the horrific things people keep on their phones made her want to get out in the real world and do something about it.
“You’ve seen what people tuck away on these,” she says, lifting up her cell phone and explaining how people used to keep their nastiest thoughts in their minds. “Now, they can’t help but entrust it to their little companions.” Yes, this dialogue is very on the nose, but that’s part of the genre. Is this any worse than the nonsense that Rust Cohle spouted on True Detective? Not really.
NEXT: A deadly game