WARNING: This contains a seemingly endless supply of SPOILERS.
If you’ve not watched it, do so. Then throw up your last meal, then come back and read this when you’ve (sort of) recovered.
I mean, what… how, do you describe…. that?
My initial feelings are of absolute shock. A complete emotional mindfuck of an episode.
Despite containing only the threat of violence the whole episode was completely gut-wrenching.
Starting off as what appears to be a social commentary about the civilising, or at least the restraining effects, of society it morphs halfway through into an absolutely depraved reality show/theme park. Not only that, but you find the person with whom you’ve been actively supporting for the first half is actually a depraved child killer.
It presents a future in which the brutality of the coliseum is reinvented as fun family day out. Torture not only acceptable, but considered entertaining. This touches upon a point writer Charlie Brooker made in an episode of Screenwipe. He spoke of the disconnect of people from reality by their experiencing of everything through their phone. Here we see, or at least we think we see, this very notion realised totally. An entire community watching idly by as people are hunted for sport. No-one even trying to help.
Mixed in with this is the idea of brainwashing and that if a signal was sent to every phone, computer and TV in the land then we would all fall under the spell in about 20 minutes and we would be helpless to defend against it.
This episode sets up a dystopian world only to pull the rug from out under you to find that the actually world is actually more morally reprehensible.
That is a total mindfuck of an episode and the best example yet of why Black Mirror is so utterly brilliant.