Season Three was one of Black Mirror’s best seasons, and features some of the darkest episodes and topics. At the top of the list is Shut Up and Dance, starring Alex Lawther (End of the F*** World). He plays a teenager forced to take on dangerous tasks because his computer is (of course) watching him as he navigates through the internet’s darkest realms. The faceless entities text him, announcing they’ll release the video to everyone he knows unless he does as he’s told.
He meets other people who have been appropriated by this same relentless internet conspiracy, all forced to do dubious and dangerous activities they must perform in order to protect their secrets.
The tension in this episode escalates quickly to the point where the viewer becomes spellbound by the actions the boy is forced to take. The intensity is almost unbearable to watch. A simple conversation inside a moving vehicle turns into a relentlessly compelling scene that leaves you gasping for air. Events go so far down the misery rabbit hole that it’s a relief to hear the gloriously haunting sounds of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a film)” emanating from your television’s speakers as the episode’s climactic scene play out.
In the end, all of the character’s stories are wrapped up, with the closure of the main storyline trumping all of them with the most debilitating finish imaginable, making this one of Black Mirror’s darkest episodes.