Sci-2

Black Mirror - Spoilers after the first post

180 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, john said:

The Nish character turned out to be more evil than the supposed antagonist.

Er, no. No, no, no.

Rollo spends his entire life fucking people over. First, the doctor, who he gets to trial an untested piece of hardware when he's in a moment of weakness. When it goes wrong, Rollo just sends him home to sit alone, doesn't help him or monitor him or anything. In telling the tale, Rollo excuses himself of any blame for anything that happens but it's clear he was significantly to blame and did not give a fuck.

Second, the woman in the coma. Same story, but twice this time: Rollo takes advantage of her pain, and her husband, to put her through two irreversible untested procedures, the second time without her consent, and again washes his hands of blame.

Then, Clayton. Same scenario again. Untested procedure, victim in a predicament, Rollo takes advantage. He promises to look into the DNA evidence, never does. He lies about whether Clayton's family were opposed to it. Then he repeatedly tortures Clayton himself, and sells the rights to do so to other for entertainment. Over and over and over again.

Nish does the same to Rollo, once, admittedly after poisoning him, and that's it. How is that 'more evil' than doing it hundreds or thousands of times for money?

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Finished the season yesterday.

 

"Hang the DJ" would have to be my favorite episode, but maybe it's just because it, too, has a rare glimmer of hope in regards to our relationship to technology. "Crocodile" was bleak and uncomfortable, as is usual with Black Mirror, and the performances out of Andrea Riseborough and Kiran Sonia Sawar were great. "Metalhead" being B&W was a nice change of pace, but it's by far the slightest of the episodes. "USS Callister" was fun and has a classic line thrown in there when Nanette discovers that her digital body lacks certain ... attributes (as Londo would put in B5). "Arkangel" was a great concept but I feel it wasn't executed very well. "Black Museum" was very off-putting to watch, especially the first segment, but I did like how it played out and tied everything together.

Agree that Rollo is far, far more evil than Nish. Nish is a vigilante doing something awful for revenge, Rollo is clearly free of any ethics or moral conscience and gleefully commits atrocities on a regular basis.

Nothing that quite matches "San Junipero" or "Nosedive" to me (by the by, for some reason all the articles II've seen about the many easter eggs this season don't bother to note that St. Juniper = San Junipero), but "Hang the DJ" was close.

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5 hours ago, mormont said:

Er, no. No, no, no.

It’s interesting, my instinctive reaction at the end of the episode was definitely that Nish was worse. Or at the very least, that they’re just as bad as each other.  Not that I feel particularly strongly about it but I’ll try and justify it just for the sake of argument.

So, Rollo does what he does in pursuit of power and wealth. He exploits people, he makes morally wrong choices and when his research is declared illegal he profits off it again as a crime museum.  He’s a contemptible human being.

Nish, on the other hand, is a psychopathic murderer.  She may have, or had, a better nature than Rollo but her acts are worse than his, considered individually (i’ll get to the multiple tortures of Clayton in a minute).  Premeditated murder is usually considered worse than exploiting a corrupt system for your own gain.

4 hours ago, Ran said:

Agree that Rollo is far, far more evil than Nish. Nish is a vigilante doing something awful for revenge, Rollo is clearly free of any ethics or moral conscience and gleefully commits atrocities on a regular basis.

I don’t think that Rollo considers himself to be committing atrocities. Presumably he was genuinely trying to help people at one point, then he simply ignored events that he was morally responsible for, then he created an attraction out of a digital copy of somebody he considered a murderer. He doesn’t think moral responsibility attaches to a digital consciousness (or else he just thinks he’s a murderer and it doesn’t matter, which is a weaker justification but still a justification) He certainly didn’t think of it in terms of torture.

Nish, though, knew exactly what she was doing. She believes a digital copy to be the same as the person and she apparently doesn’t believe in abusing them. But she does it anyway. She also uploads her mum into her head so she can share in her murderous glee.  And then there’s all the arson.

I mean, if somebody brutally murdered Mark Zuckerberg because of the various crimes, including rapes and murders, that he has allowed to be shared on Facebook I don’t think you could say that he, Zuckerberg, was more evil than the murderer, amirite?

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If someone creates a digital version of your father and has him tortured again and again, you have carte blanche to do some vile shit to said perpetrator.

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7 hours ago, john said:

Premeditated murder is usually considered worse than exploiting a corrupt system for your own gain.

Well, that's not the comparison, for a start. Rollo isn't 'exploiting a corrupt system', he is the system. Up till he gets fired, at least. And he's not just exploiting a system, he's exploiting people: specifically, he's exploiting their pain and loss. 

7 hours ago, john said:

I don’t think that Rollo considers himself to be committing atrocities.

I think this is to ignore the fact that Rollo is the one telling us about the earlier stories. Looked at objectively, what he does in those is clearly some horrible shit, but the writers, and Douglas Hodge, do a good job with presenting it in a way that makes Rollo look less consciously a monster than he is. But I think this is retrospectively obvious as artifice on Rollo's part. He knew all along what he was doing.

It's plain, for example, that he doesn't really care whether Clayton is guilty. He just uses it as a justification, for example when he's talking to Nish. But he also uses the fact that Clayton's family don't care as a justification, and we know that is an outright lie. Nothing Rollo tells us can be relied upon to excuse his actions. 

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2 hours ago, mormont said:

Well, that's not the comparison, for a start. Rollo isn't 'exploiting a corrupt system', he is the system. Up till he gets fired, at least. And he's not just exploiting a system, he's exploiting people: specifically, he's exploiting their pain and loss. 

All right, premeditated murder is usually considered worse than exploiting peoples’ pain and loss then.  Besides, I didn’t see Rollo as some kind of maverick genius, desperate to get his inventions into circulation whatever the cost.  I saw him as the representative of some kind of medical research project operating at the boundaries of a legal and ethical framework.  Exploiting people is his job.  It’s the usual Black Mirror stuff - technology gives us powers and we abuse it because of human failings.

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I think this is to ignore the fact that Rollo is the one telling us about the earlier stories. Looked at objectively, what he does in those is clearly some horrible shit, but the writers, and Douglas Hodge, do a good job with presenting it in a way that makes Rollo look less consciously a monster than he is. But I think this is retrospectively obvious as artifice on Rollo's part. He knew all along what he was doing.

I think it’s obvious that he doesn’t care one way or another what happens.  But he doesn’t set out to do harm.  Yes he tries to justify his actions and he also shows a hint of shame for allowing the race hater to shock Clayton but that’s a step away from saying that he knows himself to be in the wrong.  He quite happily tells Nish of his own part in the stories of the exhibits.  He’s proud of it, more than anything else.

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8 hours ago, Triskele said:

If someone creates a digital version of your father and has him tortured again and again, you have carte blanche to do some vile shit to said perpetrator.

Yeah, I agree with this.  I can understand Nish’s actions and I can’t understand Rollo’s.  But i still get a sense of distaste when the hero of a story isn’t better than the villain.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, john said:

Besides, I didn’t see Rollo as some kind of maverick genius, desperate to get his inventions into circulation whatever the cost.  I saw him as the representative of some kind of medical research project operating at the boundaries of a legal and ethical framework.

That's what he is: doesn't make him any better for it. He's a shit of the highest order. 

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I think it’s obvious that he doesn’t care one way or another what happens.  But he doesn’t set out to do harm.

I think it's very clear that he does. 'Doing harm' is the whole business model of the Black Museum's prime attraction. Even setting aside the other things he does. I'd argue that the resulting harm in those cases was absolutely foreseeable: and in the case of moving Carrie's consciousness into the bear, absolutely obvious. Again, he does this to her without her consent, which even on its own is surely deliberately doing harm. 

It's also odd for me to think of Nish as 'the hero'. She's not set up like that, at all. A protagonist isn't necessarily a hero. If you're holding her to that moral standard, that's perhaps where some of the distaste comes from. Nish is a typical revenge-story protagonist, for me. 

Edited by mormont

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He’s a shit, certainly. But there’s a difference between being the ideal man for an evil job and being an evil man.

I suppose I could have been viewing Nish in the wrong way.  I didn’t really think about her as the typical Black Mirror anti-hero.  I did suspect she was up to something from an early stage but when it came down to it she could have just stopped with the poisoning, or better yet, just freed her dad and burned the museum down without killing Rollo. 

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1 hour ago, john said:

He’s a shit, certainly. But there’s a difference between being the ideal man for an evil job and being an evil man.

I suppose I could have been viewing Nish in the wrong way.  I didn’t really think about her as the typical Black Mirror anti-hero.  I did suspect she was up to something from an early stage but when it came down to it she could have just stopped with the poisoning, or better yet, just freed her dad and burned the museum down without killing Rollo. 

The problem with not killing Rollo is that he would have just continued on.  That's a lot of what his story was about.  He had setbacks or failures and he went on to the next horrific thing.  He could have retired as a manager at that convenience store where Nish stops to power up but instead he creates this museum to display his wares and further torture his victims.  Rollo will never be brought to justice because he's not seen legally as a liar, a murderer, a torturer, etc but simply as a failed businessman or scientist.  Death is the only way to really stop Rollo because he won't stop on his own - he's always seeking the next endeavor - and the legal system is unlikely to stop him. If she simply burns the museum, the epilogue of Black Museum would be Rollo doing something like creating a child sex doll with a real child consciousness.  He's like the addict who needs to do worse and worse and worse things to get high.  Nish gets a free pass on killing Rollo and no one does a sane person think this makes her worse than him.

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14 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

 If she simply burns the museum, the epilogue of Black Museum would be Rollo doing something like creating a child sex doll with a real child consciousness.

Yeah, that would be a better ending, although a bit far even for Black Mirror.  It’s not like people need to always be killed or “brought to justice” to make a satisfying end to a TV show.

In this case, the ending is that Nish is free to murder anyone else that pisses her off. You don’t think that vigilante murder puts her on as much of a slippery slope as the one Rollo was on?

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4 minutes ago, john said:

Yeah, that would be a better ending, although a bit far even for Black Mirror.  It’s not like people need to always be killed or “brought to justice” to make a satisfying end to a TV show.

In this case, the ending is that Nish is free to murder anyone else that pisses her off. You don’t think that vigilante murder puts her on as much of a slippery slope as the one Rollo was on?

Perhaps.  But she didn't go after any random person.  She went after the one who had murdered an innocent man and then tortured his digital copy.  She had proof of all of it.  That same man made a business out of displaying all of his tech torture.  There's a chance she could go down a path of murdering other techies who have actively harmed people, but the show does nothing to imply that this will be the case.  She went after Rollo for pure vengeance and to release her father. 

The ending seemed somewhat dark as it was seeing how Rollo's tech obviously survives him and can thus be further used for harm.  Or perhaps good.  I personally find San Junipero to be horrifying, but it was widely thought to be a really heartwarming episode.  Ran pointed out how Saint Juniper was mentioned, could be an easter egg that this is the tech that leads to eternal digital heaven.  Maybe Nish is the one to create it and finally sets Teddy Bear Lady free. 

 

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Skipping past the above discussion since Black Museum will be tomorrow’s instalment for me, but I really loved Metalhead. I didn’t even realise how long I had been watching it until the credits rolled. Brilliant performance, and great directing...I loved everything about it tbh. The black and white shooting, the tension building when the ‘dog’ chases Bella, the vagueness of the desperate situation they are in, Bella’s desperation and despair when she reaches out via the radio, and the triumph that quickly transforms into horror at the end when she realises her “victory” is nothing of the sort. 

And the final scene, showing what it was all for, really just made everything so much sadder.

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Y'all talking about Nish like she isn't Clayton's daughter. It's not like she went after a random person or even a person she knew to be bad - she went after the person who she knew was torturing her father's likeness for years in order to turn a profit, whose pain he caused was the trigger for her mother's early death (and who is living inside her). And that was just ONE of the things that Rollo did through his life that caused people agony. 

The notion that Nish is evil or even particularly bad hadn't remotely crossed my mind, not even once. 

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I didn't think about this initially, but in USS Callister, how did the digital clones have the memories of their real world counterparts? I get that it's science fiction but even with advanced technology I don't see how you could extract memories from DNA. You'd need to hook them up to one of the Infinity interface devices or something. 

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On 1/11/2018 at 1:24 PM, Kalbear said:

Y'all talking about Nish like she isn't Clayton's daughter. It's not like she went after a random person or even a person she knew to be bad - she went after the person who she knew was torturing her father's likeness for years in order to turn a profit, whose pain he caused was the trigger for her mother's early death (and who is living inside her). And that was just ONE of the things that Rollo did through his life that caused people agony. 

The notion that Nish is evil or even particularly bad hadn't remotely crossed my mind, not even once. 

Yeah I really don't get that take either. The entire point of the denouement was vengeance on Rollo who was quite obviously a diabolically evil prick. Not sure how anyone sees it differently. 

I finally watched the last few episodes of the new season over the weekend (had skipped around a bit). Overall a good season, about on par with 2 and 3 for me. Favorite was definitely "Hang the DJ," brilliant concept with a nice twist I didn't see coming. "USS Callister" was a good way to kick off the season, generally lighthearted with serious undertones, and a fun, hopeful ending. I really liked "Metalhead;" I'd love to see this show tackle more post-apocalyptic scenarios in the future. "Black Museum" was fun in the way it explored various technologies, and in the end was a decent enough revenge story. "Crocodile" was well-executed and tense, but also horrendously bleak and not something I'll ever watch again. "Arkangel" had great potential and a few really good moments, but it seemed like they couldn't decide what they wanted the episode to be.

 

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RumHam,

I assume the "memories" are constructed from the social graphs of the individuals -- he trawled the internet (and possibly their work devices) to construct the simulacra. I suppose if they used the Infinity interfaces, he might have had something digging up brain patterns or some such while they were at it...

That's my workaround, anyways. I'm not sure they really bothered with that part, just hand-waving it.

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Hang the DJ was my favorite by far; brilliant concept, got strong San Junipero vibes, and I was equally (and paradoxically) comforted yet disquieted by its ending. A lot of people seemed to interpret the episode in a completely positive/hopeful light, but personally, I was a bit disturbed by the idea of running a thousand simulations involving apparently sentient inhabitants of said simulations being deleted from their fabricated existences (while aware of it), all to give a couple people an accurate match percentage on a dating app. But that's part of what makes the episode so brilliant to me. 

This was the only episode I loved though. I liked but didn't love Black Museum (cool concepts involving technological implications on consciousness and existence, although I was a little underwhelmed by the "twist" ending), found Ark Angel good but not great, and kinda didn't like Metalhead (bereft of thematic nuance, lame "twist"), Crocodile (the technology didn't really seem integral to the episode at all and I got pretty bored with the plot), or USS Calister (honestly way too campy for me, and I've never been a fan of space ship sci-fi shows). 

So overall, I was pretty let down by this season, but I'm glad I at least got to see Hang the DJ, and to a lesser extent, Black Museum.  

Edited by IamMe90

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I am shocked and pretty disturbed that anyone could consider Nish more villainous or evil than Rollo after watching the episode

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And I’m shocked, disturbed AND outraged at the moral bankruptcy of assorted boarders. :mellow:

Although, to be clear, I was objecting to the clumsy use of an unearned celebratory ending rather than the evilness of any of the protagonists.

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