Men Against Fire

” Men Against Fire ” is the fifth episode of the third series of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror . Written by series creator and showrunner Charlie Brooker and directed by Jakob Verbruggen , it premiered on Netflix on 21 October 2016, together with the rest of series three. [1]

The episode, set in a future with dystopian and post-apocalyptic elements, tells the story of Stripe ( Malachi Kirby ), a soldier in a military organization hunting and exterminating mutants known as “roaches”. When his squad, who also includes his friend and partner “Hunter” ( Madeline Brewer ) and their squad leader Medina ( Sarah Snook ), encounters roaches, Stripe kills two of them; Earning praise for his performance, he starts feeling different. Ariane Labed and Michael Kelly co-star as Stripe and a military psychologist, respectively.

Plot

An unnamed military organization, consisting of American soldiers, is exterminating mutated humans called “roaches” in Denmark . “Stripe” Koinange ( Malachi Kirby ) and “Hunter” Raiman ( Madeline Brewer ) are, respectively, a male and female soldier in the same squad. Everybody has a neural implant called MASS that enhances the processing of their senses (including sight, sound, and smell), provides instant data via augmented reality , and also creates comforting sex dreams at night. Following a lead, the squad searches a farmhouse while the squad leader, Medina ( Sarah Snook ), interviews the farm’s devout Christian owner ( Francis Magee ) Who she suspects is harboring roaches in accord with his religion. Medina’s suspicions are confirmed, as Stripe discovers a whole secret “nest” of roaches, who appears as pale, snarling, humanoid monsters with sharp teeth; When one of them points to mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. Medina’s suspicions are confirmed, as Stripe discovers a whole secret “nest” of roaches, who appears as pale, snarling, humanoid monsters with sharp teeth; When one of them points to mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. Medina’s suspicions are confirmed, as Stripe discovers a whole secret “nest” of roaches, who appears as pale, snarling, humanoid monsters with sharp teeth; When one of them points to mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. When one of them points to mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. When one of them points to mysterious LED device at Stripe, he and Hunter open fire on them. Afterwards, Stripe picks up the LED device and accidentally flashes himself in the eyes. Medina arrests the owner and orders the farmhouse torched. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems. The device strips in his eyes appears to have disrupted his MASS interface, which sporadically glitches during his training regimens the following day. Stripe undergoes a physical examination and sees a psychologist, Arquette ( Michael Kelly ), neither of which reveals any medical problems.

The next day, Medina, Stripe, and Hunter arrive at an abandoned housing complex to look for further roaches. Stripe experiences another glitch: his sense of smell, apparently dampened, suddenly returns. In the very next moment, a roach sniper kills Medina. Stripe and Hunter scour the sniper’s building and Stripe Encounters He urges the woman to flee but Hunter shoots her dead. In a subsequent firefight, it is clear that Hunter sees roaches. Stripe attempts to stop Hunter from continuing the massacre and knocks her out, but gets injured and then escapes with a frightened Danish woman ( Ariane Labed ) and her boy.

The fleeing woman, Catarina, explains that Stripe’s MASS implant has altered his senses to disguise the fact that “roaches” are actually regular humans. In fact, rocks are the victims of a genocide against those believed to be genetically inferior, following a global war ten years before. Catarina remarks that soldiers have MASS but everyday civilians do not; They simply hate the rocks due to propaganda and prejudice. Hunter suddenly reappears, killing Catarina and her sound and knocking Stripe unconscious.

Stripe awakes a military prison cell, where Arquette explains that the LED device had sent viral coding to Stripe’s MASS, causing it to glitch so that it could see roaches as human beings. Arquette then reveals the true secret of the MASS implants: to increase the visual appearance of the persecuted humans to make them look zombie-like and frightening, to alter their voices to sound like monstrous nonsensical grows, to diminish the smells of blood and gore , And to selectively erase certain memories. MASS is used by the military to dehumanize the appearance of the enemy, allowing soldiers to kill them more efficiently and without remorse. Stripe, it turns out, has been working for a global eugenics program to “protect the bloodline” of humanity, something Stripe passively agreed to. Though his memories of the past have been erased by MASS, Arquette have confirmed that he has made the most of his work. Revealed that he has been killing terrified, ordinary humans. Stripe pleads with him to stop the footage and Arquette threatens to imprison Stripe, endlessly looping the raw footage, if Stripe does not consent to wipe his memory of the last few days and get his MASS system reset. Appearances have not been increased to look like monsters and so it is indeed killing terrified, ordinary humans. Stripe pleads with him to stop the footage and Arquette threatens to imprison Stripe, endlessly looping the raw footage, if Stripe does not consent to wipe his memory of the last few days and get his MASS system reset. Appearances have not been increased to look like monsters and so it is indeed killing terrified, ordinary humans. Stripe pleads with him to stop the footage and Arquette threatens to imprison Stripe, endlessly looping the raw footage, if Stripe does not consent to wipe his memory of the last few days and get his MASS system reset.

Stripe is later shown to be discharged with full military honors, implying he consented to a second erasure of his memory. He approaches what his eyes are to an immaculate house and a dream girl, but in actuality he stands alone outside a graffiti-tagged, dilapidated shack.

Production

Title

The episode’s title is a reference to Brigadier General SLA Marshall ‘s book, Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command (1947), où Marshall states That During World War II , 75% of soldiers did not fire Their rifles, Even under immediate Threat, and most of them, when they actually fired, above the enemy’s head. [2] A similar statement is made during one of Arquette’s dialogues in the episode. Dave Grossman’s book, On Killing , about the psychology of the act of killing (which is based on SLA Marshall’s studies), also inspired Brooker to write the episode. [3]

References to earlier episodes

There is a reference to season 1 episode ” Fifteen Million Merits “, in qui Jessica Brown Findlay ‘s character Performs the song “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” by Irma Thomas . In addition, the song also appeared in the episode “White Christmas”. In “Men Against Fire”, Hunter sings this song in Heidekker’s farmhouse while holding him at gunpoint. There is also a subtle reference to the Christmas special: during the psych evaluation, a snowglobe is visible on Arquette’s table, heavily reminiscent of the one featured multiple times in the special. It is also very likely that MASS devices have the same origin of the “grain” from season 1 ep. ”

Critical reception

Adam Chitwood of Collider Criticised the episode, saying it “tackles its own way too early and is heavy-handed with its social commentary”. [4] Suchandrika Chakrabarti of Daily Mirror rated the episode 5 out of 5, noting how the episode “forces you to think about the philosophical consequences of high-tech warfare”. [5] The use of technology to alter people’s perception of reality is similar to the video games Syndicate and Haze .

See also

  • Haze (2008), a video game with a similar premise
  • Hearts and Minds (1998), an episode of The Outer Limits with a similar premise
  • The 5th Wave (1983), a film and book series by Rick Yancey with a similar premise
  • Uncanny Valley (2015), a short film with a similar premise
  • Nemesis (1997), an episode of Star Trek: Travel with a similar premise
  • District 9 (2009), a movie with a similar premise

References

  1. Jump up^ “Black Mirror Season 3 Will Premiere Sooner Than We’d Thought” . The Verge . 27 July 2016.
  2. Jump up^ “Men Against Fire: How Many Soldiers Actually Fired Their Weapons at the Enemy During the Vietnam War” . Historynet.com. 12 June 2006 . Retrieved 23 October 2016 .
  3. Jump up^ “Black Mirror postmortem: Showrunner talks season 3 twists” . Entertainment Weekly . 21 October 2016 . Retrieved 24 October 2016 .
  4. Jump up^ “‘Black Mirror’ Season 3 Review: The Future Is Slightly Sunnier on Netflix” . Collider . 4 October 2016 . Retrieved 4 October 2016 .
  5. Jump up^ “Men Against Fire Review: Black Mirror examines the toll of fighting an endless battle against feral mutant creatures” . Daily Mirror . 19 October 2016 . Retrieved 20 October 2016 .

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