Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 5 Recap – Men Against Fire
Published 2 months ago
A man dreams about a smiling woman. Stripe wakes up. He opens his eyes to a fellow soldier asking him if he‘s already awake. She slaps him. Their commander orders them to get ready in five minutes. Len calls Stripe “new” and gives him tips on how to deal with roaches. It‘s Stripe‘s first time hunting roaches. Raiman tells Stripe to ignore Len.
The people from the area say it‘s a roach. The commander asks them if they saw them. They said no, but they heard them. They stole their food. Stripe is looking at a barn. When he turns around, a woman carrying her child tells him to stop them from coming. He promises her he will do his best. His commander calls him. The people suspect roaches are headed to Parn Heidekker’s place. They go on their way. Their leader tells them Parn Heidekker is not some socialite or a mingler. She starts to share the information about Parn Heidekker through the Mass system. Len asks just how many roaches are still there for them to defeat. He shares back home, there are millions, and it took them two years to get back on track.
They arrive at Parn Heidekker’s land and check the area. Their leader starts to split their tasks. Their optical outcome is there are no shots fired except on roaches. They knock on Parn Heidekker’s door. He slightly opens it. Their leader tells him they just want to talk. He lets them in. They check the whole house. She asks Parn where the roaches are hiding. Parn answers, “Where are who?” She tells Parn that the roaches are attacking the food stores, stealing supplies and the villagers are angry about it. She asks if he knows about it. He denies. She tells him the food is getting wasted because the roaches won‘t eat it. It just makes everyone’s life harder. She also tells him that if they don’t stop the roaches, they will breed and multiply in a year or two or after twenty years. They have to take them out, so mankind can continue to live.
Stripe and Raiman continue to find where the roaches are. Stripe finds them, so he shoots at them one by one. A roach trying to point a device with a green light at him gets shot dead. Parn stabs their leader, but she pins him down. One of the roaches gets away. Stripe fights with one of the roaches until he stabs and kills him. He gets the device from him and looks at the green light. It scans and hits his eyes. After a while, Stripe starts to feel weird hearing high pitched tone. The commander tells them to burn down Parn’s house.
Stripe dreams about the same woman again. She tells him she loves him. Raiman is practicing her shooting with Stripe. When it‘s Stripe’s turn to shoot, he hears the high-pitched tone and misses his second shot. They have their daily training, but Stripe can’t keep up because he keeps hearing the high-pitched tone. They keep asking him if he is okay. Their leader tells him to report to the sick bay. He undergoes a body examination. The doctor asks him about what he sees. The doctor tells him everything seems normal about him.
When he is putting on his clothes, he tells the doctor about the light at the farmhouse the roach had. The doctor says he is fine, but maybe he should talk to Arquette. He goes to Arquette. He asks him what happened. Stripe tells him the story of what happened that day. Arquette asks him questions. He also asks him about how he felt when he killed those roaches. Stripe tells him he feels relieved. He prescribes Stripe to have a good sleep that night.
Stripe dreams of the same woman again, but she is naked this time. He dreams of making love with her when the high-pitched tone interrupts and wakes him up. The following day, they return to the village giving them food and supplies. Heidekker gave them a location not far from the village, so they move to the location. Stripe hears the tone again. He gets grass and smells it. Someone shoots them from afar, and Medina gets shot and drops dead. Stripe and Raiman shoot at the roach who shot them. They exchange fire while they move to the building. Suddenly, Stripe hears the high-pitched sound again. They check the whole building. Stripe finds a girl with a baseball bat panicking. He tries to calm her and lets her out, but Raiman shoots her.
Raiman finds where the roaches are, so she fires at them. Raiman is about to shoot her, but Stripe stops her. Stripe sees them as normal people. He asks Rai what she is doing. Raiman tells him they are roaches. They hit each other until Stripe gets hit by a gunshot. Stripe asks the woman and the kid if they are okay. He then tells them to come with him. Raiman is still alive. Stripe drives away from the house, wincing in pain because of his wound. He drives until he loses consciousness. They drag him out of the car.
Stripe wakes up when he feels someone is cleaning his face. He stands up. The girl talks to him and offers him a drink. She asks him if he sees her as she is. Stripe tells her she sees a human, not a roach. Roaches don’t speak. The woman tells him they can talk, but the soldiers cannot hear them because of the system. The Mass system implanted in every soldier makes them see roaches as roaches. She also tells Stripe that one of them, Luka, was trying to make a device that could interfere with the system. Stripe tells her he has seen them, and they look like monsters. She tells him it‘s because of the implant. Stripe doesn’t believe her because the locals are also scared of the roaches, and they don’t have Mass implants. She tells him the story of how it all began. She also tells Stripe her name is Catarina, and the kid is Alec. Catarina is glad that Stripe can see her. She gets his gun. Raiman finds them and shoots Catarina and Alec dead. Stripe tells her none of what is happening is true. Raiman gets confused and hits him with her gun.
Arquette visits Stripe in a cell. He tells him they owe him an apology because they didn’t spot the problem in his system. He also shows him the light that hit Stripe’s eyes. Arquette explains what the device does and that the roaches are getting ingenious. Stripe says it‘s all a lie because the roaches look like them. Arquette agrees they look like them and reasons it‘s why they are dangerous.
He tells him the story about how soldiers wouldn’t pull the trigger when they were in a war. The world‘s fate was at stake, but only 15% of the army fired the shots. They adapted. Then, the Vietnam War came, and 85% of the shots were made. Yet those who got the kills were all messed up in their heads. Then, the Mass system came. Arquette says it‘s the ultimate military weapon. It helps with intel, targeting, comms, and conditioning. It became very easy to pull the trigger when you see a monster in front of you. Arquette also tells him the Mass system affects his whole senses.
Stripe insists they are all human beings. Arquette argues what Catarina was talking to Stipe about. He asks Stripe if it‘s what he wants for the next generation. He tries to encourage Stripe by telling him he‘s protecting the bloodline and that it is an honor. Stripe says there‘s no honor; it‘s all just killing and lies. Arquette tells him no one lied to him. Stripe agreed for the Mass implant to be put in him. Arquette shows him his video agreeing to everything from the beginning. Stripe gets frustrated and attacks Arquette. He avoids Stripe. Then Stripe starts to see nothing. Arquette is controlling what he sees. He gives Stripe some options. Stripe agrees to none of them.
Arquette shows Stripe the video of what really happened three days ago without the Mass system. It drives him insane because he sees himself killing people, not roaches. Arquette tells him he will see, feel, and smell it all over again. He tells Stripe they can make it all go away. He just needs to say the word. Stripe is in his uniform. He is standing in front of the house where he always dreams of the woman. She goes out of the house and smiles at him.
Which is more important: human lives or protecting a nation‘s interest? Is it really justifiable to use technology to devoid soldiers of seeing and feeling anything? Why don‘t they just create inhumane robots to follow their orders blindly? This episode has a disturbing, dystopic vibe that even dreams are tampered with and manipulated. Soldiers are humans. Their duty to protect is not just for the gifted and rich people but also for the sickly, those who need care and extra attention. If these so-called geniuses of technology want to run a nation of heartless people, why don‘t they test it first on themselves?