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Game of Consequences. 1: pick a target. 2: post their name and photo with #deathto. 3: most popular target will be eliminated after 5 PM. 4: game resets at midnight.
~ Garrett's instructional video

Garrett Scholes is the main antagonist of the Black Mirror Season 3 episode "Hated In The Nation." 

He was portrayed by Duncan Pow.

Biography

Backstory

Three years before the events of the episode, Garrett Scholes worked as a programmer at the Granular corporation, considered a wunderkind for his intellect and abilities. At the time, Granular had become famous for the creation of ADIs (Autonomous Drone Insects) as a synthetic replacement for the now-critically-endangered honeybees, guaranteeing the continued pollination of crops, and Garret was one of the best and brightest assigned to the project. With the opportunity to avoid a major ecological and economic crisis on the line, Granular had the financial support of the British government; however, unknown to all but a select few, this support would only be guaranteed if the company had the ADIs fitted with facial recognition software and allowed government security services to access their visual feed in times of "increased national security" - essentially, whenever they wished. Though many Granular employees were unhappy with having their invention co-opted by government surveillance, the conditional offer of funding meant that they were ultimately forced to comply - presumably including Garret.

One day, Garrett's co-worker, flatmate and crush, Tess Wallander, happened to take a photo of a man who had apparently harassed her on a train and then went on to post it to social; unfortunately for her, it turned out the man was intellectually disabled, resulting in Tess experiencing serious social backlash. Ultimately, the casual abuse extended to death threats, forcing her to leave Granular on the grounds of nervous exhaustion - and then drive her to a suicide attempt. Fortunately, Garret found her minutes after she'd slashed her wrists, and managed to keep her stable and conscious until paramedics could arrive on the scene; Tess survived, but her rescuer was left embittered by the experience.

Consumed by rage at the thoughtless abuse spread on a daily basis via the Internet, Garret's increasingly aggressive views on morality eventually became the subject of a 96-page manifesto entitled The Teeth Of Consequences, lambasting the mob culture of Internet users hiding behind a wall of anonymity. Eventually, Garret concocted a scheme to teach the world a lesson and punish anyone who who misused social media for such destructive purposes. To that end, he used his access to the ADI program to modify the system, albeit so subtly that nobody at Granular ever noticed his alterations.

Six months prior to the events of the episode, Garret completed his work, then resigned from the company and left the country in order to avoid suspicion. For the next few months, he remained inactive to prevent any scrutiny from falling on him. Then, just before the episode begins, he uploaded an instructional video to the Internet via a bot account, encouraging the viewers to take part in a social media-based Game of Consequences: players were to select a target and post their name and photograph with the hashtag DeathTo; these targets would then become part of an online ballot, the winner of which would be eliminated at five PM that day, and the game would be reset at midnight.

Events Of The Episode

The first target of the game is conservative blogger Jo Powers, a highly-controversial figure who'd earned the public's scorn thanks to an opinion piece mocking the suicide of a wheelchair-bound protester. Not long after "winning" the ballot, she is found dead of a slashed throat; through Detective Karin Parke and her partner Blue Coulson initially suspect the deceased's husband, he reports that Powers killed herself. Examination of the body reveals that an ADI had burrowed through Powers' ear and into her dorsal posterior insula, causing her to tear her own throat out with a broken bottle in an attempt to end the pain.

Also around this time, popular rapper Tusk becomes a target after mocking a fan on live television; hours later, he too is attacked by an ADI and collapses. Though his stage crew are able to keep him stable until he can be sedated and hospitalized, attempts to investigate via an MRI scan only results in the ADI being magnetically ripped out of Tusk's skull, killing him instantly. The second death prompts NCA officer Shaun Li to also take an interest in the crime wave, joining Parke and Coulson's team as they investigate Granular.

Eventually, the Game of Consequences is discovered and the next target identified: the winning nominee is a young woman named Clara Meades, who'd gained widespread condemnation for pretending to urinate on a war memorial; though the news of Powers and Tusk has not been made public, the #DeathTo is still being used for the sake of online bullying. Despite Parke's best efforts to get her to safety, the target is eliminated when an entire hive of ADIs suddenly break free of Granular's control and swarm Clara en mass. As such, it soon becomes clear that the ADI network is operating independently and thanks to the government-mandated facial-recognition software, the drone insects can kill anyone at any time or location.

Once the news of #DeathTo breaks, hundreds of thousands of people begin using it the next day, the leading nominee being the notoriously unpopular Chancellor of the Exchequer, Tom Pickering. Worse still, Li's attempts to protect the Chancellor via having local ADI hives preemptively detonated only results in the army demolition experts being killed when the swarm retaliates. However, after accessing the hard drive of the ADI behind Jo Powers' death, Coulson discovers a digital copy of Scholes' manifesto stored there, supposedly in order to spread his message to the police and the public - unmasking himself as the man behind the attacks. More importantly, Scholes had used a selfie of himself in the manifesto's art, and through the location data, authorities are led to an abandoned building where a partially burned disc drive is found. With help from Granular programmer Rasmus Sjoberg, they find that it contains a backdoor program that should allow them to shut down the ADI program and allow Granular to regain control. For good measure, Detective Sergeant Shelton nominates Scholes in the Game of Consequences.

However, Parke and Coulson also discover a cache of International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers, traced back to every person who used #DeathTo, and realize that the people targeted by #DeathTo are not the intended victims; the real targets are the people using the hashtag. Though the detectives insist on waiting for a better solution, Li - who by now has Pickering demanding a means of guaranteeing his safety - overrules them and executes the shutdown program.

It is at this point that the full scope of Scholes' plan becomes apparent: not only were the hashtag users the intended targets all along, but the manifesto was added to the ADI hard drives as bait for law enforcement agencies, meant to lead them to the backdoor program. And far from restoring control to Granular, it instead triggers every single ADI in Britain to attack anyone who used #DeathTo. Li, Parke, Coulson and Sjoberg can only watch helplessly as the swarms begin eliminating their targets with terrifying efficiency, even tearing through windows in pursuit - and granting all four of them an uninterrupted view of Shelton being horribly murdered. With nobody able to stop the ADIs, the massacre ultimately results in a death toll of over 380,000 people.

Elsewhere, with his work done at last, Scholes shaves his hair and dons colored contact lenses in order to escape identification, then dumps his computer into a lake, destroying all evidence of his crimes. With Parke and Li facing an enquiry to answer for what happened and Coulson having apparently committed suicide out of guilt, Scholes appears to have gotten away with everything.

At very end of the episode, however, Coulson is revealed to have faked her death and tracked Scholes down; the episode ends with her following him down a road with the implied intention of killing him - her last message to Parke being "got him."

Trivia

  • Even though Garret Scholes is the main antagonist of the episode, he only appears in a handful of scenes and has no dialog of his own apart from synthesized audio - similar to another Black Mirror villain, namely Carlton Bloom of "The National Anthem."
  • In the later episode "Black Museum", one of the ADI's used by Garrett appears in the eponymous museum along  with other objects related to other villains from the series, such as Robert Daly's digital cloning machine from the episode "USS Callister" and the heavily-bloodstained bathtub where Mia Nolan killed her second victim in "Crocodile", all of them now owned and exhibited in Rolo Haynes' Black Museum.

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