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|“||This gets out, I will lose my kids. And I swear to God, I will stand in the kitchen and put a f-cking bread knife through my throat if that happens!||„|
|~ Hector browbeating Kenny into committing armed robbery.|
Hector is a deuteragonist villain in Black Mirror, appearing in the third season episode "Shut Up and Dance". He was a middle-aged businessman who found himself on the receiving end of online blackmail orchestrated by a group of malicious hackers alongside a young busboy by the name of Kenny.
A family man suffering a midlife crisis, Hector fathered two children with a woman named Penny but eventually grew tired of this lifestyle, seeking a more carefree and reckless kind of life that reflected the kind of person he was in his youth. He soon signed up for a dating website and contacted an escort by the name of "Mindy", unaware that this was in fact a decoy set up by online blackmailers. Now catfished and under threat of having the details of his infidelity outed to his wife Hector strives to absolve himself in the eyes of his online tormentors by blindly carrying out their every bidding, eventually leading to him and Kenny becoming entangled in a bank robbery. Hector returned home later that night but unfortunately for him the hackers had no intentions of keeping their end of the bargain and exposed him in front of his wife, resulting in the very consequences he feared.
Hector was played by Jerome Flynn.
Very little is known about Hector's life, but it can be inferred that he was a rebellious, carefree person in his youth, a far-cry from the mild-mannered businessman he went on to become. At some point he met and married Penny and went on to father two children with her, Cassie and Theo. It would seem that his family life was idyllic to a fault, as he eventually reached a point in his life where he realized that he was trapped in the mundane suburban lifestyle it entailed. Longing for a return to the "glory days" of his teenage years Hector ultimately began to neglect his duties as a husband and father and unwittingly signed up for a phony online dating site to satisfy his curiosity. He soon came into contact with "Mindy", a twenty-something prostitute with whom he soon struck up a rapport and began sexting, exchanging explicit photos and the like. Seeking to finally have sex with her Hector eventually arranged to have them meet at Room 121 of the Wayhaven Hotel on one particular day. Unbeknownst to him, however, "Mindy" was not all that she seemed to be and was instead a decoy placed on the site by malicious blackmailers to ultimately lure him into submission.
On the day of the planned date with Mindy Hector spent the bulk of his time cooped up in his hotel room, preparing for her arrival. He had placed a camcorder on the king-sized bed in order to record his encounter with the prostitute and bought her lacy underwear. At some point that day, he was approached by a mysterious stranger at his door. Through the door’s peephole, he could see that the stranger was a rather frail and unkempt-looking teenage boy with a bulky package in hand. The boy stuttered that he was there to drop off a delivery at Room 121. Figuring it must have been a delivery for someone else, Hector told him that he was mistaken but the awkward teenager insisted, informing Hector that it was a cake delivery. His insistence eventually caused Hector to become irate and he finally threatened to call the front desk if the teen, named Kenny, did not leave. After a beat, however, Kenny knocked on the door once more. Having had enough, Hector threatened that he would "kick that cake up [his] f-cking arse" before the teenager said that "Mindy sent me", finally getting Hector’s attention. Hector opened the door at last and after looking around the hallway and inquiring as to where she was, Kenny merely told him that he was sent to give the cake to him. Asked if Mindy had sent him, Kenny responded with "That's what they told [him] to say.". Puzzled, Hector wanted to know more but they both heard a door slam in the hallway and saw a hotel maid observing their interaction. To keep anyone from eavesdropping Hector led the teenager into the hotel room, before trying to get to the bottom of whatever was going on. Panicking internally, Kenny tried to explain that he had been coerced into making this delivery by strangers leaving texts on his phone but his sheer anxiety and stress led to his explanation coming out garbled; after telling the teen to calm himself Hector asked to see the texts on his phone. Kenny, however, was extremely reluctant and Hector snatched the phone from his hands. With the blackmail texts having told him very little Hector finally asked the suspicious young man to identify himself, but at that very moment his own phone chimed. Understandably startled, Hector passed Kenny his phone back and picked his up off the bed sheets. Much to his utmost shock the blackmailers had made themselves known to Hector also, who then came to the abrupt realization that he had been catfished. Via the text messages they were sending the hackers were threatening to release the chat logs of him arranging to cheat on his wife with a prostitute. The horrifying reality of the situation overwhelming him whole, Hector was left speechless even as Kenny asked if it was indeed "them" and made for the bathroom where he proceeded to vomit with stress; all the while, his phone continued chiming as the blackmailers began spamming his message box.
Once Hector returned he proceeded to down a bottle of strong alcohol from his minibar, and was startled when Kenny snapped a photograph of him on his phone, the youth cleared this up by saying that the blackmailers had told him to do so. Although visibly overwhelmed and paranoid Hector sat down on his bed after downing another bottle of alcohol and attempted to keep the teenager calm by saying that everything would be OK if they followed their instructions and worked together;. When the younger man asked about what they had to do Hector merely responded by stating that they had to take the cake "somewhere", adding that they had been instructed to take a car from the hotel's underground parking lot and that he had been given a license plate number to identify it. The two set off shortly thereafter, passing through the hotel lobby where Hector made eye contact with another rather suspicious-looking youngster who eyed both him and Kenny. Upon arriving at the underground car park Hector told Kenny to look around for the registration plate V760DHM, as he himself scanned the car park for that particular car the immeasurable stress of their predicament began taking its toll on Hector. The two were able to find it eventually, however, a silver Volvo station wagon parked in a vacant parking spot further back with the keys left atop the driver's side rear wheel. Throwing his suitcase into the car's trunk Hector asked Kenny if he drove, but the teenager responded that he was yet to pass his test, despite being heavily inebriated by that point Hector offered to drive instead while Kenny was relegated to navigator. Hector gave the boy a set of coordinates the blackmailers had sent him to punch into his phone, pointing to a town near High Wycombe, and started the car.
With the car collected Hector and Kenny hurtled down rain-soaked streets towards their next destination, both knowing full well that their time frame for getting there was tight. As Kenny silently and anxiously observed their progress on his phone's maps app Hector initiated small talk with the disturbed-looking teenager in an attempt to break the ice, correctly guessing that the hackers "have some shit on you they're threatening to put out" but receiving no response from him. Hector began to explain to Kenny why he was being blackmailed, telling him the story of how he got in touch with the supposed prostitute and how he cannot morally justify what had transpired as a result—he bluntly made his intentions with the encounter clear, that he merely wanted to "f-ck a twenty-something for “old times' sake". Hector continued, despite Kenny visibly growing more petrified with each passing second, revealing that the blackmailers had cloned his laptop hard drive "like an audit" and collected every little hint of Hector's attempted infidelity, ranging from text messages haggling over the price to the explicit images he had sent the decoy. He further revealed that his family would fall apart if the blackmailers were to release the dirt they had collected on him, acknowledging that his wife would no doubt leave with their two children and would easily gain custody of them if she sought to obtain a divorce. Kenny broke into tears at that moment, and related to an incredulous Hector that the blackmailers had filmed him "doing it" through his computer webcam and revealed that the hackers were threatening to leak the footage to his contacts. Somewhat bewildered, Hector asked if the blackmailers had filmed him having sex but soon realized that Kenny was talking about masturbating to porn. Finding this mildly amusing and somewhat comforted by the knowledge that he was not the only one to be caught in a compromising position, Hector tried to reassure Kenny, insisting that everyone does that. Before the discussion could progress further, Hector realized that the "check fuel" light on the dashboard had been on all this time and that the car was running on fumes.
After pulling into a local gas station Hector began fueling up, passing Kenny his wallet for him to pay for the fuel on his behalf. As Kenny left Hector told him the PIN number for his bank card and which fuel pump it was. Mmoments later, he was approached by a friend of Penny's, Karen, who was also the head of the parent-teacher association at his children's school. Karen persuaded Hector to arrange the catering for the school's upcoming quiz night, already under pressure he agreed to do so. Kenny returned shortly thereafter with the fuel paid for, and in an attempt to avoid rousing suspicion from a bemused-looking Karen Hector hastily proceeded to introduce him as his "nephew" who he was in the process of dropping off at the local train station. Further putting a dent in their schedule Karen asked about getting a lift home given that the train station in question was just further down the street on which she lived; out of politeness Hector gave in despite knowing full well the risks posed by not following the hackers' commands. As Karen sat down in the back seat she took notice of the box and inquired Hector about it, with Hector bluffing that it was a cake meant for Penny. He then pulled out of the petrol station and sped down the street, desperate to be rid of Karen as soon as possible and continue on with their assigned tasks. As Hector and Kenny awkwardly conversed with their passenger both began receiving messages from the blackmailers advising them to turn around as they were going the wrong way, messages that soon became more aggressive and threatening. With the paranoia and stress piling up as the deadline inched ever closer, compounded by a suspicious Karen asking Kenny increasingly personal and unanswerable questions regarding his family ties, Hector soon floored it without a second thought, momentarily swerving into oncoming traffic before narrowly dodging a pedestrian. Hector continued driving recklessly through suburban streets before coming to a halt the moment Karen demanded to be let off, overwhelmed even in spite of Hector’s insistence that Kenny needed to be at the train station on time. With Karen now out of the way Hector and Kenny were able to proceed to their target destination and arrived at a quaint, middle-English town with moments to spare, but not before nearly missing their exit on the highway.
Upon arrival at the designated location Hector and Kenny came to a halt next to the town square, and after taking a moment to calm himself down Hector asked his passenger about whether this was indeed the place. The sudden ringing of both their phones seemed to confirm this, and Hector almost instinctively checked his message box, the latest message merely asked them to "LOOK IN THE CAKE". Pulling the cake out of the rear Kenny opened the box and scrutinized it while Hector reached in and began tearing at the sponge, throwing bits of cake aside until he was able to dig through to its base. Much to his bewilderment, however, Hector uncovered a sealed plastic bag containing what appeared to be a distressed dark blue baseball cap, but on unzipping it was even more shocked by what was in there in addition to the cap—a pair of yellow aviators and a handgun. As they both took in the rather unnerving sight Kenny received yet another text on his phone that ominously implored them to "decide" within five minutes, and the moment Hector asked, he received a text himself, one that shook them both to the core. The hackers were now demanding that they rob a bank, and the sickening realization of what this whole scavenger hunt had come to hit them both like a brick. With a foreboding silence looming in the car Hector and Kenny scoped out the bank in question, a branch of the National Allied Bank just across the street.
Kenny, sickened and baffled by this irrational demand finally gave up playing the hackers' game, but Hector chimed in electing to be driver given that Kenny hadn't passed his test, adding that he will stay put with the engine running. With Kenny growing more and more anxious and saying that they cannot go to such lengths, Hector shut him down by rhetorically asking him how else the two would deal with their respective situations. After telling his irate companion to pipe down Hector began to explain the process of robbing a bank and insisted that with the disguise provided nobody would be able to identify him, facetiously remarking that he could be Kevin Bacon himself for all anyone else knew. He continued with his tirade, explaining that staff are trained to give money when threatened without resistance and that based on a documentary he saw it looked "easy". When Kenny was able to see through this and refused to budge Hector casually brought up the issue that brought them both together in the first place—if the blackmail material got out, he would no doubt lose custody of his children. To further compound matters Hector added that he would easily take his own life with a bread knife to his throat if that were to happen, not bearing the thought of seeing his family fall apart on account of his doing. Kenny attempted to stutter an explanation, pleading that he "only looked at pictures”" but Hector only used this as an opportunity to further exert leverage over him. With Kenny on the verge of crumbling completely Hector went on a profanity-laden rant, painting a rather bleak picture of Kenny’s future should the footage of him masturbating be leaked to the world, mentioning that given the power of the internet the video would be up forever like a curse and that it would no doubt be seen by everyone he knew. Hector sighed, realizing he went too far on the boy, but nonetheless reminded him that the hackers clearly just wanted the money and implored him to go into the bank and get it. Kenny pointed out that Hector would likely drive away and leave him, but Hector insisted that he’d remain on standby. Overwhelmed, Kenny, now on the verge of tears, broke down and repeated that he couldn't do it, but Hector reminded him that the two are short on time, placing the baseball cap onto his head and forcing the gun into his hands. As Kenny tried to desperately convince himself that the situation he was in was all just a bad dream, Hector tried one more time to calm him down but was only repeatedly told to be silent.
A tense moment of silence later, Kenny finally got out of the car with his backpack and headed for the bank; watching intently as Kenny left Hector was startled by a suspicious passer-by on his phone, and out of caution decided to pull into a side alley and wait patiently. Hector awaited Kenny's return as he carried out the hackers’ bidding, pulling out of the alleyway after a few minutes as a psychologically-broken Kenny stood outside of the bank urgently looking for him. With the money collected they sped off into the distance, Hector glancing over regretfully at his emotional wreck of a companion. As they sped away Kenny banged on the dashboard, anxiously imploring Hector to go faster, but Hector made it clear that the speed limit on the highway was forty, asking him if he really wanted to be stopped for speeding at that moment in time. Glancing over at Kenny he noticed that the boy had urinated out of sheer terror as he held up the bank. Once past the city limits Hector and Kenny were forced to stop at a set of temporary traffic lights next to roadworks, putting a slight dent in their escape plan; to make matters worse they heard the wails of approaching sirens in the distance, police units apparently responding to the robbery they had just carried out. Kenny grew increasingly panicked as the sirens grew louder but Hector was able to calm him down just as the light turned green. Once they had the right of way they proceeded as normal, but narrowly avoided a collision with an oncoming police car that had been obscured by the roadworks. Having dodged a bullet there they proceeded onwards, Hector assuring Kenny that they were finally in the clear and that they should text the blackmailers that they have the money. Kenny did just that, and no more than a few seconds later received his response, one that implored them to deliver the stolen money to a particular location.
Final instruction and revelations
Following the arduous and humiliating experience they had been subjected to, Hector and his companion finally arrived at what they assumed was the final leg of their journey. Pulling into a clearing in a wooded area Hector turned the car off and read his next text from the blackmailers, one that called on him and only him to take the car away and destroy it. Curious, Kenny asked about why the hackers only wanted him to take the car away, before receiving a text himself that told him to take the money into the woods. Knowing that this was where they had to part, Hector told him that "You'd better go." and that he could make it to the end of this given that he had already gotten to this point. Assuming that all Kenny had to do was drop the money off Hector watched as he unbuckled his safety belt and left the car, profusely apologizing to the teenager for what he had called him and put him through just before the robbery. With time being tight for them both once again, Hector then explained that he is in all actuality an "alright bloke when stuff's normal". After shaking hands the two finally parted ways, Hector backing out of the clearing as Kenny ventured off into the woods. With his job being done at last Hector, chilled to the bone by what he had taken part in, proceeded to dump and destroy the car in a discreet location before setting off back home.
By the time Hector arrived home in a taxi it was late at night. Exhausted beyond belief Hector staggered through the house, assuming that he was finally in the clear after what he and Kenny had been put through. After checking on Cassie and seeing that she was sound asleep in her room, he received one last text from the hackers: a trollface meme. Puzzled by the strange image Hector took nothing of it at first and proceeded into the master bedroom, where he saw Penny sitting on the bed. Penny turned towards him all of a sudden with a furious glare, seethingly and tearfully inquiring about "Mindy", and as Hector took note of her laptop it finally dawned upon him that what he had been trying to conceal for the whole day had been revealed regardless of everything that he had done.
Hector was a man of many layers, on the one hand a careless, thoughtless and misguided individual who wished to relive his wild and hedonistic youth while on the cusp of a midlife crisis and on the other a kindhearted and devoted family man who lived for and loved his wife and two children. Although a cynical, brash and outspoken man with an abrasive, foul-mouthed personality and a cold, bleak sense of humor on the surface Hector was at the same time fiercely devoted to his family and wanted nothing more than to keep them together in spite of his many transgressions. Accordingly, he was willing to go to great and even criminal lengths to prevent them from learning the truth about his actions and considered something as drastic and horrific as suicide if his wife found out either way and left him with their children, being unable to bear the sheer gravity of his mistake.
In addition to this, on occasion he seemed to show genuine concern about Kenny’s wellbeing and likely wanted to befriend the younger man, being concerned for his companion's clearly dwindling mental health when tasked with driving around town and committing increasingly bizarre and criminal acts to save their respective reputations. With that in mind, however, Hector bullied Kenny into carrying out the robbery, storytelling an extremely bleak and nihilistic future for the boy should the video be released and giving him no real other option but going into the bank with a gun. Hector, unlike his timid and rather secretive companion, was also open about the kind of person he saw himself as being; although he briefly tried to rationalize his misdeeds as resulting from boredom he eventually came to the conclusion that he couldn’t possibly justify his behavior at all. In addition to this Hector profusely apologized for his mistreatment of Kenny during their period together as the two parted ways, revealing that he would have been a completely different person to talk to had things been normal. Considering Kenny's true nature as a pedophile, however, it is unlikely that Hector, a devoted family man, would have been as friendly with him if he found out, but knowing what was at stake he would likely still have cooperated.