WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Truth Seekers Season 1, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Truth Seekers reunites Nick Frost and Simon Pegg for a paranormal thrill ride, and they aren't alone in this fun, ghostly series. Joining them is film icon Malcolm McDowell. In Truth Seekers, Frost is Gus Roberts, a broadband internet technician. He is also a widower and lives with McDowell's Richard, his late wife's father. The two are the ultimate odd couple, squabbling often while showing care underneath all the quips.
Richard, who endlessly mocks Gus' internet show about paranormal investigations, ends up in the middle of one of the most significant cases. Richard is under the control of a man named Dr. Peter Toynbee (Julian Barratt), who wants to commit mass murder in an attempt to move to another plane of existence, and his means of controlling innocent people is reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.
In the fourth episode, "The Incident at CovColCosCon," Richard tags along with Gus and winds up at a convention, finding himself in a room with Toynbee. This was supposed to be a panel for his fans, but instead it turns into a massive trap where everyone in the room is hypnotized.
Richard watches a slideshow presentation with the rest of the audience when it suddenly starts flashing random images on screen. By the time it is finished, everyone in the room is hypnotized and subject to Toynbee's will. At this point, Toynbee sends his men through the room, using a needle to inject nanobots into everyone's eyes. Between the images they watched and the nanobots, these people — Richard included — are now at the mercy of Toynbee and are later meant to be part of a ritual.
This is not the first time McDowell has portrayed a character in some sort of hypnotic situation. The legendary actor got his start working with Lindsay Anderson in the 1968 British drama if...., but his true breakout came three years later when he starred in A Clockwork Orange. The movie starred McDowell as Alex, a delinquent who wanders the streets with his friends and commits various crimes, including assault, rape and theft. However, the main theme of the movie comes after Alex is caught.
A Clockwork Orange questions whether it is moral to reprogram someone and erase their criminal desires. This is accomplished when authorities strap Alex into a chair, keep his eyes clamped open and force him to watch a rapidly changing series of disturbing images. They accompany this with the music of his favorite composer, Beethoven. By the time it is finished, the aversion therapy works. When someone attacks him, he cannot fight back, and when he sees a nude woman, he becomes ill at the thought of doing anything with her. While the government deems him "cured," a minister sees it as immoral since it robs Alex of free will.
This is shown later when Alex is attacked multiple times after he is released and cannot defend himself, almost ending up dead. The idea of using rapid-fire images to induce someone into behaving a certain way was central to A Clockwork Orange and is a key plot device for the villain in Truth Seekers. The fact that it is McDowell in both instances is a coincidence that can't be ignored.
Starring Nick Frost, Samson Kayo, Emma D’Arcy, Susan Wokoma, Malcolm McDowell and Simon Pegg, the eight-episode first season of Truth Seekers is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.