Black Mirror Recap: White Christmas
“Black Mirror: White Christmas” is the special holiday episode of the “Black Mirror” anthology. It aired on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, on ITV in the UK and will subsequently air on DirectTV in the United States. Find out what happened in this installment in the recap below.
Note: As the episode is told in three mini-stories, the recap will be divided into three parts.
A man named Joe Potter (Rafe Spall) woke up in a confused state. He was in a small house, and outside, it was snowing in the garden. He saw his reflection in the mirror and a photograph of a woman, which he touched. He heard the sound of Christmas music in the kitchen and then found a man, Matt (Jon Hamm), cooking dinner. It wasn’t clear who he was, but Matt implied that they have known each other a while and have to play catch up, but Joe wasn’t talking much. Matt said they could talk over beer and food, and he broke the ice by talking about how he got to the house.
Matt started talking about his former job as some sort of love guru who was helping an awkward young man named Harry (Rasmus Hardiker) find a girlfriend. Harry has been fitted with a device that allowed Matt to see what Harry saw, and there were also a bunch of other men connected to this device, but Matt was the head of this whole operation. Through it, Matt fed Harry what to say to women, while the other guys weighed on his moves.
Harry was at a party where he met Jennifer (Natalia Tena), and they bonded over the feeling of disconnection from everything around them. Jennifer, however, had no idea Harry had eight people talking to him, coaching him on how to win her attention via the device. However, she later saw Harry talking to himself (when he’s actually talking to Matt through the piece that’s attached to him), and Jennifer thought it rather odd. However, Harry looked harmless enough, and so she invited him to her place. There, Jennifer looked like she was attempting to have sex with Harry.
But she was, in fact, forcing him to drink something, and it ultimately poisoned Harry. Matt realized that they pushed Harry to date a deranged woman, and he, together with the other men, saw how he died. Matt ordered everyone to destroy everything. It turned out, Jennifer also had a device attached to her, which led her to do this crazy stuff.
Matt’s wife learned of what happened, and this was the last straw for her. She activated something that allowed her to block Matt in real life, and her image became pixilated; her voice became muffled. Matt said he ended up in the small house after his wife left him.
At this point, Joe was still not talking to him all that much, except to say that playing with other people’s thoughts, decisions and feelings was cruel. Matt then launched into telling the second story.
The next story involved a woman named Greta (Oona Chaplin) who was waiting for her operation. She was in a hospital bedroom, and everything was in white and gray. A nurse came in to give her toasts, which she thought was overdone, so she did not eat it. It was pretty clear Greta was fussy and quite high maintenance.
Next, it was Greta’s operation and as her body shut down, her mind was completely awake. Her consciousness was contained in what looked like an egg shell. She was now reduced to a chip, and she could not understand what was happening. But as Matt explained to her, it was what she wanted. She could, in fact, watch herself from the monitors inside the chip. Basically, she was watching a simulated copy of herself, while her real self was contained in the chip, controlling every move the copy of her body was doing.
This was a weird set up, and Matt had the main control in this iPad-like device that he carried around. And while Greta's consciousness seemed miserably stuch in a rut with nothing to do but control Greta's body, outside, Greta's body moved seamlessly. Everything was perfection exactly like she wanted it in the first place.
After hearing the story, Joe remarked that it was barbaric. Matt said that while Joe appeared less empathic, he actually cared about people. Matt then encouraged him to talk about his own story, of how he got to the small house.
So Joe told Matt that he used to have a happy life with his girlfriend. They were young, they had a good stress-free life, until one day, Joe found a pregnancy test in the bin and saw that it was positive. When he asked Bethany (Janet Montgomery) about this, his girlfriend said that she doesn’t want the baby. They had a huge fight because Joe realized she had planned on killing the fetus inside her. Bethany got so upset that she blocked off Joe, and it stayed that way for a while. He couldn’t talk to her, call her or message her. Even her photos were pixilated.
One day, Joe chanced upon Bethany on the street and realized she kept the baby as she was huge and pregnant. He pleaded for her to talk to him, but because his image was pixelated due to the block, Beth knew who he was and had him arrested. So then, all Joe could do was watch her from afar. When she finally had her child, Joe watched over her too, even as she remained pixilated (as the baby is connected to Bethany). Years passed, and Joe saw that their baby's pixilated image was that of a girl.
While Joe was watching the news one time, he learned that Bethany died in an accident. He realized that with Bethany gone, the block was essentially dead too, and he could finally see his own daughter. But when he did, he was surprised to find that his daughter had Asian features. Joe realized that Bethany cheated on him with his best friend.
Disillusioned, Joe looked around the house; maybe his real daughter was there. But he was only met by Bethany’s father, who had a knife with him, as he thought Joe was a deranged man. Tragedy ensued and the old man accidentally died. The young girl also died as she went for help outside in the cold, snowy winter and could not withstand it.
And that's how he got to the small house, which was the very house where he found his daughter and Bethany's father.
The twist to this story was that Matt was only talking to Joe's copy body. His real self was actually being held in prison for the crime against Bethany's father and the daughter. As he refused to talk about what really happened in the small house, Matt was brought in by the police. Matt was a specialist with his gadgets and devices. He used the stories of Harry and Greta, which were real by the way, to lure Joe into confession, which just happened.
However, there was another twist to this episode, as the police penalized Matt for not telling them about Harry’s death (in the first story). As a result, Matt was blocked from everyone. He was banished from being in contact with another human.
There you have it for the recap on “Black Mirror: White Christmas,” which aired on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, on ITV in the UK. Did you enjoy the Christmas special? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/John Bollwitt