March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Black Mirror “White Bear”

Series Two, Episode Two.

I’ll give this to Black Mirror:  it doesn’t waste time getting things started.

This may also be the first episode to feature someone with technology-related memory loss.  Up to this point, technology seems to exist to make sure people don’t forget when maybe they were better off doing so.

So, what did we have here?  A woman wakes up in a chair.  She has a headache.  Her wrists are bandaged.  There are pills scattered on the floor.  The TV has some kind of weird symbol on it like an inverted goalpost.  She stumbles downstairs.  There are some clothes set out for her, and a couple photographs.  One shows her with a young man.  Another is of a small girl.

This woman has no idea who she is or what’s happening.

When she steps outside, most of the people she sees are keeping their distance, taking pictures with their cell phones.  None talk, especially to her.  Then some guy pulls up in a car, wearing a ski mask with the same symbol on it, and looks to blow her away with a shotgun.

The whole thing, we learn from another woman who seems to be helping the amnesiac, is caused by a  signal that brainwashed 90% of the population into mindless drones who tape everything.  The remaining 10% seem to be running around killing people.  If they can get to a transmission tower and knock it down, that should turn most people back to normal.  Until then, it’s like some British version of The Purge.

Why, then, does this panicky woman who can’t remember her own name have flashes of things?  The man from the picture?  The little girl?  Was that her husband/boyfriend and daughter?  Why do the words “white bear” mean something?  Why did that one psycho who pretended to be helpful to lure the two women into the woods seem familiar?  Why did the woods itself seem familiar?

Well, at the climax when the two women are attacked at the transmission station, we find out there’s more going on than meets the eye.  That’s what happens when the amnesiac grabs a shotgun to kill one of her pursuers and it shoots off harmless confetti.

Yeah, it turns out only one person had her mind messed with, and it was the amnesiac.  Everyone else was fine.  There was no hunt.  There was no transmission.  The people taping everything are simple bystanders.  The hunters are actors.  The one seemed familiar because he’s the host.  What happened?  Well, the amnesiac’s real name is Victoria.  The little girl wasn’t her daughter.  She was her victim.  The man, her fiancé, tortured and murdered the kid who carried a distinctive white bear toy with her.  The symbol was a tattoo on the fiance’s neck.  Victoria’s crime?  She taped the girl’s torture and death.  So, after being told who she was and being utterly devastated by the news, she’s restrained, taunted, and taken back to where she’s started.  There, they run the video they shot of the girl’s death and put something on her head to wipe her memories.

She’s going to do the whole thing again the next day, and for who knows how long for the foreseeable future.

Damn.

By the way, nice touch showing shots of the set up for the day’s performance during the closing credits.  Most of the bystanders are paid tourists looking to have some fun at a murderer’s expense.  Draw your own conclusions on the morality of such a punishment.

And this was almost the first episode to not feature an actor I recognized, until I looked up and realized the “helpful” survivor woman is on Sense8.  She looks different as a platinum blonde on that show.