Dee Discusses: Black Mirror “White Bear”

Posted: October 21, 2016 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps
Tags: , , , , , ,

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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Okay so I’m going to sneakily post all the episodes of Black Mirror I’m behind on so I can be ready for the new season. Shhhh nothing to see here. Of course no one is reading either. La la la. SO this is the episode that haunts me the most. The second episode is my favorite, but this is the one that sticks for me. I think it’s about questioning what we would be capable of. How far we’d take punishment, especially toward killers and criminals. This episode was magnificent at making you think 75% of the episode it was about an entirely different subject, and then turned it on its head and it was just … wow. I rewatched it recently and was shocked all over again at how perfect it was. There are obviously logistics that wouldn’t really work here, questions like does every murderer have their own park, was this just a new idea they were seeing if it would work, what were other punishments akin to this. Anyway. No more spoilers. Here we go.

A woman named Victoria wakes  up with no memory about her past. She’s in a strange house and sees pictures of a beautiful little girl she thinks might be her daughter. As she leaves the house, she sees normal people a distance from her, all filming with their cameras. No matter what she yells to them, to find out what’s going on, they blankly stare at her, recording her confusion. Suddenly a man appears who doesn’t have a phone and seems normal. He takes out a gun and starts chasing her. Terrified, she begs for help but no one can help her. She comes across two people at a convenience store who are also aware. They have to help her, although the bad man kills one of them as they escape. The other girl, Jem, explains that there was an attack of sort on TV and the internet. Everyone using it suddenly turned into mindless creatures who could do nothing but film everything around them. Only some people are still aware, and there are people named hunters who take fun in their world without rules. That’s who is hunting her.

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They find another man who helps them escape, but it turns out he was the hunter. He tries to torture Victoria, but he is killed by Jem. They are tracking down the White Bear transmitter which they think caused all of this horror, and manage to get to the lab. While there, they are attacked by other hunters, but when Victoria tries to shoot them, confetti comes out. She is tied to a chair and faces an audience of cheering and jeering people. She is told by the hunter, named Baxter, that this is actually an elaborate hoax. She is in jail. She and her boyfriend murdered a little girl, the girl from the photos, after torturing her for days. Victoria filmed the entire thing. So the punishment is that her memory is wiped and every day she lives a nightmare. For her entire sentence, one would guess. Baxter and Jem are part of an acting group who have control over a park where she runs around. The people in the audience are given the chance to come in and participate, as long as they keep their distance. Basically, THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE TWIST.

I am rarely surprised about things, but jeez is Black Mirror fantastic at destroying expectations. I bought into the whole thing too, just like her. And like I mentioned above, it does make me think about the criminal justice system. How much are we, as citizens, willing to make people suffer in retaliation for their crimes? Jails aren’t really rehabilitation anymore. This might not be what actually can happen, but it might be in our heads at the same time. These people do horrible things and we want them to suffer horribly. I felt a strange sense of sympathy for her, but also not. We’re voyeuristic, aren’t we? And so was she, enjoying the misery of that child, and the audience enjoyed HER misery. I have mixed feelings on it. Do the actors lose some of their humanity, torturing her like that every day and enjoying it as part of their job? I don’t know. This freaking show. That’s what the episode does, it makes me not really know. It’s amazing, basically. This is the most haunting of the episodes. What a strong one. And obviously, FANTASTIC ACTING. They really are amazing.

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