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- The kidnapper in "The National Anthem" — an anonymous individual who with one action sows the seeds of chaos within an entire community and forces them to dance along to his tune through provocative, vulgar and inflammatory actions, derailing all discussion until it's about him and what he's done and making everyone else do all pretty much just to prove a point about how stupid everyone else is for getting caught up in what he's done. So, basically a glorified Troll, in other words.
- Also regarding the kidnapper in "The National Anthem": it's possible that he committed suicide because the public appeared more concerned with pressuring the Prime Minister into acceding to his demands rather than worrying about the Princess's safety. If he wasn't a sociopath, realizing how horrible people can be would make a plausible Despair Event Horizon.
- Fridge Logic: the episode deftly avoids the questions over how one man acting alone could possibly pull off the kidnapping of a high-profile royal, or whether he was indeed acting alone.
- Either Fridge Brilliance or Fridge Horror depending on your viewpoint, but in 15 Million Merits the omnipresent exercise bikes that apparently provide power to society don't appear to be connected to anything. This would make the constant pedaling totally pointless. Given the other omnipresent aspect of this society, constant entertainment on screens everywhere, the bikes could be just another way to occupy a populace that actually has nothing to do.
- It's shown that you obtain the "merits" through the cycling, but exactly what the cycling is meant to achieve is never clarified, although as a bit of Fridge Brilliance this is the point - the bikes are useless busy work which everyone has to do to get by, even if it's totally pointless, as a metaphor for the work everyone has to do to get by in the real world today. Ever feel like your job is totally useless and produces nothing worthwhile? That's what the bikes are meant to be.
- Isn't it suggested that cycling provides electricity to power all the screens? So people are kept compliant by watching trash to distract them from their meaningless jobs... which exist only to produce the trash that keeps everyone compliant... Consumer capitalism in a nutshell.
- Yes that's what the populace is lead to believe but the humans generally only provide ~250 Watts while cycling, ~400-500 Watts if they really push themselves. Now currently a 52" TV will use about ~285 watts (varies depending on manufacturer of course) even taking into account future improvements in energy saving technology it's very unlikely humans alone would be able to power the power city that includes lifts, vending machines, lights, touch-screen mirrors and of course the omnipresent floor to ceiling TVs complete with motion detectors. It's possible that they are simply there to augment the power consumption but personally I think it's just to keep the population busy and to make them think they're doing something worthwhile.
- It's a metaphor, nothing more. It doesn't make objective sense but then it's not meant to.
- According to Brooker, they at most run the screens and it's more about preserving social structure and keeping people busy than actually producing any power.
- Further evidenced by the carrot-and-stick conditioning: merits if you do keep exercising, demotion to cleaner / game-show fodder if you don't.
- It doesn't need to be connected to anything, if the wheels are constructed in a certain fashion with magnetic material and the base has an electric circuit, then it could be an induction generator, and any other work consequence of the activity can just be connected to the base, hidden wires and all(or, why not, wirelessly; it's the future!) Going into the nitty-gritty of how much power a human being can actually generate as such will probably not wield very impressive values, though, so we enter "Matrix's giant human battery" territory: the message is more important than the factual nature of the mechanism.
- Either Fridge Brilliance or Fridge Horror depending on your viewpoint, but at the end of 15 Million Merits, the main character Bing is seen looking out of what might be a huge Fake vista of woodland or is alternatively looking out of a real floor to ceiling set of windows showing lush green forest as far as the eye can see. This means that he has either swapped his tiny cell for a larger Gilded Cage or The endless drudgery of cycling that the majority of the populace does, has enabled most of the planet to resort back to natural forest. Either ending can be seen as ultra depressing, but YMMV.
- In 15 Million Merits, the citizens all sleep in their own single cells and are bombarded with pornography every few minutes. One method of population control, I suppose...
- Fridge Brilliance in 15 Million Merits: it's implied, when Abi goes for her Hot Shot audition, that the Cuppliance is responsible for her going into pornography more than anything else. But then, Bing goes on as well, avoids drinking it... and then goes along with the panel's offer and gets swallowed up by the machine anyway. Maybe the drink didn't really do that much, they just thought it did?
- I always believed that she went through with it because Bing had spent so many merits on her for the audition, that she thought that he would've wanted her to accept it.
- This troper thinks of it more like Fridge Horror: As Bing dishes out his heartfelt rant at the judges and the audience, it makes the viewer believe that he's genuinely outraged by all of it. But seeing him later, doing the same thing for fame and celebrity, not only clarifies that he didn't really mean what he had been saying, but everything he has done since has been of his own free will! He's clearly that amoral.
- He did mean what he was saying: it was largely unplanned, and he countered one of the judges when he described it as an "act". The problem was that he had no plan beyond saying it, and the judges were "swayed", but not in the way he was expecting. They then decide to let him say all that stuff and even put it in a timeslot, while the crowd goads him into doing it. Regardless of whether it was true or not, or was a genuine tirade against the entertainment industry, a simple rant isn't going to change the system, but it's more likely the system will assimilate the person doing it. Bing clearly feels as unfulfilled in his new role as he was on the bikes. That's what the scenes were meant to illustrate.
- 15 Million Merits? Why not 12 million? 20 million? Because in the future, everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes.
- Fridge Brilliance for The Entire History Of You. The memory grains that store everything you're doing at every point in your life are a clear metaphor for social networking, and the habit of recording everything one is up to as a status update. Do you really want to keep all that around forever? Rendered somewhat scarier by Facebook's introduction of a "timeline" feature, which quite literally lets you zip around to see your exact thoughts, location and activities at any point in your life where Facebook has data to display, from your birth onwards. Virtually everything depicted in the programme is now at least vaguely possible.
- In The Entire History of You, Liam's suspicious and paranoid behaviour - when you think that spouses in regular circumstances who believe their partner is cheating on them are usually 'right', then his behaviour is totally justified, and magnified, by being able to replay all the memories to pick up on all the things that triggered those thoughts over and over again over the years.
- Also a commentary on one possible and unhealthy relationship people can have with e-communication and social media: poring over our partner's texts, tweets, status updates etc., reading into tiny details, obsessing over who they are communicating with and how and when - all of which feeds and amplifies our worst paranoid instincts.
- In Be Right Back why didn't Martha just call the company that made Ash and have him taken away, rather than telling him to literally jump off a cliff?
- Grief does strange things to the human mind.
- Given the theme of the story, which seems to be a send-up of "The Monkey's Paw", it's likely it's non-refundable.
- In fairness, she's clearly gone a little bit mad with grief at that point, and obviously isn't thinking very rationally.
- Why is the Ash replicant hidden in the attic in Be Right Back? Because that's where Ash said his mother would hide the belongings and anything that reminded her of the family members she lost until she was able to cope with their death. Martha simply took the last story Ash told her, and did it to the replicant when she couldn't get rid of it. And judging by the presence of her daughter, she's being holding her grief for Ash's death for years.
- A bit of Fridge Horror in Be Right Back is that it's possible that the replicant has emotions. He's shown being much more argumentative when he has to stand outside all night... Which makes this episode much more horrifying if you imagine it from the Fake Ash's point of view. A man who all he wants to do is make his beloved happy, but is incapable of doing so, and he can't fight back in anyway due to his programming because he has to do what he's told... And then he has to stand in an attic for YEARS doing nothing than occasionally talking to a daughter that is implied only visits him on the weekends.
- Or at least that the AI powering him is sufficiently advanced enough to simulate spontaneous emotional responses, in which case is there any difference?
- Fridge Brilliance time (and crosses into Fridge Horror as per this show's norm): in The White Bear the Observers are initially set up as brainwashed masses who do nothing but give the "hunters" an audience under the influence of some malignant signal. After the reveal it's made clear that the "observers" are just extras from the public put there to enhance the terrifying experience for the condemned as well as, which is outlined in the last few minutes, to "have fun." Meaning they are there willingly, doing pretty much what their characters are doing, the only difference is they have free will and are doing it for fun. This makes the already blunt Take That of the Observers that little bit more sinister.
- Fridge Logic: In the UK (where judging by the accents, we assume the White Bear episode is set), the government actually signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which would forbid them practising torture of this calibre. If they broke the convention, its subsequent nations would intervene very, very swiftly, meaning the White Bear Justice Park wouldn't exist without serious argument with other countries...
- Similarly, as much as people hate murderers, and would never defend the kind of torture Victoria condoned, there would realistically be a large amount of people protesting against White Bear. Amnesty International and The UN universal Declaration of Human Rights would certainly cause trouble for the White Bear justice park. There's no way that a place like that could realistically exist without at least some Vocal (and powerful) Minorities getting in the way.
- In-universe, we can possibly argue that it's a 20 Minutes into the Future-style scenario wherein there's been some kind of drastic political and social upheavals which have rendered the above legal obstacles moot, or an Alternate History where such legislation does not exist. Out-of-universe, it's an Up to Eleven satire of the kind of Not So Different mindset that tends to emerge whenever something horrible happens like a child-murderer is discovered and arrested, and there's usually a lot of 'hanging's-too-good-for-them' style rhetoric from pundits on the sidelines (both in the media and outside of it) and conversations which tend to quickly get consumed with all the kinds of nasty things that should happen to them instead of just going to jail. Brooker's constructing what is, acknowledged, a fairly exaggerated scenario to suggest that, ultimately, this kind of mindset is just as abhorrent as the kind of mindset that would find amusement in torturing a little girl to death, except it's masking a similar kind of sadistic desire to do unspeakable harm (whether physical or psychological) to another human being in a cloak of smug self-righteousness and the belief that 'justice' would be done. He's raising the question that if you were to sadistically torture a sadistic torturer, even if your motives were 'good' wouldn't you ultimately end up being just as bad as the torturer?
- Astonishingly, there's currently some fairly clouty tabloid-led opposition to human rights legislation in the UK, so getting out of those treaties in the near future is sadly one of the least implausible things in Black Mirror.
- From "White Bear": The white bear was a symbol for Jemima's disappearance. It's also the name of the Justice Park where Victoria is imprisoned. Judging by these two facts, it's likely that Victoria and her fiancée's crime was the inspiration for the Park's existence in the first place.
- At the end of "White Bear", Baxter says it will take about half an hour to erase Victoria's memory of the day. She apparently spends the entire half hour in excruciating pain. If around 12 hours have passed since she woke up (which seems a reasonable estimate), then the device takes roughly an hour to erase 24 hours' worth of memories. Based on that ratio, Victoria may have spent over a year in agony having her twentysomething (or more) years wiped before her sentence even began.
- Fridge Horror: In the stinger for White Bear, the sign outside the Justice Park says "advance bookings essential". Advance bookings are only ever considered essential if something is incredibly popular. And in the introduction Baxter and Jem give to the visitors, there are at least five pre-adolescent children. In this universe, White Bear Justice Park is apparently the equivalent of a day out at a normal theme park...
- A pretty simple one, but I only realized it later. In the Christmas Special, Greta complains that her toast is overdone and sends it back, although she (or her cookie's internal monologue, or both — it's not clear which) worries that the woman who brought her breakfast will hate her. She's exactly the sort of person who would want a "cookie" to micromanage her environment for her (also, she worries about clearing her inbox. Maybe the "cookie" takes care of that too?). And of course this is emphasized by Matt getting Cookie!Greta to try controlling the toaster and then eating the toast throughout their conversation. Also, considering the fact she worried that the woman who brought her breakfast will hate her, does she really understand how "cookies" work, and does she ever worry if her "cookie" hates her?
- Since Matt has to explain how cookies work to Greta's cookie, and that cookies are shown to preserve memories of their hosts, it is implied that Greta doesn't know; moreover, given that he explains it to Potter, it seems to be a quite closely guarded trade secret.
- It can't be that guarded if the police are able to use a confession from Cookie Joe to secure a conviction. It has to be fairly known what cookies are in order for that to even be a possibility.
- The name "cookie" itself: it's after browser cookies. You know, the ones that websites use to build a profile of your online activities and personalise all content delivered to you. Smartelligence's cookies are this very idea taken to its Logical Extreme.
- Fridge Horror : Consider how Greta's cookie was sucessfully broken, but there's still some slight shimmer of sadness you can see in her eyes that this is her "life" now. Now imagine if she was a parent and could never really interact with her kid(s) again. Charlie Brooker actually took this out (Greta had a son in an earlier draft), because it would be too depressing. However, that IS the fate of many other cookies.
- In Playtest Sonja appears in the horror house, calmly explaining the situation before morphing into some crazed monster. Why is this? It's probably because she texted him this information earlier; the AI must've used this in conjunction with his mother's call to use it against him.
- Fridge Horror from Playtest: Keep in mind that the demo wasn't necessarily a horror game. The whole experience was caused by the AI in conjunction with interference from the phone and Cooper's own mind. Just think of all the trauma it forced him through in just 0.04 seconds... just what the hell could this system be capable of if used intentionally?
- In Shut Up and Dance, Hector tells his story and reveals that the hackers copied his whole hard drive and every bit of correspondence between him and "Mindy". Kenny breaks down heavily. At first, it can be seen as just his general shame. However, considering the pictures he was looking at, it's possible he realized the hackers probably got enough on him (through hard drive or other means) to really make the case he was looking at child porn.
- Fridge Horror from "Shut Up and Dance": Kenny is involved in a very cute scene at the beginning when he helps to retrieve a lost toy to a young girl and they share smiles with each other. It becomes quite creepy after the end of the episode, which reveals that Kenny is a pedophile
- Fridge Logic from Men Against Fire: The MASS system turns out to make military people think "undesirable" people are these monsters known as Roaches to make it easier to kill them. However, it's a good assumption the public at large doesn't have MASS implants in their head. There ARE villagers who have been conditioned through just word of mouth over the years to treat these undesirable humans as monsters, but nothing beyond that. How the heck is civilian murder justified beyond the military and those villages then? This would be a major scandal.
- The parallels to Nazi Germany aren't used very subtly...