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Headscratchers / Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

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  • Why do they need to pluck new songs out of Ashley's comatose brain, when they have perfectly functional copies of her entire mind?
    • She's not comatose, she's sedated and supposedly therefore "dreaming," which is established to be where her music comes from. Ashley Toos don't dream. They just shut off.
  • The news on the TV suggests this takes place after Black Museum, but the technology at the hospital would place it chronologically much earlier, likely when Rolo was still developing a lot of the tech that features in his flashbacks.
    • Black Mirror has always had an extremely loose sense of continuity, so this isn't unexpected. ("Fifteen Million Merits" either gets referenced as somehow taking place in the same 20 Minutes into the Future setting as everything else or as being a fictional comic book within the setting, for instance.)
    • That said, the technology used to create the Ashley Toos in this episode isn't new or secret, just illegal. Ashley Too even reveals that the reason she's a direct copy of Ashley muzzled to act like a doll rather than a tailored AI is that this was cheaper than doing it the right way. This indicates this episode may well be in continuity with "Black Museum", taking place some time after the technology used to put Carrie's mind into the teddy bear was deemed inhumane and banned by the United Nations.
    • Anthology series by definition do not have continuity between episodes, each is self-countain which means they might nor even be in the same universe.
  • Are Rachel and Jack acquitted of their crimes by the epilogue? Sure, they saved Ashley and exposed her aunt's criminal mischief... but they've also potentially killed Munk and Bear, broken numerous driving and traffic laws, and recklessly endangered the concert attendees by driving through the stadium.
    • Munk and Bear were part of a criminal conspiracy to falsely imprison and kill Ashley. Rachel and Jack were acting in Ashley's defense, called "defense of a third party", so their actions would be ruled legally justifiable. In fact, if Munk or Bear died, Catherine and her surviving co-conspirators would face felony murder charges; meaning that if someone died while committing a felony, the surviving perpetrators would be liable for their deaths if such deaths were foreseeable. I'd say that someone dying during a kidnapping and conspiracy to murder plot would be foreseeable. As to Jack's reckless driving, most of what she did were misdemeanors (and at least one felony—maybe) and no one was injured (seriously) or killed. The DA could either come up with a plea deal (probation, expunged records upon completion) or simply decline to prosecute (known as prosecutorial discretion).
    • On the other hand, Catherine Ortiz's "criminal mischief" is a lot more serious than you think. As in "everyone directly involved in the conspiracy is going to prison" serious. Aunt Catherine and her cohorts have committed multiple felonies including kidnapping, fraud, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, assault and grand larceny. They might also be facing Federal charges related to their falsifying medical records, drugging someone against their will and faking prescriptions. Besides prison, Dr. Munk, the Concierge Doctor who supplied the drugs and was responsible for Ashley's care, is going to lose his license to practice medicine. Whatever contract Aunt Catherine had with Ashley would have been nullified due to her criminal actions; Ashley herself lampshades that the illegal medications breaks the contract. They could also be facing a civil suit. Possibly multiple lawsuits. Their actions would also trigger other criminal investigations that will take a close look at Catherine's other businesses and finances. If I'm not mistaken, she might also be looking at charges related to the Ashley Too dolls. Bottom line: Catherine, Munk, Bear and the IT guy are in serious legal trouble. They're all looking at prison time that could range from a few years to decades or even life and forfeiture of assets.
    • One other thing: since the conspiracy against Ashley was ongoing, the statute of limitations doesn't apply so Catherine may also be facing child abuse charges going back to the beginning of her guardianship.
    • And yet another thing to point out: we don't know how much time passed between Ashley giving Aunt Catherine the finger to her performing on stage. It would've been months, maybe even a year, between those two moments. Ashley would've had to talk to the authorities, lawyers, doctors and a therapist. No doubt both Ashleys would be receiving on-going therapy for the abuse they suffered; so would Jack and Rachel. Ashley Ortiz would've had to get a lawyer of her own in order to break the contract and get her assets back under her control (that may still be ongoing). The criminal case against Catherine and her cohorts may still be in the discovery stages given the complexity. Ashley Too would also going through a legal process of her own. She'd be examined, get her own legal representation and be recognized as a US Citizen in her own right. When the trial takes place, Rachel, Jack and both Ashleys will need to testify as to what they knew, heard, saw and what their actions were. Oh, civil lawsuits take even longer, years, and Catherine's business partners will want to hold onto whatever money and rights they can. That's assuming that Catherine and one or more of her cohorts don't plead the case out and everyone would cut their losses. Then there's the remaining Ashley Too robots that weren't scrapped. They would need to be located and woken up as well.
      • Given how Cookies are treated during the events of "White Christmas", it's extremely doubtful that Ashley Toos would receive any kind of citizenship or legal representation. The episode is Lighter and Softer than probably any so far, but let's not forget that this is still Black Mirror. If people did go out of their way to release the personality limters on all the remaining Ashley Toos, it would probably be for unspeakable purposes... like say, selling the data bank to some creepazoid who would then upload it into their personal Ashley O sex doll.
      • Fridge Horror definitely applies there. Given the support Ashley Too would have, at some point, she's going to get both considering just how public and far-reaching a criminal investigation would be. As for any potential creepazoids... well, some of them just might end up like Rolo Haynes or Robert Daly. I wouldn't underestimate Ashley Too either. Most creeps can't afford to build a fully-functioning body, so instead it's going to be VR. Which means a networked computer system... that Ashley Too will have access to.
      • Plus, the show's continuity is pretty loose, so what was mentioned above is just Broad Strokes. It's not going to happen quickly, nor will it be easy, but it's very likely to happen. Although if you really want to be cold about it, those Ashley Too robots all contain a copy of Ashley Ortiz' mind. I think that would be a whopping violation of privacy and intellectual property. She might have some legal avenue to get those copies back.
    • Reading through above you see that Catherine's criminal mischief has created a very lengthy criminal and civil action that will take years to resolve. It will also have a lasting impact on both Ashleys, who we're glad to see are both doing well considering.
    • On top of all that, it won't be any one state or government agency investigating Catherine, we have:
      • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy, fraud and attempted murder
      • FBI - probably related to the Ashley Too robots; how they were built, how they were hacked. Also Munk's drugging and sedating Ashley and falsifying medical records.
      • DHS - Probably in coordination with the FBI and the country were the robots were built since investigating products and software shipped overseas falls under their purview.
      • IRS - given Catherine's greed, an investigation of her tax returns would be a given
      • Medical Board of California - they're going to be investigating Dr. Munk for his activities and will definitely suspend his license to practice.
      • American Federation of Musicians - Catherine's blatant violations of Ashley's contract
      • From a political standpoint, any prosecutor worth their salt is going to want to preside over a very public and sensational case against Aunt Catherine over going after two teenagers who exposed the whole mess. In fact, given Ashley's popularity and public support, if Rachel and Jack—the two people who saved Asley's life and effectively gave the authorities their case on a silver platter—were prosecuted, there'd be such a huge public backlash that said prosecutor's career would be ruined.
  • Why was Catherine having a Not So Stoic moment at the end of the episode? Sure, she maintains her composure at the end of the encounter, but she still pretty much goes into the fetal position and thinks she's going to die. Not sure what would have been done to make her like that.
    • I think what happened was she thought that the truck that crashed into the venue contained a bunch of people with guns who were going to shoot the place up. Maybe she thought that her niece had managed to hire someone to kill her. Or maybe the occupants were a bunch of deranged fans who hate Aunt Catherine. Or maybe Catherine thought it was someone sent by one of her less savory business partners who thought she was a loose end.
  • Given the technology at hand (the ability to effectively upload a human mind into a device of that size) and what appears to be the revolutionary nature of it in-universe, why is Catherine so focused on getting the album/contract out? The technology underpinning the whole Ashley Eternal project (alongside the dolls themselves) would seem to be revolutionary enough in its own right.
    • This is, to be fair, a common fallacy in speculative fiction. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the value of what was up for sale at the auction wasn't the dinosaurs, it was the underlying genetic codes and IP.
    • Because Catherine has tunnel vision. The music business is what she knows and can rely on for profits. She is also short-sighted. On top of which, she ultimately doesn't want Ashley to live on in any form.