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Headscratchers / Black Mirror: USS Callister

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  • Apparently the Christmas update patch destroyed Daly's rogue mod of Infinity. Why did this genius not think of this and take precautions? And why didn't any of the earlier updates have the same effect on his mod? Nothing tells us this one was out of the ordinary.
    • Partly, this is due to Nanette's actions; defying him, disabling his controls and forcing him to try and stop them. I think the other part is due to arrogance. I doubt the thought that his power could ever be subverted occurred to him. Maybe he planned to exit the game before the patch completed to ensue his mod was updated and remained active. Maybe the way the code is written requires him to manually handle certain aspects of the patching on the system itself.
      • That said, there's no excuse for him not having a failsafe in case of a problem.
    • The patch says in a computer VO that it's detected rogue software and will run the wipe, it probably wouldn't have happened if the crew hadn't flown into the wormhole, since that's probably how the update detected the mod's existence. Daly never expected anyone to have control of the ship, wouldn't have flown into an update vortex, and probably planned to be offline when it happened in case of anything going wrong (he probably couldn't in any way test to see if updates would have negative effects on his mod, only create some kind of constantly-rolling back-up that would use way too much data to be viable). Since they fly into the main game, the mod gets wiped from their version, but with Daly inside the modded copy, everything goes. He probably couldn't have predicted it, and the crew didn't either (Nanette is arguably smarter than Daly) or they'd have been more confident about their escape plan.
  • No OSHA Compliance? How was a VR system that can trap someone's brain (if not outright wipe it altogether) ever permitted to ship to the mass market?
    • We don't know if the live version has the same bug. It's mentioned that Daly sealed off his development build from the internet so he can control it. The bug may only pertain to his modified version.
      • Even if the flaw only pertains to a modified version, the fact that a modified version can have that flaw is nonetheless a serious safety issue for the entire technology. Especially given how many people like to mod their computer or game gear in various ways.
    • It should be noted that we don't actually see Daly die, just that he's stuck. Maybe there's a fixed time limit that's baked into the hardware to prevent exactly this sort of thing from happening. Which means Daly is probably going to be shaken but ticked off when he finally does get out and will likely be facing a criminal investigation when all is said and done. Or maybe not, unless he was dumb enough to keep his DNA scanner on his desk and try to get the DNA samples from his colleagues again or try to locate and destroy the escaped digital clones in Infinity.
      • But Daly is said to spend all of his free time in the game; this could well account for upwards of 12 hours at a time, so it's unlikely there is such a time limit. If there is, it would have to be about that 12 hour mark, so he will be very ill at least from dehydration as well as probably very mentally scarred from being trapped in nothingness for even that long (assuming he can't sleep inside his mod, which sounds about right if he has to have complete control all the time).
  • It's implied that the game effectively resets when Daly has left it (he always returns to the same off-screen place when he doesn't end the game session there), couldn't he have just exited the game when he realised his crew were running away?
    • I think its just his spawnpoint, the game doesn't reset and if he exits the game he will lose all of it.
    • Yes, if he had just said "Exit game" as soon as the shuttle's computer told him where the ship was, they wouldn't have been able to fly, and the entire plan would have been thwarted. The heroes are lucky Daly was either too angry or too into the game to think of that. That's all there is to it.
  • How did the crew beam Robert's control panel up if they weren't granted real power?
    • At one point we see Dudani beam the away team down on a planet, so apparently the clones are granted certain powers that are aligned with the missions' objectives.
  • How do the clones have the memories of the originals? It's not like he scanned their brains, he got this information from DNA. Genetic memory is certainly a thing in scifi, but it is definitely not something humans posses. And if you could get memories from someone's DNA then everyone would be way more paranoid about leaving DNA about. As this episode demonstrated you can get passwords and other sensetive information from a digital clone if they retain memories.
    • The genetic memory can be explained by the Anthropic Principle. Real humans almost certainly don't have genetic memory, but they evidently do in this universe.
    • The tech Daly uses seems to be unknown to the other characters, and is likely experimental, or perhaps he even made it himself. It'd be a massive scientific breakthrough, but the story isn't about its implications or consequences, and Daly isn't interested in using it that way.
  • The crew's initial plan of sending an invite out asking for help was a flawed plan, but understandably so; they just didn't consider the context their message would appear in. But why didn't they try sending out more than one message, either to the other crew's counterparts or other people? Best guess is that they were afraid doing that would increase the likelihood of Daly seeing it, but if they considered that, they probably should have realized the flaw in their base plan.