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YMMV / Black Mirror: White Bear

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Black Mirror YMMV
Series Two
Be Right BackWhite BearThe Waldo Moment

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Whether or not you think the protagonist is truly sorry for her actions, if she's just desperately pleading, or if you think she deserves the hell she is stuck in.
    • Or perhaps you think that what Victoria did is indefensible, but doesn't warrant the level of torture being done at White Bear. Or, even if it does, that the vengeful hoardes are still wrong to enjoy it.
    • And then there is the question of to what degree the post-memory wipe Victoria can even be held responsible for the actions she committed earlier, since her identity has basically been taken away.
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    • The episode is clearly a case of Black and Grey Morality. The question is, who's black and who's grey?
    • There's an argument to be made that the people administering Victoria's sentence are just as bad as she is — or worse. The whole point of her punishment is to make her suffer the way her victim suffered — fair enough — but they take it way beyond the level of what she did; and nobody sees the irony or hypocrisy in the fact that they're now taking sadistic pleasure in the exact same cruelty they're condemning her for in the first place. Nor do they see the irony or hypocrisy in getting a kick out of Victoria's torture in the same breath that they're voicing disgust at her lack of empathy for her own victim. Nor do they see the parallel between Victoria's rationalization for her actions (that she was under her fiancé's spell, and thus desensitized to the horror of what she was doing), and the fact that they're also under a spell (of righteous fury and groupthink), and are thus likewise desensitized to the horror of what they're doing. Victoria's desensitization defense was dismissed as a weak excuse or an outright lie, the implication being that only a complete monster could be desensitized to that extent; no one seems to notice that their own actions prove that her defense could have some merit after all — that like them, she might really just be a normal person who simply didn't perceive how despicable her actions were.
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  • Anvilicious: Mob mentality justice can make you as bad as or worse than the target.
  • Broken Base: There are lots of online debates as to whether the heroine really deserved her fate. On one hand, she did help in the kidnapping and murder of a little girl and recorded it. On the other hand, it's still brutal torture and makes the viewer just as bad as her for taking amusement out of her pain. You could also argue that the park is exploiting the death of a six year old for money - or you could say that the money might go to good causes preventing murders like that happening again. However, punishing someone for a crime that they can't remember committing seems... a little merciless, regardless of your opinion of Victoria, especially as whatever "lesson" she could learn from the punishment won't stick due to the constant memory wipes.
  • Fridge Logic: In the UK (where, judging by the accents, we can assume this episode is set), the government actually signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture bill, which would forbid them of practicing torture of this calibre. If they broke this bill, the convention and 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 - especially child killers - 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.
      • Given the science fiction nature of the series as a whole, it's possible we can chalk the above points up to being the result of social and political changes occurring 20 Minutes into the Future.
      • There are some Call-Back Easter Eggs in later episodes; if you look at the news chiron in "Hated in the Nation", you can see that people are protesting, to the point the park is now embroiled in a court case.
    • In part one, to get through the door and chase Victoria, the "hunter" has to break a window. It is implied that exactly the same routine is done day-in day-out. It would be awfully expensive to replace a window (especially of that size) every day. And ordering and replacing new windows takes time too. It couldn't have been realistically delivered and fitted by the time Victoria takes to wake up to rinse n' repeat.
      • If he has to break the window every day (or at least on a regular basis), they may have a stock of windows ready to go. It's also most likely not real glass, but the kind of fake glass used in movie productions.
    • And for a meta Fridge Logic, the show was obviously criticizing the "Media Circus" effect, when news programs exploit and sensationalize tragedy for ratings. Except... other than social media, news media hardly ever comes up in the episode. And the one time it does, it actually serves to clarify the fuzzier details of the plot and back story. Essentially doing the job that the show wants to imply it's strayed away from. WHOOPS.
      • That's probably intentional. Brooker told Ken Plume that Twitter and its mob mentality are far, far worse than anything even the worst and most sensational crusading tabloid could manage. It's not about the media circus, it's about the mob mentality.
  • Fridge Horror: A minor example; The White Bear Justice Park has at least a whole estate of houses in its vicinity for its audience to watch Victoria from. How many people were evicted so that the park could be created? Made worse by the fact they were council houses for the financially disadvantaged.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Victoria is a convicted criminal who assisted in the murder of an innocent little girl. Her punishment, however is to be trapped in a And I Must Scream scenario where she is removed of all her prior memories and endlessly tortured by a false narrative that is closely railroaded and made into a spectacle. People still aren’t sure whether her fate was deserved or not.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Turns out that Victoria's crossed it before the episode's events, by helping to kill a little girl. Then her oppressors with what they do to her, and the general public with their glee over her fate easily match her score.
  • Nightmare Fuel: If Victoria's endless screaming isn't annoying, you can also find it to be utterly spine-tingling, especially considering the fact this isn't the first time it's happened to her nor will it be the last.
    • Then there's also the fate of the little girl Victoria helped kidnap and kill that earned her this fate: she was burned alive, all the while, Victoria just recorded it! Also counts as a Tear Jerker.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Somebody wants to murder you. Nobody will help you.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Having all of the protagonist's memories finally pieced together allows for this through Fridge Logic and Fridge Brilliance.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Has more than a few shades of Stephen King's The Running Man.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: If you subscribe to the "an eye for an eye" philosophy, you might find yourself sympathizing with whoever came up with this sort of punishment for someone complicit in a child's murder, and with everyone doing their part to make it happen, including the audience. True, it remains debatable whether it has any lasting effect on the perp thanks to the frequent mind wipes, but it can be oddly satisfying to watch anyway.
  • The Woobie: For some, Victoria, if you were still on her side by the end of the episode...


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