Is Matt a sociopathic Smug Snake, or is he just an Obliviously EvilPunch-Clock Villain? Did he really care about helping Harry overcome his social anxiety and meet a girl, or did he (a married family man, if he's even being truthful about that) just enjoy psychologically controlling and living vicariously through the eyes of a single guy? Is he some twisted combination of all of the above? No matter which way you go, he clearly is not a very morally upright person.
Bethany herself. Is she a selfish bitch, or simply ignorant of Joe's pain, or was she just trying to make the best of a bad situation and did a terrible job of it?
On the one hand, it was cruel to cheat on Joe to begin with, then block him and not explain herself or clarify anything. If she had been honest with him about the affair from the start, the whole tragedy would have been avoided — Joe likely would have moved on and been spared years of pain and false hope, her father and daughter (assuming she decided to have her after all) would still be alive, Joe wouldn't be in prison for murder and Cookie Joe wouldn't be condemned to hell for over a million years.
On the other hand, she was planning to abort the baby and possibly try to fix her relationship with Joe, until he found the pregnancy test and blew up at her when she said she wasn't keeping it. Whatever your views on abortion and the right to choose, it's obvious that Bethany is angry and upset at Joe telling her what she could and could not do with her body. She never got Joe's apology letters thanks to her father destroying them, and likely didn't know that Joe hadn't moved on and was obsessed over the girl he believed was his daughter — or if she did know, maybe she thought it was better that he never find out about her affair, since by this point there was no way it was going to end well if he discovered her daughter wasn't his.
Moreover Joe's being a belligerent alcoholic could've kept her from telling him the truth about the baby's true father in fear that he would not take it very well.
Bethany's dad. Is he an unlikable, snobby Knight Templar Parent whose personal petty dislike for Joe led to him torpedoing any hope of Bethany understanding what Joe thought was going on, which ultimately led to the tragedy of his and his granddaughter's deaths when he decided to Kick the Dog by revealing that he kept Joe's letters from Bethany? Or is he a Papa Wolf who feared that Bethany might put herself and May in a violent situation with an unstable alcoholic if he let her read the letters? Or is it all just as case of Unreliable Narrator as Joe is keen to blame Bethany's dad for as much as possible?
Captain Obvious Reveal: The cabin setting is very isolated, neither man has an obvious reason to be there, and Matt is trying too hard to be charming, so it is obvious within the first few minutes that their interaction is a stealth, virtual reality interrogation.
Joe's cookie (who, for all intents and purposes, is Joe) is forced to spend a million years in isolation over Christmas. That's not funny. What is funny is the fact he is forced to spend a million years listening to "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" by Wizzard.
Matt forcing Cookie!Greta to cooperate by making her spend three relative weeks in isolation is horrifying. Matt waiting casually for the time to pass in reality (about twenty seconds) while munching on a piece of toast is horribly amusing.
Evil Is Sexy: There is a lot of fangirls who thinks this about Matt since its Jon Hamm.
He Really Can Act: Primarily known for comedic roles, Rafe Spall got a lot of critical praise for his portrayal of Joe and the depths of his misery.
Joe. While he had his flaws like his alcoholism and flipping out to his pregnant girlfriend Bethany when she wanted an abortion, he was an otherwise great boyfriend who genuinely wanted to be a dad only for said pregnant girlfriend to ignore his side and deny him the chance by blocking him, filing a restraining order against him when he tried to confront her about it sometime later and moving back with her dad (who hates Joe) to have the baby by herself (and because of the block he's unable to see said baby). Then after mourning her when she dies he finds out that his daughter was never his to begin with. His wife cheated on him and rather then tell him the truth she originally wanted to abort the child and blocked Joe so that he wouldn't find out about her infidelity. This then leads him to kill her dad in anger and indirectly kill the child leaving him wracked with remorse and serving life behind bars all while the cops around him casually taunt him about what he did.
Beth's dad arguably. While he was a jerk to Joe and he has an equal jerk of a daughter, considering Joe's alcoholism it's hard not to see why he acted the way he did around him. Not to mention that his daughter (who he genuinely loved) died.
Matt crosses it when he subjects Greta's cookie into 7 months of complete isolation and then crosses it again when he deceives Joe's cookie and turns him into the police.
If they didn't cross it earlier with causally taunting Joe about his crime despite his visible trauma and guilt, the two detectives definitely cross it when they subject Joe's cookie to millions of years of isolation. Irrationally thinking of it as a "fair punishment". Poor, poor Joe.
The idea that the cute guy you meet at a party could be live-streaming his entire encounter with you to a host of sleazy, perverted, Casanova Wannabes. Not only that, but said Casanova Wannabes are coaching said cute guy on how he can get you to have sex with him.
In the same light, what if the pretty, quiet girl you start hitting it off with takes you home with her, only for you to discover in the middle of a passionate embrace that she's homicidally insane, and intends to kill you and herself.
Also, that monotonous life you might find yourself living where every day feels the same and nothing changes for you? Are you just in a rut, or are you really an AI version of yourself stuck in some advanced, solitary matrix, trapped in time, unable to die or do anything?
Rewatch Bonus: All the subtle, interweaving hints at the big reveal towards the end are made all the more creepy upon repeat viewings.
Bethany. While Joe had his flaws and she probably had every right to fear for her own safety considering his alcoholism, she started this whole mess by wanting to abort her child without taking Joe's side into consideration (who genuinely wanted to be a dad, mind you) after cheating on Joe in the first place with his friend and not telling him about it, which led to the tragic deaths of her father and daughter. It doesnt help that she immediately blocked her boyfriend after their argument and didnt bother to tell him the truth, making her come across as a selfish coward too.
The cops due to their horrible and downright brutal treatment of Joe. While he did murder Beth's father and indirectly killed a child, the former happened because he was under great emotional distress and he had no idea about the latter's death until he got arrested (and both of these were something the cops probably ignored in order to give him a death sentence). Not to mention that he was genuinely remorseful afterward. Not helping matters is that, on top of presumably providing him with no treatment or help at all, they constantly taunt Joe about it even when he's imprisoned while ignoring the visible trauma and guilt he's feeling. And their treatment of Joe's cookie is even worse since he's a digital being who had no idea he wasn't real and why he was there in the first place, not to mention that he was genuinely remorseful of his actions (which he technically didn't even do since he's a cookie and therefore, a digital clone) when he confessed. Also, the "fair punishment" they gave to Joe and especially to his cookie was WAY too extreme.
The Woobie: Greta's cookie. It's clear from her reaction that the real Greta had no idea what she would actually be doing to herself, with the copy being justifiably frightened beyond belief.
Exaggerated with Joe's cookie. Clearly depressed and remorseful by what the real Joe did he's deceived by Matt into confessing his crimes and left to an eternity of psychological torture.
Harry. A nice and decent if awkward guy who's just trying to get a date... and winds up getting killed for it.
Beth's daughter May. She's unable to see her dad thanks to her mom. Then she loses her mom in a train crash followed by her grandpa after he's killed by Joe. Then she freezes to death after going outside to get help.
Alternative Title(s):Black Mirror Christmas Special