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YMMV / Black Mirror: White Christmas

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Black Mirror YMMV
Christmas Special

Tropes related to White Christmas:

  • Accidental Aesop: If you're going to cheat on your partner, make sure you use protection; and if you get pregnant and don't want your partner to find out, do a better job of hiding the pregnancy test.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation
    • Is Matt a sociopathic Smug Snake, or is he just an Obliviously Evil Punch-Clock Villain? Did he really care about helping Harry overcome his social anxiety and meet a girl? After all, he did genuinely smile to himself when Harry showed natural chemistry with the girl he met. Or did he (a married family man) 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.
    • Was Matt even married with a daughter in the first place, or was he making up the fact he had a wife who left him to ease Joe into conversation? He's shown to be good at lying throughout the episode, yet he couldn't make up a reason to his wife as to why he was carrying a bin around in the middle of the night without going "I am the head of a gang of PUA's who watch each other having sex through our eyes and one of us just got murdered by his date"?
    • Is Joe Potter a relatable and sympathetic everyman brought to the Despair Event Horizon by the memory of the perfect life he lost, or is he a pathetic, obsessed stalker whose refusal to let go of the past and move on led him to become an irredeemable murderer?
    • Bethany herself. Is she a selfish bitch, or simply unaware 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 bluntly tell him she was getting an abortion, then abruptly end the relationship and block him after they got into a blazing row about the abortion, all the while refusing to 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 May 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 violently 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, and perhaps she felt the relationship was beyond saving at this point and it was better to make a clean break. She never got Joe's apology letters thanks to her father destroying them, so likely she 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. It might also explain why Bethany had the affair with Tim in the first place; it could have been an escape of sorts from an increasingly toxic relationship, and the fight over the pregnancy was the final straw which convinced her that she had to get out before Joe hurt her, or worse.
    • 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 something more is going on. Sure enough, their interaction is a stealth, virtual reality interrogation.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • 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.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Matt crosses it either when he subjects Greta's cookie into 7 months of complete isolation or 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.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • 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.
    • The way Matt just puts on the charm and starts hitting on Greta immediately after he just got done torturing her exact digital copy without a care in the world, and with the real Greta having no idea.
    • 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.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • 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 doesn’t help that she immediately blocked her boyfriend after their argument and didn’t bother to tell him the truth, making her come across as a selfish coward too.
    • Even Matt and his fate qualifies as this to some viewers. Despite his lack of caring for others and how he used to treat clones and humans alike, his fate of being blocked by everyone in society (being unable to see others or to be seen) is still painted in a somewhat sympathetic light and is meant to make you question just how deserving it is. While his fate is horrifying, we'd sympathize with Matt it wasn’t for the fact that he was a complete uncaring sociopath who treated humans and clones horribly alike, and the sheer horror he sent the innocent clones to without even feeling remorse, he was arguably even gleeful about it, which makes it hard to feel sorry for him when a similar fate happens to him.
  • 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.
  • Woolseyism:
    • When Matt is giving Harry information about a guest at the party he crashes to make it appear as if he knows him, he finds that the guest went to a party in the past and was wearing a pork pie hat, which Harry mishears as a "poor guy's hat". In the German and Ukrainian dubs, he instead mishears it as a "Popeye hat".
    • In the French dub, Matt describes the man's hat as a "chapeau rond" (Round hat). Harry mishears it as "chapeau con" and, as a result, tells the man that he was at a barbecue "with your stupid hat", causing the man to audibly go "What?"
    • In the Japanese dub, Matt refers to the man's hat in English (Pōkupaihatto). Harry mishears him as saying "Ponkotsu hatto", which roughly translates to "piece of junk hat".

Alternative Title(s): Black Mirror Christmas Special