Black Mirror: White Bear
December 25, 2014 7:36 AM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Victoria wakes up and cannot remember anything about her life. Everyone she encounters refuses to communicate with her.
posted by oh yeah! (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was all I thought about for a week when I saw it. Just stunning. A classic example of Charlie Brooker's style. You think he's going one way, but he's going another and the final verdict is against all of us, damning us all to hell.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:02 AM on December 25, 2014 [8 favorites]

This episode was a wonderful mindfuck. Such a cruel thing to do for a society's catharsis.
posted by Catblack at 10:03 AM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, for some reason this episode didn't disgruntle me the way 'The National Anthem' did, even though it is probably more accusatory. The after-credit point of view switch was perfect.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:22 AM on December 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is pretty much my favorite Black Mirror episode. I knew something had to be up, because Charlie Brooker, but I didn't expect that. It blew my mind a bit.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:19 PM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I liked this one a lot.. up until just after the reveal, where it just felt stretched out and took a long time to not do much. Victoria's character in general might have been too passive and broken, they couldn't escalate from that. Or it may have just been I felt mad at the show for making Lenora Crichlow do so much screaming. Or maybe like, there needed to be something more special about this time through the process. I'm not sure why but it just fell apart for me.

The post-credit stuff regained some ground, but I'd kind of signed off on being eh about this one.
posted by fleacircus at 11:13 PM on December 25, 2014

This was probably my favorite episode so far and deeply, deeply disturbing. The same level of fucked-up as The National Anthem but possibly more disturbing because it didn't seem so far-fetched. Great episode.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:30 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a listicle out now, from The New Yorker, I think, purporting to rank all of the episodes of Black Mirror from worst to first. "White Bear" is ranked next-to-last, and is dismissed as having a mundane it-turns-out-the-good-guy-was-the-bad-guy twist.

I was absolutely gobsmacked anyone could get this story so wrong.

We're the bad guys. Us.

And what the story pulls off is so amazing that it counts less as a twist and more like a super heavyweight knockout blow of a rhetorical punch. It's the trick of making us not only identify with, but be desperately invested in the basic humanity of a child murderer, so much so that even finding this out about her doesn't forgive the violation of this humanity.

It calls us to the carpet, all of us who've ever wished to use technology, the justice system, the power of public scorn, or whatever else to shame, get revenge against, or wound criminals who are, after all, simply other human beings. It makes fools all of all people who'd call themselves decent people who would take any satisfaction in the misery of other human beings in the name of having evil people get "what is coming to them."

This is more than just a "twist," it's opening remarks, presentation of evidence and testimony, and closing statement in a damning case against our entire societal notion of what justice even is.

This episode isn't even simply good, IT IS IMPORTANT.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:37 AM on October 22, 2016 [14 favorites]

It occurred to me this morning that Jem and Damien's names are obviously meant to echo the names of Victoria's victim (Jemima) and boyfriend (Ian). It would be interesting to see if that twigs any sort of reaction or recognition in her, if I can bring myself to rewatch. This episode was amazing but I remember staring at the wall for a long time afterward.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:44 AM on November 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

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