This “White Christmas” episode was a one-off event released on December 16, 2014, a special extended-edition episode released to the people of England clearly for the sole purpose of numbing them into submission.
For friends new to this series, this is the one I will always recommend as a starting point. If you manage to sit through these 90 minutes and can appreciate what you just witnessed, then, yes, you are indeed worthy and capable of watching the remaining twenty-one episodes.
We are introduced to their world of ‘cookies’: digital clones of a human mind transported into an egg-shaped device, to be used as your slave for mundane activities such as turning on lights or starting a toaster. A sort of ‘Alexa’ technology, except inside it is a perfect copy of the human mind. A fully-functional copy, with all of the emotions and intelligence of the original person. What could possibly go wrong?
There’s no getting around it: this is a spoiler alert, as the climactic events of this episode have to be described here.
“White Christmas” concludes with the main character’s‘ cookie’ confessing to his crimes of murder, banishing his human self to prison. The officers-in-charge are left to debate how to deal with the guilty party’s digitized cookie.
They set the timer on the device to play out at the rate of one thousand years for every sixty seconds of real-time. Yes, to be clear: ONE THOUSAND YEARS. PER MINUTE…. for this being residing inside the egg.
The episode closes with a view inside the egg, where the man will be hearing the same Christmas song over and over and over again, for how many years? Thousands, tens of thousands. Do NOT do the math.
This one will stick with you for weeks at a time, though I can attest quite strongly that the episode never actually leaves you. Someday you’ll be doing laundry, or driving to work, and will suddenly remember: “Oh, right…that episode happened. I’m now going to be totally useless for the rest of the day.”
The technology of the Black Mirror universe is not quite here yet, and some of it does stretch the limit of believability. But if you appreciate rich storytelling with relentless somber twists, these episodes should be a permanent part of your Netflix library.
Just remember that a recovery period is a prerequisite for surviving the experience.
Besides the fact these episodes are examples of the bleakest moments of this award-winning series, they are all very much worth watching. If you like your programs dark as much as I do, then these are certainly perfect for your tastes.
In terms of ranking just these five episodes overall, it’s a difficult task, but I’ll go with:
As for overall:
Black Mirror, available now on NETFLIX