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REVIEW: Black Mirror's The Entire History Of You Redefines Serial Monogamy At A Cost



Is there such a thing as knowing too much truth to the point where you're being tortured by memories of the past? Sure, we humans can handle all words, but filling in the gaps of uncertainty to the point of paranoia?... I mean, I guess.


We say that now until the situation arises, however for Black Mirror's Liam Foxwell played by the sexy and very talented Toby Kebbell, it was clear which side he chose.



Now just for a second, imagine living in a world where your life was run by a piece of technology implanted with a dose of local anesthetic into a slot behind your ear that records everything you see. The grain, manufactured by the company Willow Grain, is accepted by societal standards. Only the size of a literal grain of rice, this device was used for many things that could drive one mad. You're stepping in as a litigation lawyer trying to make it through your appraisals for a better job and in the back of your mind, you are thinking about your wife cheating because you have jealous tendencies.


Why is this a big situation?


Ok, let me break this down real quick.


The grain as we learned is a device used to record your visual memories of life and stories them into a digital hard drive. To use this, it's paired with a remote device called the "pebble." Having familiar swiping features as we use on a smartphone and/or trackpad, you can access past visions which is basically a memory box of everything.


One of the biggest features, besides zooming into the videos and replaying them through your contacts or an external screen, you're able to perform "re-dos". Not only are you in your bedroom reminiscing how things could have been, wow, just grab your pebble and click away.


Unreal.


We get introduced to Liam during a job interview that seems to be going swimmingly. It's clear in this scene that the grain is being used. Liam gets asked if he could prove his whereabouts by completing a big re-do a week later. Not having any recently deleted memories prior to that either is a must.


Nowadays, interviews aren't like that. Nowhere near where I rest my head at night. I mean, sure, they could search your social media profiles, but this is also real time. Seems like no matter if you try to keep your social life private, getting a job requires you to not fuck up.


OOF. The pressure.


Now let's talk about this airport scene...


Liam steps inside and checks into his flight. In order to do that, normally we'd show an id or passport depending on if you're flying out domestic or international. But this is Black Mirror bitch. So, he walked up to airport security and they asked him to show them his re-do of the last 24 hours with no recent deletions of memories.


Sounds familar?



Liam pulls out his pebble remote and proceeds as such.


Could you do it?


Meanwhile, on the computer screen I took some notes on the information collected during this scene besides the basics like flight info, name, and occupation while using the grain as further information:

  • Birth details

  • Family history

  • Flight history (12 months)

  • Re-do archives

Like I asked, could you do it?


Because wait—what's more daunting is that, as the re-do was scanning, you could see other humans apart of Liam's memory were being noticed by facial recognition.


This runs through the airport security. I'm most likely positive the remainder of things you're doing in the airport requires high standpoint. Wild shit. So no matter what what you're doing, your information is everywhere like a damn Gmail account if you're trying to catch that flight.


I'll be hitting a full topic on facial recognition through another review article when I get to Nosedive, but also it really does go there, even in the


Moving along, Liam gets through security and into his taxi that is GPS'd through voice recognition after he makes payment upfront with his pebble onto the mini tv screen ahead of him.


Liam arrives at the airport after stepping foot from a taxi that he paid with using the pebble. I'll get back to that, but real quick, inside the taxi on the way to catch his flight, a commercial for Willow Grain, which mentioned there was an upgrade that was available for their grain which would grant them "Full Spectrum Memory".


Willow Grain Commercial: "Live, breathe, smell. Full spectrum memory. You could get a Willow Grain upgrade for less that the price of a daily cup of coffee, and three decades of backup for free. Install ingrained procedure with local anesthetic and you're good to go, because memory is for living."

Heading to a friend's dinner while still in your interview clothes, I mean, do you boo, but these days that sounds very exhausting. Especially if you have to bring out your pebble right before knocking on the front door and reverse swipe to a time you met all these people at a previous event just to remember their name.


There is a room full of people, and this is where we meet Liam's wife Ffion aka "Fi" acted by actress Jodie Whittaker. Right away, you can tell Fi was having a conversation with a man we will learn named Jonas portrayed by Tom Cullen. We can see Liam zooming into their conversation while using the lip reading tool to listen to their conversation from afar.


Fi walks over, gives her kisses and hellos, then the gathering of the small talk between both men begins.


Jonas: "Hey."
Fi: "Jonas, this is, this is..."
Jonas: "Liam right?"
Liam: "Yeah."
Jonas: "Jonas. Dude, really nice to meet ya, how you doing? You alright?"
Liam: "Good. I'm good. Wicked."


As all friends are now gathered around the table for dinner, they dive into more of an optical conversation regarding the grain. It's interesting because Charlie Brooker really set the tone in making us understand what timeframe society was and how far ahead they were when it comes to the dominance of the uncanny valley.


During the dinner, the casual topic of relationships come up, Liam was getting vibes that Fi and Jonas might be more to the storing than she's let on. You can start to see Liam's slight jealous behavior showing being silent and stern with his stares and facial expressions.


Fi: "I'm a serial monogamist."
Jonas: "I'm a serial monogamist. I'm staying faithful to my cornflakes right now."
Fi: *he he ha ha HOE HOE*

Like, really? OK. Fi's shifty warm laugh breath shifts right down into her glass of wine while Liam looks on. You know at that moment he was thinking the same thing. LOL. I mean, damn girl.


And then Jonas speaks again on why he feels relationships are a sham:


Jonas: "They're like going to the theatre. You pay loads to go and ultimately you're wasting your entire night"

But also he goes on to mention...


Jonas: "I mean still by the end I'd be like 'Go on, honey, you go up, I'm just gonna watch a little bit more of the news', and I'd find myself, you know, watching re-dos of like hot times in earlier relationships."

Jonas is going on and on and on and Fi's sitting there looking rather flirtatiously into his eyes and eating it up his joke more than the food on her damn plate. Also everyone is laughing except for Liam who is calculated all of this and slowly becoming suspicious.


Hm. There might be a situation here.



Hear me out, I already fucking dislike Jonas.


Anyway, a grain-less friend walks through the front door named Hallom, portrayed by Phoebe Fox. She mentions her grain was violently gouged out about 12 months prior.


Given it's a norm to have a grain installed inside your body that's up and running and whatnot, if you shout out loud to say you're "grain-less" in a room full of others suddenly you're the fucking weirdo. LOL. That's Black Mirror shit right there.


Then the tone shifts.


A friend, Colleen, played by actress Rebekah Staton, works in grain development and gives her two cents on the matter from across the dinner table thinking she's going to change Hallom's mind into getting another grain:


Colleen: "You know half the organic memories you have are junk. Just not trustworthy... With half the population, you can implant false memories just by asking leading questions in therapy. You can make people remember getting lost in shopping malls they never visited, getting bothered by a pedophile baby they never had."
Hallom: "I'm just happier now."

The reason why I thought it was a bit interesting what Colleen was saying "half the organic memories you have are junk." I've always prided and believed it's important for us as humans to take time for ourselves, self-care, recharge, and even upgrade to be honest.


Like, rinse yourself. But the most alarming part was "you can implant false memories" that sounds pretty dangerous for the most obvious reason. Control.


Given the situation going on with Liam and Fi, it's quite different for sure.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

When they arrive home after shunning Jonas away, they meet the babysitter that takes care of their baby Judy. Which I've learned, also has a grain installed. Fi grabs her pebble and begins to check a re-do of content the babysitter Gina had with their baby.


This information is rather iconic because that means babies don't even have the choice whether they want the grain or not. It's an automatic ritual that society has engraved here. In that sense, its as if their future will already be planned for them which is kind of fucked up.


LOL. I mean, what do you think?


Away from that, the couple gets into a heated argument over the Jonas situation because Liam can't let his cheating suspensions go. Probably because Fi tells him she used to have a thing with Jonas back in the day.


Now this is when ingredients get added into the witches brew and gets stirred to flames.


Imagine all the re-dos that went down in that living room.


Liam: "King Jonas, Dormouse Dick of Marrakech, did your head in?"

It's clear the jealousy Liam faces is pathological because he just can't let anything go. He has to prove himself correct with everything, especially with his relationship with Fi.


Take that however you will.


So then they decide to have sex and in this scene while utilizing the pebble and experiencing old steamy sexual experiences with each other just to get in the mood.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

That should show you the state of where their relationship is at the moment.


Liam spends the rest of the night into the next morning already drinking downstairs going over re-dos of Fi and Jones from the dinner. This is what everyone else does during an occasional hangover, which is to embarrass oneself in front of others.


It's clear the jealousy Liam faces is pathological because he just can't let anything go. He has to prove himself correct with everything, especially with his relationship with Fi.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

Anyway, that didn't go well.


The obsession is growing over the details Liam is finding. But is it worth it? Trying to break the code and catch Fi in a lie. And he get's pretty damn close.


Fi and Liam argument leads to him driving down the road to good ol' Jonas' house. Because that is such a great idea when you're literally still drunk and confused with built up anger.


AMIRITE?


Liam now knows that Fi and Jonas had a longer relationship than he was previously told. As he shows up at the front door, he confesses to Jonas about the situation. You know, by busting in unannounced to his house with a bottle of alcohol and a strong attitude. LOL. Couldn't be me.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

Meanwhile, Jonas was also screwing Hallom because her sweet voice enters the room. That was after Liam went *BOP* across Jonas' head with his bottle of alcohol landing them both on the floor.


In the scene we see Liam with his head pressed onto the steering wheel. It looks like someone was drunk and had an car accident. OOPS. So now that the blackout is glitching into previous flashbacks, he remembers what the fuck he did at Jonas' house.


Real quick though, back to Hallom, if you listen closely to the 911 phone call, the police asks if she has a grain installed because they need to get extra information and footage. She mentioned no, and they immediately hung up on her. Let that be known of the power to having a grain and what it could mean in order to live in a safe community. Especially when you're walking around town and you feel someone in danger. You can't even call for help if you needed to. Let that sink in.


On that note, back to the bromance of Liam and Jones rolling and fighting on the floor, Liam demands to see Jonas's footage so he can free his paranoia then demands him to erase it.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

Jonas erases the memory and leaves the house.


Liam goes back home to confront Fi about the entire incident.


What she doesn't realize is that the footage from Jonas' memory matches one of the paintings in the bedroom. When he asks Fi to go back into her memories to confirm the same including dates, he realizes again it's the same painting. That was after she tried to delete the data beforehand, but that didn't work out so well for the cheating wife.


Before we move on to the next segment, let's think about this really quickly. Liam just went down a streamline of facts through multiple re-dos and connected the dots of his wife cheating.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

You have that much power within your cloud of data that you could always have access to the truth. No one would be able to lie about anything. Does that make Liam's paranoia justifiable? All the signs and energy were there. He felt that shit. I mean, didn't we all? It wasn't that he was asking for it. Fi should be the one in the wrong.


Jealousy is a natural reaction to overthinking. He thought his wife was cheating and he turned out correct. Did he take it too far by demanding the information? In a way, it sounds like a torturous life.


Moving forward into the next scene it's clear Liam is not having flashbacks of old memories of Fi being in the house. This is when things were good. The house felt lonely. However, Liam had a look of regret the entire time. Especially given he grabbed a knife and cut out his grain from the back of his ear.


I mean, if you think about it as mentioned above, the grain isn't just vision. Those flashbacks sends energy and he can feel that shit and smell if she had on her favorite perfume even.


He couldn't take the pain, so he would rather get rid of all the memories of her altogether.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

In my opinion, this is an example of a piece of technology taking over. Not necessarily adapting into a positive, especially when it comes to relationships and marriage of course. Some people can handle it, while many others can't. Some want to take things at face value, while others want to Carmen San Diego that shit. Do you, but you also have to handle what you will find.


It's important to have boundaries.


I don't need truth to the point of curiosity leading into a black hole of emotions. It's like having access 24/7. Yet for Liam, he needed it to drive him through the day. He couldn't let it go. He had to know. I believe in building on trust with someone and if they say something of where they've been I will take that for face value. I wouldn't suffer myself putting my marriage inside the box to be interrogated every day.


I mean I guess that's the catch 22, because he did find out the truth.


There are definitely pros and cons to this the grain is used for many other things too.


In regards to Liam, he lost the generational war of the grain by sticking the tip of the knife into the back of his ear and pushed through until his past life popped out in the sink.


Black Mirror Entire History of You Episode

it out because he couldn't handle the truth. There are ways in using technology for the benefit of if your mind is built enough to handle the possible bullets heading towards your trench to blast you into oblivion with the truth whether you want it or not.


That's wild.


I have too much anxiety. Would I get the grain? Yeah, but that's probably because I feel I can handle the boundaries of privacy or conversation vs sneaking behind someone's back and reacting to what I find whether good or bad.


Could you do it?

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