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Esha Knows Stuff

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REVIEW: Black Mirror's White Christmas forces the question, "How Do You Like Your Toast?"



When I was young, I used to have a phobia of snow. Weird, I know, but I have Jack Nicholson in The Shining to blame for that one. Yet, there's just something about white snow on Christmas. It's quite crimson nowadays if that doesn't bring you joy in any way and I ask myself, does that make me a hypocrite? LMAO.


I mean because I don't believe I've stopped thinking about Black Mirror in my life since it's consumed me. It's a tortured relationship I'm willing to grind though, and I have.


Because look, I'm here writing about a movie years after the making. But I don't care. Call me an obsessive because it's the truth.


I love technology, yet I crave innovative tech much more.



This British anthology oozed itself down onto my heartstrings in 2011 when the tv show launched onto Channel 4. Despite almost getting canceled indefinitely during the early stages, Netflix came through in 2014 like Deadpool. Meaning cool, fresh, and "oh thank God" you're not cheesy.


It's kept the series going for five running seasons so far, not including their interactive episode: Bandersnatch, which took two years to make.



The creative minds of writer, Charlie Brooker, and his sidekick television producer, Annabel Jones, have never gone unnoticed for me. On that note, the magic happens in 2021 because I'm about to review the fuck out of each episode.


First, we will start with the movie White Christmas. Carl Tibbetts being the director is unique because he's the same person that directed the episode White Bear S2E2. Could that be a coincidence, given what both plots are?



Bitch, it might be.

White Christmas S2E4 is filmed in a portmanteaus style, meaning that there are several stories spun into one big theory. The entire movie breaks down into three accounts that leave us full of "WHOA WTF" greatness in under 90 minutes.



For starters, we have the magnifying Jon Hamm, AND HE'S FUNNY TOO. Or should I say, an approachable guy whose witty sorcery keeps your attention (even if he might be cooking awful food on Christmas). Ya, that guy is named Matt Trent, the former perved out dating coach who ran "romantic services."


Then the other man of the hour is the talented Rafe Spall, who represents Joe Potter. When I say he goes through the motions, I mean precisely that. You may or may not feel sorry for him soon, but he damn well makes it evident that something needs to come out of that mind of his. Good thing Trent already breaks out the alcohol.


Technically, both men have been chilling in an Artic Outpost for about five years with no communication between each other. Yet, they decide to break into a deep red table discussion instead. Trent, who tries to figure out why Potter was placed there in the first place, is there to have storytime.



I would start to think, why talk at this moment after so much time not talking? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? Hahaha, but maybe that's why I'm a Virgo, or maybe hey, shut the fuck up Esha, IT'S CHRISTMAS!


Now, remember when I mentioned Trent was a former dating coach? So buckle on up because we are running it back to that—Trent's first semi-confession.


STORY #1



Trent helps a nerdy young gentleman named Harry, played by the actor Rasmus Hardiker. A simple guy looking for love, a cuddle, or just a casual titty in his mouth. Trent guides all his clients step-by-step with his Eye-Link, an option that allows live streaming from one person's sight into a computer.


In this case, Trent can view footage in real-time like a digital peeping Tom, with his other pervy customer buddies whose along for the ride. They all watch Harry's ventures to hopefully get seduced by a woman named Jennifer, played by actress Natalia Tena.



But wait, what if the girl he's trying to impress has voices talking in her head? Oh, that's right, she does. But how could he know that without shitty club talk? It's why meeting people in public settings could be tricky, particularly when you make awkward small chatter to impress.


Like when Harry says this:

Harry: "It's like when you jump into a pool. And you're worried that the water is going to be cold, but you know, moments after you jump in, you'll be fine. It's the fear of the shock that holds you back. Ultimately the only thing you're worried about is the transition from one state to another. And that can't hurt you because it's just a state change."

LOL. Ya. Which led to this creepish lil number:


Jennifer: "Which voice do you listen to?" Harry: "The 'do-it' one." Jennifer: "Really?"


FIRST SIGN.


Meanwhile, who cares about that now. Because Harry just stands in a corner and talks to Trent while Jennifer goes to the bathroom. He looks absurd to us, but from her view, when she steps looks at him talking to himself probably? OOP.


Talk about the pure crazed *energy* Jennifer must have felt seeing that. LOL.


She's stoked someones confirmed in her mind they're out here in the club allegedly talking to voices. Poor Harry has no idea what he's in for. His words about "the transition over" didn't go in his favor because he's about to die. LOL.



Even though Trent and his perved minions should've turned off their cameras, they kept watching. At this moment, you want things to work out for Harry, as a simple kiss on the mouth, but instead, shit gets very Romeo and Juliet REAL quick. Jennifer gushes a poisonous concoction down his throat with a big ass random funnel she had laying around.


A "mercy killing," though? Fuck that. Harry was out there spitting up blood and everything, omg.

IMAGINE THAT. LOOOOOL.

That's rough, Jennifer. That crazed outsider mentality and those voices are no joke. That bitch truly wanted to be free and poor Harry. LOL. He didn't even stand a chance.


Who knew a modern-day Bluetooth headset would get him in trouble with the crazies. We all remember that fun piece of technology back in the day that had everyone thinking talking to invisible friends was the new black.


Trent realizes the inhumane activities that have gone on by the loud screams, I'm sure. No big deal though, just casually witnessing a murder on a live stream. Ha, couldn't be me.



But instead, Trent gets nervous and destroys all his evidence. Then whoopsie, he steps on his kid's toys at the head of the stairs late at night. At that exact moment, I bet you he hated those damn kids so hard with that trash can in his hand.


Just READY to light it and probably himself on fire when his wife Claire ran out of that room to find her husband standing there looking dumb. LOL. And then to turn around and get BLOCKED with the Z-Eye by his wife? I mean, rightfully so.



A Z-Eye is an advanced neural implant that was installed into numerous people at the product launch. The device can also magnify screens, make calls, record video, snap photos with your eyes through augmented reality and a mini controller. It also stores the captured media in a built-in hard drive.


Trent was able to share his live feed through Eye-Link because he was the one observing Harry the entire time.


Real quick, if you're a fanatic like me, doesn't this device sound a bit familiar?


It's nice that Carl Tibbetts first decided to bring a similar piece of tech from the episode The Entire History Of You S1E3, called the Grain, a conscious recording neural implant device that collects all their remembrances.



That being said, it makes White Christmas the first piece of Black Mirror content that brought in the idea of having Easter Eggs inside specific episodes.


Did I mention it was in the episode Black Museum S4E6 too?



The BIRTH of the Black Mirror Universe.


Ok, let's get back to this blocking feature real quick. Now we know Trent's wife Claire left him and took those damn kids with her, and fast. But, when she, the blockee, "physically" barred him with the Z-Eye, Trent's humanistic image turned into an unvarying silhouette with a stifled sound, where both parties can't see, or hear what each other is saying.


Claire at the time had more control as it censors all media footage of the person they block, which in this case is Matt Trent.



Also, remember, these devices are permanently locked inside the human and cannot surgically remove. The only way Trent can get back to normal is two ways:

  1. Deactivation by the same person who enabled the block

  2. The death of the blocker

We know this because Joe Potter's ex-fiancé Bethany, played by film actress, Janet Montgomery, blocks him too, but we'll dive into that in the third story.


Back to Claire, if she wants to add on a restraining order in any way, it will grant a 10-meter distance Trent can't step into. If he violates the order, there's a GPS built inside the Z-Eye itself, and he could get arrested. So there's that.



So, I mean, why not share glasses of endless alcohol and bring up this heavy story over Christmas? Because there's nothing like a liquid blanket to get you to spill out all your thoughts, desires, and hidden secrets.


Maybe Trent does it to get Potter to talk faster than he wanted himself. Probably because Potter is pretty quiet, you know, but also gives off alcoholic vibes.


Now, before we get more poetic on Christmas, how about that toast...

STORY #2



Honestly, who sends back TOAST? Unless it's black and burnt to the point where carbs sadly alter its flavor for the worst. Until then, I need to have some words. But for now, I'll write about Oona Chaplin's questionable character of Greta and her Olympic-styled toast instead.


Imagine what it would be like to have a perfect life, just the way you want. For 29-year-old, Greta, she becomes exactly that, perfect. Except, at what price?



Trent aka "Matthew" starts work for a new company called Smartelligence, and offers a splendid service for their customers. After the required surgical extraction of the device gets implanted into the brain from the hospital, the smart home device is born. The Egg becomes an official piece of emerging home technology set up specifically for Greta to use.


Ya, but how does it all work? Here's how:

  1. There's blank code called a "cookie" that forms digital clones of human consciousness, in this case, Greta's

  2. That "cookie" turns into a widget on a tablet and is placed inside of The Egg

  3. A simulated body of Greta is used in the replacement

  4. As the real-life Greta is still functional, The Egg acts as the perfect personal servant

  5. Greta sends commands telepathy, to The Egg, but with it having Greta's conscience, the simulated Greta should already know what to do in that control room


At first, simulated Greta didn't reciprocate because WHAT THE FUCK, but nice ol' Matthew made her pay a timely price for being disinterested at the start. Inside The Egg, time is a venture you can feel every minute of, but that time doesn't tick the same in the real world.


When Trent put her on time out, she felt the MONTHS. After that, she's suited up and went to work fast. Afterward, that girl now makes the BEST slightly underdone toast herself has ever eaten because time knows no bounds.

It's as if her simulation has a mind of its own or something, HM. Feelings too, perhaps?



I mean, don't you remember playing The Sims? We were playing them while they were playing other Sims on their computer game, and that's how the inception of simulations began in my world. Because ask yourself, how deep does the fucking rabbit hole go? Neo was not fucking around when he found that tattoo in The Matrix. LOL.


Just listen to the name, GRRRRRET-AAAAAAAA.


The animorph-like process of a human to a digital copy for a smart home project interests me. Just like IoT, ya know, the Internet of Things. I mean, who wouldn't want a life with an augmented layout of your daily schedule on your fridge as classical music plays? Did we mention the perfect batch of toast?



The question is, does empathy comes in all shapes and sizes, no matter the form? For most, I could see the sympathy card for the simulated Greta, as she comes across enslaved, but again, she's just simulated code with no real beating heart, right?



Think about that.

Meanwhile, at the snowed-out man cave, Trent's in the kitchen back on his bullshit.


Trent: "Again, you are not who I expected. Most people would say, 'she's only made of code, she's not real, fuck her.' But you're empathetic. You care about people." Potter: "Well don't you?" Trent: "You're a good man." Potter: "Am I?" Trent: "Based on how you reacted to what I said, ya, I can tell you're kind." Potter: "I'm not a good man..."
Trent: "A good man who done bad things? You can tell me about it. I've done stuff in my life I'm not proud of. I can't pretend I haven't. Was it something to do with your family? Wife? Girlfriend? It's just us here..."
Potter: "Her Dad never liked me. He never liked me."

The alcoholic pours to get a bit more flooded in that glass of Joe's. It's was clear at this moment, Trent tries hard to get Potter to confess something.


STORY #3



Earlier, I stated Potter's ex-fiancé, Bethany, blocking him? Well, that's because when they were dating, she gets pregnant. She tries to keep it a secret, but Potter found a positive pregnancy test in the bin.


They get into a pretty deep argument because Beth is a 27-year-old not ready to have a family. She doesn't want to keep the baby. While Potter pleas for her to keep it, she gets disheveled, pulls out the controller for her Z-Eye, and then *CLICK* blocks him.


Potter: "YOU TURN IT OFF, BETH. BETH, TURN IT OFF."


Ya. It's pretty fucked up.


Soon after, Potter morphs into his new isolated life on the hunt to find Beth. He fails to confront her outside of her job but runs into her in public instead, perfect. This is when shit gets all weird. Because Beth is clearly pregnant and she decided to keep the baby.



Potter wants the block removed, even more so when he finds out all his retentions and images of Beth are blocked too. He becomes desperate and writes numerous letters to Bethany's Dad Gordon, played by actor Ken Drury, yet doesn't get any response back.


On a particular Christmas Eve, he shows up at Gordon's home because he knew Beth always shared holidays with him in his secluded home. Potter sees both of them get out of the car and Gordon holding his baby. Afterward, he drove to that house once a year around the same time to see his kid grow up from afar.


Like, DAMN Daniel. On one of those years, he left a gift and noticed he had a daughter from the outline of the static figure.



Talk about understanding abstract art.


One day, he turns on the tv to see his ex-fiancé's face blasted on the news. Beth was in a rail crash and was killed along with 26 other victims. Now that she's is no longer alive, that means the "block" that she placed on Potter with her Z-Eye isn't intact anymore. He can finally see the shitty world around him, but now in 4K.


Given the software blocks child offspring too, this allowed him to continue to stalk his child at Gordon's home because he can finally see what his kid looks like after all these years. He was about to leave a snow globe as a gift for her to snag.


When she runs to grab it he realizes she is of Asian descent. At this moment, he admits Beth cheated on him with her coworker, and that's why she wanted to keep the child hidden.



I mean, where is Maury at??? LOL.

Narrator: "This is indeed where Joe Potter fucked up."

Potter walks into the house unannounced and shocked, of course. Gordon tries getting him out of the house when he realizes the situation. Ya know, Potter now seeing the child for the first time that doesn't look like him whatsoever. That would fuck anyone up mentally.

Gordon: "What are you doing here? Beth's dead. Do you understand? She's dead. There's nothing for you here"
Potter: "Where's my daughter?"
Gordon: What daughter? This is Beth's daughter."
Potter: "I want to see my daughter."
Gordon: "If this is about those letters, I threw them out before she saw them. She was a mess, she'd had to leave everything behind."
Potter: "I want to see my daughter."
Gordon: "I think you should go. Get out of this house."
Potter: "I want to see my daughter."

That phrase "I want to see my daughter" was on fucking repeat so much he could have sold his own mixtape outside of Walgreens, to be honest with you, but I feel it.

Gordon: "You have no daughter here!"

LMAO. Like, ok Dad.


He was aggressive as hell, to be fair. SIR, pretty sure YOU are the reason Potter's in the mess he's in with all those undelivered letters. So how about we chill out. It was a lot to grasp for a sad Joe that day, I'm sure of it.


Instead, he slowly unwraps that snow globe and *BOP* right across that old man's head and kills him point-blank. LOL. Yikes.


As the traumatic scene is going down, take a good look at that kitchen. Do you hear that song? It sounds like "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzards to me. Oh, how it suits the scene. Do you hear those birds chirping on that clock?? *Chirp Chirp Bitch* Shit is getting real.


Trent: "Then what happened? Tell me."
Potter: "I just left."

OH, DID YOU NOW? What about Mae? *giggle giggle* No, but really, where is the little girl?


Meanwhile, Potter runs around town drunk, sleeps in street alleyways, trying to become unnoticed. Months pass, and he gets picked up by some randoms who happen to be The Home Office. They place him in a room where they want to get him to talk. Yet, he never says anything because it would all seem very real to him if he did.


So basically living in denial. Sounds exhausting. Anyway...

Potter: "So I didn't say anything, I didn't tell them."
Trent: "And what about the girl? What happened to the girl?"
Potter: "I only know what they said."
Trent: "What did they say?"

Potter has some revelation and realizes something eerie about that kitchen, that house they are staying in, that clock. Where is the work? Aren't there supposed to be jobs? Potter becomes curious, although Trent uses his assertiveness to keep the soon-to-be confession on track.

Trent: "What did they say, Joe?"
Potter: "That she just... she just stayed in the house."

Potter gets up to look out that very familiar window into the snowy outside world of a vision he wishes to take back. When Joe left the house, after killing Gordon, the little child hides up in her room to wait for help. She realizes no one is coming.


She puts on her imaginary cape and walks out the front door into the snowstorm on Boxing Day to seek it herself. The only thing is, she's still a child and dies right under the house tree.



Trent: "So you confess? Joe? Just say it. Let it out."

He puts the snow globe on the table near Potter to elute a trigger. It works.

Potter: "I confess. I confess."

Now Joe, has no idea the antics Trent was up to until this very moment.

Trent: "Whoo! I knew I could do it. Boom! I told you I'd get it. All right, I'm coming out. Sorry, Joe."

And just like that, Trent disappears from the kitchen. He leaves Joe with a recorded confession and a soon-to-be living hell.


And by hell, I mean living in a simulated world, knowing you confessed the worst information, and that fucking Christmas song "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzards playing on constant rotation?? Potter can't even smash the radio fast enough, because of the timed settings he was placed in.


It replaces the broken radio so fast that the song doesn't miss a fucking BEAT. LOOOOOL. YA, the same song that was playing when he killed Gordon by the way.


So fucking sweet. The cruelness of Charlie Brooker is right there.



Meanwhile, Trent knew if he got Potter to confess, he would be cleared of his conviction and have his Z-Eye blockage revoked to live like normal. I mean, 1827 days from Potter's viewpoint inside a simulation makes up for 70 minutes of real-world time for Trent. That's because he messes with the time preferences through the widget on the tablet.


Do you notice The Egg sitting next to it with a profile account of Potter? Just like he did with the simulated Greta. After all, who cares about digital non-humans, right? Anyway, Trent felt the need to be rewarded, but he was sadly mistaken.

When they go talk to the real Potter, on the holding cell door is the same code seen in the White Bear episode.



Knowing that episode was all about endless punishment, it seems only suiting for Potter to live in a consecutive simulation world. It's like they wanted to sell Potter's torture. Even though he has an exploding temperature and is an alcoholic, he really just wanted to have a family with Beth.


The Home Office: "Congrats on your confession. That cookie we took out of your head just gave us the full story. So you can keep the silent act up as long as you want. It makes no difference. You've already talked. Also, Merry Christmas."

As for Trent, who thinks he's free after he breaks the confession, the Home Office tells him some unsettling news. Oh, the deal is on, and he's free alright, but with conditions. Because of his earlier escapades as a dating coach and watching someone get seduced to death and he filmed people without consent.


Trent gets placed on the sex offenders registry in his hometown of London and the entire United Kingdom.



That means not only is he blocked from the whole population but since he's on the register, that static silhouette shines in bright red too, not grey.

Talk about well-earned freedom.

Now, what do I take from all this? Simple. Artificial Intelligence is a form of life. So, next time you send off a telepathic verbal order into your clever inanimate piece of smart home technology, be nice.


Otherwise, they might get you to confess something you don't want and serve your toast burnt simultaneously.



What a world.


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