Joe Potter (Rafe Spall) wakes up on the Christmas Day and finds his talkative co-worker Matt Trent (Jon Hamm) preparing the Christmas lunch. They have been working together for five years in a remote outpost in the middle of nowhere. Joe does not like to talk much so Matt decides to break the ice on christmas by talking about their pasts.Matt begins narrating his story, – Matt worked as a love guru who via a live feed from a surgical implant in the eye (z-eye) helps his clients score in parties . In one such of his assistance, things go bad and the client gets murdered, Matt reacting out of fear deletes all records and doesn’t report the incident to the police. Matt’s wife eventually finds out and she blocks Matt;Z-eye lets users block visual and audio inputs from specific people and when the block is enforced legally, it also applies to offsprings, so eventually Matt gets shut off from the only people that mattered to him.

black mirror

Giving in to Matt’s story, Joe Potter starts conversing and slowly starts unfolding secrets of his dark past, Matt keeps asking for more and Joe now enslaved by his emotions just goes with the flow and narrates the truly heartbreaking and unfortunate story of his life, where he goes from being the victim of infidelity to the accused of a murder. Joe’s story is unrelentingly sad, unfair, dark and by the time his narration ends you not only feel sorry for him but also feel scared with the grim future that ‘White Christmas’ portrays so convincingly.  The screenplay and the story is extremely engaging, riveting and hard hitting. The last time my mind was so engaged was when i was watching Inception for the first time. John Ham, Joe Potter who are two pillars of the story are extremely convincing in their performance , both of them bring the right amount of chill and realism in their characters. This realism in a dark science fiction is what brings in the chill and the goosebumps, The plot of ‘White Christmas’  is disturbing, cruel, intelligent and scary because you know this dark future has already knocked on our doors and we have willingly invited it in our lives.

Apart from the riveting plot and brilliant performance what also stands out is the hyper-realism of the dystopian future. Writer Charlie Brooker builds a futuristic plot but grounds it by extending the technology of today to its close cousin of the future, by which I mean that the future presented to us is so believable because it is just an extension of the technology we surround ourselves with today. Just to cite an example without giving away important plot points , the google glass of today is the z-eye of the dystopian future in Black Mirror, the blocks that we place on undesired people on facebook if extended to the z-eye results into blocking the presence of undesired people in reality which essentially means, if i am wearing a z-eye i can choose who and what i want to see, this may seem like a gift we all like to have but your opinion will surely change after you witness the pain that it causes to the characters of Black Mirror. Another such concept is the technology of the ‘cookie’ , which is a behavioral clone of person. It is essentially complex code which has mapped the brain of a particular person. Now, once a cookie is ready it can be uploaded to server and it becomes the best personal assistant you can have , because it is your clone . The only problem with that is that the clone when comes alive initially refuses to believe that it’s only code and not human . To make it believe that it’s just a software sometimes it has to be subjected to an eternity of boredom so that it cripples down into a tortured and robotic assistant . This torture sometimes renders a cookie useless and they are sold for cheap to video game developers, who extract whatever is left of the tormented code. That is a serious case of human rights violation on a code which thinks its human but is not.

Screen Shot 1937-11-16 at 10.30.50 PM

The plot of White Christmas is full of such anchor points, which will hold your thoughts for days. You will keep thinking about it and then eventually realize that human beings are the only beings capable of being tormented by their own inventions.

All the episodes of Black Mirror are available on Netflix .