“Black Mirror” is widely considered to be the technological “Twilight Zone” of our generation. It’s dark, it’s dystopian, it’s fantastic. I’ve been hooked since the first episode. But the relation of worlds/universes/timelines between episodes has become blurred. It’s not really clear how any of the episodes connect, if they do at all.
Or is it?
I sat down and finally took a very, VERY close look at the show and discovered something. Yet during my discovery, I was met with some upsetting news: showrunner Charlie Brooker has (supposedly, I can’t find the source) said that all episodes occur in their own universe. Whether this is false intel or a creator spouting untruths — I’m not sure. All I know is that when it comes to “American Horror Story” Ryan Murphy is the king of lies so I don’t know why it couldn’t happen on other continents.
Anyway, I’ve compiled a thorough list of evidence on how the “Black Mirror” universe is connected, and also a rough timeline. So sit down and strap in, because we’ve got some work to do.
Let’s start with…
The National Anthem, Season 1, Episode 1
There’s not much to say about this one. It doesn’t technically connect to a lot of other episodes as far as I can tell, but to set the scene, it’s important to note this:
The video that’s been uploaded which, obviously, is very timely to the episode’s constraints — a video of a Kate Middleton-type is shared and her fate is on a sort of timer — so that places us very squarely at the origin point of time. That, according to the show, is July 8, 2011.
Okay, that makes sense as to why we have no crazy dystopian future bullshit right? Definitely not one where people might be desensitized to politics because one of their highest political figures fucked a pig, right? Well, hang on to your hats because then we plunge headlong into:
The Waldo Moment, Season 2, Episode 3
So this might not seem the most natural progression but I have proof. This episode deals with the idea of a comedian-controlled cartoon character becoming a serious political figure (Donald Trump much?)
In it, failed comedian Jamie Salter is working as the voice behind an animated bear who acts as a trap for celebrities to think they’re speaking on a children’s show but are tricked into a Triumph The Comedy Dog-type joke. He begins campaigning against politician Liam Monroe, but eventually he realizes it’s a bad idea. Now, as for the timeline, you can see that these political debates take place in 2013:
Jamie decides to rebel against his handlers and Waldo, the cartoon bear, loses. Liam Monroe wins. Now, it’s important to realize that this takes place in 2013, for a few reasons. First of all, take a look at this billboard:
It might not mean anything, but it looks a lot like Abi from…
Fifteen Million Merits, Season 1, Episode 2
Right? It might not be her but god damn does it look like her.
The reason that’s important is because Fifteen Million Merits seems like it’s LIGHTYEARS in the future, like a future so far away we could never even imagine becoming purely human batteries for a higher power.
Now let’s switch gears, because we need to go back to:
The Waldo Moment
During The Waldo Moment, we see a news ticker that reads “Controversial ‘agitation’ art exhibition to close three weeks ahead of schedule” while the election of Liam Monroe is being announced. This, to me, sounds a hell of a lot like:
White Bear, Season 2, Episode 2
Yes, White Bear is clearly an agitation art exhibition. I mean, come on, a ton of people turn out to watch a woman in obvious distress and film it for their pleasure. Now, mind you, this is obviously near in time to The Waldo Moment due to the news reel, and that took place in 2013. Spectators in White Bear have iPhones of various models, whereas in other episodes like Be Right Back the phones are slightly more advanced. PLUS the calendar on the wall, which while it doesn’t display a year, the days in October match up to 2013.
So, this makes sense: The Waldo Moment is in 2013, and White Bear takes place in 2013 — simultaneously, but if the news reel is to be believed, then White Bear actually happened just prior to The Waldo Moment as it was shut down during the election.
Let’s go ahead to:
Be Right Back, Season 2, Episode 1
Phones look very advanced in this one, as do computers. Nothing ties much to other episodes except for this pregnancy test.
Which leads to:
White Christmas, Season 3, Episode 1
The pregnancy test isn’t exactly the same in this one, but it’s the same animation/result, just a different model of the test, which actually makes sense IRL because you can choose different brands and they all differ.
Now, this episode was where I finally started tying a lot of loose ends together.
The karaoke song that was sang by Beth was the same song sang by Abi in Fifteen Million Merits; the only reason that’s important is because “Hot Shots” is considered to be that generation’s “American Idol.” Beth sings “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is”, which wasn’t a popular song for a very long time — the original was produced in 1964. However, it’s the same song sung by Abi in Fifteen Million Merits. She becomes famous from that (even though it’s in the porn industry) but I feel like if that was how she was discovered, OBVIOUSLY that song would become famous. So think “A Moment Like This” from Kelly Clarkson — that’s the equivalent. So is Fifteen Million Merits not so far in the future after all?
That’s definitely what it would seem, because in the brief moment our narrator watches television, he flips through the “Hot Shots” special on Selma, the breakout winner from Fifteen Million Merits:
Then the Toy Soldiers segment also featured in Fifteen Million Merits —
Then, oddly enough, a shot of the television show from The Waldo Moment:
THEN, as though that weren’t enough, a little tidbit during the shot of the train crash:
Yeah, that says that MP Liam Monroe has claimed his Twitter account was hacked. That’s the same problem another political figure had at the beginning of the Waldo Moment — claiming that his Twitter account had been hacked. Also, the fact that Liam Monroe is in power (as he was elected to during The Waldo Moment) shows that White Christmas happens after both National Anthem and The Waldo Moment. Yet Fifteen Million Merits had to have happened prior to White Christmas, too, or at least very near it for the clips shown from “Hot Shots” to be relevant at all.
Reddit user Guteren, who put together their own well-informed article, noted that in the above screenshot, the other news tidbit next to the Liam Monroe scandal reads “Skillane appeal bid rejected.” Victoria Skillane is the main character of White Bear, and if you’ve seen that episode, you know she is a criminal who kidnapped and murdered a little girl. So since the White Bear art exhibit has been stopped and she’s no longer receiving punishment, it would appear she’s moved on to the sentencing phase of her trial, and her appeal in court was rejected.
So. We have been shown how all these seasons tie into each other. Which is bizarre, considering the amount of technology and its effect on civilization. Here’s the timeline, in my humble opinion:
The Waldo Moment
Fifteen Million Merits
Be Right Back
The Entire History Of You
The only thing that doesn’t tie in — and believe me, I looked — is The Entire History Of You, which is my absolute favorite of episodes. Like, above and beyond. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t connect? Either way, it’s absolutely fantastic and I hold hard to the idea that if the memory-recording technology it features existed we’d all be fucking nutcases.
But I DO think it takes place before White Christmas, and here’s why. In The Entire History Of You, the main technology involved is the Grain, which is implanted behind your ear and works through your eyes. But several characters throughout manage to remove it, and the tech seems voluntary, a luxury sort of like a smartphone where it’s expensive but EVERYONE has it. In White Christmas, Jon Hamm (VERY HANDSOME JON HAMM) explains that there is a similar, more advanced tech that works through their eyes — but you can’t remove it. That proves that the technology has advanced and perhaps even been utilized by the government, putting White Christmas at the tail end of the timeline.
So there you have it. There are far too many connections for Charlie Brooker to claim the episodes aren’t in the same universe. You can’t show multiple clues in multiple episodes then say it’s “just an easter egg.” I believe that White Christmas, the chief episode that proves the connections, acted as a fun way to show that — indeed — these characters exist not only within the same dimension, but a fairly reasonable period of time.