‘Black Mirror’ White Christmas Ending Explained: Technology Has Never Been So Isolating


Black Mirror, originally a British-produced show, was eventually picked up by Netflix. Before that, however, was a special holiday episode, entitled “White Christmas”. The last to be produced before being picked up by Netflix, this Christmas episode tells the story of two men, Matt (Jon Hamm) and Joe (Rafe Spall). For reasons unbeknownst to the viewer at the start of the episode, the two are stuck in a cabin on Christmas day and end up conversing about their past.


The episode proceeds to tell the story of Matt, a man who set up digital assistants who are basically the mental clones of the people who buy these assistants. Matt essentially tortures them into submission, making time in their digital environment seem like years and years have passed without any sort of human interaction. Matt was also a part of a group of men who live-streamed their encounters with women to one another. Matt’s life takes a turn when one of the men on the stream is murdered by his date, followed by her committing suicide, while Matt and everyone else watched from home.

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Finding some comradery with Matt, Joe begins to open to him and tell him his story about the discovery of his girlfriend’s pregnancy, and how it broke the relationship apart. Thanks to the technology called Z-Eye, (its similar to the grain technology in “The Entire History of You”), Joe’s girlfriend, Beth, electronically blocks herself from Joe, so that Joe only sees static in her place and hears nothing but static noises when she speaks, and vice versa for whenever she sees him. This blocking extends to anyone’s children as well, so their daughter is automatically blocked too. When Beth dies in an accident, the blocking is lifted from his daughter, and Joe sets out to finally see his daughter for the first time.

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Things go awry when Joe discovers it isn’t his daughter, but rather the product of an affair with a friend of theirs. With the realization that the child isn’t his, an intense argument ensues between himself and the daughter’s caretaker, her grandfather. The argument results in him killing the grandfather in a blind rage, with Joe fleeing. This is when the twist ending of White Christmas is revealed. With Joe finishing his story, Matt simply thanks him and leaves. It’s revealed that, much like the virtual clients Matt used to work with to torture into submission of becoming a virtual assistant, he has also been working on a virtual clone of Joe to confess his crime. The virtual Joe, after confessing, is put into an infinite time loop as punishment, with the real Joe, who is in prison, being informed that he has confessed.



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Image Via Netflix

Matt, who was working off his crimes from the live stream dating service that he was a part of, is set free after doing what he promised and getting a confession out of Joe. Unfortunately for Matt, his freedom comes with an unfortunate stipulation. Much like how Joe was basically erased from Beth’s life and becoming static, Matt walks out and sees nothing but static figures and hears nothing but garbled noise. As punishment for the murder/suicide he was basically complicit in, Matt is forced to be erased out of everyone’s lives, as well as not being able to see anyone himself, he will be forced to leave a life of solitude. This grim ending of “White Christmas” puts on display many messages, questioning reality itself as well as looking at people’s personal privacy and thoughts, including how said privacy in this age of technology is basically an illusion.


Technology’s incredible capability to bring people together can also do the exact opposite, isolating people from those closest to them. This is shown, quite literally, in the ending of the episode, which shows Matt cut off from everyone, as well as the story of Joe being separated from his wife and what he thinks is his daughter. It’s because of all of these themes and the incredible performances that “White Christmas” is one of the best episodes of Black Mirror, with an absolute punch to the face of an ending that speaks to the dangers technology can pose to our social relations.



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