Black Mirror: the end of White Christmas explained

black mirror, originally a show produced in Britain, was eventually picked up by Netflix. Before that, however, there was a special holiday episode, titled “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 unknown 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 then tells the story of Matt, a man who set up digital assistants that are essentially the mental clones of the people who buy these assistants. Matt essentially tortures them into submission, making the time in their digital environment pass like years and years without any kind of human interaction. Matt was also part of a group of men who live-streamed their encounters with women. Matt’s life takes a turn when one of the men on the stream is murdered by his date, followed by his suicide, while Matt and everyone else watches from their homes.


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

Things take a turn for the worse when Joe finds out she’s not his daughter, but rather the product of an affair with a friend of theirs. With the realization that the child is not his, an intense argument ensues between him and the girl’s caretaker, her grandfather. The argument leads him to kill the grandfather in a blind rage, with Joe fleeing. This is when the twist ends white christmas is revealed. As Joe finishes his story, Matt simply thanks him and leaves. It is revealed that just like the virtual clients Matt worked with to undergo torture in order to become a virtual assistant, he also worked on a virtual clone of Joe to confess to his crime. The virtual Joe, after confessing, is put into an infinite time loop as punishment, with the real Joe, who is in jail, being told that he confessed.

Pictures via Netflix

Matt, who was working on his crimes from the live dating service he was on, is released after doing what he promised and getting a confession from Joe. Unfortunately for Matt, his freedom comes with an unfortunate stipulation. Just as Joe was essentially erased from Beth’s life and became static, Matt walks out and only sees static figures and hears only garbled noise. As punishment for the murder/suicide he was essentially an accomplice to, Matt is forced to be erased from everyone’s lives, in addition to not being able to see anyone himself, he will be forced out of a life of loneliness . This dark ending to “White Christmas” displays many messages, questioning reality itself as well as people’s privacy and thoughts, including how said privacy in this age of technology is basically an illusion.

Technology’s incredible ability to bring people together can also do the exact opposite, isolating people from loved ones. This is shown, literally, at the end of the episode, which shows Matt being cut off from everyone, as well as the story of Joe estranged from his wife and what he thinks is his daughter. It’s because of all these themes and the amazing performances that “White Christmas” is one of the best episodes of black mirrorwith an absolute punch in the face of an ending that speaks to the dangers technology can pose to our social relationships.

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