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madey
Sep 17, 2007

I saved the Olympics singlehandedly


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cool kids inc.
May 27, 2005

I've never eaten squirrel, intentionally.



I'm bouncing this thread after this until I get the chance to see the episode, but this is exactly the kind of reaction I was hoping for.

repiv
Aug 13, 2009



College Slice

Anyone else feel like the first arcs ending was a complete non-sequitur? It wasn't a natural progression from the (ab)use of technology at all, she just killed him because she was insane.

v v

Irisi
Feb 18, 2009




God, Hamm is horrific in this. That mixture of insincere charm and blandly callous indifference is just brilliant.

Total Meatlove
Jan 28, 2007


Rangers died, shoujo Hitler cried ;_;


repiv posted:

Anyone else feel like the first arcs ending was a complete non-sequitur? It wasn't a natural progression from the (ab)use of technology at all, she just killed him because she was insane.

v v

There was a lovely symmetry. He didn't notice the really broken voices in her head because he was too busy listening to the real and broken ones in his.

repiv
Aug 13, 2009



College Slice

Total Meatlove posted:

There was a lovely symmetry. He didn't notice the really broken voices in her head because he was too busy listening to the real and broken ones in his.

I didn't get any murderous schizophrenic/dissociative vibes from her. If it was obvious to you maybe I need a panel of social advisors in my head

madey
Sep 17, 2007

I saved the Olympics singlehandedly


repiv posted:

I didn't get any murderous schizophrenic/dissociative vibes from her. If it was obvious to you maybe I need a panel of social advisors in my head

She wasn't acting how Jon Hamm expected people to act and was talking about having multiple people in her head even though the guy was obviously talking about his set up.

repiv
Aug 13, 2009



College Slice

madey posted:

She wasn't acting how Jon Hamm expected people to act and was talking about having multiple people in her head even though the guy was obviously talking about his set up.

Guess I wasn't paying attention then.

Matinee
Sep 15, 2007



There seems to be some weird Easter Egg thing going on. The song from 15 Million Merits, one of the pickup club had the screen-name I_AM_WALDO, and I might be crazy, but wasn't Hamm's wife the female lead from The Entire History Of You?

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Total Meatlove posted:

There was a lovely symmetry. He didn't notice the really broken voices in her head because he was too busy listening to the real and broken ones in his.

In that whole first section, listen to how many times Hamm talks about communicating. That's ultimately what does it. She's clearly mentally unwell, and that should be obvious to the audience, but the guy is so focused on getting his leg over.

Doug Sisk
Sep 11, 2001


Goddamn, that was great!
Very bleak ending, but I didn't expect any other kind.

TomViolence
Feb 19, 2013

PLEASE ASK ABOUT MY 80,000 WORD WALLACE AND GROMIT SLASH FICTION. PLEASE.



Perfect antidote to the shallow christmas cheer radiating from everything. The dissonance between the ad breaks and the content of the show was wonderfully bipolar.

madey
Sep 17, 2007

I saved the Olympics singlehandedly


TomViolence posted:

Perfect antidote to the shallow christmas cheer radiating from everything. The dissonance between the ad breaks and the content of the show was wonderfully bipolar.

I liked how there was an advert for hair products directly after a Charlie Brooker show.

Irisi
Feb 18, 2009



Jesus loving Christ, Charlie. There are really no happy endings in your world, are there? And no good people either; they all abdicate responsibility, or obsess to the point of madness, perpetrate vile, mean-spirited revenge, or are blind, coldand casually uncaring.

It was weak in places (Oona Chaplins' role was particularly slight, which is a pity given how good an actress she is), but the jabs at the ultra-modern embeddable technology and the "internet of things" were as sharp as ever.

And like Rafe Spalls' character, I don't think I want to listen to that Wizzard song ever again.

StarkingBarfish
Jun 25, 2006

Novus Ordo Seclorum


That was dark as gently caress, even for a black mirror episode.
John Hamm was good, but I felt they didn't do so good a job of highlighting/exploring the bleakness of his ending- being blocked by *everyone* is as great a torture as the dude left in cookie- humans are social animals and extreme isolation like that would be a massive psychological trauma.

Also, they totally glossed over the ethical implications of indenturing AI. I understand they were using the consequence to tell the story, but even on a black-comedy level they didn't really tie that up.

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

Well, I enjoyed it. The themes, as always, were bang on. The impossibility of communicating when one party can arbitrarily block the other . The idea that more people thrown at a complex interpersonal problem would 'solve' it rather than make it harder and miss the point. Our absolute and unflinching callousness towards people we cannot physically see or interact with.

These are all problems we deal with right now, online.

And jesus, the ending. I wish it could be Christmas everyday.

edit : to be honest, the whole 'enslaving AI' aspect is a whole other kettle of fish that could have it's own series. I mean, it's horrifying - literally - but thematically the series has always had enough on it's plate with people. Dumb, stupid people who are unable to live in the worlds they have created.

atal fucked around with this message at Dec 16, 2014 around 22:50

madey
Sep 17, 2007

I saved the Olympics singlehandedly


Jon Hamm definately got the rawest deal. Rafe's simulation was trapped and he was just going to prison right?

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

Yes. 1000 years every real-life minute over the Christmas break (traditionally 2-3 days).

Rafe's simulation is trapped in that room listening to that song for 432,000 years straight.

Personally I would just take the option to walk around like a PC in an N64 game, surrounded by blurry textures.

Pharmaskittle
Dec 17, 2007

EVEN IN DEATH I STILL SWERVE



Did this new episode drop on like, Netflix or anything, or is it all on television?

Juice Packets
Sep 22, 2005

They're Handy But They Leak Like Fuck!™

That was totally the song from Fifteen Million Merits that his ex was singing at karaoke, right?

Matinee
Sep 15, 2007



Pharmaskittle posted:

Did this new episode drop on like, Netflix or anything, or is it all on television?

It was shown tonight on Channel 4 in the UK. Not sure if there are plans for it to go up on Netflix any time soon, but I believe it's going to be shown on some US station or other over the Christmas period.

Republican Vampire
Jun 2, 2007



Matinee posted:

It was shown tonight on Channel 4 in the UK. Not sure if there are plans for it to go up on Netflix any time soon, but I believe it's going to be shown on some US station or other over the Christmas period.

It's going to become available on Christmas Day to people who use a Satellite provider called DirecTV.

McDragon
Sep 11, 2007



gently caress me, I think that might be the best one yet. Got some White Bear vibes with the overarching bit.

Also I joked to myself that he would be blocked in some special sex pervert colour and then it happened. I laughed.

I liked that it brought everything together in the end. Like even his terrible hosed up job was part of it, he was just using his talents for something else.

McDragon fucked around with this message at Dec 16, 2014 around 23:46

ElNarez
Nov 4, 2009


Juice Packets posted:

That was totally the song from Fifteen Million Merits that his ex was singing at karaoke, right?

And the TV had the talk show from The Waldo Moment, and a talent show that I'm pretty sure was Hot Shot, from 15 Million Merits. Considering every episode as part of the same universe gets incredibly hosed up, when you consider a Prime Minister hosed a pig live on TV, a cartoon gets to be an elected official, and the Whitebear Correctional Facility is a thing that exists.

DaWolfey
Oct 24, 2003



College Slice

Juice Packets posted:

That was totally the song from Fifteen Million Merits that his ex was singing at karaoke, right?

I thought exactly the same thing. I haven't checked but I am fairly sure it was.


The most horrifying part about the episode by far for me was the cookie (the assistant one, not the punishment one). Really scary. I think everyone is bothered by the idea of being a sort of disembodied soul, unable to influence anything, knowing it will go on forever. Maddening. Although the cookie is not quite the same as that, the core idea is the same.

BSam
Nov 24, 2012



StarkingBarfish posted:

John Hamm was good, but I felt they didn't do so good a job of highlighting/exploring the bleakness of his ending- being blocked by *everyone* is as great a torture as the dude left in cookie- humans are social animals and extreme isolation like that would be a massive psychological trauma.


I thought it was hinting at a different ending for his character.

They said he was put on the register and when people saw him he was blocked as red, not the normal grey, so everyone knows he's done something terrible.

It's subtle, but I could see the beginnings of a mob forming around him.

drunken officeparty
Aug 23, 2006


This dude is really scared of eye cameras.

Trillhouse
Dec 31, 2000


Reminded me a lot of this episode of the Outer Limits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Se...Outer_Limits%29

I miss Outer Limits/Twilight Zone and Black Mirror is as close as I can get, so I loved it.

Dorkopotamis
Dec 1, 2005

Why can't these petty bisexuals just accept that they are really gay? Stop making fun of my computer games


This was a great hour of television, but not the best Black Mirror has had to offer. Not by a long shot. What I've grown to love about Black Mirror is the lingering uncertainty of what is happening or what is coming. That existed in the first act of this special, but the rest of it just seemed like a lining up of ducks for the finale. The moment I saw a snow globe I knew what it was for and the rest snapped into place as I'm sure it did for many of you. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the preceding six episodes, but I didn't think it quite met its own standards.

Dancing Peasant
Jul 19, 2003

All this for stealing a piece of bread?


I was totally unaware of the plots merging at the end until I saw the guy walk into the kitchen. Totally loved that twist.

I still have White Bear as the best of the Black Mirror episodes, but White Christmas is definitely up there right now.

edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoxQ4Ul_DME

Rarity
Oct 21, 2010

PONYTAR
PONYTAR
PONYTAR




Merry... Christmas?

My favourite bit was the initial story about the schizo girl because it was such a richly layered setup such that as soon as the twist happened it explained everything that had happened before. The rest of it was great/horrific/depressing as well though and Hamm and Spall were both ace.

Dugong
Mar 18, 2013

I don't know what to do,
I'm going to lose my mind


"oh I guess Spall's character is supposed to be the one the audience relates t- "

How many times have I fallen for that on this show more? I wish Chaplin was featured more but the ending tied up the stories way better than I had hoped.

It was quite funny watching this with half my house mates on their phones.

Cat Machine
Jun 18, 2008

EASY OPERATION

ElNarez posted:

And the TV had the talk show from The Waldo Moment, and a talent show that I'm pretty sure was Hot Shot, from 15 Million Merits. Considering every episode as part of the same universe gets incredibly hosed up, when you consider a Prime Minister hosed a pig live on TV, a cartoon gets to be an elected official, and the Whitebear Correctional Facility is a thing that exists.
The pregnancy test Spall finds in the rubbish is the same one from Be Right Back, too. Hopefully someone has combed through the episode for nods, because once I'd seen one or two I was spending most of each shot analyzing the set.

Not an 'easter egg' really, but when the woman is about to go under for her Cookie operation, she's watching a news report about severe weather in Scotland, including advisement not to travel. Later in the episode we see that the blocker-girlfriend died in a train crash caused by bad weather in Kirkconnel, Scotland. Nice little detail.

Durzel
Nov 15, 2005


Wow.

I must admit a moment of concern when I heard Hamm was going to be in Black Mirror (I haven't seen Mad Men) that Brooker had become a bit star struck after hearing him praise the show at that Drama Actor Roundtable and decided to just insert him arbitrarily. I also thought he'd pull focus because, well you know, it's Jon Hamm. Turns out I couldn't have been more mistaken - Hamm was perfect. It's hard to imagine another actor having such an immediate shortcut into that role from just their looks.

I loved how the whole PUA approach fell apart, how superficially this woman was fitting an archetype that these guys thought they had down pat ("level 4 rock chick" if memory serves) and it goes south in the most horrifying way imaginable. It was a nice way to deconstruct that whole belief system and remind you that you can't bottle people up, without hitting you over the head with it.

Regards the third act - I do wish the clock wasn't telegraphed so hard, as I would've liked the "twist" ending to be more dramatic than it was. The other clues were more subtle, like the random sound of the cell hatch being opened, and the incongruous bedroom size. That's a minor gripe though.

My big complaint really was that I thought the whole blocking thing was a bit weak. I get it was needed for the basic premise of the story, but in practical terms I couldn't stop myself thinking of how you could get around it. You could write something down on a piece of paper and hold it up in front of someone, being blocked didn't stop you physically interacting with them, you could use someone else like a translator, etc. That's just my overthinking it though really.


Absolutely brilliant, and up there with "White Bear" in quality.

Durzel fucked around with this message at Dec 17, 2014 around 10:49

Durzel
Nov 15, 2005


More ramblings...

The more I think about the PUA stuff, the more it resonates. The "voices in her head" conversation was all about a life change (literally in her mind), but it's also one of those bullshit things you imagine a PUA would be all over - i.e. telling people to listen to the voices that tell you to go for something - a new job, a new challenge, a new relationship - obviously the latter is the play. The brilliance of it is that the PUA guys were all blindsided by this, they thought she was just responding to type, so the more they encourage the victim down this road the more they were unwittingly sealing his fate.

I must admit, naively, that when she overheard him talking to the voices in his head that the payoff was ultimately going to be some kind of humiliation for the guy, that she would take it to the point where he had stripped off or something and reveal that she knew she was just a mark, forcing the guy to do something embarassing - probably involving social media, etc and that that would be the anti-PUA message to us from The Rt Hon Mr Brooker. Obviously I had set the bar far too low

The way it ended was perfect really, because you could trace the conversations backwards and realise that everything he said to her - whilst with the intention of picking her up - basically just reinforced her worldview that she had previously had. It really speaks to how you can't just apply these techniques to people expecting them to react like robots, especially as these exact techniques are probably not far removed from what is claimed to work on girls, etc.

I think the whole talking about multiple people in your head can be explained away quite easily really. People say that sort of thing quite casually when talking about new opportunities, etc. Often they mean that they've had counsel from several individual people at different times, and all of those opinions are "in their head", so to speak. She obviously meant voices in the literal sense, but I don't think it's fair to say that it was an obvious sign of something being wrong. I wouldn't expect someone to make the leap that I'm insane just because I'd said to them that I'm conflicted on a lifestyle or career choice, or whatever, because of several differing opinions.

I also incidentally don't think she was insane, or psychotic, or malevolent - she was just suicidal, and thought she'd found a kindred spirit in this guy.

Durzel fucked around with this message at Dec 17, 2014 around 11:07

VodeAndreas
Apr 30, 2009

The doctor is in!



Durzel posted:


My big complaint really was that I thought the whole blocking thing was a bit weak. I get it was needed for the basic premise of the story, but in practical terms I couldn't stop myself thinking of how you could get around it. You could write something down on a piece of paper and hold it up in front of someone, being blocked didn't stop you physically interacting with them, you could use someone else like a translator, etc. That's just my overthinking it though really.


Well they showed that there's still the police to intervene when someone takes things too far, they mentioned that blocking is just meant to be a temporary option for an hour or two, not meant to be a long term thing under normal circumstances.

I like that they brought in the "legal block" to cover the child as well but that's when your complaint kicks in a as it's a bit of a weak alternative to a restraining order - if the eyes can identify the person as legally blocked then couldn't it alert the police when he was creeping on her and the kid every christmas so they can intervene?

Fatkraken
Jun 23, 2005

Fun-time is over.

Welp.

If other episodes have been Christopher Priest or M. John Harrison, this was pure unadulterated Disch.

so, uh, please don't shoot yourself in the head Charlie


Durzel posted:

I also incidentally don't think she was insane, or psychotic, or malevolent - she was just suicidal, and thought she'd found a kindred spirit in this guy.

no she definitely is mentally ill, she talks about panels of government agents watching her every move, and about voices in her head. These are very common delusions in paranoid schizophrenia

Fatkraken fucked around with this message at Dec 17, 2014 around 11:41

Rondette
Nov 3, 2009

Your friendly neighbourhood Postie.


Durzel posted:

More ramblings...



It clicked for me when he started talking about the transition being the hardest part that she was talking about suicide. However her dragging him into it because she thought he was the same was unexpected.

Great hour and a half of TV that I found intensely uncomfortable but intensely fascinating. It has haunted me all this morning, particularly Spall's fate. Brrrrrr. Having worked in retail over Christmas and having to deal with 8 hours of Christmas music, 5 days a week for 3 months I can't imagine what your mind would be like after 476,000 (or however many years it'd work out) yyears of THAT tune. Thanks Charlie! Merry Christmas!!

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005


Fatkraken posted:

Welp.

If other episodes have been Christopher Priest or M. John Harrison, this was pure unadulterated Disch.

so, uh, please don't shoot yourself in the head Charlie


no she definitely is mentally ill, she talks about panels of government agents watching her every move, and about voices in her head. These are very common delusions in paranoid schizophrenia

Yeah she mentions in the bedroom that she had stopped taking her medication a few weeks before.

I liked that whole segment, though it reminded me of a similar one (That goes down a very different path) in VHS.

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Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013


Yeah, I don't know what I thought of the first segment at all. I feel like the episode undermines its arguments by creating tension in obscuring the woman's motives. As such, though the dopey nerd guy's a total sleaze, he's still not entirely culpable in his death. He does fail to understand her, but it's not like it was ever possible to do that in the first place. Her true motives come almost completely out of left field. The episode's so invested in trying to mislead the audience that it's perfectly conceivable that any other person could be equally misled -- that he's a PUA, or using a panel of supporters, is in some way irrelevant to what ultimately happens to him.

But I really hated the ending to that the final segment. The way it ended with the child dying in a snowstorm was just overegging it. For one, it seems unlikely that she wouldn't have had telephone access of some kind, and even if she didn't (did the snowstorm cut her off?) it's still such an absolutely emotionally manipulative moment. Is it not enough that Spall killed another man in a completely pointless way, and that he should also be responsible for the death of a child? Isn't it sufficient -- for the ending, at the least -- that he just be responsible for orphaning and then abandoning a child?

I mean, there's a lot of good stuff here, but I think it was often dark for the sake of being dark, and twisty for the sake of being twisty. It's the same problem I had with the ending to The Waldo Moment.

Open Source Idiom fucked around with this message at Dec 17, 2014 around 12:27

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