We Review Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror SN01 EP03 – ‘The Entire History of You’
***WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES***
Check out our review of episode 2 HERE!
Hello readers! For this episode of Charlie Brooker‘s Black Mirror, Imagine a world where everyone has access to what they call a “Grain”. This “Grain” is basically a built-in camera/memory bank implanted behind your ear. You can view your memories with a tiny thumb sized remote control with the options to rewind, pause, view and delete old memories in front of your very eyes with the option to throw it up onto a TV screen to share with others. Seems like a bittersweet type of invention that would take the world by storm.
Liam Foxwell, an up and coming lawyer, is found at an appraisal for his firm in which things don’t seem to be going his way. Upset at the results of the appraisal Liam starts to head over to a dinner party with his wife and her old group of friends. Liam’s eyes then shine a shade of gold as he starts to rewind back to an older memory to remember the name of his wife’s friend. Finding his memory before knocking on the door, he finds out her name is Lucy and he greets her with a reminder of how they met. Lucy invites him inside, gives him a beer and directs him to the rest of the party where he sees his wife, Ffion “Fi” Foxwell speaking to her old friend Jonas. Immediately you see a bit of speculation in Liam’s face, possibly trying to remember who Jonas is without flipping through his memories via grain. Fi, introduces Jonas to Liam as Jonas comes in for a very awkward hug. As Liam joins the group, Lucy informs the rest of the group that Jonas just had an appraisal, the group gets interested as Liam advises that it went to crap, they begin to pressure Liam to share the appraisal with them on the TV screen, uncomfortable, Liam then starts to bring out his grain controller when Jonas comes in to save the day. He advises the group that making someone share their memories when they are clearly uncomfortable isn’t cool and directs the group to the dinner table to begin dining. You can see the pride of Liam is a little crushed having another man stick up for him like that.
As the group makes their way to the dinner table, Liam takes Fi aside and asks, “Have I met him before?, Jonas?” she gives him a quick answer telling him he’s part of the old crowd. Noticing that Liam looks a bit worried, Fi offers to go home and Jonas politely refuses for his wife’s sake. As everyone is enjoying their dinner, Jonas is ranting off about relationships and monogamy, stating he constantly found himself getting off to memories of earlier relationships in his early marriage. We now learn that Jonas was recently separated from his wife. The group looks at him in disgust as he tries to justify his actions by making the statement that everyone scrolls through their grains to get off to old partners. This is when a member of the group, Hallam admits to the group that she has removed her grain. Most of the group surprised, gave her praise for such a “brave” act some looking down on her, specifically Colleen who, right off the bat comes off like a huge you know what and goes off on a rant about how she would never be able to do that, questioning Hallam’s logic and character putting her down saying she doesn’t have trustworthy, organic memories as people tend to implant false memories into their head. Hallam simply nods, looks at Colleen, the huge female dog, and tells her, “I’m just happy now”.
On the drive home with Liam and Fi, you can see the annoyance of Liam with Jonas. Liam starts calling him names, and pointing out things he doesn’t like about him when Fi then asks Liam, why he would invite Jonas over if he doesn’t enjoy his company? Fi then shows a replay of Liam asking Jonas to come over for a drink and advises Liam that if he doesn’t want Jonas there, then he can get rid of him. Playing some weird polite chicken game, they end up in front of the Foxwell’s household. Where Liam proceeds to tell Jonas that it’s too late, they share an awkward hug and hand shake as the couple makes their way inside. Shooing Jonas away in a disingenuous friendly goodbye from Liam.
At this point, all Liam is thinking about is Jonas and the growing despise he has for him. As Fi and Liam fast forward through their child’s grain memory feed to ensure the safety of their child, Liam begins to list off all the things that he didn’t like about Jonas, calling him “Oily Dude Man” and things of the sort. Fi stops him midway through his roast session and admits that she knows that Liam noticed an atmosphere around her and Jonas. She states that they’ve dated years ago for a month, Liam then argues that she told him they dated for a “weird week” with evidence in his grain feed history. She waves off his question and tells him that he’s getting obsessed and that Jonas was a fling and meant absolutely nothing. They argue for a little, apologize to each other and hash it out the way couples do at the end of the night, by doing it with grain images of the past. Once they were finished, the gold glow of the grain videos disappear from both Liam and Fi’s eyes, they kiss each other and call it a night, well… Fi does at least.
Liam goes into the living room, pours himself some brandy, and replays the whole dinner party. Replaying the reactions Fi had to Jonas and vice versa for hours until dawn, even going into a mode within grain called ‘Lip Read Reconstruction mode’ for a scene where Fi and Liam were speaking to each other across the room. He finds out Fi came up to Jonas and admits she was nervous and felt “weird” being around him. Come morning time, Liam is still reviewing the dinner party, still drinking his brandy, increasingly getting more drunk, jealous, and spiteful by the hour. Fi walks into Liam going over the Grain video with the babysitter. He then goes into interrogation mode for the second time, this time, he’s queued up a bunch of scenes and has a series of questions to stump Fi. Fi then somehow turns the situation around on Liam and makes him to look like a drunken jealous tool, as women normally do with their magical powers. She tells him to sober up and work it out as she leaves the room.
Liam, takes one final look at Jonas on his TV screen, finishes another glass of brandy and stumbles his way to his car. As he’s starting his car, a Grain alert advises him he is not in a safe state to be driving and to continue at his own risk. He swerves his way to Jonas’ house for the big confrontation. As a confused Jonas buzzes Liam in, Liam invites himself into the house, closing the door behind him before Jonas walks in. Liam takes a bottle of alcohol and compliments Jonas’ house as he walks in. Jonas then begins to tell him that it’s not cool how he just walks into his house and asks if he needs to call Fi. Hallam, the woman from the dinner party, walks out in Jonas’ dress shirt, certainly implying she stayed the night. Liam makes a comment about how Jonas is getting some “good stuff for the scrap-book” pointing at his head, taking more swigs of alcohol. Liam finishes the bottle as Jonas tries to get him to leave. He forcefully goes in to try to grab Liam as he gets smacked in the head by the bottle.
We then find Liam waking up in a crashed car. As he gets out, he rewinds his grain feed. We see Liam grapple Jonas to the ground, break the empty bottle of liquor he was drinking and holds the shard up to Jonas’ neck. He demands him to delete the grain videos. Jonas’ eyes light up as Liam then yells “Not on your eye, in there! on there!” as he points to the TV screen. The screen shows a small selection of videos under a title “Ffion” being deleted. Liam then gets up and tells Jonas “STAY AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!”. All while Hallam is calling the police. As the stream ends, he looks down, and noticed something in the background of the grain. He replays the least 20 seconds of the grain video, then looks down in deep disappointment.
Liam returns home to Fi, finding her in bed. Standing there at a loss for words he stands there looking away from Fi. She asks what’s wrong which he replied “Did you use a condom?”. Fi, unsure doesn’t answer, when Liam then questions if their child is actually his, Fi confirms that it is. Liam then points at a painting hung up above their bed, stating he bought that for her because she liked it even though he always hated it. He then replays the footage from Jonas’ house and shows Fi a zoomed in thumbnail to one of Jonas’ grain videos. The thumbnail showed Fi, covering her chest with the bedsheets and the painting hung up over Fi and Liam’s bed. We are now finding out that Fi cheated on Liam 18 months ago in that very room, confirming that Liam’s paranoia was justified. Apparently Liam walked out for 5 days, and thats when the deed was done. Fi is now telling Liam she’s sorry and she loves him. Liam starts questioning if Jonas had a condom on while she is telling him he did, she admitted she saw him do it. Liam then demands her to show him, while she claims to have deleted it. Liam debunks this little lie by asking her to show him the blank space in the time line. Sneaky little Fi then turns away from him, acting like she’s grabbing the remote when her eyes light up gold.He then grabs the controller from her hand.
He’s now losing patience, as he grabs her head while she is groveling, denying to show him the footage, he throws her to the bed and demands her to show him one more time, stating he absolutely needs to see it. Fi, with her head bowed in shame plays the footage on the television for Liam to watch. Not speaking or looking at each other.
We now see Liam laying on his bed, no Fi in sight replaying videos of the past, of their child, how she walked, looked at him, how she laughed. Liam makes his way to the bathroom where we see the final video showing him telling Fi to go with a green dress as she puts it on and hugs him from behind, happily. He flashes back to the present looking at the same mirror minus Fi, takes a razor and some pliers to dig out the grain behind his ear.
There it is, an episode on the dramas of the modern day monogamous relationship. Again, another interesting pull in episode with a concept to keep you glued to the screen. It brought up a lot of questions. Was it a good thing that Liam followed his intuition? I mean ignorance is bliss right? Should he have let it go and move on? or do you think it was a good thing he found out? Does Fi’s inconsistency necessarily mean her love for Liam is disingenuous? What’s your take? Let us know, comment below, share the article and enter your email to subscribe to PCPB!
Check out or review of SN02 EP01 HERE!
My description of the acting of the confrontation scene does not do the actors any justice, if you’d like to see this performance go ahead and check out this video.
- Interesting concept of the "Grain" to enhance the dramas of the modern day marriage.
- Predictable, nothing really makes you pop besides the "Grain" invention.