We Review Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror SN02 EP02 – ‘White Bear’

!***SPOILER ALERT***!

Check out our review of SN02 EP01 HERE!

Black Mirror fans, get excited because today we will be reviewing my favorite episode of SN02 ‘White Bear’. I’ve been waiting to get to this episode and I simply can not wait. Anyways, we open up with a scene where our main character for the episode, Victoria Skillane waking up in a haze. She sees her wrists are wrapped up as she’s sitting on a chair looking at an LG TV with a white symbol being broadcasted. She looks down to see some pills scattered everywhere when she catches her reflection in the mirror. Victoria’s face is filled with confusion at this point as she says out loud “Hello?” searching for some answers, but no one responds. She makes her way downstairs, grabs a glass of water and sees the white symbol on another TV screen when she sees a photo of herself, a man, and a separate photo of a young girl which she picks up to examine. She gains a small flash of memory in her head and grimaces showing a little bit of pain as the memory flashes. Still looking for answers, she puts on her shoes and sweater that were placed next to each other downstairs and notices that her sliding door is already slightly open. She makes her way outside, as she notices two people in their flats recording her with her phone.

White Bear Symbol

Victoria then realizes that everyone is watching her from the window in their homes recording her with their phones. Not saying a word, or acknowledging her, Victoria then asks them for help stating she doesn’t remember who she is. She sees someone outside of their house recording her. Victoria runs towards the person as they scurry away, she sees more people recording her from the inside of their house. Still asking if people know who she is, a blue car pulls up. A man with a mask with the white symbol on it comes out, looks at Victoria, walks to his trunk, pulls out a shotgun and points it right at her direction. Victoria makes a run for it panicking as a bunch of civilians begin to show up recording the incident on their phones, not saying a word. At this point, you have to wonder “WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING?” I mean you got to admit, this is definitely pulling you in right now. As the chase continues, Victoria makes her way down the street to see a bunch of people recording her running on their phones. Confused she asks what they’re doing, as the civilians all follow her and record her frantically running.

Victoria running away

Victoria sees a young dark-haired woman named Jem, pumping her gas as she screams for help. Jem takes Victoria to the side of her car to duck for cover as the shotgun goes off twice. One shot taking out the tire of the car as Jem screams “STAY BACK!” to her partner, Damien walking out of the gas station. As the man with the shotgun reloads his weapon, Jem and Victoria run into the gas station with Damien. As Victoria hides and ducks for cover, Jem and Damien block off the door with a large obstacle as they take cover. The three start frantically looking for an option as the gunman and a crowd of civilians surrounds the store, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE!?” Victoria asks, leaving Jem completely confused as to where Victoria’s been, indicating that this is life now and this is how it’s being lived. Jem then points to a fire extinguisher and demands Victoria to give it to her. Scared out of her boots, she reluctantly grabs the extinguisher and slides it across the room to Jem. As Jem begins to break through the exit door, the gunman smashes the glass window to enter the gas station. Damien then wrestles the gunman to the ground as Jem gets the back door to open, Victoria follows Jem out the door as the two hide behind a dumpster while Damien comes stumbling out holding his gut. The gunman then reloads his shotgun with two bullets as the crowd follows him to Damien’s stumbling body. Victoria’s memory begins to flash again, she sees a man’s face, and the little girl once again seemingly happy as they ride in a car.

Victoria and Jem

Jem and Victoria begin to make a run for it when a Sudan comes to a screeching halt. The two take cover behind a couple of trashcans when 2 people with masks come out. One, a woman with a sheep mask holding a saw and one with a welder’s mask holding a baseball bat, very Purge like. Jem advised the ‘hunters’ would be distracted with Damien and it would give them a chance to get away. Jem and Victoria run through a small opening in a fence and they find a house to take cover in for the mean time. Jem then begins to inform Victoria of the new society. The citizens are called ‘onlookers’, the masked people are called ‘hunters’. Jem then advises Victoria that there was a signal that broadcasted on every screen in the world as Victoria gets another flashback of the signal. We learn that the symbol is called the ‘White Bear’ and is the reason why everyone has been acting so strange. Jem also shows Victoria her plan to destroy the White Bear signal and broadcast. Victoria then gains another flashback seeing her daughter on the phone screen. Victoria then starts angrily rushing towards a couple of onlookers, yelling at them as she keeps walking towards them she throws a brick at one of them causing him to drop his phone while they both run away. Victoria grabs the phone but Jem pulls a taser on her and tells her to drop it. Victoria tells Jem she just wants to see what they’re looking at. She tells her to drop the phone because it’s dangerous and pressures her not to look at it. The two masked hunters appear walking down the road as Jem and Victoria begin to run away. As a van drives by and comes to a halt, a man by the name of Baxter opens the door and tells the two to jump in. Jem jumps in, with Victoria hesitating, Jem then jumps out of the van and grabs Victoria to join them in the van just in time as the hunter tries to cut the door with her little saw.

Sheep Hunter

Victoria asks the man who he is, which he replies with “Who are YOU?“. Stunned, she isn’t able to answer. She then replies with, “I know you” he asks where they met. Again, she’s not able to answer still having a hazy memory. Jem tells Baxter to drop them off at that TV station so they can sabotage the signal. Baxter then advises against that and he has a safe place when Victoria answers “The woods, your safe place is the woods”. Surprised Victoria and Baxter do not know why she knows this information. They pull over in the woods as Baxter then asks Victoria a series of questions that, again, she is not able to answer. Baxter asks if Victoria has a history of mental illness to which she shrugs. Baxter turns to Jem and asks her if she has a weakness, she replies that everyone has a weakness and asks for Baxter’s weakness. Baxter says “My weaknesses?” as he begins to make his way to the front of his van saying he’s going to show them and they’d like what’s coming. Baxter then takes his shotgun out and says “TA-DA!” and point it to Jem as she attempts to run away he advises her that he will shoot her. Jem stops and puts her hands up. Baxter takes out a black mask with the ‘White Bear’ signal (the same mask we saw earlier) and tells Victoria to put it on backwards to cover her eyes. He then puts Victoria’s hands on Jem’s shoulders and puts his shotgun to her spine as he directs them further into the woods.

Baxter

He tells Jem to take the mask off as Victoria is treated to a morbid display of multiple bodies hung up on the trees to man-made crosses resembling a crucifixion. Baxter gets both the girls on their knees, he tells Victoria to stop crying as he receives a phone call. Baxter takes the call as Jem sees the opportunity to flee. Jem makes quite a run making distance between the two before Baxter notices and fires a shot at her. He misses as Jem begins to get further away from them. Angry, he grabs Victoria and forces her up onto a log and ties her hands together with a rope already set up for him to crucify another victim. He then tells her that they’re going to put a show on for the onlookers today as a bunch of people are in the forest with their phones out. Baxter looks into his bag of goodies and takes out an electric drill. He fires off the drill to let Victoria hear the sound of the machine that will soon be penetrating her body as she pleads for him to spare her. Victoria then begins to yell for help as he mounts her from behind, the drill right behind Victoria’s back, Baxter begins to tell her that the onlookers are not going to help. As Baxter puts the drill to Victoria’s back you hear a gun cock, and we see Jem pointing the shotgun at Baxter. She pulls the trigger and Baxter falls to the ground. Jem frees Victoria and Victoria thanks her. Jem advises that she only came back for her bag that contained plans to destroy ‘White Bear’. As the two make their way to Baxter’s van, as Jem says there are more hunters on the way.

Baxter going to torture Victoria

It begins to get dark as they drive through the city to make their way to ‘White Bear’, Victoria gains more flashbacks. Victoria regains a memory where she tells her daughter to lie down, hiding from police as they drive past them. Victoria also sees a memory of her being tied to a chair screaming out in agony to which she demands Jem to turn around. She knows and remembers that there isn’t something right about ‘White Bear’ as they reach the destination. Ignoring Victoria, Jem begins to break through a gate while Victoria flashes more memories. Jem grabs a canister full of gasoline and tells Victoria to come with her as they make their way into the TV station. They have to move quickly as the station has cameras all over the place and will have hunters there in a jiffy. Jem is able to make it into the transmission room with Victoria as they begin to look around the room full of switches and buttons. After Jem presses a couple of buttons and switches a bunch of switches, nothing changes. Jem begins to spread the gasoline across the room as the two masked hunters from earlier arrive. The welder pointing a shotgun at Victoria and the sheep begin to wrestles with Jem who is holding a Zippo, ready to set the place on fire. Distracted by the fighting the welder turns towards them for a quick second as Victoria capitalizes on her opportunity to take the shotgun out of his hands. She cocks the gun and pulls the trigger when a bunch of confetti comes exploding out of the barrel.

Confused, Victoria is then greeted by a cheering crowd as the wall behind her begins to rise. She sees the crowd applauding, whistling, and cheering. Blinding lights flashes in her eyes as Jem, the two hunters and Damien begin to lock Victoria into a chair. Locking in her wrists and ankles, the four people then look at the audience and bow before they leave the stage. Baxter now makes his entrance with a mic in his ear looking like a television host. He then informs Victoria that its time for her to find out who she really is. He shows her pictures of her fiance, Ian and her “daughter” as well as playing a video of a news broadcast telling us that Victoria and Ian were found guilty of abducting a young girl named Jemima Sykes. Jemima’s body was then found in the forest after months of searching, only to be discovered wrapped in a sleeping bag and burned down to her bones along with her white teddy bear. The couple was found guilty after a video was found on Victoria’s phone of Ian burning the child to death. Ian was also identified with a symbol (the symbol broadcasted on the screens) on the back of his neck. Victoria begins to weep at the information being presented to her. Ian was found dead in his cell as he hung himself to avoid capital punishment.

The Big Reveal

Baxter and the crowd begin to shame Victoria on stage, calling her a murder, and asking her how she likes the feeling of guilt. Baxter then orders his men to get her out of here. The lights go off and Victoria is strapped to the same chair in a clear glass display behind a truck. Baxter, rallying the crowd tells them it’s about that time of the day and advises the crowd to not hold back and let her know what a murdering (you know what) she is. As they drive away, the onlookers now seem more interactive, some still recording, others throwing objects at the glass display, and all of them yelling at Victoria calling her many different names following the name murderer after. As they arrive at their final stop. Baxter steps out of the van and bows to the crowd as they transport Victoria in her chair to the same house she woke up in.

Public Shaming

The men place Victoria in a room with Baxter as Victoria begs to be killed. Baxter replies saying that’s what she always says then applies a device to wipe Victoria’s memory clean to start the fiasco all over again tomorrow. Baxter then advises that it takes about 30 minutes for the device to do its magic, he then plays the video Victoria shot of Jemima being killed. As the device begins to wipe her memories, she begins to scream in agony at the top of her lungs while Baxter sets up the scene for Victoria to start again the next day. We now learn that the whole thing is a staged event for a park called ‘White Bear Justice Park’. We open up to a scene where Baxter is giving the crowd of people directions on how to act around Victoria telling them not to speak to her, keep their distance and basically enjoy themselves as they begin to torture Victoria for the heinous crimes she has committed.

Such a crazy episode, I nearly jumped off of my seat questioning what is happening once they revealed what was actually going on in the episode. I love the switch at the end, the whole episode had us thinking the society was disconnected and twisted sheep who are not going to help someone in need and that people are just going to record tragedy in front of their eyes when we now learn that Victoria was the twisted sheep and the people of the society were actually contributing to the larger scale of things being White Bear Justice Park. So twisted, so dark, so gooooooood. It reminds me of an older movie, ManHunt. Probably my favorite episode of season 2. What did you guys think? Is the cycle of torture justified? Did you guys get a pop out of the big reveal? Let us know! Comment, Share and Subscribe!

Check out our review of SN02 EP03 HERE!

Check out the trailer for this amazing episode

 

The Good
  • Huge Twist at the end. Keeps you interested in the story and characters throughout the whole episode.
The Bad
  • Character names are not present in the episode.
5 Essential

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