We Review Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror SN02 EP03 – ‘The Waldo Moment’
Check out our review of SN02 EP02 HERE!
Hello, fellow Black Mirror enthusiasts. Time to go into another brilliant episode, this one is an excellent execution about my not-so-favorite subject, politics. We open up with a scene of our first politician Gwendolyn Harris being interviewed for a spot to be a candidate to run for office for MP. Gwen finds herself trying to get a chuckle out of the board, but as expected from a board of old washed up politics, they were not amused. They ask Gwen to exit the room, upset she begins to call herself an idiot thinking she did not do too well based on the dry reactions given to her from the board. The next scene we find our main protagonist, Jamie Salter, who is playing an animated, comedic, and inappropriate blue bear that goes by the name of Waldo on a talk show that resembles the Daily Show or any satire politic comedy show you can think of. We also find out that Gladwell, a former politician and friend of Liam Monroe, another politician running for MP, has resigned his candidacy due to finding his stash of child pornography via the internet.
Waldo’s segment will be interviewing politician and head runner Liam Monroe. Liam, completely ignorant to what type of content Waldo has in store for him, is found in what looks like a bear cave. Waldo pops up on the screen and starts with a simple question, asking him what a politician is, then constantly interrupting Monroe as he tries to answer. Confused, Monroe looks around the room and asks a separate camera if this is a joke. As Waldo continues to call Monroe names and making jokes at his expense, Monroe then realizes that they are creating satire content for the younger crowd. After the show, we find Jamie at an after party with a couple of producers and big wigs from the channel. They wanted more of Waldo on the network and pitched a possible pilot for the channel. All of Jamie’s peers including leading producers Tamzin and Jack Napier are obviously all in for the idea as the press is all over Waldo after the verbal assault to big wig politician Liam Monroe. Jamie, on the other hand, appears hesitant to continue his work as Waldo.
The next day during a brain session for the network, the main subject is no other than the animated anti-politician bear, Waldo. During the meeting, Jack strikes an idea to bring a van with a huge TV screen to one of Monroe’s publicity events and also coming up with the idea for a campaign for Waldo to run for office. Again, Jamie is hesitant to pursue the idea telling the board members that he isn’t intelligent enough to even cover politics. The group advises Jamie that they’re not running to win rather they want more promotion out of Waldo, more screen time, and more press. It looks like Jamie is taking the opportunity. We find Jamie and Tamzin in a van, as they approach Monroe’s typical politician, kiss the baby, support mothers publicity event. Jamie draws a crowd to the van with Waldo’s animation on a huge screen, ensuring he has an audience as Monroe walks away, Waldo consistently asks why Monroe is ignoring him. Monroe continues to try to walk away when Waldo asks a woman in the crowd to ask Monroe why he’s ignoring him directly. Monroe’s pride steps in at this point, trying to show up Waldo yet ultimately failing as Waldo begins to play to the crowd making them laugh with name calling and well,…….private area jokes.
Jamie, after a successful day of making Monroe into a joke then heads over to a bar where he meets Gwendolyn. Clearly attracted to her, he takes a peek while Tamzin reminds him who she is. Not caring about her political stance, Jamie approaches her and reveals that he his Waldo in which she congratulates him on his work heckling Monroe. The two hit it off, shared a couple of drinks and drunken conversations and Gwen ends up in Jamie’s hotel room where they spend the night together and set up another date for the two on the next day after Gwen’s campaign. The next day, Waldo’s campaign continues as Jamie and Tamzin hit the road in the same television van. They drive around town telling the public to vote Waldo while Gwen also walks around and traditionally campaigns herself in the running for MP. Gwen’s advisor then finds out that Gwen and Jamie are becoming an item, and strongly advises her not to pursue him any longer as it can be a detriment to her campaign.
Tamzin then tells Jamie he’ll be going on a show called ‘Question Time’ where the candidates will all be answering questions in front of a university on television. Jamie refuses to make an appearance with Waldo as he admits he won’t be able to answer any of their serious questions. Tamzin tells him to lighten up as Waldo is the comedic relief. Jamie then tries to give Gwen a call, which she ignores as she is currently campaigning. Jamie then waits for Gwen at the bar, seemingly waiting for her the whole day. As Gwen arrives, he offers to have another drink which she denies. Jamie asks if they can meet the next day, which she denies him again, stating they wouldn’t be able to see each other while she is running for office. She walks away after the short explanation, leaving Jamie heart-broken.
Jamie finds himself at Question Time. He shares quite a salty look at Gwen as she gets ready for the show to start. We cut to a scene where Monroe is going off on addiction and how addicts are criminals, and they should be seen as federal criminals. Waldo then begins to make jokes at Monroe again. Monroe is triggered at this point. Monroe now goes on a rant on Waldo and actually directs his rant towards Jamie himself, exposing the true Waldo on television. Stating he stands for nothing and is made of nothing but inappropriate jokes and curse words. Monroe then continues to call out Jamie giving the public Jamie’s history, mocking his comedic background. He asks Jamie to speak on a real subject, forces him to talk about a “meaningful subject” asking Waldo to speak of something other than satire. Jamie then begins his rebuttal, stating that most politicians are a front and that Monroe looks less of a person than the animated Waldo. Jamie then asks Monroe if he knew his aforementioned friend and politician Gladwell was a paedophile. Monroe, shocked, of course, answers saying he had no idea. Jamie has him on the ropes now, asking how Monroe was not able to know this information when he knew Gladwell for 20 years. Stating all politicians are the same, only caring about their inner circles, and all putting up a front to the public. The host then asks Gwen if she believes in what Waldo is saying, she begins to say she agrees with Monroe for once when Jamie begins to cut her off constantly asking her to tell the audience why she’s really there. Waldo then reveals to the crowd that Gwen may be worse than Monroe, only running for office to get a chance to be on television. Jamie ends his rant asking Monroe what he stands for leaving the politicians speechless while the audience begins to cheer for Waldo as he makes his exit.
Jamie sits in silence for a moment, only proving Monroe that he’s right when Monroe smugly begins to put Waldo down. Jamie then begins his rebuttal, stating that most politicians are a front and that Monroe looks less of a person than the animated Waldo. Jamie then asks Monroe if he knew his aforementioned friend and politician Gladwell was a paedophile. Monroe, shocked, of course, answers saying he had no idea. Jamie has him on the ropes now, asking how Monroe was not able to know this information when he knew Gladwell for 20 years. Stating all politicians are the same, only caring about their inner circles, and all putting up a front to the public. The host then asks Gwen if she believes in what Waldo is saying, she begins to say she agrees with Monroe for once when Jamie begins to cut her off constantly asking her to tell the audience why she’s really there. Waldo then reveals to the crowd that Gwen may be worse than Monroe, only running for office to get a chance to be on television. Jamie ends his rant asking Monroe what he stands for leaving the politicians speechless while the audience begins to cheer for Waldo as he makes his exit.
Now we see Jamie in his hotel room, laying there looking defeated despite brilliantly shutting up the politicians. Bottles of beer and empty glasses are completely filling up any desk in the room indicating a night of drunken wallowing. Tamzin comes knocking on Jamie’s door saying Jack wants to see them only to have no response. Tamzin tells Jamie to get dressed as Jack is going to meet them downstairs. Jamie meets Jack and Tamzin downstairs where he’s greeted by compliments and political stats telling him he’s 3rd place in the running. Jack’s talking up how Waldo is giving the people a voice and is breaking the status quo. Jack then proposes to push the campaign further to possibly win. Jamie then reminds them that he hates politics and that he and Waldo are not politicians. Jack then tells them he doesn’t have to like politics, all he has to do is be Waldo. Tamzin then informs Jamie that he doesn’t have to worry about answering questions correctly as the production team will be live googling any answers they throw at him. Jack and Tamzin clearly looking to have a deeper political run at this campaign.
Jamie walks away in disagreement while Jack follows him up to the hotel room where Jack basically tells him that since Jack owns the network and the rights to Waldo. He continues to say if Jamie won’t perform, Jack will as he gives Jamie a pretty spot on impression of Waldo. Jamie shows some connection to the animated character at this point with a look of concern about having his character played by someone who isn’t him. Jack continues to say that the people don’t need a politician, that the world is living in a fake democracy and that it shouldn’t run like this. He says that the world should be voting all together as a whole online or something for any laws that will need to be passed. Jamie then uses YouTube as an example of why an online democratic vote would not work, stating that the most viewed video on the internet is not one of deep meaning but a dog farting a theme song to Happy Days.
The next day, Waldo gets a feature on yet another serious political talk show. Jack is now trying to figure out how to work the machine that Jamie uses to control the animated bear when Jamie eventually shows up and takes over, clearly showing some type of connection to the character. The host of the show then tries to begin to put Waldo down while the network team helps Jamie win the argument on the show. The host then tells Waldo that he’s dangerous as he’s telling the public to not care about politics (as if the general public actually cares about politics). Waldo then asks the host if he thinks the public should be trusted to which he replies no. Waldo then says that with him saying the public cannot be trusted, he’s basically calling them twats. The host is struggling now as Waldo makes a good point. The host begins to find a hard time keeping up with Waldo, and at this point, Waldo starts making his inappropriate jokes to end the show since he’s already made his point and was able to shut the host up.
We now find Jack and Jamie meeting with a special agent Jeff Carter from Washington. Jeff then begins to talk up Waldo and the network team about how great Waldo can actually be. Jeff wants to push the campaign even further for the anti-politician bear. Stating Waldo will have opportunities to speak on any side of the political spectrum without the downside of being an actual human. Stating that the team behind Waldo is perfect as they are able to look up stats on the spot and debunk their competition when it comes to debates. Jamie then tells Carter that they won’t win. Carter chuckles at Jamie stating that they are so British, whatever that means. Stating they are not looking at the bigger picture which is a political entertainment product that people can actually bear to watch. Pun intended. Carter then advises that they can branch out to South American politics with Waldo after they are done with their current campaign.
In the following days, we see Gwen falling into a slump as Waldo passes her in the running. Monroe even begins to agree with Jamie a bit stating that the whole system may very well be absurd, though absurd as it may be, it did build the very roads of society. Jamie, feeling guilty for Gwen’s demise visits Gwen in her office to apologize, face to face. Gwen tells Jamie that she would have called him after the campaign was over and that while she was trying to run an honest campaign, Waldo stands for absolutely nothing. She asks what Jamie stands for and questions who he really is.
Obviously, Gwen struck a chord in Jamie as the next day during yet another campaign with the moving television screen. As Waldo begins to gather an audience in public again, he then begins to tell them that he is nothing but an insult. He tells the crowd not to vote for him and to vote for Monroe or Harris. One of the advisors from the Harris campaign then catches the screen and throws a drink at it as Jamie is yelling “DON’T VOTE FOR ME!” repeatedly. The crowd begins to boo the advisor from Gwen’s campaign as Jamie tells the crowd not to boo him and that he’s right. Jamie then jumps out of the van to tell the public that he is the real Waldo and that they should vote for someone who stands for something. While Jamie begins to tell the crowd to note vote for Waldo, Jack takes over the animated bear and begins to say otherwise. While Jack continues the campaign, Jamie grabs a cafe sign and begins to bash in the television mounted on the van. Jack then tells the public he will give 500 quid to the first man who hits Jamie. A man from the crowd steps up to the occasion, grabs Jamie and throws him onto the ground to begin beating him.
Jamie wakes up in a hospital, where we see the final election vote count. Waldo came behind Monroe, losing as assumed but causing a social outrage. Waldo then uses the same pitch. He did against Jamie stating he will give 500 to anyone who can lob a shoe at Monroe, which the crowd begins to chuck their shoes at Monroe and his team of advisors. Fast forward a couple of years we now see Jamie lying on the streets somewhere in a sleeping bag being woken by someone in swat armour. The men in swat armour begin to shoe away all the homeless people when Jamie sees a large screen featuring his old beloved character, Waldo in multiple countries. He begins to throw trash at the screen when a swat member tasers him and begins to beat him with a baton.
This episode was actually a controversial one. A lot of sources stating that the episode was to be cancelled yet still went through. A lot of comparisons of Waldo and Donald Trump have also surfaced basically having a non-politician run the world of politics. What do you guys think? Would a full-fledged democracy work without having big wig representatives? Or would the world be doomed at this point? Please let us know in the comment section below, and as always don’t forget to give the article a share! If you haven’t yet, go ahead and subscribe to PCPB for all the latest pop culture news, what are you waiting for?
Check out this video with exclusive interviews from the cast!
- Great take on how the political pessimist can affect the public. Strikes conversation and debates on wether having political figures is necessary in today's world.
- Not enough Waldo. MORE WALDO PLEASE!