If you’ve finished Black Museum, the last episode released by Black Mirror Season 4 on Netflix, then it’s time to take our poll. Black Museum has been described as the new White Christmas, and there’s a reason for that. Both episodes feature three stories in one, which is highly unusual for Black Mirror. And both episodes are leaving us with a lot to think about and a lot to process. Of course, comparisons between the two episodes will naturally be made. Which do you think is better? After you read this article, scroll to the bottom of the story and take our poll. This article will have MAJOR SPOILERS for White Christmas and Black Museum.
Interestingly, Black Museum the more upbeat ending when compared to White Christmas. But both got very dark at times and both involved a deeper look into the nature of digital consciousness. For White Christmas, the main story involved Matt Trent and Joe Potter being stationed at a remote outpost in a snow-filled landscape. It’s Christmas and they’re talking about what brought them to the outpost. In Part 1, we learn about Matt and how he was a dating coach using the Z-Eye technology that’s implanted in people’s eyes. One of the people he oversaw died in his care, his wife blocked him, and Matt left for the outpost to escape the memories of his old life. Then in Part 2, we learn that Matt’s real profession is creating cookies — digital copies — of clients and essentially torturing those copies until they submit to serving the household. It’s really, really dark. Then for Part 3, Joe talks about he was also affected by a Z-Eye block until his girlfriend died, allowing him to see his child again. But he soon learns she wasn’t his child at all, and kills his girlfriend’s father in a fit of rage.
In the end, we learn that Joe was actually a cookie himself, and Matt tricked Joe into confessing in exchange for Matt’s being released from prison. But Matt is permanently Z-blocked from everyone, so his release isn’t much of an improvement after all. Joe’s cookie is being tortured for 1,000 years, and Joe’s real self is in prison. Alert viewers noticed a White Bear sign on Joe’s prison cell.
Meanwhile, Black Museum had three tales of its own. We learned about Rolo Haynes, the owner of a museum of “criminological artifacts,” who used to work for TKCR. Unlike White Christmas, which took place in a remote snowy outpost, this takes place in a remote location in the desert. Similar, but different. Rolo tells his latest visitor three stories. The first is about a doctor who uses a device to feel other people’s pain, eventually becoming addicted to that pain. He goes insane. The next is about an attempt to save a woman’s consciousness after she falls into a coma. But her husband eventually can’t handle having her in his head anymore, and transfers her to a teddy bear, where she is left forever. (Similar, in a way, to the torture the cookies go through.) And last is the story of a man who may be innocent of a crime for which he’s been convicted. Rolo stole Clayton’s digital consciousness and tortures it endlessly, making him go insane. We eventually learn the visitor is Clayton’s daughter. She takes vengeance for her dad, kills Rolo after stealing his digital consciousness, and burns his museum down.
Both episodes focus on the idea of cookies and their rights, how easily they can be tortured, and what can go wrong. Both are very, very dark and both present compelling stories that are tied together with a twist. But where White Christmas ends with a feeling of despair, Black Museum (which takes place chronologically after White Christmas), leaves us with a feeling of hope.
Which episode did you like better? Let us know in the poll below.