On the surface, Black Mirror is an anthology show where every story is unrelated to the last one. Yet the series keeps hinting that all of the episodes might actually take place in the same universe.
That idea started as a fan theory, but recently, the show’s creator suggested that the fans aren’t reading into things too much. Let’s take a look at the evidence that the Black Mirror episodes are connected, followed by creator Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the matter.
1. A news report in ‘White Christmas’ references two other episodes
In the episode “White Christmas,” there’s one scene where Joe watches a news report. If you look closely, at the bottom of the screen, the chyron reads, “Victoria Skillane Appeal Bid Rejected” and “MP Liam Monroe Claims Twitter Account Hacked.”
Victoria Skillane is the name of the main criminal character in Season 2’s “White Bear.” And Liam Monroe is the name of one of the candidates in the election in “The Waldo Moment.” In general, this TV station is also the same one we’ve seen in other episodes.
2. Abi Khan from ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ shows up in ‘The Waldo Moment’
“White Christmas” connects to “The Waldo Moment,” and “The Waldo Moment” itself connects to another episode: “Fifteen Million Merits.” In the very final scene of “The Waldo Moment,” when we get a shot of Waldo all over the city, there’s an ad of interest. Look closely, and you’ll notice there’s an ad featuring Abi Khan, the woman from “Fifteen Million Merits.”
Speaking of Waldo, he’s constantly showing up in other episodes. The kid in “Shut Up and Dance,” for instance, has a Waldo sticker on his laptop. In “Hated in the Nation,” another character has a Waldo sticker on their laptop as well. And in “White Christmas,” during the online video chat, someone goes by the screen name “I_Am_Waldo.”
3. ‘Shut Up and Dance’ references four other episodes
In the Season 3 episode “Shut Up and Dance,” there’s a scene towards the very end where we get a glimpse of a news website, and it’s chock full of references. On it is a social media feed with a series of tweets, and one of them says, “Talent Show 15 Million Merits launches next week.” This is clearly a reference to the episode “Fifteen Million Merits,” although the talent competition in that episode is called Hot Shot.
On that same page, another tweet reads, “Michael Callow is getting divorced.” Michael Callow is the name of the prime minister from the very first episode of the series, “The National Anthem.” This is one example that actually provides information about what happened to a character after their episode, so it’s more than just an Easter egg.
That’s not all: There’s also an article on this page that reads “Victoria Skillane trial latest.” Victoria Skillane is the name of the main criminal from “White Bear.” Finally, there’s an ad for cookies, the technology from “White Christmas.”
4. The same fictional show pops up in ‘Nosedive’ and ‘The National Anthem’
In the first episode of the series, “The National Anthem,” a brief reference is made to a fictional show-within-the-show called Sea of Tranquility. A visual effects artist is hired to try to fake video of the prime minister doing the demeaning act, and it’s noted that this artist worked on “that HBO moon western thing,” a show called Sea of Tranquility.
This later comes up in a big way during “Nosedive.” In this Season 3 episode, when Lacie Pound gets a ride on a bus that is on its way to a science fiction convention, that convention is for fans of the show Sea of Tranquility.
5. The company behind San Junipero shows up in ‘Playtest’
In “San Junipero,” the company that develops the simulated reality system is called TCKR. We see their logo all over the place, including outside of their facility. That same company exists in the world of at least one other episode, “Playtest.”
In that Season 3 episode, when Cooper finds out about the game developer he’s about to do a playtest for, he’s handed a magazine profiling Shou Saito. An article at the top of the page reads, “TCKR: Turning Nostalgia Into a Game.” This is clearly a reference to San Junipero and implies that “Playtest” and “San Junipero” exist in the same universe.
The bottom of this magazine also references Granular, the company responsible for the bees in “Hated in the Nation.”
6. ‘Hated in the Nation’ references ‘White Bear,’ ‘Playtest,’ and ‘White Christmas’
In “Hated in the Nation,” we get an update on Cooper’s situation when a news chyron reads, “SaitoGemu team investigated over tourist disappearance.” At another point in the episode, a news chyron makes mention of Saito’s new game being unveiled.
That same news report also has a headline that reads, “ECHR rules ‘cookies’ have human rights.” This refers to the “cookies,” the artificial intelligence from the episode “White Christmas.”
Earlier in this scene, the same chyron reads, “Skillane appeal thrown out of court.” Once again, this is the name of the main criminal from “White Bear.” Later in the episode, a Twitter user wishes for Skillane’s death.
7. ‘Hated in the Nation’ connects to ‘White Bear’ in a significant way
This one is much more than just an Easter egg. In “Hated in the Nation,” the main character’s partner, Blue, used to work in forensics. She notes that she left after working on the Ian Rannoch case and seeing pictures of dead children.
In “White Bear,” Ian Rannoch is the name of Victoria Skillane’s fiancé. The big reveal in that episode is that Rannoch abducted, tortured, and killed a six-year-old kid while Victoria filmed it on her phone. So the actions of a character in “White Bear” directly affect another character in “Hated in the Nation.”
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, series creator Charlie Brooker referenced this as an “explicit connection.”
8. The symbol from ‘White Bear’ appears in several other episodes
In the episode “White Bear,” a white symbol is displayed on screens everywhere the main character looks. We later find out that Victoria’s fiancé had this as a tattoo.
That symbol pops up in several other episodes. For example, in “Playtest,” it’s in the suitcase housing the gaming equipment and also on one of the “holes” in the whack-a-mole game. The symbol also shows up in Joe’s prison cell at the very end of “White Christmas.”
9. Charlie Brooker confirmed many episodes take place in the same universe
So what has Black Mirror‘s creator, Charlie Brooker, had to say about all this? In general, he has compared the show to The Twilight Zone in that the episodes are separate, although he told Thrillist that they all take place in “the same psychological universe.”
But in a more recent interview with Total Film, Brooker changed his tune. “I’ve now changed my position, and explicitly some of them are [connected],” he said. “And we’ve tied together several episodes in that story. But you don’t need to have seen any of those episodes.”
He gave a similar answer to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that all the references used to just be for fun, but that now they’ve gotten more explicit about connecting them. He also suggested all of the episodes “follow the same dream universe.”
10. Fans have theorized about how the episodes may connect
So how exactly can all of the episodes possibly fit together? Well, fans have come up with elaborate timelines to answer that question. The theories vary, but one common one is that the video game in “Playtest” develops into the system that wipes a criminal’s memory in “White Bear.” This explains why the White Bear logo is in “Playtest.”
Another theory suggests that everyone in “Fifteen Million Merits” is actually a cookie from “White Christmas,” and this is what happens to cookies when their owner dies.
Some episodes are harder to place and seem quite different from the others. For now, we should probably just take a lot of the Easter eggs as fun nods. But others suggest a more direct connection, one that the series could build upon in future seasons.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!