If you haven’t watched Black Mirror, you need to leave your bubble, turn your fucking Netflix on, and binge the shit out of this show until every hour, minute, and second is consumed into your brain. It’s a show that challenges the technological constructs society now leans upon, and show developer Charlie Brooker writes it in a dark, dystopian, yet absurdly realistic manner. Think of it like a modern day Twilight Zone with a lot more of an apocalyptic feel. Not too mention, the show is produced as an Anthology. Or is it?

The latest season of Black Mirror has basically turned what we knew as an Anthology, on its virtual head. Now, fans of the series have been trying to tie a connection to each episode since its inception. A lot of them are a bit far fetched – like how the show itself is just a BETA test of future technologies to come, by people in the future. But up until this latest installment, some of the conspiracies seem to be too coincidental to ignore.

So what’s the story?

Well it all starts with the “cookie” or the device that harbors a person’s consciousness as clone AI data. You can download a “person” to the cookie, whether its you or someone else, and that code is basically a conscious generated AI meant to mimic the original. We see it used as inconspicuously as a smart home device, having your personal AI know the exact room temperature you’d like. Or as nefariously as pure torture, forever electrocuting “you” for crimes you may have committed. We first got a glimpse of this in “White Christmas” where Jon Hamm’s character acts as some type of mind-hacking bounty hunter trying to extract the truth from a prisoners “cookie”. It might be a bit confusing to read, but just go watch it. I promise you’ll be enthralled. Anyways, that “cookie” makes an appearance throughout many episodes, and seems to be the cornerstone of season 4 entirely. What are the ethics of digital subconscious? What are the limitations or the dangers that could arise from this technology? These are all questions Black Mirror tries to exploit in Season 4. Now because of that “cookie” technology, we can try to string together a shared universe, though we still need a bit more context to fully prove the point.

That’s where Black Museum comes into play. The final episode of Season 4. This is an episode where there is definitive proof of past episodes. This “Black Museum” houses much of the props and technologies we saw in older episodes such as balaclava in “White Bear”, or the lollipop in “McCallister”, or the tablet in “Arkangel”. Almost every previous episode makes some type of appearance in this piece. But none more important than the company that “owns” this museum. The company TCKR. We can assume that TCKR is the company that created the cookie, thanks to this episode, and now the pieces start to fall together. So here we go.

The Chronology

  • We start out with Play Test. This is where a gaming company does testing for its new subconscious VR game. We can see it as a primer to introducing this technology to the masses.
  • Next is “Men Against Fire” where soldiers are using the technology before the public, to mask their own “humanity” through covering enemy humans with VR imagery of monsters.
  • Then “USS Callister” comes into play, where the gaming technology improves to commercial success, finally breaking out into the mainstream. But shows the start of how consciousness and being are two different things. It also calls back to “Men Against Fire” by the brand of chocolate milk Daly drinks.
  • Then we can move to San Junipero. This is where the elderly can transmit their consciences to their “cookies” (developed by TCKR as seen in the episode) and live out their days in a young, VR, cloud connected bliss.
  • Next, “Be Right Back” shows how you can use cookie-tech to revive a deceased person’s thoughts, almost as if they’re still with you.
  • Then we move to Hang the DJ where cookies are used to find your perfect match in a super simulated VR dating world. But then things start to go awry with the cookies and digitized consciousness.
  • In Arkangel, we see how cookies can be too invasive for privacy, something quickly scrapped as children with the technology implanted too soon, rebel. Similar to “The Entire History of You” where recording everything you see or hear almost certainly ends in abandonment.
  • Then we have “White Christmas” where the government can now utilize cookies to not only extract information from unwilling participants, but also to punish by simulating years, even decades, subjecting the consciousness to unbearable boredom. Remember, its just consciousness displayed as VR, so theres no need to eat or sleep, but the thoughts and consciousness remain the same. Anyways, this torture was something that we know was protested against in “Black Museum”.
  • Next we get to Crocodile. This is again, where cookies, and their constant “always on” consciousness can be an issue for criminals, and not just a tool for prosecutors or insurance claimants.
  • And then we finally get to “Black Museum” where all this unfolds and we see how this technology was developed, the ethical struggles it faced, how pervasive it was in the mainstream, being implemented in almost everyone, and the rebellion the common folk had towards it.



There are obvious weird time jumps between some of the episodes. Like in “White Christmas” we don’t know exactly when that cookie technology was developed, because there were flashbacks within that episode that showed it being used in more “smart home-esque” environments. Also, there are a bunch of episodes that might live in the universe, but are so far behind in the timeline they don’t quite serve the story. Episodes like “Shut Up and Dance” and “The Waldo Moment” feel very present-day. But it’s that final episode in Season 4 that definitive proof there’s some strand that runs through most episodes in Black Mirror. In fact, I personally think it was to specifically serve the purpose of tying things together. It didn’t have much story, and it had too many obvious cues to past events to ignore. From the actual call backs of the props, to the timeline, to the different ways TCKR implemented cookie tech. It’s all there and it now makes the show more intriguing on a level we’ve not yet experienced.

Nonetheless, if Brooker is able to string together a true chronology of events, that not only make sense, but serve the story and atmosphere of BM, I’d be rather impressed. The show is built upon new and interesting, yet almost unreal scenarios, each and every episode. Where tying things together so late in the series, almost 7 years in the making, would call for extreme care and detailed writing. What’s also funny, is that it doesn’t even matter. Black Mirror is such a great show, that has consistently entertained. Every single scene is deliberate, and every message delivered. I’m in for the long haul and I can’t wait to see what Brooker has up his sleeve, shared universe or not.