Hey guys! We’ve just come to the final episode of season 1 of Black Mirror, The Entire History of You. It’s a fascinating episode, this, and it is one of the ones that I remember most vividly when I think of the series. Because of the discussion surrounding the technology, that’ll be in its own separate section this time.
Our main character, Liam, is in a meeting at his workplace. Afterwards, he replays it over and over, kinda like how we do, but we as people normally twist the perception of what actually happened, whereas with the grain, you can have a play-by-play retelling right in front of you. But he’s definitely overly-concerned about the results of his appraisal, and discusses how he’s going to be out of a job, based on the memories that he has of that event.
Jesus Christ, we also have Liam’s obsession with being jealous over Jonas, to the point where he invited Jonas over despite not wanting him around.
At this point, I think that there’s something more to Liam than random outbursts of jealousy, and they have nothing to do with the grain. I feel that Liam suffers from some form of paranoia, to the point where it affects his relationships, and his ability to form bonds and perform well at work. The grain, along with the ability to rewind memories, doesn’t help any – in fact, I feel that the grain perpetuates a lot of that paranoia, and the fact that he can redo a memory like this means that he’s feeding the beast.
Even in their home, Liam decides to argue about Jonas because Ffion had history with ‘oily dude man’, or ‘Mr. Marrakech’. And to prove the point in an argument, he redos a time when she mentioned ‘Jonas, King Dormouse Dick of Marrakech’. And of course, he still gets jealous of Jonas and starts an argument due to that jealousy.
Of course, they make up and do the…y’know, but it turns out they’re replaying old memories of their frisky times together while having basic…y’know. Then he goes off to relay Jonas bragging about earlier relationships. He literally stays up all night drinking and playing memories and in an attempt to convince himself about Ffion’s past relationship with Jonas. And Jesus, I know how much drinking can make you become an idiot. But then he’s uncovered more memories of Ffion and Jonas together.
I sympathise with Ffion trying to drill the point across to a drunk man, I’ve been there. But it’s so hard, and of course, Liam does reckless shit, like drink some more, drive while drunk and assault Jonas. He then wakes up in his totalled car, and rewinds to see what happened before he blacked out.
Of course, Liam sees that Jonas has memories of Ffion from 18 months prior to the current time, and goes to confront Ffion. After figuring that his baby might not even be his baby, the argument gets explosive, and very emotional.
We get a scene of Liam playing a happy memory of his family, among the juxtaposed empty setting of the present day. Ffion had left, and presumably took the baby with her. He’s left alone. At the end, I couldn’t even watch as Liam rips out his grain. God, I hate those scenes in films and shows when they practically mutilate themselves.
The Impact of the Grain in Society
The entire episode is focused on the concept of the grain, which is an implant that allows people to access untampered memories. Now you’re probably thinking it’s very convenient, as now you won’t have to worry about why you needed to go to the kitchen, for example. But let’s be honest, having memories readily available is a bit of a nightmare, especially when you take into account the opening scene of the episode. The remote control used to replay the memories is also used to pay for taxi fares and the recent memories are also replayed in order to be able to board a plane. It can also give you a warning when you’re too intoxicated to drive, as shown with Liam driving to Jonas’s home.
I mean, to be honest, I could do with something to replay memories, as I’m completely scatterbrained. But I’ll take being scatterbrained over being overly paranoid, or having memories on tap so easily. But it is handy to remember people that you’ve met once or twice who you can’t recall, just like Liam did at the friends’ gathering, where his wife, the 13th Doctor- sorry, Jodie Whittaker…Ffion, was. And of course, Liam is encouraged to bust out his memory of the appraisal again, but God, imagine being pestered by your friends for memories. And of course, he replays Ffion’s conversation with Jonas in paranoia.
Another note of ethics to touch upon – even the baby has a grain. So it’s safe to assume that it’s a very standard procedure. Ffion was redoing the baby’s memories to check on the babysitter. Here, I want to discuss the ethics of all of this. Like I said, while it’s handy to have memories on tap, there are a lot of concerns about ‘Big Brother’ and people’s freedoms. It’s almost like the rise of microchipping highlighted in this article. While it’s handy to do away with passports and ID verification, there are people that show distrust towards the idea. However, in The Entire History of You, it’s seen as the norm to be grained. And this is where Hallam comes into the equation. Hallam is a woman who’s introduced to the dinner party. She’s a very interesting character, even if she’s not the total focus of the story. In the grand scheme of things, she’s grainless due to an incident where she was gouged, and remained grainless because she enjoyed the freedom. Everyone pretty much baulked at the idea of going grainless, like it’s some radical, political idea. Even later, she’s dismissed by the police because she doesn’t have a grain, therefore cannot provide accurate evidence of the assault that’s happening right in front of her.
Everything comes to a head to the point where Liam removes his grain, finding that access to his memories is doing more harm than good.
The reason why I did the post like this is because I find the idea of the grain more interesting than the plot itself. I thought it was a different way of going about the episode when it’s centralised around certain technology, and I may do certain episodes like this in the future.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed this episode, however I feel that I enjoyed the insight of the technology more than I did the story itself. On its own, we kinda get a simple story with a horrifying conclusion which is good, I will say that much.
Next time – we’ll Be Right Back with the season 2 opener.