So here it is, my long delayed final review of Black Mirror, The Entire History of You. In many respects, this is the ideal episode of Black Mirror to end my reviews with. This is the episode which shows how damaging certain technologies could be on the mundane level, it’s the only episode of Black Mirror not written by Charlie Brooker, instead written by Jesse Armstrong, and it’s the one that is being planned to be adapted for the big screen by Robert Downey Jr’s production company. This is also, in my opinion, the weakest episode of series 1.
The plot revolves around a technological implant that allows people to access their memories at any time and replay them, both in your head and on TV with the episode focusing on how this technology can lead to arguments to become much more heated than they normally would be, with memories replayed to prove whether or not the partner said something they claimed to have not said. This is the episode of Black Mirror which takes new technology that has been widely adopted and focuses on how it affects people on a personal level and how this technology can destroy the lives of people. We also see how it can lead to increased levels of doubt in the minds of the characters, not only in a relationship but also in a job, with Liam, the main character, being appraised at work and replaying it over and over again feeling that he did a terrible job. This also extends to physical relationships. At one point, Liam and his wife Ffion have sex, but they don’t actually interact, they just replay more intimate sex they previously had, indicating how this technology can remove this component from a relationship. At the same time, we see how this technology can be incredibly useful, a good example being at an airport where, to go through security, you need to show the guards your memories of the last few days, which is a brilliant use of this technology. This is something Black Mirror has always been great at, showing us technology that can be incredibly useful to the world and showing how terrible things can result from it. There’s also a really interesting idea regarding people who choose not to have the technology to access their memories and this, along with other ways the technology is implemented, is something I wish was explored a bit more. Along with this, there’s also quite a lot of time spent at a party which I think could have been cut down a little bit.
The performances though are what make the episode. Toby Kebbell, who played Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and is playing Doctor Doom in next years Fantastic Four, is excellent as Liam, showing the jealousy, anger and insecurity that develops as a result of the argument and technology and also indicates that the character has quite severe problems with alcohol and has lashed out in the past, which is partly why the events of the episode took place. His acting at the end of the episode meanwhile is incredibly powerful, which is a major reason why the ending of this episode is so good. On the other side of the relationship, Jodie Whitaker is great as Ffion. She gives very subtle hints throughout the party as to her relationship with Liam and Jonas (who Liam thinks Ffion is having an affair with) and her frustration with Liam as the episode goes on and Liam gets angrier and drunker is incredibly believable. When the ending comes, Whitaker plays the reveal brilliantly and her work opposite Kebbell in this scene is excellent. Tom Cullen meanwhile is great as Jonas. He plays Jonas as this really nice, thoughtful person, who has some tendencies that make him a bit of a dick and, as the episode goes on, we see both why Liam would be against him and why Ffion would be attracted to him, it’s hard to explain why the performance is so good without spoiling the film so I won’t go any further.
Overall, The Entire History Of You is a fitting end to my reviews of Black Mirror, at least until the next series comes out. Whilst I think the first act goes on for a bit too long and there are some ideas with the technology that are not explored to their full potential, this is still a brilliant episode which shows how technology can impact people on a personal level.
My Rating: 4.5/5