24 Easter Eggs From All Three Seasons of ‘Black Mirror,’ Plus a Timeline Connecting Every Episode
The third season of Charlie Brooker’s mind-bending dystopian series Black Mirror arrived on Netflix last week. If you’ve binged all six episodes and your mental health is still intact, first of all, congratulations! You must be an emotionally bulletproof person (but maybe go watch something light and comedic to cool down). But most importantly, did you catch all the Easter eggs?
Fans of the anthology series may have noticed callbacks between the episodes of the first two seasons. The most obvious is the news network UKN, which appears in almost every episode. But in Season 3, Brooker has scattered even more hidden clues. I combed through all 13 episodes to find every Easter egg I could and ended up with a whopping 24. (Special thanks to this Vogue interview with Brooker and Redditor Kavidun for spitting one "Nosedive" Easter egg I had missed.) Check them out above. Major SPOILER alert for all three seasons.
Beyond finding Easter eggs, fans love to use them to support the popular theory that all Black Mirror episodes take place in the same universe. But Brooker doesn’t subscribe to that theory. The creator recently told Thrillist the episodes are “probably all in the same psychological universe” à la The Twilight Zone, rather than one connected one. He said he isn’t planning a major reveal that everything is set in the same yet.
That makes sense, and honestly I love the idea that the episodes exist within their own contained worlds. That lends the series more freedom rather than being tied down to maintain continuity. But after discovering so many Easter eggs I couldn’t fight the fan theory itch, so I went ahead and put all the episodes into a timeline anyway. Below is my best guess for the sequential order of all 13 episodes, from first to last, if they did exist in the same world.
1. The National Anthem
All the Easter eggs in later episodes referencing “The National Anthem” refer to Prime Minster Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) after he has sex with a pig on TV, meaning the pilot must be the first episode in the universe’s timeline.
2. The Waldo Moment
We also know “The National Anthem” takes place about a year before the present-day events of “The Waldo Moment.” When the pilot jumps ahead to the one-year-later mark at the end of the episode, the news ticker includes the same news event shown on the ticker in “The Waldo Moment.”
3. Shut Up and Dance
“Shut Up and Dance” likely takes place next. The journalist’s web page in that episode reveals the Prime Minster is getting a divorce from his wife, hinting at the marital trouble shown between Michael Callow and his wife at the end of “The National Anthem.”
4. Fifteen Million Merits
“Fifteen Million Merits” is next since the show launched after the events of “Shut Up and Dance.”
5. White Bear
The web page in “Shut Up and Dance” revealed Victoria Skillane’s (Lenora Crichlow) trial was still under way and used the same photo shown to Victoria in White Bear when the hosts reveal who she is. We also know the White Bear symbol shows up on the Saitogemu gaming equipment in “Playtest,” so the episode must take place after “Shut Up and Dance” and before “Playtest.”
“Playtest” likely takes place early on in the show’s timeline since its technology isn’t as advanced as some of the more futuristic episodes and Augmented Reality games are still in the early testing phase. The episode also takes place after “The Waldo Moment” since Kenny (Alex Lawther) has a Waldo sticker on his laptop.
A news ticker in “Hated in the Nation” read: “Reputilligent shares nosedive,” referring to the agent who helps Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) manage her rating score in the episode. That likely means “Nosedive” takes place right before the Season 3 finale.
8. Hated in the Nation
There’s a handful of “Playtest” Easter eggs in this episode referencing Saitogemu, the gaming company from that episode. Two reveal the latest sequel to their famous game Harlech Shadow has been released, suggesting this episode takes place after “Playtest.” But I spotted another possible Easter egg in a news ticker that’s blurry, but seems to hint at the death at the end of “Playtest.” It looks like it might read: “Saitogemu being investigated over tourist [or tester] disappearance.” (Click the photo below for a closer look.) That might be a stretch, but it could make sense. Later in the episode news tickers reveal Saitogemu trending on Twitter after announcing their latest game. It’s likely the company released a new game to cover up the bad press surrounding their latest test subject’s disappearance.
9. Men Against Fire
A news ticker in “Hated in the Nation” reveals the U.S. military has announced the MASS program used in “Men Against Fire,” meaning the latter episode must take place shortly afterward.
10. The Entire History of You
The contact lens technology in “Men Against Fire” is similar to the grain implants in “The Entire History of You.” My theory is the U.S. military first tested the technology on soldiers to tweak their perceptions of reality for wartime genocide. Then later the technology went public so people could record their memories. The opposite could be possible as well, meaning soldiers were moving their hands around an imaginary remote because they’d already used that technology during the time period of “The Entire History of You.” Either way, both these episodes are loosely connected.
11. San Junipero
We know TCKR, the company behind the massive server that uploads peoples’ consciousness to an augmented reality afterlife in “San Junipero” was being tested in “Playtest.” It’s safe to assume this episode takes place some time later, especially since the present day scenes have much more futuristic-looking technology.
12. Be Right Back
“Be Right Back”’s storyline wouldn’t really make sense if it existed before “San Junipero.” If it did, older Kelly (Denise Burse) would’ve had the option to create a life-like version of her dead husband, as Martha (Hayley Atwell) does with Ash (Domhall Gleeson) in “Be Right Back.” Instead Kelly mourns his choice to not cross over. Plus, the very act of crossing over to San Junipero wouldn’t be as appealing if you could bring your deceased loved ones back in in real life.
13. White Christmas
All the Easter eggs in “White Christmas” that reference other episodes take place in the past tense when Joe (Rafe Spall) is telling Matt (Jon Hamm) his story. That must mean the present day events exist somewhat later in the future. Matt calls the contact lens technology worn in the episode “Zed-Eyes” and says they can’t be removed – you might remember in “The Entire History of You” when a character talks about living “grain-free,” meaning their similar grain technology was optional. Technology has likely evolved so much by this episode that the contacts, and as well as the ability to permanently block people, is a normal part of daily life. “White Christmas” must be the last episode in the timeline.
So there you have it! You can easily convince yourself all 13 episodes of Black Mirror take place in the same universe based on Easter eggs. Or you can take Brooker’s approach, and just believe it’s they’re all thematically connected. Either way, let’s hope our future isn’t headed to a “White Christmas”-like world. I’d be happy living to see “San Junipero” and spending the afterlife on a beach, but I’ll pass on the Zed-Eyes.