The 'shared universe' theory is getting more and more compelling
Prior to the release of Black Mirror season 4, Charlie Brooker teased the existence of a “shared universe” between all of its episodes, highlighting season 4’s finale as a particularly referential episode. Since the release of the new season on December 29, 2017, dozens of references in the new episodes have emerged, which go all the way back to season 1’s The National Anthem. Here’s a handy guide to every Easter Egg in season 4, listed by episode, to show exactly how it all hangs together.
1. USS Callister
A. Rannoch B
The name of this planet where USS Callister‘s ‘villain’, Valdack, escapes seems to be a reference to White Bear‘s Iain Rannoch. In that episode, Rannoch killed a young girl with the help of his partner Victoria Skillane.
However, it’s possibly also a nod to Mass Effect 3‘s planet, Rannoch – this seems appropriate to USS Callister, given that Mass Effect is a sci-fi game about intragalactic warfare, and we know Charlie Brooker has played it. Appropriately, in the Mass Effect universe, the planet Rannoch has a technologically nightmarish history: it was once the homeworld of the Quarian species, but they were driven from it by a rebel army of artificial intelligence they’d created, called the Geth. Having left their homeworld, the Quarians have been forced to live aboard a migrant fleet called the Flotilla, and it’s the protagonist’s job to help retake the now-uninhabitable planet, make peace with the Geth, and resettle it so that the Quarians can return there.
B. Skillane IV
This planet, where Daly and Cole swim in a lake, is probably a reference to Victoria Skillane, who helped Iain Rannoch kidnap and kill the girl in White Bear.
C. The dating app
The dating app we see receptionist Elena using is the same one used by Cooper in season 3’s Playtest episode.
D. Raiman milk
This recalls Raiman, aka ‘Hunter’ in season 3’s Men Against Fire. In that episode she said that her family owned a farm – and this farm might have produced the milk Daly is drinking.
E. Aaron Paul and Kirsten Dunst
These two had brief, barely noticeable cameos in the opening episode of Black Mirror season 4. Both have ties to the actor behind that episode’s antagonist, Jesse Plemons – Dunst starred opposite him on Fargo (and is engaged to him), and Paul worked with him on Breaking Bad.
F. Michaela Coel
The Chewing Gum creator stars as Shania in this episode, but we’ve seen her before in Black Mirror: in season 3’s Nosedive she played the airline employee at the airport who refuses Lacie entry onto the flight to her friend’s wedding.
G. William Shatner
In case you somehow hadn’t noticed, this episode serves as a loving parody of Star Trek, and Jesse Plemons hired a voice coach to hone his William Shatner/Captain Kirk impression for when he boarded the USS Callister as ‘Captain’ Daly. Director Toby Haynes told IndieWire that Plemons watched a lot of Star Trek and listened to clips of Shatner between takes to practice.
In this episode, footage from season 3 episode Men Against Fire shows Raiman shooting ‘roaches’ is used as an example of Arkangel censoring what someone can see: as we know from that episode, the ‘roaches’ are actually humans.
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In Sara’s bedroom there’s a poster of Tusk, the rapper targeted by the hashtag killers of season 3’s Hated In The Nation.
C. Harlech Shadow
In the same room is a poster of the deadly videogame from season 3’s Playtest.
In the season 1 episode Fifteen Million Merits, Abi Khan is coerced into performing on this pornography show. In Crocodile, ‘Best of WraithBabes’ is listed as part of the hotel’s porn catalogue.
Charlie Brooker trolls his own fans with this printed article in Crocodile, shown below. It contains the sentence: “‘The real question is why anyone would pause what they’re watching just to read a sentence in a printed out newspaper article,’ says a voice in your head – before advising you to go and share this finding on Reddit.” It has, of course, since been shared on Reddit.
C. ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)’
This song has appeared in every season of Black Mirror so far. The first time is in season 1’s Fifteen Million Merits, when Abi Khan performs it on the episode’s reality show. In season 2’s White Christmas, Beth uses it as her karaoke song. And in season 3’s Men Against Fire it’s sung by a character while they’re holding someone at gunpoint. And in Crocodile, it plays on repeat as the protagonist loses it.
D. UKN Online
In Crocodile, Mia burns an article by the publication UKN Online, which we’ve seen before in season 1’s The National Anthem.
E. Hot Shots
This TV show from Fifteen Million Merits is referred to in passing in a story about one of its judges. The hotel clerk explains: “Ever since that thing with what’s his name, the judge of Hot Shots? Anyway, he got caught with a rent boy and a tabloid got his name by hacking our booking system, and yeah, they’re tight as anything about the rule now.”
F. Fence’s Pizza
This company is the one that delivers pizzas to Daly’s house in USS Callister – and it’s also the one that hits someone with a truck in Crocodile.
4. Hang The DJ
A. That dating app again
This is the same app we saw Cooper using in season 3’s Playtest, and it’s the one Elena uses in season 4 opener USS Callister too. As far as we know, that’s the only Easter egg in this ep.
A. San Junipero
A postcard from season 3’s San Junipero can briefly be seen in a drawer that Maxine Peake is sifting through.
The name of the company that produced the San Junipero project is shown on a truck in the episode.
The name of the company that makes Infinity in USS Callister is referenced on a car screen in the episode.
6. Black Museum
A. The hanged man
Carlton Bloom, from the first episode of Black Mirror, hanged himself. An exhibit of the incident is shown in Rolo’s museum.
B. ’15m Merits’
Season 1’s Fifteen Million Merits episode is referred to by a graphic novel titled ’15m Merits’.
C. Victoria Skillane
There’s a video of season 2’s White Bear protagonist in the museum, and we also see the ski-mask man from that episode.
D. Kenny & Hector
The museum’s curator, Rolo Haynes, has two white lab rats called Kenny & Hector – named after the two blackmailed protagonists of Shut Up And Dance.
E. PM Callow
The Prime Minister from season 1’s The National Anthem is referenced on a tablet screen in this episode, where a seemingly serious newsreel reads: “PM Callow marries pig”.
F. San Junipero
There are several references to this beloved season 3 episode. Rolo Haynes worked for TCKR, the company that developed the San Junipero project. It appears the project was named after the Saint Juniper hospital where Haynes had worked previously. And dresses worn by Yorkie and Kelly are shown in the museum.
G. The robotic bee
One of Hated in the Nation‘s bees are on display too.
H. Tommy’s lollipop
This USS Callister artefact is displayed alongside that episode’s Raiman’s Milk, and Daly’s DNA scanner.
I. Bloody bathtub
This object, the location of a Crocodile murder, is part of the exhibition.
J. Arkangel tablet
The smashed tablet from Arkangel is in the museum.
K. Harlech Shadow
The deadly game from Playtest can also be seen.
L. Be Right Back
Finally, the name of the charging station in this episode, ‘BRB Connect’, is a reference to the season 2 episode Be Right Back.
Did you spot any Black Mirror Easter Eggs we missed? Scroll down to leave us a comment.