Black Mirror The Entire History of You explained: What happened in season 1, episode 3?

The Entire History of You is one of Black Mirror’s most popular episodes to date. The story is based on the idea humans can now use an implant to record their memories and replay them back whenever they want. And despite being the only episode not written by Charlie Brooker, it is one of the most chilling outings of the show so far.

What happened in Black Mirror: The Entire History of You?

The Entire History of You – written by Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show and Succession fame – imagines a world where the majority of the population has adopted a something called a ‘grain’ behind their ears.

This allows them to record everything they see and hear, storing all of their memories in one place.

With the use of a remote, people are then able to rewind to any memory they want to access to relive it and these can even be projected on to a screen to share with others.

This basis is explored in the episode through the eyes of Liam (played by Toby Kebbell) who becomes increasingly suspicious of his wife Ffion’s (Jodie Whittaker) behaviour at a dinner party.

Zooming in (at times literally) on her interaction with old friend Jonas (Tom Cullen), Liam is led to confront her about their relationship.

Throughout the course of the episode, she slowly reveals more about their past romance as Liam becomes increasingly jealous.

He drives over to Jonas’ house to confront him about accessing past memories of his wife and threatens him until he deletes them.

However, in the act of him deleting the videos, Liam sees that one of them is from just 18 months ago, which was around the time his daughter was conceived.

This leads him to force Ffion to play out the memory in a harrowing and heartbreaking moment.

At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Ffion and his daughter have left him as he is seen violently tearing the memory grain out from his neck.

Speaking to Dazed about the episode, writer Armstrong said he came up with the idea after thinking about how much data a chip can hold.

He said: “It was about how the exponential growth in the amount of data you can keep on a chip meant that you’d soon be able to keep a lifetime’s worth on something the size of a grain of rice.

“And off of that, how useful it might be to have a passively recorded history of your whole life?

“That’s easy to market, right? See your wedding, the birth of a child, never forget a business meeting, an agreement.”

Taking this idea and running with it, he also described how he thought about the shifting nature of memory and how our brains work to protect us from certain painful ones.

Viewers will remember this idea was explored in the episode when Hallam (Phoebe Fox) revealed her Grain was ripped out of her ear.

Speaking about how freeing it is, Colleen (Rebekah Staton) couldn’t help but point out how unreliable organic memories could be.

She said: “You know half the organic memories you have are junk, just not trustworthy.

“With half the population you can implant false memories, just by asking leading questions in therapy.”

Armstrong added to Dazed: “I thought about how essential forgetting is to successful human relationships.

“I’ve read a bit about memory research and it’s quite fascinating how plastic, fungible and shifting our memories are.

“That sometimes freaks people out, but it’s also essential to make life bearable, to be able to forget humiliations, painful moments in relationships.

“What if you could keep all of these things knife-sharp and you weren’t quite strong enough to not keep touching the wounds?”

The idea also almost was not the basis for a Black Mirror outing with initial interest from George Clooney’s and Robert Downey Jr’s production companies.

However, it went on to become part of the Black Mirror universe with some fans noticing the technology appeared in a similar form in the season five episode Striking Vipers.

Charlie Brooker confirmed to Digital Spy in 2017 all episodes are all part of a shared universe, viewers could potentially see more links between the episodes.

Black Mirror is all available to stream on Netflix now.

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