White Bear is the second episode of the second season. It was written by Charlie Brooker, and was released on February 18, 2013.
In a bedroom, Victoria Skillane (Lenora Crichlow) wakes up in a chair to find she can't recall anything about her life. Apparently the result of a failed suicide attempt, Victoria is surrounded by images of a small girl (Imani Jackman) — whom she assumes to be her daughter — as well as photos of her and an unknown man (Nick Ofield). Victoria sees an unusual symbol on the TV screens in the house and a calendar on the month of October, with all the dates being crossed off up until the 18th. Leaving the house, Victoria sees people constantly recording her on their phones. When asking for help and shouting at the people to stop recording her, a man wearing a balaclava with the symbol on it pulls up in a car, takes out a shotgun, and fires at Victoria. After being chased by the masked man, she meets Jem (Tuppence Middleton) and Damien (Ian Bonar), two people getting supplies. The masked man kills Damien, who attempted to save Victoria and Jem, forcing them to go on the run. Jem explains a mysterious signal over television and the internet turned most of the population into dumb voyeurs who do nothing but record everything around them. Victoria and Jem are unaffected but are also a target for the 'hunters', unaffected humans who, with society's collapse, can act wantonly violent and sadistic. Jem plans to reach a nearby transmitter at 'White Bear' to destroy it and stop the signal's effect on the area.
As they travel, a man named Baxter(Michael Smiley) picks up Victoria and Jem. Baxter is also unaffected, but drives them to a forest and holds them at gunpoint. Although Jem escapes, Victoria is tied to a tree and about to be tortured until Jem returns and kills Baxter. They continue travelling to the transmitter, while Victoria has visions of past and future events. When they reach the White Bear transmitter to destroy it, two hunters attack Victoria and Jem. Victoria wrestles a shotgun away from a hunter and fires at her attacker - only for it to spray confetti. The walls open to reveal an audience applauding after observing the escapade; Jem, Damien and the hunters are revealed to have been part of a charade all along. Victoria is strapped into a chair, while Baxter appears and explains everything: the girl Victoria assumed to be her daughter was actually a six-year-old schoolgirl named Jemima Sykes, whom Victoria and her fiancé, Iain Rannoch (the man from the photographs), abducted a few miles from her home. After taking her to a nearby forest, Iain tortured and killed Jemima while Victoria recorded his actions on her mobile phone. The 'White Bear', originally the victim's teddy, was a symbol of the nationwide search and murder investigation, while the symbol on the screens and on the hunter's mask was identical to the tattoo that identified Victoria's fiancé (who committed suicide in his cell before the trial). Having tearfully pleaded guilty and insisting she was 'under Iain's spell', Victoria was given a sentence the judge described as 'proportionate and considered' – to undergo this mob-recorded, poetic justice every day.
Victoria, who still has no clear memory of these events, is driven back to the compound past a crowd baying for her blood (under encouragement from the staff) and returned to the room where she woke up. She is placed back in the bedroom chair by Baxter. As she watches footage of Jemima, Baxter places electrodes on her head, wiping Victoria's memory of the day's events as she screams in agony. As Baxter leaves the compound to the sound of Victoria's screams, he takes out a black pen and crosses off 18 October from the calendar; ready for Victoria to relive the same events the next day.
Over the end credits, we see the staff (including Baxter, Jem, and Damien) of the 'White Bear Justice Park' prepare for another day as they set up the scenario, and how it plays out. The voyeurs are members of the public who are there to see Victoria suffer while using their phones to record the show. The episode ends as it began, with Victoria waking up in the bedroom chair with no memory.
- Lenora Crichlow as Victoria Skillane
- Michael Smiley as Baxter
- Tuppence Middleton as Jem
- Ian Bonar as Damien
- Nick Ofield as Iain Rannoch
- Russell Barnett as Reporter
- Imani Jackman as Jemima Sykes
- In Black Museum, there is an exhibit of a model wearing a balaclava with the symbol on it. Furthermore, at one point, a picture of Victoria is shown in the background alongside a tagline that reads "CHILD KILLER".
- According to the showrunners, Blue Coulson from Hated in the Nation worked on the Rannoch case.
|Episodes in "Black Mirror"|
|Season 1||• The National Anthem • Fifteen Million Merits • The Entire History of You •|
|Season 2||• Be Right Back • White Bear • The Waldo Moment •|
|Season 3||• Nosedive • Playtest • Shut Up and Dance • San Junipero • Men Against Fire • Hated in the Nation •|
|Season 4||• USS Callister • Arkangel • Crocodile • Hang the DJ • Metalhead • Black Museum •|
|Season 5||• Striking Vipers • Smithereens • Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too •|
|Specials||• White Christmas • Bandersnatch •|