"The Entire History of You" is the third and final episode of the first series of British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. It was written by the creator of Peep Show and Fresh Meat, Jesse Armstrong, making it the only episode of the series not written or co-written by creator and showrunner Charlie Brooker. It was directed by Brian Welsh, and first aired on Channel 4 on 18 December 2011.
The episode, set in an alternative reality where most people have "grains" recording everything they do, see, or hear, and allowing them to play back their memories in front of their eyes or on a screen, tells the story of Liam (Toby Kebbell), a man who starts suspecting that his wife Ffion (Jodie Whittaker) might have had an affair.
"The Entire History of You" received positive reviews. In 2013, Robert Downey, Jr. optioned the episode to potentially be made into a film by Warner Bros. and his own production company Team Downey.
|"The Entire History of You"|
|Black Mirror episode|
|Episode no.||Series 1
|Directed by||Brian Welsh|
|Written by||Jesse Armstrong|
|Original air date||18 December 2011|
|Running time||44 minutes|
A portion of society has implanted a "grain" behind their ear, which records everything they see and hear. Using a remote, a user can perform a "re-do", playing back their memories directly to their eye or to a video monitor.
Young lawyer Liam Foxwell (Toby Kebbell) leaves a work appraisal that he felt went poorly. While returning home, he repeatedly watches the re-do, and is troubled by a seemingly insincere phrase from his employer.
He meets his wife Ffion (Jodie Whittaker) at a dinner party with friends, seeing her talk to a man he does not recognize. He introduces himself as Jonas (Tom Cullen). As the party continues, Liam becomes concerned that Ffion seems fond of Jonas, laughing at his crude jokes. When Liam and Ffion return home, he goads her into talking more about her history with Jonas. She admits she had a previous relationship with Jonas before meeting Liam, but as she explains, Liam finds that the length of this relationship is inconsistent, and he becomes paranoid, demanding she show him her re-do of the evening and explain why she reacted that way. The conversation turns heated and they get into a fight, but Liam backs down, and apologizes. They proceed to have sex, though both are watching re-dos of previous sexual encounters.
Afterward, Liam leaves the bedroom and watches re-dos of the party to scrutinize Jonas' behavior, while he drinks heavily. By morning, when Ffion comes downstairs, Liam drunkenly demands more answers from her about Jonas. Ffion refuses to answer and goes back to bed, while Liam leaves for Jonas' home and physically demands he erase his "grain", or he will forcefully remove it, which could lead to vision or brain damage. Jonas complies, showing the erasure process as it occurs on a video monitor. Liam returns home, but in his drunken state, crashes his car into a tree and passes out. When he gains consciousness, Liam plays back the last few memories before the crash to figure out what happened, and discovers that when Jonas was erasing his "grain", one memory included Jonas and Ffion having sex about 18 months ago, near the same time that Ffion's daughter Jodie was conceived.
He angrily returns home and confronts Ffion about it. She admits she and Jonas had sex, after Liam had temporarily walked out after a fight, but they had used a condom, and Liam must be Jodie's father. Liam demands she show her the re-do of the event to prove that, but Ffion claims she deleted it. Liam becomes more hostile, and demands she show him the blank space on the "grain" where she erased it. She no longer can hide the fact that she did in fact save that memory from 18 months ago. The re-do shows that they did not use a condom.
Sometime later, Liam walks around his empty house, watching re-dos of happier moments with Ffion and Jodie. Liam goes to his bathroom and uses a razor blade to cut out the "grain" from his head, the screen cutting to black as he does so.
The A.V. Club rated the episode an A-, concluding: "[A]s a creepy, up-to-date parable that still tells a tale as old as time, 'The Entire History Of You' is pretty outstanding. It builds to a climax the audience may well have predicted (Liam forces Ffion to show him her most recent encounter with Jonas), but we are smartly spared from seeing. Every time a character plays back something on their grain, their eyes glow dully as the images are accessed, giving them a demonic look. I'm sure that was an intentional decision." Den of Geek said: "As is often the case in science fiction, 'The Entire History Of You' explores the pitfalls of future technology. Given our current appetite for sharing carefully selected chunks of our personal lives on the Internet, the idea of people in the future recording and sharing memories isn't too much of a stretch, and the way the episode depicts it is quite convincing, and extremely eerie." The Daily Telegraph gave the episode 3 out of 5 stars, and wrote: "This was the least effective of the Black Mirror dramas, because the technological element wasn't so crucial to the trajectory of the story. Jealous people will always find ways to destroy their relationships without the recourse to memory databanks." Metro gave the episode an A, writing: "Tonight's final episode of Black Mirror however left me sitting in front of an appropriately black screen with the expression of a man who has just witnessed the murder of an entire litter of kittens."