S2E2: White Bear

Recap

Victoria wakes up in a dark room with bandages wrapped around her wrists. In front of her is a TV with an odd white symbol on the screen. As she looks down in front of her feet, there are a couple pill bottles spilled across the floor. She walks over to a mirror where she looks at herself and does not remember who she is. Victoria walks downstairs where she picks up a small picture of a young girl, then she has a flashback. She scans the room to find a calendar with days being crossed out, which leads the audience to believe someone was counting down the days until something was going to occur. Eventually, she walks outside to find no kids playing, or adults doing yard work like we’re accustomed to seeing. Instead she finds people recording her through the windows of their homes.

Suddenly a blue car approaches, and a man in a mask gets out with a shotgun. He begins chasing her down the street while surrounding neighbors film on their phones and cameras. She finds a boy and a girl (Jem) at a gas station, and the masked man opens fire with his shotgun. They run and lock themselves inside the gas station before the masked man eventfully breaks in (causing laughter and applauds from the surrounding citizens).

The masked man shoots and kills the male, and people begin surrounding his body and taking pictures. One of the flashes causes Victoria to have another flashback. Victoria and Jem run away and find a house to lay low. There, Jem fills her in on how the “hunters” found them. There is a live feed through the people’s cameras that are following them.

Victoria then says she has a daughter (the girl in the picture), but she doesn’t remember anything else. Jem tells her the signal that appears on the screen released something dangerous in certain people, but it didn’t affect everyone. People like Jem and Victoria were hunted by the hunters. Victoria tries picking up a phone that someone dropped on the ground, and Jem freaks out pointing a taser at her saying, “their phones are dangerous, put it down.”

A man picks them up in his van, and Victoria seems to think he looks familiar. They stop somewhere in the woods, and the man pulls out a shotgun, proving he was the masked man from earlier. He forces them to walk in front of him, pointing the shotgun at their backs, until they come across a creepy spot in the woods where bodies are tied to trees and civilians are waiting to record them.

Jem runs away, and the masked man is getting ready to kill Victoria. Jem circles back and shoots the man with his own shotgun. Oddly, the camera looks away as this is happening, so we don’t actually see the shotgun shell hit his body (red flag, duh).

Victoria and Jem get in a van and begin driving to “White Bear,” which is a compound that is allegedly transmitting the signal causing people to act out. Victoria continues to have flashbacks and starts yelling, “there’s something not normal about White Bear.” The viewers get the idea that she’s been there before, or the name has some sort of relevance.

Victoria has another flashback to her recording the little girl she claims is her daughter, and in that recording there is a man with the infamous symbol tattooed on the back of his neck. They arrive at the compound and begin breaking in. The two of them walk into a room where Jem beings flipping switches and turning off the signal; then she pours gasoline all over the room.

The “hunters” walk in on them, and they begin fighting. Victoria grabs a shotgun and shoots one of the men. Confetti comes out, and the room begins to open up like a scene out of Inception. A large audience appears, and they begin clapping and applauding (Basically identical to a scene out of Hunger Games where Stanley Tucci is yelling every time he speaks, because his character is an obnoxious asshole).

Then, the masked man appears and it seems that he is the talk show host, which makes sense because earlier in the episode when Victoria first met him in the van, she said he looked familiar. He says, “It’s time to tell you who you are.”

A brief video plays, explaining the context of the entire situation. The little girl that Victoria thought was her daughter, was actually abducted by her and her fiancé. From there, she helped record her fiancé do terrible things to the little girl (the flashbacks). The symbol tattooed on the back of his neck was how they identified and charged him; therefore the context behind the use of the symbol throughout the episode makes sense. The little girl’s stuffed white bear was found a couple miles from her house where she was abducted, so it became the symbol to get her home safely. This is why the compound was called “White Bear,” where Victoria is finding out the truth of her entire situation.

This also explains why everyone the entire episode is filming her. They’re filming her just like she filmed her fiancé and the little girl. Eventually we cut to a scene outside at nighttime where the host of the show is egging on the crowd to be as loud as possible and take as many pictures as possible.

In the crowd we see people with fire torches and signs screaming murderer and bitch. Victoria gets paraded through a crowd with glass windows around her, so people begin throwing tomatoes at her (Very reminiscent of the “SHAME” scene in Game of Thrones).

When they reach their destination, a few men carry her into a house and put her in the same room she woke up in earlier that morning. The talk host puts a device on her head to wipe her memory, so she can relive this entire day over and over again. The process takes about 30 minutes, so as she is waiting to have her memory wiped clean, she is forced to watch the footage she shot of the little girl and her fiancé A literal living hell.

The host then crosses off another day on the calendar that we first saw in the beginning of the episode, leading us to believe this has been going on for quite sometime.

 Themes

Public shaming: Obviously this episode and Ronson’s book were pieced together for a reason. We all obviously drew countless parallels between the two, but I think it’s important to note that this was like crazy extreme. This was in a literal sense public shaming. There were crowds of people watching Victoria mentally torture herself (while they tortured her physically and mentally) every single day like it was an attraction, which I will get to in a bit.

Reality television: So lets pray to god that our versions of reality television don’t escalate to something of this nature. I feel like as a society, when it comes to reality TV, companies have tried to make it as real as possible with survival shows and whatnot. As much as it might be fun to watch Kim Kardashian go through something as vigorous as Victoria experienced (lol), it’s definitely NOT chill.

How we deal with criminals/Our justice system: To me, this episode is also a reflection of the direction the world is already heading in. Obviously not to this extent, but there are methods we use to torture/kill criminals. I think this episode was tackling that issue directly.

JOUR 325 says . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Questions

  1. What was the most disturbing thing about this episode?
  2. Did we take it that this was some kind of theme park?
  3. Who paid for all of this? Did the participants have to pay an entree fee? Is this what amusement parks/attractions could evolve to? Maybe this was the their version of Dr. Phil.
  4. Do we think other parks like this exist for other people who committed heinous crimes?
  5. What does this say about their society and the people that inhabit it? Do they get off on the suffering of other people?
  6. Could there be some type of reward that participants win for having the best footage/most footage? A leaderboard?