Netflix’s anthology series ‘Black Mirror’ takes storytelling to a new level with its ‘Joan is Awful’ episode. The episode has so many layers that it makes one question the nature of their reality and what being a protagonist in their own story actually means. Starring Annie Murphy in the lead role, it follows the story of an ordinary woman named Joan, who discovers that a streaming service has turned her life into a TV show. They listen to all her conversations and spy on her 24×7 to create a series that lays bare her life in front of the whole world. By the end, the show wraps up Joan’s story on a high note but also gives us an additional scene at the end. What does it mean? Let’s find out.
Joan is Awful End-Credits Scene
A lot of revolting and unacceptable things happen in ‘Joan is Awful,’ but the most potent is the scene where Annie Murphy’s Joan walks into a church and defecates in the middle of a wedding. This scene is repeated with Salma Hayek playing Joan in the TV show that Annie Murphy’s Joan watches. But there is another variation of it. It plays out in the end credits with the Source Joan.
At the end of the episode, Annie Murphy’s Joan, who snuck into Streamberrry’s headquarters to destroy their quamputer with Salma Hayek, discovers she is not the real Joan. She is just the first layer of the televised version of the real Joan’s story, called the Source Joan. Source Joan is out in the real world, and her story has been turned into ‘Joan is Awful.’ In it, Annie Murphy plays the lead role and watches Salma Hayek on the TV playing a variation of her Joan. Because Streamberry relies on Joan’s previous day to create new content, it means that whatever Annie Murphy’s Joan is doing has already been done by Source Joan, be it destroying the quamputer or defecating in the church.
When Annie Murphy’s Joan realizes that she cannot stop Streamberry from making more episodes, she decides to get Salma Hayek’s attention. She decides to do something so disgusting that Hayek would be forced to go to Streamberry and tell them to stop making the show. She eats a lot of burgers, consumes a laxative, and then lets it loose in the church. As expected, Salma Hayek is horrified to have her face representing such a character in front of the whole world.
In the real world, Source Joan does this to get Annie Murphy’s attention, whose likeness is used to create the first layer of Joan. Because Source Joan does this, Annie Murphy’s version is forced to replicate it on the screen. In the real world, Annie Murphy finds it unacceptable to have her likeness used for a character that does such revolting stuff on a TV show that the entire world is watching.
Joan’s actions are repeated in her several versions in different layers of ‘Joan is Awful,’ but it isn’t until the end that we discover who the real Joan is. Replaying it through her perspective, in the end, reinforces that Source Joan’s life was pushed to such desperation that she was forced to do something like this. It cements the nature of her reality, which has changed since she destroyed the quamputer and was put on house arrest. It also represents Source Joan taking matters into her own hands rather than surrendering to Streamberry to continue using her life for their profits while ruining her in the process.