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Black Mirror Easter eggs you didn't notice

The dust has barely settled on Black Mirror season 3, and already fans of Charlie Brooker's sci-fi anthology series are calling for more. A fourth season of the newly acquired Netflix show is already in development, with Brooker confirming that they are working on a medieval episode as well as hinting at one set in space—both of which should prove a challenge for those committed to spotting Black Mirror's notorious Easter eggs.

The internet has been awash with speculation over whether Black Mirror episodes all take place in a shared universe, a theory built upon the show's habit of inserting numerous nods to previous stories. Lots of examples have been found, many of them references to pig-loving ex-Prime Minister Michael Callow, though some are less obvious than others. Here are some you probably didn't notice the first time around.

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Paparazzi scuffle (The Waldo Moment)

Black Mirror Easter eggs first started appearing in the last episode of the second season, the story of a failed comedian whose character (a blue cartoon bear named Waldo whom the comic controls with motion-capture technology) accidentally ends up becoming the face of global movement after a talk show outburst. "The Waldo Moment" harks back to the first Black Mirror episode, "The National Anthem," infamous for the scene in which Prime Minister Michael Callow has sex with a pig live on television in order to save the life of a kidnapped royal.

Naturally, both episodes feature a lot of news reports, and "The Waldo Moment" marked the first time fictional network UKN reappeared—the channel that beamed Pig-gate across the nation and around the world. Look a little closer, and you'll notice both episodes also feature the same news bulletin declaring that a man named Geraint Fitch has been "cleared of wrongdoing following paparazzi scuffle."

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Abi Khan advert (The Waldo Moment)

"The Waldo Moment" also contains an Easter egg linking it with "Fifteen Million Merits," Black Mirror's attack on the TV talent show. This season 1 episode takes place in a world in which obese people are routinely ridiculed and the fit constantly exercise in exchange for Merits—15 million of which are needed to make an appearance on Hot Shots, a television show that gives people the chance to prove themselves as a performer and leave their monotinous lives behind for stardom.

After a sizable Merit donation from a friend, Abi Khan (Jessica Brown Findlay) gets her chance to show off her singing in front of the judges and a live audience, though she, like many before her, is told that her voice is average and is instead offered a spot on a pornographic TV station. Having been unwittingly drugged before her performance, a confused Abi agrees, and her picture goes on to appear on billboards…right next to Waldo.

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Advertising guy (White Christmas)

Black Mirror fans received an unexpected festive treat in 2014 in the form of near-feature length Christmas special "White Christmas." The episode stars Jon Hamm opposite Rafe Spall and Oona Chaplin in three intertwining stories of technology gone awry, and the Easter eggs pop up in the very first conversation.

Hamm of course rose to prominence playing chain-smoking advertising executive Don Draper in AMC's long running hit Mad Men, and his character here has a past that is arguably even murkier than Draper's. Before the short stories begin, Hamm and Spall are introduced to viewers as two barely acquainted men stationed together at a remote outpost in the middle of a snowy wilderness, forced to eke conversation out of each other over an awkward Christmas drink. As part of their icebreaker, Hamm asks his colleague to guess what he thinks his last job was, to which he replies "Advertising guy."

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White Bear logo (White Christmas)

The Christmas special also made a number of references to prior seasons. Spall's character flicks past an advert for Hot Shots at one point, a karaoke scene features the same song that Abi performed on the underhanded talent show ("Anyone Who Knows What Love Is"), and one of Hamm's online cohorts goes by the screen name Pie Ape, which was "Fifteen Million Merits" slang for a fat person. This wasn't the only episode it offered multiple nods to, however.

There are several links to controversial season 2 episode "White Bear" jammed in there too—some that have been pointed out regularly, others that haven't. Fictional news network UKN is back, a goldmine for Easter eggs that didn't disappoint on this occasion, informing viewers that child murderer Victoria Skillane's appeal had been rejected with a quick newsflash. There's also a tiny "White Bear" logo hidden away in Spall's cell at the very end of the episode.

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White Bear logo (Playtest)

This mysterious symbol pops up once again in standout season 3 episode "Playtest," the story of an American backpacker named Cooper (Wyatt Russell) who runs out of money on the European leg of his round-the-world trip and, in need of a quick buck, decides to take part in a test run of a new virtual reality horror game at a site just outside of London.

Cooper is given the inside track on the gaming company by British hook-up Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen, the same actress that played Selma in "Fifteen Million Merits") who happens to be a game nut, but when he gets there he encounters something that even she has never seen before. The same symbol that appears on the mask of the armed hunter throughout "White Bear" can be seen on one of the discs that later turn to gopher holes as part of the whack-a-mole style warm-up game.

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Turning nostalgia into a game (Playtest)

Before Cooper sets off for the countryside headquarters of SaitoGemu in search of some quick cash to fund his flight home, Sonja shows him a copy of EDGE magazine with the gaming company's founder, Shou Saito, on the cover. Easter egg hunters were quick to point out the block of text located in the bottom corner of the page that advertises an article about Granular, the company behind the AI bees that run amok in season 3 finale "Hated in the Nation," though the cover makes reference to another episode from the latest series.

The ad at the top of the page reads "Inside TCKR: Turning Nostalgia Into A Game," which means this issue of EDGE (a genuine UK gamer's mag) also contains an article about the company behind "San Junipero." This virtual reality system, featured in the episode of the same name, allows the consciousness of the dead to be uploaded to a cloud where they can live as their young selves in whichever year they please.

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Victoria Skillane trial latest (Shut Up and Dance)

Season 3's "Shut Up and Dance" follows the plight of 19-year-old Kenny after malicious hackers use his webcam to record him masturbating and blackmail the teen into committing a bank robbery alongside a cheating husband, caught red-handed with a prostitute by the same hackers. While the reason for his intense panic becomes clear with a dark twist, Kenny accessing child pornography isn't the only revelation in this episode, which is rife with Easter eggs.

When the racist CEO (another victim of the hackers) opens a webpage to a story about her leaked private emails, shamed former Prime Minister Michael Callow can be seen quite clearly in the side column as part of a story announcing his divorce. That one was easy enough to spot, but just below him is a courtroom sketch of Victoria Skillane, the woman from season 2's "White Bear" who has her memory wiped nightly and is forced to relive a single day indefinitely as punishment for her crime.

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Cookies and credits (Shut Up and Dance)

Sticking with the article on the racist CEO but moving towards the top of the page, we come to an Easter egg that references holiday special "White Christmas" in the form of a cryptic advertisement reading "ONE SMART COOKIE? Click to witness the kitchen tech of tomorrow."

The tech it refers to is, of course, the Cookie, a device which holds a trapped copy of your own consciousness and forces that sentient copy to tend to your every need, uniquely qualified as a personal slave. That was certainly one of the subtler Easter eggs hidden in season 3, but those willing to go over the show with a fine-toothed comb have found yet another reference to a past episode on this mocked-up webpage. Above the Cookie ad in small, barely noticeable type is a notification that harks back to a classic season 1 episode that parodied the impact of shows such as American Idol and The X-Factor: "Talent show 15 Million Merits launches next week."

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Waldo sticker (Shut Up and Dance)

After threatening to send the video to everyone he knows, Kenny's invisible tormentors convince him to embark on a wild goose chase that begins with the delivery of a cake and ends with a fight to the death against another man caught doing something he shouldn't have been. Before he gets to this point and finally realizes the enormity of the situation, Kenny receives a series of text messages from an unknown number, demanding that he keep his location visible and his phone charged so that he can be "activated" when the time comes.

These messages arrive shortly after an email confirming the hack with the incriminating video attached, and the viewer is as eager to see what the people behind it have to say as Kenny—though tear your eyes away from the texts, and you'll notice a familiar face peering around the phone. The mocking grin of cartoon bear turned political weapon Waldo can be seen on Kenny's laptop.

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National Allied bank (Shut Up and Dance)

Kenny's bank robbery was one of the most memorable moments from the third season, brilliantly acted by Alex Lawther and his partner in crime Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones' Bronn) from the moment the hapless duo pulled up outside a branch of fictional British bank National Allied with little time to lose. The first thing you notice about the bank is its rural location, and the second thing you notice is the logo. That's when you put two and two together and realize that this bank also has branches in the city, because it was one of their London cash machines that failed to dispense Cooper's flight money in "Playtest."

The slanted V-shaped logo (slightly obscured by Cooper's shoulder at the ATM) also looks very similar to the ones emblazoned on military uniforms in "Men Against Fire," which is either commentary on banks and their history of profiting from war or just a strange coincidence.

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The roach hunter (Men Against Fire)

In Charlie Brooker's 2015 Wipe, the Black Mirror writer bemoaned the way certain sections of the UK media handled the immigration crisis throughout the year, with many news outlets referring to those seeking asylum from war and persecution in Iraq, Syria and beyond as a "swarm of migrants," dehumanizing them in the eyes of the British public and making their plight easier to ignore. This certainly seems to have been the inspiration behind "Men Against Fire," in which soldiers in the near-future are given an implant that allows them to see their enemies (whom they call Roaches) as monsters instead of humans so that they are easier to kill.

Director Jakob Verbruggen clearly had influences of his own, and one of them appears to have been Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic Inglourious Basterds. As young soldier Stripe goes out on his first Roach hunt, we see his superior interviewing a man in his kitchen about hiding Roaches from the military, echoing the famous moment from Tarantino's film in which "Jew Hunter" Hans Landa interrogates a French farmer harboring enemies of the Führer beneath his floorboards. The two scenes are remarkably similar, from the angles and lighting to the interviewee's bushy beard. Even the monologues are similar, and to top it off, the scene ends in the same way—with all Roaches/Jews killed, bar one girl who escapes on foot.

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Trending on Twitter (Hated in the Nation)

The implants that allow the soldiers to kill in cold blood in "Men Against Fire" are part of what is referred to as the MASS Project in the episode, and it isn't the only time it gets a mention in the third season. During series closer "Hated in the Nation," policewoman Karin Parke (Kelly Macdonald) watches a UKN news report on the troubled Chancellor, and along the bottom of the screen runs a headline announcing the US military's approval of the MASS Project. This is just one of many previous episode Easter eggs dying to be noticed in "Hated in the Nation," the feature-length season 3 finale that references a total of seven other episodes in some shape or form.

The story follows two female detectives as they unearth a madman's plot to hack the government's artificially intelligent flower pollinating bees and use them to kill a person a day, with targets chosen via a public vote. These votes are cast using #DeathTo followed by the name of the person you want dead, and over the course of the episode a number of other hashtags appear on screen. One user wishes for #DeathTo Victoria Skillane while another wants to #FreeTheWhiteBearOne. #MASS is trending at one stage, as well as #SaituGamu, the gaming company from "Playtest" who are also revealed to be under investigation over the disappearance of a tourist on a UKN snippet.

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Blue worked on the Rannoch case (Hated in the Nation)

While Brooker has quashed rumors that every single Black Mirror episode is connected in some way, he did admit to some "explicit links" between some of the stories during a Reddit AMA. The one he gave as an example was that Karin's partner Blue Coulson (Faye Marsay) in "Hated in the Nation" transferred to the field from the cyber forensics department after personally discovering pictures of Ian Rannoch's victims. Rannoch is the boyfriend of "White Bear" child killer Victoria Skillane, and we know from that episode that the pair abducted and murdered at least one child together, though from Blue's description of his "child killings" it appears he murdered more than once.

Updates on Skillane herself are scattered throughout "Hated in the Nation," and not just on Twitter. Black Mirror network of choice UKN is covering the "White Bear" case extensively, with one update revealing that her appeal has been thrown out of court and another announcing a failed suicide attempt.

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Callow thrown out of zoo (Nosedive)

Another nod to Black Mirror's first episode "The National Anthem" is hidden in season 3 opener "Nosedive," a pastel-hued social media satire starring Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie Pound, a social climber desperately trying to up her rating on a popularity platform seemingly used by Americans nationwide. People are judged by their score, which is ranked using a five-star system. Both strangers and friends can affect your star rating at the touch of a button, and Lacie is constantly scrolling through her friends' profiles in the hope of scoring points and reaching her desired social ranking of a mid-4.

Those with a sharp eye will have noticed that as Lacie visits the profile of her 4.8 friend Naomi Jayne Blestow (Alice Eve), a status update from one Michael Callow pops up in the bottom right-hand corner of the shot. Callow writes that he "Just got thrown out of the zoo again," adding a sad face to emphasize his disappointment.

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Sea of Tranquility (Nosedive)

Lacie's chance to score some serious popularity points comes when an old friend unexpectedly asks her to be maid of honor at her wedding, an event which will be full of influential high-4 people to mingle with. If she doesn't reach a rating of 4.5 soon, she won't be permitted to move into a house on an exclusive estate for the popular.

After an airport argument leaves her with too poor a score to board her plane, Lacie is forced to take a budget rental car, and when that breaks down her last hope is hitching a ride on a bus with fans of a show named Sea of Tranquility. Described as an "HBO Moon Western," this show was mentioned in the first-ever Black Mirror episode when its dreadlocked special effects designer is hired in secret to come up with a digital solution to the Prime Minister's impending date with a pig.

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The blue flask or the red flask (Novedive)

Stephen King has described Black Mirror as "like The Twilight Zone, only rated R," and the similarities between the two anthologies are there for all to see, but there are some nods to more modern sci-fi classics in there, too. After Lacie's popularity rating drops to a near-unsalvageable low, she meets a trucker who's been ignoring the system put in place by this invisible social media platform and living as she pleases.

After reluctantly accepting a ride, Lacie listens to the trucker's argument for breaking away from the imposed system. She's then offered a drink by the wise outsider—coffee, which is in a blue flask, or whiskey, which is in a red flask. This is a subtle nod to the famous blue pill/red pill scene from The Matrix, with the coffee representing Lacie's decision not to stray out of character and the whiskey an opportunity to abandon that character for good.