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Black Mirror Season 4 - Episode: Hang the DJ

It is established at the beginning that the expiry date is revealed when both parties "press the button" on their devices.

Later on, when Frank is alone, he "presses the button" and the expiry date is revealed. Does this mean that Amy pressed the button earlier? If yes, then why is she angry at him for pressing the button, if she has done the same?

If Amy hasn't pressed the button, then why is the expiry date revealed?

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When you press the button in the "Hang the DJ" universe, the expiry date is shown on your "coach". But you both have to press at the same time, the rules stipulate.

Why? Because, as Frank found out to his horror, if you press the button alone, the system will show the expiry date, but then "recalibrate" several times, taking this rule breach into account.

So don't press the button, unless your significant other does it too.

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    "But you both have to press at the same time, the rules stipulate." Do any rules stipulate that, or is that the decision made by the two main characters? As far as I remember; they agree to press it at the same time; but I didn't think they were obligated to do that. – JMac Jan 2 '18 at 16:52
  • @JMac I'm pretty sure that they explained during the very first date that they have to do it together, and then they showed one of the security guards looking over. At least that's how I remember it, so I'm convinced that it's one of the rules. – zoagli Jan 3 '18 at 17:57
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    I don't think it's technically required, I think it's the rules of the game. Like they are not physically required to stay with their relationships for x months, but thats the rules to stay on the platform. – Bryan Turriff Jan 4 '18 at 15:52
  • It's possible that the system subtly coerced Frank to make that mistake, so it could evaluate how Frank and Amy treat eachother when bad things happen. A lot of what happens in the simulation seems to cleverly gauge Frank and Amy's willingness to grow closer and improve themselves; which is likely all related to the system intentionally trying to gauge, assess and predict their romantic compatibility in real life. Allowing Frank to press the button by himself may have been one of those tests to see if Frank and Amy are liable to turn on each other when a bad thing happens. – Flater Feb 20 '18 at 17:28
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I don't think pressing it together is a fixed rule, more like a common ritual. Kind of like how they weren't sure if they could share meals. The recalibration is due to Frank breaking a specific promise to Amy (thus giving "the system" the data it wanted), not just because he looked and she didn't.

  • It's implied from their first date that there is some sort of rule from the system where they should always press at the same time; you can see that happening in all the other dates. They weren't sure about sharing the dinner since the meals were pre-selected for them: can we share food or is that gonna break some rule? – Luciano Jan 11 '18 at 11:01
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    @Luciano They also thought there might be a rule about not sharing food. Point being is that there RULES that affect the data gathering of the simulation, and then there are "rules" sort of implanted in the sims that they can question (like should they sleep with each other, how or what to eat, etc). But since the point of the sim is to see if they meekly accept their situation or rebel in order to be with someone, checking the expiry date alone can be a positive or negative thing depending on the situation. These sims don't have full agency but they do have some decision making capability. – Jason K Jan 11 '18 at 15:16

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