*Warning: This article contains full spoilers for Black Mirror season 6 episode 1, Joan Is Awful.*


The eagerly-anticipated sixth season of Black Mirror is upon us, bringing five new nightmares to our screens.

But before we experienced the horrors of Loch Henry, Beyond the Sea, Mazey Day and Demon 79, there was the more comedic Joan is Awful.

The season opener is perhaps one of the most meta episodes of Black Mirror yet, and offers a parody of Netflix (or should we say Streamberry), exploring dark truths about the streaming industry.

Annie Murphy leads the cast as Joan, a woman whose life comes crashing down when her normal day is turned into an episode of a new series on Streamberry, a satirical version of Netflix, with a surprising appearance from none other than Salma Hayek.

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But how does the episode end? And how do things wrap up for our unlucky protagonist, Joan? Read on for everything you need to know about the ending of Joan Is Awful but be warned as there are full spoilers for the episode ahead.

Black Mirror: Joan Is Awful ending explained – what happened to Joan?

Annie Murphy in Black Mirror
Annie Murphy in Black Mirror. Netflix

It goes without saying that while terribly funny, this Black Mirror episode is seriously trippy in more ways than one.

After growing increasingly infuriated by the way that Streamberry is showing her every move on its new series, Joan Is Awful, Joan (Annie Murphy) takes matters into her own hands. As she's played in the series by a deepfake image of A-list Hollywood actress Salma Hayek Pinault, Joan thinks that Salma won't want to be associated with anything that could be damaging to her successful career.

So, in a move that's all too reminiscent of a certain scene from Bridesmaids, Joan eats a number of hamburgers, takes laxative medication, dons a cheerleading costume and runs into a church to defecate in the middle of a wedding ceremony. Of course, the same scene plays out on the Streamberry show with Salma doing the same.

It's after this that Salma goes to her lawyers to complain about the way that Streamberry is using her image but she's told that the image rights agreement contract that she signed explicitly mentions that it covers any acts or behaviours of Joan's "up to and including and beyond defecation".

Also angry at Streamberry now, Salma pays Joan a visit at her home and the two come up with a plan to destroy the computer system and server that lays by Streamberry CEO Mona Javadi's (Leila Farzad) office. Salma goes to the office and tells the receptionist she's gone to the toilet, but actually lets Joan in through the back. They run to the server room while Mona is giving an interview about the future of Streamberry.

Black Mirror - season 6
Annie Murphy in Black Mirror episode Joan Is Awful. Netflix

While listening to the interview, Joan and Salma hear Mona say that the 'quamputer' they're after is just down the corridor on the left. Mona explains that the quantum computer wills entire multiverses into existence and then produces fully-edited programmes that usually take months to make. The plan is to take this worldwide, she explains, with personal content for every Streamberry user in their very own Joan Is Awful show.

After running out of Mona's office, Salma and Joan go to the quamputer room where Michael Cera's Beppe is manning the computers that follow Joan around. Confused as to why she's on the screen, Beppe explains that Annie Murphy's Joan is on the screen because that's the variant of Joan that the Joan below her sees when she watches the show.

He explains: "You're not the original Joan. That's Source Joan. You're just a Joan."

He then shows Annie the real Joan and says: "You're a version of Joan played by a digital likeness of Annie Murphy." He then brings up footage of Annie on the red carpet and mentions Schitt's Creek before showing the footage of Source Joan in reality.

It's then all unveiled that when Source Joan watches the TV show Joan Is Awful, she sees Annie playing her. Annie's show is the fictive level they're all on – fictive level 1. Michael Cera, Annie Murphy and Salma Hayek have all licensed their faces for the show but Salma believes she is herself because she's been coded to think that on this level of the show.

Basically, they're not in reality right now and they're on fictive level 1, just in Source Joan's story. Now even angrier, Annie takes an axe and goes into the chamber that houses the computer. But she gets freaked out when she thinks about the versions of themselves that think they're real that they could be destroying as well.

But Annie says the events that this is based on have already happened, meaning she doesn't have a choice about destroying the computer or not because the real Joan would've already done it. Destroying the computer, we soon see the reality of it all play out with the real Joan destroying the computer and Annie dressed in the yellow jumpsuit that Salma was previously wearing.

The real Joan is then arrested, with Annie being questioned by the police before waving goodbye to a smiling Joan. As the credits roll, we see Joan back in her therapist's office, admitting she's dating again and trying to make time for herself. She talks about her new business and she then admits that she feels like the main character in her own life.

She's on house arrest and has a tag on her ankle but we see her walk over to her business – Joan's Coffee. Annie walks into the coffee shop, also with a tag on her ankle. Joan takes her "usual" order and the pair get talking, saying how much they've missed each other and laughing.

Caught up on Black Mirror season 6? Read our episode breakdowns below:

Read our interview with Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, as well as season 6 stars Salma Hayek, Aaron Paul and Rob Delaney, in the latest issue of Radio Times magazine – out now.

Black Mirror's Salma Hayek on Radio Times magazine cover
Black Mirror's Salma Hayek on Radio Times magazine cover.

Black Mirror season 6 is streaming now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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