The Waldo Moment is the third episode of the second season. It was written by Charlie Brooker, and was released on February 25, 2013.
Jamie Salter (Daniel Rigby) is a failed comedian who performs the voice and movements (via performance capture) of a blue cartoon bear named Waldo, who interviews politicians and other authority figures. The interviewees are fooled into thinking the Waldo interviews are for a children's TV program, when they're actually for a late-night, topical comedy show. Waldo the bear is extremely popular with the British public, and a pilot for his own series is commissioned, but despite the character's success Jamie is depressed and unsatisfied with his life.
During a brain-storming session for the Waldo pilot, producer Jack Napier (Jason Flemyng), who owns the rights to Waldo, jokingly suggests that Waldo should compete against real politicians in an upcoming by-election in the town of Stentonford, so he can stand against one of his past interviewees, Conservative candidate Liam Monroe (Tobias Menzies). Jamie at first opposes the idea, worried about entering the world of politics, but he soon reluctantly agrees to go ahead with the plan. The production company head off on a campaign trail, projecting Waldo onto a screen on the side of a van and driving to wherever Monroe is campaigning, so Waldo can publicly humiliate him. During the campaign, Jamie meets Gwendolyn Harris (Chloe Pirrie), the by-election's Labour candidate who, despite having no chance of winning, is entering the by-election to further her own political career. Jamie and Gwendolyn grow close, and they have a one-night stand, but afterwards Gwendolyn is warned by her campaign manager to keep away from Jamie during the campaign. Jamie can't understand why she is avoiding him, and develops a disdain for career politicians.
On a TV panel show with every party candidate as a guest, Monroe mocks both Waldo and Jamie, taunting him by saying Waldo is nothing more than a joke and Jamie himself hasn't achieved anything in his comedy career. This aggravation causes Jamie to angrily rant at every candidate on the panel, accusing them of being more artificial than Waldo is, viciously exposing Gwendolyn as a career politician and stating that the public has lost faith in politicians. Jamie is later embarrassed by his outburst, but the rant becomes a hit on YouTube and Waldo gains more public support while Gwendolyn's campaign quickly falters and the Labour party distances itself from her. Both Jamie and Napier meet with an American (who introduces himself as a member of "the agency") who claims that due to his independent stance, Waldo has the potential to become a global authority figure, much to the disdain of Jamie. After a heated argument with Napier, Jamie opts to leave the campaign. He tries to apologise to Gwendolyn for his actions, but she turns him away, enraged that he has damaged her career. On the final day of the campaign trail, Jamie rejoins but is overwhelmed by guilt and breaks down at a rally, begging the public not to vote for Waldo, leaving the van and trying to smash the screen. Napier takes over Waldo's controls and orders the public to attack Jamie. On the day of the election, Jamie watches the results from a hospital bed; Monroe wins, with Waldo (now voiced by Napier) coming second and Gwendolyn coming third. Napier prompts the audience to riot.
During the end credits, Jamie is shown to have become homeless, and is living on the street. He sees Waldo on a nearby monitor displaying what are assumed to be political ads on a global scale and angrily throws a bottle at the screen, which leads to him being assaulted by two police officers.
- Daniel Rigby – Jamie Salter
- Chloe Pirrie – Gwendolyn Harris
- Jason Flemyng – Jack Napier
- Tobias Menzies – Liam Monroe
- Christina Chong – Tamzin
- James Lance – Connor
- Pip Torrens - Philip Crane
- Michael Shaeffer – Roy