Black Mirror released three new episodes for its fifth season, all feature length, and one of them took a different route and chose not to go into the realm of science fiction — Smithereens.
Spoilers follow from the Black Mirror episode Smithereens.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker said that he wrote Smithereens to show that his series was not just about science fiction and futuristic technology.
The episode still kept up with the fear of tech ideas, though, as Smithereens is about social media addiction.
What is Black Mirror’s Smithereens about?
The episode introduces viewers to Chris (Andrew Scott), a man who was in an accident involving a drunk driver that cost him his fiancee’s life. He is going to therapy sessions and meets a woman trying to overcome the loss of her daughter, who took her own life.
The woman has been trying to log into her daughter’s social media account on Persona but doesn’t know the password and tries multiple times daily until she is locked out.
Was her daughter’s suicide due to online social media bullying? She can’t find out.
This causes Chris to kidnap Jaden (Damson Idris), an employee for the giant social media company Smithereens — and he has kidnapped him for one big reason, which is discovered at the end of the episode.
Who died at the end of Black Mirror Smithereens?
Things go bad for Chris and his car ends up stalled in the middle of a field with police surrounding him. Ironically, people watching the scene from the road are recording video clips and sending out messages on Smithereens.
Chris has one demand — to speak to Billy (Topher Grace), the CEO of Smithereens.
By the time he gets Billy on the phone, Chris admits that the reason he was in the accident with the drunk driver was that he was checking a message on his Smithereens social media account.
Chris can’t go on living with the guilt that he was partially responsible for the death of his fiancee. Before he takes his own life, he wants Billy to admit that social media is an addiction.
In a shocking reveal, Billy admits this is true and says that he has been considering stepping down as CEO and leaving the company because he is unhappy with the direction social media has taken.
With this on record, Chris lets Jaden go. However, Jaden tells Chris that suicide is not the answer and he tells him that his uncle took his own life and it left emotional scars on everyone who cared about him.
The two begin to fight for the gun as Jaden is trying to save Chris, but the police think that he is in trouble and the police chief gives the order to the sniper to fire.
Smithereens does not show who dies. However, since this is a police sniper, it is almost assured that they shot and killed Chris to save Jaden.
The ending then has an important lesson from the story.
— 🌼Jordan🌼 (@lichengoddess_) June 5, 2019
After the death, people around the world see a message pop up on Smithereens, likely about the death of Chris, and then just go back to their business proving that the news on social media sites is so abundant that nothing means anything anymore.
Black Mirror Season 5 is currently streaming on Netflix.