[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”23669″ img_size=”900×500″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Black Mirror is back for its fifth season! The anthology series that centers around the horrors of technology released three episodes today on Netflix. As usual, each has its own story and cast of characters carrying out the specific message. Smithereens is the second episode in the fifth series and it stars Andrew Scott as Chris and Damson Idris as Jaden.
Chris drives something akin to Uber and attends grief counseling, though; we initially don’t know for what. It’s clear he is looking for someone who works at Smithereen and finally, an employee from the social media company gets in the car. Jaden is an intern who Chris eventually holds at gunpoint. Throughout the episode, we are witness to a heart-pounding predicament where Chris insists on speaking with the owner/creator of Smithereen. Topher Grace plays Billy Bauer, who is the man that Chris is so hellbent on speaking with. Throughout the hour and ten minutes, all you are doing is screaming to the screen is “answer the phone, Billy!”
Smithereens is so very not-Black Mirror. There is no moment where the car becomes sentient or some drone comes in during the third act of the episode. What this episode is, is very human. Very prevalent to today. More so than most of the episodes that take a more dramatized step in order to get their message across. Chris is a grieving man, who feels responsible for the tragedy of a loved one. While the social media app does play a part, Chris recognizes that this event was his fault because he fell victim to the allure and addiction that apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have on people.
Of course, technology is present in the episode. We have the metaphor of how the people behind Smithereen can get to information faster than the police force. While it looked like Chris had a squeaky clean record, the people who worked at the company could see otherwise. Chris attends grief sessions, he stopped going on the app two years ago, and other red flags that could have said that this was a man who was about to do something drastic. It’s, of course, a correlation that’s made to several school shootings where none of the shooters were on the police’s radar. But, a simple skimming through their social media accounts could show how this person should have been monitored.
And it does point out the fact that we, as a society; are obsessed with social media. We have to check it constantly. We are in a state of FOMO (fear of missing out) that we check it while driving, walking, eating, etc. These are major distractions that we are all slaves to practically and Chris is simply stating this in hopes that maybe people behind these companies will take this into account. So that maybe they can stop pushing the idea that if you’re not sharing or staring at your phone that you somehow are lacking.
Over All Thoughts
Andrew Scott gives an absolutely heartbreaking performance in this episode and his scenes with the scared intern Jaden bounce really well off each other. You can tell that regardless of how distressed Chris is, he does not want to hurt Jaden. And he is, in fact, apologetic at some points. Black Mirror does a really good job in giving so much life to characters who only appear in one episode. This episode probably had to have been one of the most “human” episodes in the series and while it didn’t have the typical “the computer is coming to get you” message behind it, the real-life authenticity was probably even scarier at times.
I have to say that if Scott doesn’t get at least a nod at the Emmy’s it will be a damn shame. Go watch Black Mirror series five out now!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.