Season 5 of Black Mirror has just dropped on Netflix and the new show has a hell of a lot to unpack from it.
Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down Smithereens starring Andrew Scott and giving my thoughts on the meaning behind it’s ending.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want anything ruined for yourself then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, I hope you enjoy it, now sit back, relax and let’s get into my Ending Explained Breakdown Of Smithereens!
Smithereens: Story Recap
Smithereens is the only British Episode of the season and from the off it’s pretty nihilistic.
We join Andrew Scott who plays a man named Chris a taxi driver that finds himself, orchestrating an attempt to take down social media once and for all. Chris has kidnapped an intern of a social company named Smithereen and he is threatening to kill the man if he isn’t connected to the company’s CEO, Billy Bower.
Throughout the 70 minute ride, we learn of Chris’ past and what drove him to do the things that he did and it’s clear that this episode is a comment on how in being connected to everyone digitally we have become disconnected physically.
The lost art of conversation is present throughout and Chris just wants to return to a simpler time when things weren’t all about likes, comments and shares.
No matter what kind of relationship Chris tries to build he’s blocked by a screen. Whether it’s a grieving mother or simply a woman that he is picking up from a meeting at Smithereen, everyone seems transfixed by a screen, desperately searching for a connection that they could have with Chris if they simply paid attention to him.
Many hypothesize, including the Negotiator; that this is the reason why he wants to reach the CEO. After being ignored for so long, just catching the attention of the CEO of a major company, that everyone else looks up to will give his life justification and make him feel like everyone is looking at him.
They think that deep down Chris wants attention just as much as those constantly posting to social media do, he is, however, willing to go to the extreme for it though the true reason begins to emerge during the rising situation.
After being chased by the police, Chris runs off the road and becomes stuck which is where the majority of the episode takes place. Due to his one demand and hostage, this becomes an international incident with the FBI and US forces all working together to try and save Chris’ hostage, Jaden’s life.
However, everything is not as it seems and Chris finally gets in touch with Billy Bauer, after he enacts God mode to speak to Chris directly, we discover the real reason why the entire ordeal has taken place.
What Happened To Chris
￼We learn that Chris and his fiancé were both social media addicts. Chris was obsessed with the platform and after driving home one night, Chris became distracted by a notification and crashed the car, killing the other driver and eventually his wife. Chris avoided all blame as the other driver was drunk but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t carry the guilt.
Chris and probably the audience are heartbroken by the entire ordeal and the confession leads Chris to plead that the addictiveness is taken out of the apps.
Billy too confesses that he’s created a monster in the app that is purely there to drive dopamine hits. Similar to Chris he doesn’t know how to stop everything and the two share a moment before Chris finally breaks Billy’s admission saying that he was simply stating his peace.
￼The only thing he wants is for the grieving mother to have access to her daughters account on Persona and after this he hangs up the phone.
Overall it’s really gripping stuff and both Adam Scott and Topher Grace completely knock it out of the park with this back and forth Phonecall that is probably the highlight of the season.
Chris states he wants to let Jaden go but he refuses after realising that Chris will kill himself as soon as he leaves. The two engage in a struggle that ends with a sniper taking a fatal shot which ends the episode though we don’t see which of the two were killed just the public’s reaction to it.
So which one was it?
Black Mirror: Smithereen: Ending Explained
Well whilst this could have been a somewhat happy ending with Chris dying, this is Black Mirror and the nonchalant attitude of the public towards the barely reported on Jaden makes me believe that it was him that ended up in the firing line.
Had it been Chris, people would no doubt have pulled out their phones and began spraying their thoughts all over social media, however, as they don’t it’s likely Jaden that died and this is also enforced by the fact that Billy returns to meditating.
The character had no connection with Jaden, only Chris and thus the characters death is just a statistic to him.
Overall this is probably my favourite episode of Season 5 with it both blaming individuals for continuing their addictions as well as the corporations that prey upon this.
Chris acknowledges he caused the car accident but also blames the corporation for causing his addiction and this metaphorically can be aligned with Alcohol, Drugs and more as things that we know are dangerous but are thrust upon as as something that we need in our lives to enjoy ourselves.
In the end the outcome of the situation doesn’t really matter, just in the same way that it doesn’t really matter to the public. Our lives, similar to Chris and Jaden’s have become reduced to notifications that we see to get a hit of Dopamine and turn off until we get the next one.
That is the true meaning of the episode and ultimately Billy closing his eyes once more in the final shot represents our blindness to just how disposable that we have become because of it. He and his company are shutting themselves off to the damage that they are doing and are continuing to prey on the populace.
Ultimately this episode stuck with me long after I left it and that’s why it gets an…
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the episode and what you took from it. Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you check out my breakdown of Striking Vipers which will be linked at the end.