This week on Black Mirror Friday, Shannon and Fadra are discussing Black Mirror Smithereens, episode two of Season 5. Spoilers ahead!
In this episode, a ride-share driver (Christopher, played by Andrew Scott) is looking for a fare from someone who works at a Twitter/Facebook-like company called Smithereen. When he finally gets one in his car (Jaden, played by Damson Idris), he kidnaps him and forces him to make a call to the head of the company.
We aren’t sure of Christopher’s agenda, but eventually find out that he needs to confess his guilt to Smithereen’s owner Billy Bauer (played by Topher Grace). It turns out that Christopher’s fiance was killed while he was driving and looked at his phone at a Smithereen notification, though the crash was blamed on a drunk driver and not Christopher’s distraction.
In the end, police snipers shoot at the car, but we’re never shown exactly what happens. We assume Christopher is shot, but we don’t know for sure. And we’re led to realize that it doesn’t really matter – that the whole event was just a blip on a news crawl.
Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker described the episode’s ending as a message about how the character’s lives were “reduced to ephemeral confetti that just passes us by.”
Smithereens tells a thought-provoking story in today’s social media-driven society, and the acting is top-notch.
And we have some serious discussion about social media addiction and distracted driving – things we’ve both been guilty of.
A Look in the Mirror
In this segment, we usually discuss the technology and how close we are to seeing it in real life. With Smithereens set in 2018, we don’t see any futuristic technology in this episode – it’s all too real and hits close to home.
But we did a little digging to see if any social media company been blamed or sued for wrongful death/manslaughter? To the best of our knowledge, the answer is no. But Snapchat was named in a lawsuit in 2017.
18-year-old Crystal McGee was using Snapchat’s “speed filter” while driving approximately 107 MPH. She caused a crash that left another driver with permanent brain injury. The court held that Snapchat could not be held liable, but the decision has been appealed.
We’re rating every episode to help you decide which are must-sees, good to watch, or could be skipped.
Shannon: Good to watch
Fadra: Good to watch
We’d love to hear your feedback on any Black Mirror episode! Chat with us online @StingerPodcast everywhere.