The hugely popular Black Mirror is back with three episodes for Season 5. Smithereens features Andrew Scott in the lead role as Chris, a London based rideshare driver. Little is known about Chris's life other than that he is clearly looking to pick up a fare from somebody who works at Smithereens.
Smithereens is a tech-based company that has a distinctly ‘Facebook' feel to it which becomes more obvious as the episode progresses. Eventually, the wait pays off and Chris picks up Jaden (played by Damson Idris) for a ride to the airport. Thinking he has bagged himself a senior player in the company, Chris unveils his plan.
The plan is to hold Jaden hostage until he can get Smithereens founder, Billy Bauer (played by Topher Grace) on the phone. What Chris doesn't know is that Jaden is only an intern and has only been working there a week. What unfolds is very clever. The British police get involved as do the powers that be at Smithereens. But it's the sheer volume of available information that Smithereens have at their fingertips that is kind of mind-blowing.
Almost all of it is in the public domain but thanks to the endless T&Cs that most of us agree to, they can also access so much more. As a result, they know absolutely everything about Chris before the police can even trace the license plate on the car.
But Black Mirror Smithereens is much more than a tech story. As characters go Andrew Scott plays Chris to perfection. He is a man tormented by grief and as the story plays out he becomes more empathetic by the minute. It is a departure from the usual futuristic storylines that creator Charlie Brooker is known for. But what we get instead is a powerful, and frankly incredibly sad story, about the impact of technology and today.
For my money, Smithereens is the best of the three Black Mirror Season 5 episodes. It definitely touches a nerve about the vast impact that social media has on our lives. It is a well paced and engaging story that honestly had me shedding a few tears at the end.